Testing Android applications for bugs before rolling out to the ecosystem is a cumbersome process. There are only so many things that can be tested within various frameworks like Titanium, Sencha or Eclipse. Apps crash and sometimes the developer has no idea why it crashed for one device and not another. This is especially true in the Android ecosystem that has hundreds of smartphones worldwide
Two new application testing services for Android launched today in Apkudo and FoneMonkey from Gorilla Logic. Like many of the frameworks used to create Android applications, these options are very different from each other. Apkudo takes the approach of a "device cloud" while FoneMonkey provides a graphical control console for automated tests.
FoneMonkey Takes Its Cues From iOS
Functionally, the FoneMonkey for Android product is not all that much different from its iOS counterpart. It is an Eclipse-based console that provides for creation and editing of automation scripts. Those scripts can be run through an emulator or an actual device and can have Android SDK IU components be run through it.
Gorilla Logic is an enterprise IT company. Perhaps that why it says FoneMonkey is simple but in reality, there is very little that looks simple about it. As far creating and automating scripts and testing them, yes, it may be a touch easier than other options on the market. Its primary strength is the ability to record and playback user interface interactions. As such, it is an emulator and testing service.
Not Just About Testing & Emulating When It Comes to Android
Android is unique though. There has never been a computing platform with the type of device diversity that Android has. That is where companies like Apkudo or DeviceAnywhere come in. Apkudo has a version of just about every Android phone ever created. That means its current library stands at about 289 devices.
Apkudo wants to try to cure what it calls "launch anxiety." That is a phenomenon where developers are nervous about launching apps to Android because they do not know where and how an app will break. Ever read the comments in and Android apps thread? There is a good chance you have seen "This app won't work on my phone."
Apkudo takes your code and runs it through the cloud against the specs for all the devices that it owns and generates a report for developers to work from in figuring out how to roll out their apps. The focus is on easing the launch anxiety, which separates it from other options, such as DeviceAnywhere.
Essentially, FoneMonkey forAndroid and Apkudo are coming at a similar problem from two different angles. One is from the broad approach of Android fragmentation, the other is from a UI and script-based approach. This is not an either/or proposition but rather the type of functionality that almost every developer is going to need somewhere down the line.
Do you use device cloud services? What is your favorite tool for recognizing and debugging apps? Do these services make your life easier or are they just new (though not necessarily spectacular) entrants into a crowded field? Let us know in the comments.