Increasing the Velocity of DevOps with Automated Mobile App Testing

The burgeoning science of DevOps comes to the forefront at a critical moment in IT’s history. The mobility wave has stretched the technical difficulty of both ends of the application development process – defining requirements at one end – and testing the robustness of the finished app at the other.  In prior app delivery cycles, IT met the needs of the business and its processes, and then trained end users in how to accomplish tasks using the software.

The mobility app looks entirely different – it is smaller, more atomic and more attuned to a micro process executed by a worker or a customer.  In many cases, the app must do what the user does or already conceives of doing – and it has to get the job done in an intuitive way that requires no training whatsoever.  This has caused some leading CIOs, like Coca-Cola’s Onyeka Nchege, to insist that IT staff ride on delivery trucks.

The difficulty has also risen at the traditional “end” of the process, the verification step that validates software’s readiness for end users. Mobility is a fluid, dynamic, and ever-evolving delivery system that has finally wrenched the last semblance of control over the platform from IT’s hands.  Plainly said, you can’t control the type of devices or the levels of software running on those devices and, most important, you can’t control when the platform (device, operating system) is upgraded. More than 80 percent of iOS device users had converted to iOS 7 within weeks of its availability.

Both of these factors – apps that have to be right and easy to use, and apps that have to keep running in the fluidity of mobility – could leave IT defenseless. Clearly we have to go faster, and one of the most significant boosts to velocity is DevOps – and its core (from Agile) principle – continuous integration.

When systems are set up so that apps can be driven through build and test multiple times in a single day, we gain the velocity to put Agile into practice – with incremental builds and incremental confirmations by the end user. We also gain the velocity needed to cope with the ever-changing soup of devices and operating system versions.

Automation is the key to building the velocity needed to get Agile fully functioning and to make continuous integration a reality.  The key reason automation can deliver these gains is that it can rapidly re-use existing tests as new platforms come along – this is especially true for automated testing of mobile applications.  At their inception, Agile and DevOps may have been seen as ways for IT to improve quality and velocity – but with the advent of mobility, they have suddenly become indispensable weapons in IT’s arsenal.

In the Orasi & Mobile Labs webinar on April 22nd, the audience learned how organizations can get the most from their DevOps strategies by developing mobile apps that cross boundaries from build systems to real mobile devices quickly, automatically and hands-free. Attendees also learned how to conquer public cloud challenges with a private mobile device cloud located inside their own firewall & how a private cloud, Mobile Labs deviceConnect, can improve mobile device access and facilitate rapid deployment of higher quality mobile apps. To access the recording for this webinar, please click here.

For more information about Mobile Labs’ solutions and products, visit www.mobilelabsinc.com.

Michel Ryan is CTO for Mobile Labs. You can find him on Google+.

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