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Mobile applications: Testing and monitoring using SaaS solutions

Quality and performance monitoring in the world of mobile devices and mobile applications is an important topic for developers. This story discusses new mobile apps, highlights comments from the companies that offer them and examines the advantages of Web-based SaaS options.

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Creative new mobile apps are popping up every day, putting more and more instant services in the hands of consumers....

What are developers saying about quality and performance in the world of mobile devices? Several experts weighed in, discussing their latest offerings. This story examines the importance of mobility testing and monitoring and the advantages of Web-based SaaS options for developers.

Testing and monitoring are important before and after product release

While in traditional scenarios testing may be viewed as an important step prior to product release, the expansion of mobile apps creates an atmosphere where testing is just as, if not more, important after a product’s release. This ongoing monitoring is of mounting importance to mobile app providers in all sectors.

Leila Modarres, VP of Marketing at Keynote DeviceAnywhere, and Ian Hammond, VP of Technical Operations at TomTom discussed the two companies’ recent partnership, which provides real-time monitoring for TomTom’s GPS devices and iPhone app. Keynote DeviceAnywhere provides a real-time monitoring product, Test Center Enterprise Monitoring™ (TCE Monitoring), a solution that is is accessed over a cloud-based platform. This service acts as a sort of baby-sitter that watches over the performance of the application, but it also provides useful feedback so that the provider can quickly resolve issues and optimize user experience.

The final software product that can only be updated when the next version comes out can be likened to the text book, in which errors or latest information can only be updated when the next edition is published. Students can now take advantage of new iPad apps that enable them to study history through multimedia presentations. The information, of course, can be updated or corrected instantaneously, eliminating the need to purchase a new book.

Marc Schulman, application developer for MultiEducator discussed the wide potential of mobile device applications, such as their History on the Go app, in the education field. Perhaps text books could be a relic of the past if new generations of learners seize the opportunity to learn through their mobile devices, which can provide up-to-the-minute data and videos, images, audio and artwork in addition to text.

Ongoing testing and monitoring is necessary to ensure integrity, availability and accuracy of all data displayed through mobile devices.

Any organization interested in bringing an application to the mobile platform will need to test it. It’s a necessity. It’s not a nice-to-have; it’s a need-to-have.

Leila Modarres, VP of Marketing, Keynote DeviceAnywhere

SaaS models facilitate app development and testing

Another recent innovation in the world of mobile apps includes SwitchPoint’s Queuing Alert app, which alerts customers when their table is ready in a restaurant or when it is their turn in line for a service. Manish Jha, VP of Business Development at SwitchPoint, explained how it is a Web-based application, so the testing process does not have to take into account the different platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry.

The Queuing Alert app was developed on a developer platform in the cloud called the “Sandbox.” Keynote DeviceAnywhere also offers a public cloud and private cloud option for Software-as-a-Service models, providing testing through automated processes and real-time monitoring services.

Application developers benefit from Web-based services because concerns about security, functionality and performance across diverse mobile devices are greatly reduced; bugs or defects can be detected and corrected before they reach a user’s device.

Jeff Kuligowski, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at MobileCause, a Web service that enables mobile giving for the non-profit sector, talked about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing the SaaS model. Using a Web-based application prevents the organization from capitalizing on the various capabilities—the bells and whistles—that many mobile devices now offer. On the other hand, the simple website design ensures reliability, quality and integrity.

Little room for error

The necessity for ongoing testing and monitoring of mobile apps is perhaps most underscored by the fact that mobile customers have very high performance expectations.

Both the business and non-profit sectors rely on application quality and performance to support their brand and image. Jeff Kuligowski explained how MobileCause must maintain excellent performance, or their clients, who are non-profit organizations, suffer the blow to their image. “If somebody has a bad experience interacting with the organization through a tool—like a mobile donation tool—the brand is actually the one that gets the blame. And the same thing is true when you do a good job; you create value and add to the brand.”

Likewise, mobile performance is imperative to businesses. When people pay for a service, they want it to work, and in the mobile world, an app must be functional at all times; even one glitch can send customers away, and possibly looking for solutions elsewhere.

TomTom’s Ian Hammond discussed their customers’ expectations: “Our customers rely on our products and services to get them to their destinations faster and to help them be more relaxed along the way. Any disruption in service can have a major impact on that experience, and so we are dedicated to ensuring that we proactively identify and solve problems before they impact our customers.”

Conclusion

Developers and service providers with a myriad of innovative ideas are excited by the capabilities made possible by mobile applications. Testing is important before and after product release, as information is in a constant state of flux, and customers expect the best from mobile apps. One of the many great messages Steve Jobs left with us is: “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” Ongoing application testing and monitoring ensures that mistakes can be quickly remedied so that apps provide all the services they are supposed to, and new data and services can be added as the market demands.
 

This was last published in October 2011

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