The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

Rising use of agile methods: Mobile app testing throughout development

In the past, developers would hone the general idea and framework for their app, creating the code, write some unit tests (like all good devs do), and let QA test for functionality and performance once it was “ready”. This approach was the primary technique for many for quite some time, and some app creators are still using this style of development today. But when it comes to mobile app development, this old “waterfall” approach to dev and test will not suffice.

SOASTA's mobile application testing solution provides all the necessary tools to ensure their agile testing strategies deliver satisfied users every time.
SOASTA’s mobile application testing solution provides all the necessary tools to ensure their agile testing strategies deliver satisfied users every time.

This traditional approach to development method can give rise to a slew of complications, especially when comprehensive functional testing and performance testing doesn’t occur until the end. Rarely is there time to test well at the end of a project.  So, instead of discovering a multitude of issues after the app has been finished and having to go back and correct them all, a number of developers are opting for a different approach: agile methodology.

The main characteristic that separates agile methods from other app creation techniques is the fact that testing is a continuous part of the lifecycle and occurs during iterations intervals throughout the app development cycle. Leveraging an agile testing approach puts mobile app quality at the core of the project.

“Agile development integrates testing into the development process, versus having it as a separate phase,” stated a Belatrix white paper. “Testing therefore is an integral part of the core software development and actively participates throughout the software coding process. This allows the combined team to better meet the project’s defined business, software usability, quality, and timeline objectives.”

Benefits offered by agile mobile app testing
Testing throughout the process as opposed to at the end of the project can bring a number of benefits for app developers, especially in the discovery of coding flaws or other bugs. When testing takes place on a regular basis during the development process, app developers and testing counterparts easily spot issues along the way and correct them as they go. This ensures that the project will continue smoothly and that any issues will be more easily corrected.

“In a waterfall environment, a major bug can set the entire project back months as bug fixes will usually interact with other code in a number of ways requiring cascading changes throughout the code base,” noted Optimus QA.

Additionally, introducing test automation early and connecting functional and even load and performance tests to Continuous Integration as part of regression testing, the development team takes responsibility for bugs in the code.  This frees up dedicated testers and performance experts to focus on more complex use cases and determining test scenarios that cover areas outside the code, like infrastructure, corner cases and third party testing.

An agile performance testing approach also enhances transparency throughout the project, enabling developers to more easily communicate with all stakeholders as to their progress. Additionally, this technique can help ensure that the project stays on budget and will be released on time.

In order to reap the advantages of an agile approach, developers need the right mobile testing solution for the job. Our industry-best mobile app testing platform provides all the necessary test and monitoring tools to ensure agile testing strategies go off without a hitch.

Brad Johnson

About the Author

Brad Johnson

Brad is a cloud-testing pioneer who joined SOASTA in December 2008. His former roles as head of test and monitoring products at Compuware, Mercury Interactive and Borland prepared him well to disrupt the skeptical and established software quality market with updated approaches and technologies for continuous web and mobile testing.