Powering Mobile QA with Smartphone Test Farm

Previously on the Betica Blog, we covered a variety of topics related to mobile QA, including how to build a device testing lab, as well as taking a look at some useful tools to make mobile testing more efficient. Validating software quality on a resource-constrained smartphone or tablet brings with it a host of issues, not the least of which is the wide array of mobile devices, especially on the Android platform. There has to be an easier way?

A web application called the Smartphone Test Farm hopes to make Android application testing an easier process. This tool actually lets you perform remote testing of Android devices as if they were directly connected to your computer — all within your browser. Let’s look more closely at this powerful mobile testing framework.

A Closer Look at Smartphone Test Farm

Smartphone Test Farm (STF) was first developed by the software firm, CyberAgent, for use in their own mobile development projects. The tool was so successful they decided to make it available for everyone last year as an open source application on GitHub. The Rails web application framework is another example of a useful internal project ultimately released to the wider development community.

STF is compatible with nearly all modern web browsers and supports over 170 Android devices — including their specific screen dimensions. The tool features a simple drag and drop interface for installing Android APK files onto a remotely connected device. It is useful for testing both standalone and web applications with the system logs for each device accessible within the web browser.

Other STF features helpful to the QA professional include: bidirectional copy and paste on each device, screenshots, running shell commands from within the browser, remote debugging with Android Studio, as well as keyboard and mouse input with multi-touch. An inventory management interface, including a powerful search feature, makes managing a large number of testing devices a simple process.

The application supports all Android versions from 2.3 to 5.1 (the Android N preview as well) and is also able to handle many Android variants like the Amazon FireOS. While STF doesn’t test Apple iOS apps, you are able to use the tool from within the iOS Safari browser. Considering screen real estate issues, using STF from an iPhone is more of a curiosity, but it may actually be useful on an iPad Pro.

An Easy Installation using GitHub

Installing Smartphone Test Farm is a breeze; just follow the simple instructions on the STF GitHub page. Also keep an eye on the GitHub page for the latest information about the tool as well as new feature announcements. For support, the GitHub Issues list and a Google Groups mailing list are available; CyberAgent also offers an email address for direct questions.

If your organization is responsible for Android app and web application development, Smartphone Test Farm is definitely worthy of further exploration. It might end up as an invaluable part of your mobile QA toolbox.

Keep an eye on the Betica Blog for additional insights and ideas from the worlds of software development and QA.