The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

It’s Springtime For Mobile Application Testing

In the spring of 2008 Cloud Computing was the featured “flower” that dominated the conversation in the technology flowerbed. With Spring 2010 arrived a new flower, Dev/Ops, with its Agile methods, practices, and integration between software development and IT operations.  Now, in the spring of 2012, another flower is blooming: Mobile Testing.

Testing, once called the bastard child of IT, is having a significant renaissance brought about by the emergence of a global consumption model and the subsequent mobile application explosion. With customer service and now revenue heavily influenced by application performance, the past three years have seen a significant influx of innovative test approaches arriving in the mobile development market. And all this in hopes making application performance a differentiator for their consumers.

Of these new approaches, cloud-based tools have received the most attention. In a recent IDC survey of 350 of the leading consumer-facing websites, 17% of respondents reported that they have already begun to use cloud-based test solutions. Even more remarkable is that 43% of respondents indicated that they are planning to use cloud-based solutions in the next 24 months. These are promising growth numbers for any emerging market and they are especially promising for this market.

Why is Cloud Testing blooming now, after vendor-introduced solutions have been around for more than three years? IDC’s Melinda Ballou, who conducted the survey, says, “Cloud testing is a hyper-growth market because it just makes sense”. Mobile applications are now being used by thousands if not millions of consumers.

Old, process-based approaches to application testing cannot keep pace and are too expensive for this new breed of mobile developer. Gartner’s Tom Murphy says that many will rely on manual tests and a prayer to overcome the challenges of gestures, geolocation, motion and realistically conducting load tests.

The speed, agility, scale and cost savings of test solutions built specifically to leverage the cloud make them especially compelling in the mobile application development community.

Another sign of this early spring has been an upsurge in acquisitions of test technologies during the past six months: ITKO (CA), GreenHat (IBM), and Blaze (Akamai). For all of these reasons and more, spring has come early this year for Mobile Testing and it appears that we can look forward to seeing this particular flower for many years to come.


Tom Lounibos

About the Author

Tom Lounibos

As CEO of SOASTA, Tom brings more than 30 years of experience building early stage software companies, leading two companies to successful IPOs. Tom is a regular speaker at both cloud and testing events, and has become a leading advocate in using the cloud to empower individuals and accelerate changes in how applications are built, tested and deployed. Most recently, Tom served as President and CEO of Kenamea. Prior to Kenamea, he was CEO of Dorado Corp., a financial services software provider. Previous to Dorado, he was EVP of Sagent Technology through its 1999 IPO, entrepreneur-in-residence at Crosspoint Venture Partners, and held executive positions at Digitalk Corp., Knowledgeware (KWI) and Encore Financial Services. Tom also serves on several boards in the Silicon Valley.