Microsoft, Perfecto Mobile Enhance Multi-Platform Device Testing

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-07-07
Perfecto Mobile and Microsoft

Microsoft, Perfecto Mobile Enhance Multi-Platform Device Testing

Microsoft announced an enhanced partnership with Perfecto Mobile to provide mobile app developers with a multiplatform testing experience for mobile devices.

Acknowledging that mobile-first development requires testing on the wide variety of devices, Microsoft has tapped Perfecto Mobile, a provider on on-device testing solutions, to deliver mobile testing extensions to Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Visual Studio Online based on Perfecto Mobile’s MobileCloud platform.

The companies have expanded their existing partnership with new offers for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers and Azure users, as well as new features for users of Perfecto Mobile and Visual Studio.

Mobile app developers need to target multiple platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows Phone. To do this, many developers write native apps for each platform, which typically means Java for Android, Objective-C for iOS and a choice of C++, C# or HTML for Windows Phone. However, Microsoft said its customers complained about productivity issues related to that strategy so the company has been working on improving the developer experience.

“We’re working on lot of things to help mobile developers, like improving emulators for these different platforms, but in the end nothing beats on-device testing to find the last 20 percent of problems with an application,” said John Montgomery, Microsoft Partner Director Program Manager for Visual Studio, in an interview with eWEEK. “So most developers are confronted with a pretty hard problem, particularly in the Android ecosystem, which is very heterogeneous, they have to go and get a drawer full of devices to test on.”

At its TechEd 2014 conference, Microsoft made some announcements involving HTML, JavaScript, CSS and Apache Cordova to enable developers to reuse skills and code to build apps and code to build apps for multiple targets. The company also has a partnership with Xamarin on the C# front and is doing work with C++ to enable developers to share assets across multiple devices.

Enter Perfecto Mobile, which offers a cloud-based solution with thousands of physical devices running various platforms located securely around the world, said S. “Soma” Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, in a blog post on the partnership. “This cloud-based approach provides an enterprise-grade solution that supports device governance, offshoring, security and scalability.”

Somasegar added, “With Perfecto Mobile’s Visual Studio templates, development teams can easily extend product builds and manual and automated testing to thousands of devices from their existing Team Foundation Server installations or Visual Studio Online accounts. Any development team can use TFS to manage Windows 8, Android and iOS versions of their application, while testing each version on the relevant set of real devices in the MobileCloud. When test failures occur, Perfecto Mobile automatically generates TFS work items which include screenshots and a full video of the tests that were run making it easy for developers to find and fix the issue.”

Microsoft, Perfecto Mobile Enhance Multi-Platform Device Testing

Microsoft and Perfecto Mobile announced discounts for MSDN subscribers on Perfecto Mobile’s offerings. MSDN subscribers can save up to 40 percent on Perfecto Mobile public cloud manual testing, up to 30 percent on public cloud automated testing, and up to 20 percent on private cloud automated testing. For Azure users who are not MSDN subscribers, Perfecto Mobile will soon be available through the Azure Store, along with discounts of 20 percent through the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has worked with Perfecto Mobile to bring support for C# test scripts to the Perfecto Mobile platform, enabling developers to write tests in C# in Visual Studio, and run across multiple devices managed by Perfecto Mobile.

Moreover, “Perfecto Mobile has enabled great integration with Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online and we are working now on additional scenarios, including integrating into the build process to automatically provision devices and run tests from a work item, and publish test results back to TFS or Visual Studio Online,” Somasegar said. And Windows Phone 8.1 is also now fully supported by Perfecto mobile, including the ability to test applications on the new Nokia Windows Phone 8.1 phones that are being released over the coming months, he added.

“The real key here is for the MSDN customer we’re making it easier for developers to test their applications reliably on real devices using both Perfecto’s test cloud and their on-prem solution,” Montgomery said.

This shows how Visual Studio is embracing heterogeneous device development through Microsoft’s partnership with Perfecto and how the company is pushing along in the maturity of the device development lifecycle by making it easy for developers, directly from within Visual Studio, to target multiple non-Windows devices and Windows devices and test on them, and then to pull any problems that come out of that directly back into Team Foundation Server to open bugs.

“So this really opens up that dev-test, DevOps lifecycle so companies can have a much higher confidence before they release an application into production that it is in fact of good quality,” Montgomery said.

“This is a huge deal for us,” Roi Carmel, senior vice president of product strategy at Perfecto Mobile, told eWEEK. “Part of what we are offering as part of this enhanced partnership is a promotion to our public cloud to our Visual Studio users. We are putting our public cloud at a very central place in terms of the exposure that we are expecting to get from this partnership with Microsoft. And we have invested a lot in scaling our public cloud to be much bigger than it is today. We think that being a significant player for the developer is strategic for us. In terms of ALM [application lifecycle management], the teams that are driving the change to more agile development, more frequent releases and more DevOps, are the dev teams, and we are investing according to that.”

Carmel said Perfecto Mobile went around to Visual Studio development teams and talked to them about what they are doing to try to achieve velocity and decided to provide them with the infrastructure to do that.

“There is a good portion of our Visual Studio customers who are moving in the direction of mobile device development and a large portion of them are doing Windows devices as ‘an also,’ so they’re doing Android and iOS and adding Windows support,” Montgomery said. “So they have a pretty complex test matrix where they have three code bases they’re trying to test on. This offer makes it so much easier for a developer to find issues before they get into customer hands.”

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