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The day has come where developers are required to create mobile applications guaranteed to work on multiple platforms. In the coming months, development and test teams will be facing a bigger mobile app testing challenge now that Windows Phone 8.1 will be making an appearance on all Windows devices within 30 days. Developers will now be required to ensure equally high quality experiences for iOS, Android and now Windows Phone.
According to IDC, Microsoft has the fastest growing platform with a current market share of 3.9 percent. As the Windows OS platform continues to evolve, it will impact the mobile market, requiring enterprises to embrace a third mobile platform as adoption surges.
Microsoft is no stranger to the enterprise. It has been the top choice as the Windows OS platform enables end users to reach essential business apps in a timely and efficient manner. Microsoft has set out to prove how strong the Windows platform can be in the mobile market by creating an experience that puts end users and their smartphone as the top priority. As a result, Microsoft deems the Windows Phone as the world’s most personal smartphone.
The Enterprise Struggle as Microsoft Succeeds
Many enterprises will need to reconsider their strategy when developing and testing apps for Windows-compatible devices. Today, most enterprise mobile app strategies only consider iOS and Android as viable platforms, but with Windows OS momentum, full support of the platform will become mandatory.
As more enterprises begin to include Windows Phone apps in their portfolios, the requirements for Windows Phone based testing will expand, driving new device selection and test matrix decisions to be made. Timed well with the need for cross-platform testing, development and test teams now have options from third party providers to enable testing of new apps through Microsoft Visual Studio to provide a stable and efficient product to consumers.
Testing Decreases Risk of Failure
Enterprises and developers already have to account for mobile fragmentation with multiple OS platforms and a thinning of resources to ensure apps work on all platforms. As mentioned, adding Windows Phone into the mix will make the situation incrementally harder, however, adopting cross-platform testing as part of a mobile app strategy will ease this process.
Similar to the growing adoption of cross platform development platforms, enterprises will also apply the same strategy to testing. By testing applications simultaneously across Windows, iOS and Android platforms, defects and bugs can be corrected in a timely manner before delivering the software to an end user.
Companies will increase their risk of having an application that does not work on a Windows Phone device if they do not adapt to managing a broader device matrix as the Windows Phone grows in popularity.
Extending Mobile Cross-Platform Testing, Through a Plugin
Given that there are more platform options and mobile applications to test, development teams are worried about speed. One of the easiest ways to address speed is to utilize a tool which developers are already familiar with in order to accelerate the process.
Deploying a cross-platform test matrix within an app development environment will ensure the quality of the product being released to end users; this makes the transition smooth for developers as no programming language or platform is required to change.
A plugin that is available in the VS environment will solve this problem and enable developers, who are specifically accustomed to operating a lifecycle within Visual Studio, to build on team foundation server using C# as a development language. This will create a mobile enabled environment that will support the testing of iOS, Android and Windows platforms. Developers will most likely need to receive a test automation license with a VS roll, which will enable the user to have browser based access to real devices. Those responsible for unit testing and managing the lifecycle can now develop and execute their tests using real devices and watch the execution in front of them with real-time streaming.
As deeper testing continues teams can leverage the plugin to automate all gesture support, key device operation and application management which gives the user the ability to automate install, upstart and uninstall an application under device tech. Most importantly development and test teams will be able to execute testing from the team foundation server for full end-to-end management of the test lifecycle.
Microsoft Will be a Force to be Reckoned With
The Windows Phone 8.1 update has made a big splash that will likely lead to stronger adoption from end users. Microsoft is focused on engaging with all potential audiences to make the new Windows Phone a personal experience for all.
Enterprise developers and testers need to embrace the Windows platform and provide mobile app testing options moving forward to guarantee the success and availability of applications to end users as the demand will continue to increase. By utilizing new testing options now available, the mobile industry can be prepared as the Windows Phone platform looks to earn its place with iOS and Android.
Eran Kinsbruner is Director of Product Marketing for Perfecto Mobile.