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TECHNOLOGY

New shapes pose fresh challenges for app developers

DUBAI, June 7, 2015

From the first PC in 1974, up until some of the most recent smartwatches today, every screen was surrounded by 90 degree angles. Whether rectangle or square, laptop or tablet, even smartphones, you knew the lines setting the borders of the screen your application worked on would be straight.

Not anymore, says David Fink, marketing manager at Experitest, a leading maker of mobile application testing tools.

Now available with circular screens, smartwatches have revolutionised computer display, according to Fink.

“This poses new challenges for the developers of the applications that will appear on all of these new screens. It adds another dimension to the matrix of what must be tested to guarantee these applications will provide the same ideal user experience,” Fink said.

Originally an application had to render on a square monitor connected to a desktop computer in one location. Now the same application can render on mobile devices of varying sizes and computing power, and in any location with different levels of network connectivity.

“It's enough to drive any application developer crazy,” Fink quipped.

New challenge but the same overall goal

The key is quality, said Fink.

When a business develops an application, its goal is that every user, with every device can access the app and use it without any problems. Working in conjunction with the developers, the quality assurance teams are tasked with making that happen.

Whether on a nine-centimetre iPad tablet screen, or a 38-millimetre watch, everything must be in working order. Functionality is only half the battle. The pages must download and work quickly without any delays, Fink explained.

The biggest challenge for developers is that as the universe of devices, shapes, sizes, and locations expands, the time frame they have with which to test their applications on it all contracts. Every time an operating system announces an expansion its capacity, a myriad of functions are now available for the application to include.

Companies race to reprogram their own apps to showcase these new abilities. They compete to be the first to market with the new and improved version. This places tremendous time constraints to testing these applications once they have the new bells and whistles.

“The risks are huge. If the business decides to test their newly updated application properly, they can have a flawless app but it may not be ready until after their chief competitor released its version,” Fink said.

“If the company wants to be the first to market, it will test the application less, risking some awful experiences in store for their users if they missed a few problems.”

Tougher challenges ahead

As the universe of platforms for applications continues to expand, the challenges will be greater. The advancement of wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) will usher in a new variety of shapes and sizes for mobile applications to appear on. Already large enterprises have taken to smart glasses, enabling workers to increase their productivity by monitoring their workspace while still having two free hands available.

"The key is in having the right mobile testing strategy to ensure that whether the mobile application appears on a square, circle, rectangle, or other shapes that we are bound to see in the future, the app will continue to work seamlessly and efficiently,” said Tal Barmeir, CEO of Experitest.

“This requires testing tools that cover this testing matrix now, while at the same time anticipate new technologies. Innovation is moving too rapidly for an IT department to keep buying new tools every six months."

As wearables and the IoT move forward, look for screens to appear in places, and shapes you never expected. For the user this will be an exciting ride into the future. For the developer and the tester, it will be an even greater challenge getting us there, Fink concluded. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Smartphone | Application |

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