“Software Test Attacks to Break Mobile and Embedded Devices” author and expert mobile and embedded software testing expert, Jon Hagar shares more advice and answers follow up questions regarding his recent webinar with XBOSoft “Plan Your Attack- Mobile and Embedded Device Testing Techniques”

Q. Operating systems changes also affect the project, we saw this recently with the iOS 7 launch- any advice?

A. Changes, hardware, software (including the OS), use-operations, or changes to the software item under test can impact the completed testing.  The industry standard name for a solution to this is regression testing.  There is some debate about how to best do regression testing, and I won’t try to summarize this debate here as it would be a long posting.  I will say that within the context of a project, a tester should consider the impact of the test plans of any change during the development and testing activities.

Q. Did you have difficulty finding a capture/playback tool that works on a mobile device?

A. Capture/playback tools for mobile are often considered as part of a solution for regression as well as general test automation. Capture/playback tools have somewhat of a negative reputation in the software testing industry. Why? They can be hard, expensive, and time-consuming to set up, use and maintain. A few years ago when I started into the mobile domain, there were very few captures/playback tools, and they often were not robust.  This has changed and new capture/playback tools are in the market almost every day. You can also find tools that will aid in general test execution automation in both the commercial and open source venues.  I do not recommend specific tools and vendors by name since the nature of what is “good” and usable changes constantly. Further, a tool often should be considered in relation to the specific device or the software a tester is working. For tools, the “it depends”, answer applies.  However, my site does list some of the more common tools which can support mobile and embedded, including capture/playback tools. See http://breakingembeddedsoftware.com/.

Any tool listed on the site is only a pointer and would still need to study with evaluation before a tester makes a selection.  I try to keep the site up to date, but tools come and go, so a tester may want to do some checking on their own. The bottom line on capture/playback tools:  there are tools available.

They are not “free” (meaning every tool takes work and thinking by the testers). They will not solve all problems, but if used with thought capture/playback can help in test areas, e.g. regression, some test automation, and even exploratory testing.

Capture/playback in the mobile test space are available and should be considered CAREFULLY.

Q. Any advice on getting started with mobile and embedded software testing?

A. In most cases, it is a little hard to get into embedded system-software testing since one usually needs to be involved with a group doing hardware and software development. However, the mobile world of testing, for example, smartphones, is very easy to get started in.

For mobile, all you need is a smartphone, a connection to a service provider, an app, and some test concept information, e.g. a book, web site and/or training. Once you have the smartphone, load an app, e.g. a game, on to the smartphone and then must start to practice the concept information.

Not to be too self-serving, but my book contains attacks, concepts, and exercises to get you started and is written in part for students to use.  The book is supported by a web site which has test concepts too. See http://breakingembeddedsoftware.com/.

Also, there are other places to find information on mobile.  You might try a Google search looking for names such as Jonathan Kohl, Julian Harty, or JeanAnn Harrison, who testing experts who write about mobile testing.

For more information check out Jon’s book, “Software Test Attacks to Break Mobile and Embedded Devices”, which contains attacks, concepts, and exercises to get you started or help improve current testing.

You can also check out JeanAnn Harrison’s mobile testing webinars at https://xbosoft.com/webinars/