Monday, November 5, 2012

Report: 66% of Mobile Apps Inadequately Tested

There's a very interesting recent article at about how most companies are not testing their mobile apps thoroughly due to a lack of resources, tools and appropriate methods. Here at RTL we have also seen companies struggle to find effective techniques and test tools to manage software development in the mobile era.  As a result, software quality is suffering:
Organizations are struggling to manage the challenges of the mobile era, with only a few currently testing their mobile applications, according to Capgemini. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The End of Flash for Mobile?

As of August 15, Adobe Flash Player has been removed from the Google Play store.  Those who already have Flash installed on their mobile devices will continue to receive security updates.  Those devices which have not completed Adobe's certification testing requirements (according to Adobe this includes most devices which do not come with Flash pre-installed from the manufacturer) will not be able to acquire it in the future. Support for Flash has been dropped by all versions of Android beyond 4.0.x (ICS).  Although this change does not immediately affect a large portion of users (some statistics show as few as 1.8% of users are currently on version 4.1), this presents a significant shift in the future of web development for the mobile platform.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Test Tool: BB TestAssistant

BB TestAssistant is a desktop recording, editing, and viewing tool for the Windows platform designed to aid tester and developer in defect submission and reproduction.  It was developed by UK-based Blueberry Software as a tester/developer oriented version of their Flashback consumer recording software.  The concept is simple: a tester runs the recorder, reproduces the defect, and submits the resulting file to the developer who then can review a step-by-step process from the tester's perspective.

While a recording may not be necessary for every scenario of defect reproduction, the technology has many practical applications.  Video capture helps recreate exactly what was going on in the event of a difficult to reproduce or rare bug.  Certain visual defects can be difficult to summarize in just a series of screen shots.  The software creates an easy to use visual demonstration of user input, logging keystrokes and mouse clicks and can even toggle sound and webcam recording to cover anything that words cannot describe.  User notes and editing tools like watermarks and highlights further enhance the post-processing to make sure that the developer will not miss out on any relevant data.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mozilla releases Firefox 14.0.1

Mozilla released the next update to it's Firefox browser to version 14.0.1 for both desktop and mobile today. The updates include several new features and bug fixes for each version.

The main new features for the desktop version include Google searches that now feature HTTPS, full screen support for Mac OS X Lion, changes to plugin configurations to allow for only loading on click, and auto-completion of typed URLs in the "Awesome Bar." Security updates include an improved site identity manager to "prevent spoofing of an SSL connection with favicons" and various bug fixes.

The new features for the mobile version include the better support for Flash, faster start-up and page load times, a redesigned interface, better text readability through font size inflation, and a new panning/zooming architecture meant to improve touch responsiveness. Note that while Flash is now supported for phones, tablets are still out of luck, and devices with less than Android 2.2 no longer meet the minimum specs at all.

Launching Firefox should return a prompt to update the browser, but if you haven't checked out Firefox yet you can click here to download the desktop version of Firefox. On Android devices you can find by searching for Firefox in the Google Play Store, or you can click here to check out the browser-based store page. If you're interested in the full release notes you can find them for both desktop and mobile at Firefox release notes page.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Usage Stats and the Battle for Browser Market Dominance

While the struggle for browser market share is in constant flux, Internet Explorer has consistently maintained a solid majority due to the enterprise market and the popularity of the Windows platform.  That is why recent news that Google Chrome unseated Internet Explorer as king came as a shock to many - in particular to Microsoft.

The claim was made by the data-tracking site StatCounter, crediting each browser with approximately 32-33% market share respectively (placing both browsers about 10% ahead of the nearest competitor: Firefox).  Microsoft was quick to refute the data citing flaws in the methodology used by StatCounter.

Friday, May 18, 2012

USB 3.0 Noise and the Wireless Spectrum

Intel has released a White Paper study revealing potential interference issues for wireless receivers caused by noise generated on the USB 3.0 data spectrum.  Signal radiation produced by a USB 3.0 connection can be particularly high in the broadband 2.4-2.5GHz range - a very common frequency for wireless devices of all sorts.  The magnitude of the interference can range from reduction in throughput to total unresponsiveness.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day Update: Firefox 11

The good people at Mozilla have rolled out the latest and greatest for their Firefox browser on this geekiest of "holiday" (3.14). New features in version 11.0 include:

  • The ability to sync add-ons between Firefox browsers across computers to create a consistent browsing experience everywhere. Note: Users will need to create an account to take advantage of this feature.
  • History, cookies, bookmark migration from Google Chrome.
  • Various HTML5 adjustments, including video controls.
  • Improvements to CSS and 3D development tools.
You can access the full list of changes, including the various bug and security fixes here. Visit to try it out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tech Update: Firefox 10

Firefox has been upgraded to version 10 (now 10.0.1). Users set to the release channel will be updated automatically. Significant changes in this pass are notably subtle, focusing primarily on bug fixes, UI tweaks, and extension support. Among these are a couple points of interest:

Add-ons will now be compatible with newer versions of the browser by default, making regular upgrades a much smoother transition.

Full screen APIs in HTML5 will allow for the development of web applications that run full screen through the browser.

Read the comprehensive list of the changes here.
The latest version can be accessed here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chrome 17 released with prerendering and security features

Google has released version 17 of their Chrome web browser. Along with the usual list of bug fixes, Chrome has two major feature changes: prerendering pages and *.exe and *.msi file checking.

Prerendering pages, which the Google Chrome Blog likens to a sandwich shop you visit regularly knowing your order as soon as you walk in, works by loading the page you're navigating to in the address bar as soon as autocomplete detects an page you're likely to go to. According to the Chrome Blog this can significantly speed up loading pages, sometimes to the point of loading the page instantly as soon as you hit enter.

The other major feature update, *.exe and *.msi file checking, attempts to make browsing the web more secure by checking any *.exe and *.msi files you download against a list of known safe files. If the file isn't in the list Chrome will compare the metadata of the site against a list of known bad sites and warn the user that they may be downloading a malicious file. An older blog post from the Chrome Blog notes that while this is limited to executable files for the moment, Google plans to extend this feature to all resources on a page in the coming months.

Chrome should automatically update to the new version, or you can head over to the Chrome download page to pick it up if you haven't already.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Apple releases OS X 10.7.3 with Safari 5.1.3

Apple has released the 10.7.3 update for the OS X operating system. The update, which mainly involves bug fixes, "includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac," according to the OS X 10.7.3 release notes page.

The biggest new features include support for several new languages, including Catalan, Croatian, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian, Slovak, Thai, and Ukrainian, and better RAW image compatibility with more digital cameras.

While the update includes a new version of Apple's web browser Safari -- version 5.1.3, to be precise -- as of this writing Apple has yet to release a list of changes in the update for the browser and it is, as yet, unavailable for other OS versions, including OS X 10.7.2.

For instructions on how to update to 10.7.3 and the full release notes, head over the About the OS X Lion v10.7.3 Update page.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Year, New Selenium: v2.17

Like many of today's browsers, the developers at Selenium have recently undertook a more regular update schedule. Since the new year, the team has released a pair of significant updates, bringing the version up to 2.17.

Recent Changes include:
  • Improved native support for Firefox 9.
  • Increased compatibility with FirefoxDriver and ChromeDriver environments.
  • Extensive bug fixes within WebDriver and its sister platforms.
The full changelog can be accessed here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tech Update: Firefox 9 with faster Javascript released

Firefox 9, the newest iteration of Mozilla's popular browser, has been released. 

Along with the usual bug fixes, the biggest new feature this cycle is the inclusion of something called Type Inference, which Mozilla says improves benchmark performances in Javascript by 30 percent and can give "a large speed boost to many JS heavy websites."

The other big features include better integration into Mac OS X Lion and a Do Not Track status via Javascript. Click here for the full release notes, or head to the download page for the newest version of Firefox.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Testing the Future: Upcoming Trends for 2012

What does the near future hold for software testers? Tech Journal South has published an article espousing its predictions for testing technology and methodology in the new year.

The article lists six top picks for upcoming trends to impact the software testing market. The listed trends emphasize market progression such as soaring sales of smartphones and the proliferation of mobile application development, improvements in communications and security of test data, and procedural efficiency. Notably included are trends like Mobility Application Testing, Cross-Cloud Testing, and Crowd Sourced Testing.

The article closes with a statistic displaying solid growth in spending on testing services in the last year, as well as a forecast for steady growth in the years to come. This goes to show that while the rules may change, the game remains as healthy as ever.

You can access the full article here.