Jon Hagar is a systems software engineer with over thirty years of experience. In this interview, Hagar discusses how reviews impact mobile app development and testing, security issues in the mobile and embedded world, and why you need to do more than just test the requirements.
With more than thirty years of experience in software, Jon Hagar brings a wealth of knowledge to our community, and he shares a great amount of it in his new book, Software Test Attacks to Break Mobile and Embedded Devices. Jon sat down with us to discuss the true future of testing.
The phenomenal growth of mobile devices has opened avenues for organizations to integrate them into their mainstream computing environment. Today's mobile applications deliver complex functionality on platforms that have limited resources for processing and testing. Unlike the PC-based environment, the mobile world is comprised of a wide range of devices with diverse hardware and software configurations and communication intricacies. This diversity presents unique challenges and requires unique testing strategies. Rumesh Palaniswamy shares his experiences with testing mobile applications. The smaller screens, unique input methods, and minimal processing power in these devices often lead to unexpected outputs and other faults.
Many testers believe that it is prohibitively costly and time-consuming to automate embedded and mobile phone application testing. By approaching the problem from a test design perspective and using that design to drive the automation initiative, Hans Buwalda demystifies automated testing of embedded systems. He draws on experiences gained on a large-scale testing project for a leading smart-phone platform and a Window CE embedded automotive testing platform. Hans describes the technical side of the solution-how to setup a tethered automation agent to expose the GUI and drive tests at the device layer. Learn how to couple this technology solution with a test design methodology that helps even non-technical testers participate in the automation development and execution. Take back a new approach to achieve large-scale automation coverage that is easily maintainable over the long term.
Just like the rest of the software world, embedded software has defects. Today, embedded software is pervasive-built into automobiles, medical diagnostic devices, telephones, airplanes, spacecraft, and really almost everything. Because defects in embedded software can cause constant customer frustration, complete product failure, and even death, it would seem critical to collect and categorize the types of errors that are typically found in embedded software. Jon Hagar describes the few error studies that have been done in the embedded domain and the work he has done to turn that data into a valuable error taxonomy. After explaining the concept of a taxonomy and how you can use it to guide test planning for embedded software, he discusses ways to design tests to exploit the taxonomy and find important defects in your embedded system.
Crowdsourced testing of mobile applications, a middle ground between in-house and outsourced testing, has many advantages: scale, speed, coverage, lower capital costs, reduced staffing costs, and no long-term commitments. However, crowdsourced testing of any application-mobile or not-should augment your professional testing resources, not replace them. Most importantly, crowdsourced testing has to be done well or it’s a waste of time and money. John Carpenter reviews the applications and ways he’s outsourced testing to the crowd. Focusing on adopting crowdsourcing for both functional and usability testing in mobile applications, John describes scenarios in which you can leverage the crowd to lower costs and increase product quality, including scaling the application to large populations of global users.