2 weeks ago I’ve spent a week at SOASTA HQ for our 2012 kick-off. A good opportunity to meet old friends, and make new ones! As you know, in December we’ve raised an additional $12M to expand our business and awesome people are joining the revolution every day! On the menu was a recap of 2011, plan and objectives for 2012 and of course a little bit of partying and dancing (first ankle tear for me in 2012! But I think I’ve scored some major points on the dance floor )
But during this week there was a true seminal moment, not only for me but for the whole team at SOASTA.
The engineering team led by Tal Broda unveiled what they had been working on for the last 2 months, day and night. I knew they were working on something yet again very disruptive but the secret was well kept and I couldn’t wait to see it for my own eyes. Imagine the scene: On the stage, a combination of ipad and iphone (iPad 1 and 2, iPhone 3G, 4 and 4S). The lead developer for this project (Tana Jackson, 23 Ironman under her belt!) had an ipad in her hand, untethered. She launched a demo application with colorful cubes displayed on the screen and started playing with them: Moving them, making circles, making them bigger, smaller … All the typical gestures you can expect from an iOS app. And in CloudTest, the magic happened: All these gestures were recorded in real-time in a typical CloudTest clip. But best of all, all the recorded gestures could be then replayed perfectly on the 5 iOS devices sitting on the stage. MIND BLOWING!
How in hell was that working? If you’re familiar with mobile test automation, you know that the market is today split into 2 types of products: Those relying on simulator and emulator and those on optical recognition. Both approaches are far from perfect: With simulator, you’re very far from reproducing the true user experience as it should occur on a real device. And with optical recognition, you have not only to invest a good part of your budget to afford it but the maintenance of test cases is a nightmare as you’re working at the pixel level … 4 pixels off and your test is broken. Most of the customers we’ve talked to are facing the same challenges when it comes to mobile test automation: They’ve tried a lot of open-source and commercial products before going back to … manual testing.
So just like in 2008 when Tom Lounibos, SOASTA CEO, addressed the challenges of load and performance testing to allow company to test at scale their web application, today SOASTA wipe away the challenges of test automation for native mobile apps. No more simulator or emulator, no more crazy expensive optical recognition mechanism. Nope, you’re going to be able today to test INSIDE THE APP. Record events from the app as they occur on the device. All possible gestures: Tap, doubleTap, swipe, scroll, pinchOpen, pinchClosed, etc. You will record their speed, velocity and acceleration and replay them on your mobile devices. And since the new mobile capabilities are part of the CloudTest platform, you take advantage of everything you’ve been using when executing load testing or functional test for web application ie. All the visual programming language, creating transaction, validating every steps of your test cases etc. If you’re familiar with CloudTest, then you’re all set to test mobile apps!
This is a short demo I’ve recorded so you can get a better feel of what CloudTest is:
This is what we’re announcing today:
- TouchTest technology – this is the core of the announcement. TouchTest is our unique capability to record and replay ALL mobile gestures with full precision from inside iOS and Android mobile applications without tethering to or jailbreaking real mobile devices for functional and performance testing of mobile apps (Windows & others to come). There is nothing like this – all other approaches are incomplete, brittle, and unstable due to their external OCR and physically hardwired approaches. As we operate inside the app, we support native mobile, mobile web and hybrid mobile apps.
- Private Device Clouds – because there is no need to tie down or physically or electronically “break” into a device, any employee or developer’s mobile device, anywhere, can be used as part of a private device cloud used for automated functional tests during development or as user experience devices for performance testing. Our customers with 5 or 500 developers all over the world can now be part of a private mobile test cloud when and as needed. Our platform connects and manages all the devices.
- iOS and Android labs – we’re packaging our offering for mobile functional testing into labs targeting mobile development shops and orgs focusing on iOS and Android app development (more mobile labs will follow)
2008 marked a giant leap for load and performance testing when SOASTA first introduced CloudTest. 2012 is as big of a leap applied to mobile test automation. I feel so honored to be part of this adventure … I feel like the guys working at Apple in 1983 on the Macintosh … We’re trying to make a dent in the software testing universe and it looks like we’re making a BIG one!
We have a webinar coming up on Thursday dedicated to TouchTest. DON’T MISS IT! You’ll get more explanation on how the whole technology works.
To wrap up this post, this is what Tom tweeted last week. This is what the SOASTA team is all about … Kudos to all who makes it happen!