Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Mauro Carniel, Rostyslav Demush, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Mobile IoT

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Blind Spots: The Top 8 Things You Overlook When Testing Mobile | @DevOpSummit #APM #DevOps

When you test mobile, it's common practice to use a mobile emulation tool

When's the last time you accidentally put milk in the cabinet? Or cereal in the fridge? Have you had to hunt around for your car keys recently, only to find them in a place you already thought you'd looked?

We all miss a thing or two from time to time. When you're doing so much at once, it's easy to overlook the simple things. It's understandable.

However, when it comes to your business, an episode of forgetfulness can be very detrimental. Take performance testing, for example. If you don't approach your performance testing and load testing processes cautiously and diligently, executing the same batch of tests every single time, with the ultimate goal of ensuring your users have the best experience possible no matter what's happening with the infrastructure, you run the risk of opening a vulnerability that could impact your entire application - and your business.

This is especially true with mobile apps, which are no longer considered a secondary means of accessing the Internet. In fact, in many organizations, the knowledge of how to test and monitor mobile applications is lagging behind actual usage. You don't want to overlook anything when it comes to mobile performance testing. So in order to save you from the pain of missing those little things, we've put together a guide highlighting eight testing blind spots. Use it as a checklist - you may even want to print it out and keep it on your fridge.

1. Mobile Network Latency and Packet Loss
When you test mobile, it's common practice to use a mobile emulation tool, which will mimic the network characteristics that mobile devices actually experience. For example, any decent test infrastructure will limit bandwidth to what may be found on a 3G network, instead of what is available in the data center doing the testing.

However, mobile networks have different characteristics than standard wired or Wi-Fi desktop networks that go beyond bandwidth constraints. They don't carry information as reliably. Mobile networks are significantly more prone to problems related to latency and even packet loss. That means your mobile app won't always get the data it needs, when it's expected.

So when you are conducting your mobile testing, be sure to account for these commonly ignored attributes. Real devices experience a certain amount of network burps. Be sure your test systems simulate them realistically.

2. Parallel Connections
Repeat after me: A web app is not the same thing as a mobile app. You can't just change the user agent header on a test script and say it's now testing mobile. Sadly, that's what many test scripts do.

A great example of this is the number of parallel connections allowed for an app to communicate back to the server. Mobile networks, devices and applications all enforce varying policies with respect to how many parallel connections are allowed at a given time. Failing to account for this could have a big impact on test results: both the load on your server environment and the user experience.

3. Testing in Real Environments
You know how bugs can cause sites to crash or payments to fail? This leads to unsatisfied customers and lost revenue for your websites. Sometimes these bugs only reveal themselves in the real world, under actual operation. That's why many modern QA organizations operate a healthy Testing in Production process - to make sure that real bugs in the real world are found and squashed.

Naturally, the same applies for mobile. Don't just test your mobile experience through mobile emulators in staged environments. You need to test mobile apps in real-world production environments too. You'll learn a tremendous amount about how users interact with your product, and that will make your structured testing even more robust. This may require more tools and greater human power than you originally had in mind. But, it's critically important.

4. Automation for Load Testing
Many people start their mobile QA efforts by testing manually on a handful of devices. They don't rely on automation in the mobile world the way they do in the desktop world, because it's a little more complicated and elaborate. Furthermore, with so many devices on the market, mobile testing can seem unwieldy and overwhelming.

However, that's exactly why automation is so important. Manual testing is simply not scalable in mobile. Seek out and implement solutions for mobile test automation. Look for ways to incorporate real devices and emulation into your test strategies. Work performance testing into your functional test automation early, so you can deploy those tests across the many OS combinations you need to address. This is one boat you don't want to miss!

5. User Pathways and Real-Time Behavior
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are a critical part of operating a real-world web applications. You look at your metrics every day to see how things are performing, and you make changes when you need to. However, if you become too glued on just those key metrics - like the number of downloads or the session count - you may forget to monitor other important behaviors of the system. For example, it's easy to overlook the actual user-paths within the app.

You have to understand the experience of mobile users to provide them with the services they want. How they flow through the app will give you tremendous insight into their experience along the way and where problems may arise. By monitoring these pathways you can then create synthetic users that follow those same paths, constantly evaluating performance of key flows and reporting issues back to you. That way you'll be able to identify poor experiences before your users do.

6. Background Activity
One of the most important aspects of the mobile user experience is battery life - an attribute that developers comfortable in building for the web may never even consider. However, a poor-performing app that drains a user's battery will quickly find itself removed. Developers must find ways to reduce background activity, especially for apps that spend a lot of energy fetching notifications and downloading data.

To start, consider how users interact with applications over the course of weeks and months - the app's shelf life. If a user has not interacted with an app for a month or two, don't try to engage the user as frequently. Check for notifications on a daily basis instead of a real-time basis, and consider turning off data refreshes until the user opens the app again. Background activity has a negative effect on the user interface, and it is a huge energy sucker.

7. Updates
Application updates are a much bigger deal for mobile apps (especially native ones) as compared to web apps. Many users have their devices configured to occur automatically update their apps - meaning these users won't know when they have downloaded an update. But there are many people who have configured their updates to occur manually, so you have one chance to get this right. If there is a performance or usage problem that you didn't spot, you can't fix it until they have installed another update.

That's completely different than a web app, where you can just roll back the application and fix it with a snap. With the mobile app, on the other hand, the user needs to perform the update themselves. You can try to push a hotfix release to your users as quickly as possible, but you have no control over when they install the update.

Keep this example in mind: Tinder (the popular dating app) recently released an update that left users in a loop while trying to authenticate their accounts. The app was rendered useless. It ended up taking Tinder a week to update the app, asking users to delete and reinstall in the meantime. In all, they lost a week's worth of activity on the site due to this error, whereas with a web app they could've recovered immediately. Plus, for a week, their users couldn't get dates. So everyone suffered.

8. Continuous Learning
As performance testing becomes more important, you'll find that you are doing a lot more testing. That means you'll be constantly discovering new things, and fixing new problems. You'll also make some mistakes - a normal and healthy part of the testing process.

Don't sweep mistakes under the rug. And don't just fix the symptom and move on. You've got a prime opportunity to learn from your errors and improve your process. Be interactive with your team and make a positive change. You'll find that your productivity will grow exponentially.

Lead The Way With Clear Vision
Keep your vision at 20/20 status with these mobile testing tips. Even if you don't have a mobile app just yet, you still need a testing strategy to keep the growing number of users happy. Check out how to get a jumpstart on your strategy in our recent blog post.

Hopefully this post helps you remember some commonly forgotten aspects of your mobile performance testing strategy... Now, if only I can remember where I put my car keys!

Photo Credit: crimsong19

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...