Cloud Platform Stress Tests Mobile Apps

SOASTA has updated its CloudTest Platform to do automated mobile application testing. Developers can put touch- and gesture-based interactions on iOS and Android devices through their paces.
Performance testing company SOASTA is extending its cloud testing platform to mobile devices.

On Monday, the Mountain View. Calif.-based company plans to update its CloudTest Platform to enable automated mobile application testing and analysis.

As Tom Lounibos, CEO of the six-year-old company, noted in a phone interview, the way we interact with applications has evolved beyond keyboard input to touch- and gesture-based interaction. With the addition of TouchTest, technology that records and plays back touch-based interaction on iOS and Android devices, SOASTA's software enables developers and publishers to perform automated assessments of mobile app performance.

Mobile devices, he said, have introduced "new forms of interaction and movement that have been impossible to test with traditional tools."

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Testing is important for those creating mobile apps because tests can help identify problems, whether those problems have to do with usability or technical flaws. If you're launching a mobile app to support your brand, you want to make sure that it is capable of performing as designed, with a few or with many users.

Lounibos said that the idea for SOASTA's CloudTest Platform arose in 2002 when he was involved in a prior start-up, Dorado, a loan origination system for the Web. As Dorado was preparing to deploy its service for Chase, Lounibos was asked how the online loan system would perform if 100,000 customers tried it at once.

"I had to say, 'I don't know,'" he said. And there wasn't an easy way to find out at the time. To simulate 100,000 users at the time would have taken about 1,000 servers, he said, and no one had that many immediately available for hire. Sun's lab back then, he said, only had about 400. Out of that customer question came the realization that there was a market for a way to test cloud computing applications.

Other companies have been providing similar software testing and management services for enterprises, notably Mercury and Rational Software. And the acquisition of these companies for significant sums in years past, by HP and IBM respectively, underscores the value of such services to businesses.

TouchTest technology, available through SOASTA CloudTest and CloudTest Lite, tracks touch-based gestures from beginning to end. Lounibos says this is more reliable than optical tracking or checking touches by monitoring variables in app code.

SOASTA is also offering mobile app functional testing packages for teams, CloudTest iOS Lab and CloudTest Android Lab, as well as a service called Private Device Cloud for testing employees devices on a private network.

TouchTest will be offered as a feature enhancement for use by mobile developers and testers that are using CloudTest and CloudTest Lite, with the first testing device free of charge. SOASTA is also offering two new, affordable starter kits, CloudTest iOS Lab and CloudTest Android Lab, designed for mobile app functional testing teams.