Xamarin, a provider of cross-platform mobile application development solutions, has released the Xamarin Test Cloud, the company’s mobile app quality service that enables developers to automatically test their apps throughout the development process.
With the production launch of Xamarin Test Cloud, developers can test how their apps look, perform and behave on more than 1,000 real devices, as mobile users expect apps to look good and function well on every device.
With nearly 19,000 distinct Android devices, according to OpenSignal‘s latest fragmentation report, and more than a dozen iOS devices, including the new iPhone 6 models, ensuring app quality is a major challenge facing mobile developers.
“The state of mobile testing today is primitive,” said Nat Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Xamarin, in a blog post on the news. “Last month we ran a survey that found that nearly 80 percent of mobile developers are relying primarily on manual testing in their attempts to deliver great app experiences. And yet, more than 75 percent told us that the quality of their mobile apps is either ‘very important’ or ‘mission critical.'”
With app automation, mobile testing is performed continuously throughout the development cycle, across hundreds of devices, and results are provided in minutes in an actionable report. By plugging into Continuous Integration (CI) systems, Xamarin Test Cloud helps to ensure every release is a high-quality release, free of regressions and bugs, which can lead to poor app ratings and low adoption.
Xamarin Test Cloud is easily integrated into CI environments to run tests and generate reports with every build. Xamarin Test Cloud works with Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server, Jenkins, TeamCity and any other CI system that can run custom post-build commands.
“We believe that testing is not something you should do at the end of the development cycle, just before submitting to the app store,” Friedman said. “Instead, your app should be continuously tested during development in an automated, scalable way. Your developers should be writing user interface tests as they develop the app, and commits shouldn’t be merged until the tests pass.”
“Xamarin Test Cloud helped us identify and fix critical device-specific issues in the latest release of Foursquare before we released,” said Mike Singleton, software engineer at Foursquare.
Only 13 percent of respondents in Xamarin’s survey said they use automated user interface testing. This gap between high interest in mobile quality and low usage of automation is in large part due to usability issues or lack of good automation support with the current solutions on the market, Xamarin officials said. This gap is why Xamarin invested in Xamarin Test Cloud.
“With Xamarin Test Cloud, you can create your own test scripts using our powerful testing framework, run them locally against emulators or devices, and then press a button to run the same tests on as many devices as you would like in the cloud,” Friedman said.
Xamarin Test Cloud Launches for Mobile Developers to Test Apps
The Xamarin Test Cloud enables developers to automate apps in either C# or Ruby, using Calabash, a widely used cross-platform test automation framework, created by Xamarin. Xamarin provides both the automation framework and the device cloud, which means integration and continuous improvements in response to customer needs. Automate any user gesture, including taps, swipes, rotation, pan and pinch, as well as custom programmatic gestures.
Xamarin Test Cloud also collects performance data—memory usage, CPU time, test duration and more—and displays it graphically. It pinpoints bottlenecks and compares performance reports against previous test runs to find regressions in applications.
“Xamarin Test Cloud is our path to a low maintenance, high quality and regression-free future,” said Sean Beausoleil, mailbox engineering lead at Dropbox, in a statement. “Not only is the product strikingly effective, but the team has been amazing—with their help we’ve seen immediate value from our investment.”
“As a QA Engineer, I am really enjoying the Xamarin Test Cloud because it offers me a broad range of Android and iOS devices. It gives me the ability to have more test coverage and to discover issues sooner,” said Derrick Lam, QA engineer at Flipboard, in a statement. “And what’s particularly helpful is that Xamarin offers exceptional service and support that I can depend on every day.”
Solving the mobile quality problem in a fragmented consumer device and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) enterprise world is driving growth in the testing industry. IDC forecasts that mobile applications will drive the worldwide testing services market to reach $37 billion by 2018. To capitalize on this opportunity, Xamarin Test Cloud is targeted at all mobile developers, not just those using Xamarin to build apps. The solution tests any native or hybrid iOS or Android app written in any language.
Xamarin’s launch of its test cloud comes a month after the company secured $54 million in Series C funding led by new and existing investors, including Charles River Ventures, Floodgate, Ignition Partners, Insight Venture Partners and Lead Edge Capital. The company has now raised a total of $82 million in three rounds of funding. Xamarin said it will use the new funding to expand its mobile app development platform and cloud services to solve problems for all mobile developers throughout the app life cycle, and to expand sales and marketing teams globally.