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Posts Tagged ‘mobile developers’

9 Photo Filter Apps to Enhance Your Mobile Photography

May 31st, 2012 05:30 admin View Comments

With the advent of the smartphone, photography has fundamentally changed. While professional photographers will scoff at the masses and their apps, some great art is being created through smartphones. Mobile developers are rushing to meet the demand, and photo filter apps are a hot commodity right now, especially after Facebook spent a cool billion dollars to acquire Instagram. There are so many photo sharing, editing and filtering apps out there now that it is hard to determine what is best for you. To narrow the topic, we take a look just at apps that provide filters and give you nine of the best on the market. 

Instagram

(Free — iPhone, Android)

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Instagram, Facebook’s billion-dollar baby, basically launched the entire category of photo filters turned into mobile social media networks. Others have tried to emulate it, but have never succeeded in besting Instagram’s easy-to-use interface, its variety of filters or the community it has built. What is Instagram? It is a camera app that can make your photos look like the best hipster smartphone photography you have ever seen. It also functions as a Twitter-like mobile social network, allowing people to follow each other and see what great photography they are producing with their smartphones. Sound extremely simple? It is. But, sometimes the simplest ideas can be worth a billion dollars. 

Facebook Camera

(Free — iPhone)

So, Facebook spent a billion dollars on Instagram knowing full well that it had its own camera app complete with filters in production? Hey Facebook, it’s your dime. Do as you please. This is an app for the iPhone that taps into your entire Facebook photo stream and provides nominal filters for your photos. The filters are nowhere near Instagram-cool, but Facebook at least gave it a nominal shot. Check out the settings in this app and you will understand why Facebook created it. It cannot access the iPhone’s camera roll if location services is turned off, and one thing that Facebook craves more and more of these days is your location data. As for the filters themselves, they are relatively ordinary, very tame in comparison to other great photo apps that are available. 

Retro Camera

(Free — iPhone, Android)

Before Instagram came to Android, a plethora of interesting photo apps tried to fill the filter void. One of the most fun is Retro Camera (also available on iOS). Ever wanted to see what your smartphone photos would look like from a pinhole camera? Or maybe that old Polaroid that your father always lugged around on family vacations? Retro Camera gives users a variety of old-school cameras to give their photos that traditional feeling. 

Camera Fun Pro

($0.99 — iPhone, Android)

Camera Fun is… well, it’s fun. It has one of the widest selections of filters to add to your smartphone pictures, but instead of trying to be hipster cool, it is more geek chic. What does your scenery look like in black-and-white chalk outlines? Or perhaps you prefer it to look like a blueprint. Green nightvision will give you that “this is what it feels like to be a Marine in the dark” feeling. Try out the various sketch filters to see what your photos would look like if they were drawn by a talented artist using a pencil. 

Camera+

($0.99 — iPhone)

Camera+ is more of a photo editor than a filter generator, but there are a variety of filters baked into this feature-packed app. In addition to adding borders, cropping, adjusting the rotation and adjusting lighting for your scenery, its filters come in four different categories with nine options each. That includes your standard color filters (sepia, cyan, etc.), retro filters such as toy camera or “hipster,” special effects including miniaturization and polarization or nostalgic filters like Contessa or Helios. Camera+ is easy to use and allows you to do just about everything you ever learned in high-school photo class. 

Camera Awesome

(Free — iPhone)

We love it when application developers come up with fun new words. In this case, we are presented “awesomize” from SmugSmug, the makers of Camera Awesome. The “awesomize” feature is a one-click button that optimizes your photo base on sharpness, contrast, lighting and vibrance. The filters in Camera Awesome have fun names, too. The black-and-white feature is called “Hoth” (the snow planet from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), a faded, sepia tone is called “More Cowbell,” and a filter that looks a lot like it was derived from photos from the American Civil War is called “The Dude.” Our John Paul Titlow once said of Camera Awesome, “an iPhone app that Instagram and Apple could learn from.

Hipstamatic

($1.99 — iPhone)

We are sensing a trend here. Apparently, photo filter apps were built by hipsters, for hipsters. You thought that Instagram was the ultimate hipster camera app? Hipstamatic takes uber-cool and aloof to a whole new level. It employs a series of lenses that give photos that retro feeling and is similar to Retro Camera in that way. The difference from other camera apps, though, is that the user interface is more difficult to navigate, it is a paid app ($1.99 is not that bad but still not free), and it requires a series of in-app purchases to acquire new lenses. Users can send their photos to Hipstamatic, which will print them and send hard copies to the user. Also allows for easy sharing with Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. 

Photo FX Ultra

($4.99 — iPad)

Photo FX Ultra is an unusual entrant into this list because it is not iPhone or Android smartphone-centric. Rather, it is an iPad app that has the most robust preset of filters on the market. The reason that developers create photo apps specifically for smartphones is simple: that is where people have their cameras. Very few people use their iPad as a camera. That might change now that the third-generation iPad actually has a decent camera, but the iPad 2 was terrible for taking photos. Yet, as a photo editor, the iPad is a great tool. If you can import your photos to the device, Photo FX Ultra can allow you to make them look like almost anything you want. It has 77 filters organized into eight groups, 934 preset settings and 65 different color or black-and-white film looks. Share across almost every photo platform. Fo the serious photographer, the $4.99 is a great investment. 

PicPlz

(Free — iPhone, Android)

PicPlz deserves a spot on this list even though many other photo filter apps have ecilpsed it in recent years. In comparison to other photo filter apps, it has a limited selection such as “Russian Toy Camera” or “The 70s.” It allows you to share photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Dropbox and Flickr. One interesting feature is the ability to add stickers to photos. Hey, that could be zany with good fun had by all. PicPlz’s best attributes are that it is simple, it is free, and it’s available on both the iPhone and Android platforms. 

Source: 9 Photo Filter Apps to Enhance Your Mobile Photography

The Holy Grail of Rich Location Data Made Easy With new SDKs from Geoloqi

February 23rd, 2012 02:30 admin View Comments

geoloqi_150x150.jpgThe holy grail of mobile geo-location services is persistent, aware, real-time data delivered straight to your device. It is incredibly difficult to pull off. Especially if the idea is to, “give you vision beyond the Greek gods.” Accuracy, battery life and location-aware push messaging are hard to build and even harder to implement on a scalable basis.

Portland-based startup Geoloqi thinks it can pull it off. The startup is aiming to give rich location data to enterprise and government customers through a release of a new SDK for Android and iOS an API. The idea is to turn complicated real-time location-aware data into a platform that developers can drop into any app.

amber_case_geoloqi.jpgGeoloqi’s goal is to disrupt the first generation of location services, according to founder Amber Case. That means the Foursquares of the world are put on notice. The Geoloqi platform will provide cross-platform SDKs that are mobile carrier agnostic. It can track location in real-time and provide analytics on users and their location data and history. Enterprises, retailers and government agencies can create geo-fences, push messages and visitor metrics.

Right: Amber Case

The biggest innovation for Geoloqi may be its battery saving properties. Case said that in a couple instances the company wrote the code that connects a device its backend infrastructure was written in binary code to make it as lightweight as possible.

“Some of the systems that we have added to build or extend out the systems we have to actually make it work, in some of the cases we have actually written it down in binary so we can actually get a small enough packet size off the phone connecting to the server so we can reduce the battery life drain and have less connections. The server architecture, which is a custom-server architecture is scalable to our base,” Case said.

After Geoloqi launched it rapidly found that its clientele was not going to be end-users and fellow mobile developers. Enterprises and government were the most interested parties because that is no easy system for creating location-aware real-time data.

“We are not selling an app, we are selling a platform system. So, if an enterprise or a retailer already has an app location, it just allows them to just plug it in and have location taken care of,” Case said. “People really wanted to add these aspects to their apps and carriers understood that their existing enterprise and government customers were asking for something more real time and they were not able to provide it. So, they started calling us up and asking for a sort of hybrid solution so they could better serve their existing customers.”

The dream of location-aware data is “The Starbuck Dilemma.” In the Starbuck scenario, a user walks by one of the popular coffee houses and their device will recognize where it is and send a push-notification to the user. It is a mix of geo-fencing, push and real-time marketing that is delivered straight to the user’s pocket. There is power in proximity marketing.

geoloqi_tracking.jpg“The key story in this place is that I want to go by Starbucks and have a location-based message. That story has been there for 20 years but it is very difficult to implement,” Case said.

As a platform, the intention is for customers to build on top of Geoloqi to provide the type of data location that the first generation providers cannot deliver. The next step is to provide analytics on top of that and enable enterprises targeted marketing like never before.

“We are really focusing on enterprise. This might be a silly analogy but what Salesforce did for CRM, making it really easy and painless for the enterprise, we want to do that for the enterprise for location and really make a bridge between that old guard of location services and real time, much higher functionality, much higher resolution location services,” Case said.

Source: The Holy Grail of Rich Location Data Made Easy With new SDKs from Geoloqi

Options Evolving for Mobile HTML5 Developers to Get Paid

February 21st, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments

shutterstock_mobile_payments_cartoon_150.jpgThe groundwork for a robust mobile Web app ecosystem was laid in 2011. The HTML5 spec evolved and major players began taking note that, hey, there might be some potential with the mobile Web … if only it could be monetized. Mobile developers are certainly testing out HTML5 apps and where the developers go, the tools providers will follow.

For mobile developers, there are more tools to choose from than what IDE and framework to write code in. Developers also need to make money. In recent weeks we have seen several companies come out with payment models for HTML5 mobile Web apps looking to get an early slice of the pie that forecasters expect to grow exponentially in the next few years.

shutterstock_dollar_squeeze_150.jpgThe latest entrant into HTML5 mobile Web payments is PaymentOne, an international direct to carrier billing service. PaymentOne released an HTML5 API today for mobile Web app and game developers to create easy integration of carrier billing for in-app purchases. PaymentOne is focused on micro-payments through the carriers and broadband providers to bring mobile payments to merchants, media and mobile developers.

There are several other players looking to create payments for HTML5 apps. AT&T released a suit of HTML5 APIs during the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Facebook will eventually look to monetize mobile Web apps through its Facebook Credits vertical. HTML5 development studio announced playMobi last week that is a set of tools for payments and analytics for the mobile Web. PayPal believes that it can become the de facto payments service for anything mobile, HTML5 or otherwise. PaymentOne fits in this ecosystem with its HTML5 API as one of the only options for direct carrier billing.

The goal for all of these companies is to create an ecosystem that benefits the developer. This has less to do with the actual technical implementation of payments in mobile Web apps than making development of mobile Web apps a viable option for publishers. We have talked about how HTML5 will be the “third platform” for developers in 2012 (after iOS and Android) but the only way that will be an option is if developers can find a way to make money. PaymentOne’s entrance into the vertical is an example of how the mobile ecosystem at large is creating tools to tackle this problem.

Developers: how do you plan to monetize your mobile Web apps? What are the best solutions available and what are you still looking for from the ecosystem to make your life simpler? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Options Evolving for Mobile HTML5 Developers to Get Paid

[Poll] Developers: Why Did You Upload iOS Contacts Without Consent?

February 15th, 2012 02:30 admin View Comments

Whenever user privacy comes into question, the reaction is predictable. The tech media will flare up with outrageous and accusatory headlines, the mainstream media will pick up on it and put a couple talking heads on air to decry the practice and users will start talking in bars about how “company xyz” is spying on them. If we are lucky, the controversy will get tech writers sniping at each other and there will be a Congressional investigation.

The fact that many iOS apps have had unfettered access to upload the contacts in your address book has caused this chain of events to unfold (the tech writers sniping at each other is a new wrinkle). Path, Twitter, Foursquare and many others are in hot water for the practice but the biggest hit it going to be aimed at the platform provider that made all of this possible: Apple. There are many benefits to uploading a users’ address book. But, the presumption of doing it automatically without user consent is what makes people angry. Developers: you have seen this roadmap play out before and knew what would happen if you got caught. So, why did you do it? That is the topic of this week’s ReadWriteMobile poll.

To be honest, I am not expecting many mobile developers to actually vote in this poll. Those that have not yet been caught are probably quite busy make sure that they no longer upload user contacts without consent and destroy the evidence that they ever did.

But the question remains. Did you think you would not get caught? Did you think the benefits outweighed the innocuous apology you would have to issue eventually? Or maybe you thought that this would be a week-long controversy to be replaced in the news cycle by the next week-long controversy and you can just return to business as usual (you are probably right)?

Or maybe it is the culture. Many times startups think more about the benefits of an action or feature to their data pipelines than the tangible consequences of the real world. It is OK to cop to it. You are trying to create a business and there are lots of reasons you do the things you do. If bending the rules can give you a jumpstart, I do not know many business people in the world that would not readily take that route.

Apple said today that uploading users’ contacts without permission is against the iOS guidelines and that it will require all publishers to make the service opt-in. This is not the first time that Apple has got in hot water about privacy issues. Almost a year ago there was the controversy of Apple and other mobile operating systems tracking user location without their consent. Apple put the kibosh on the practice fairly quickly after that. It behooves Apple to make is iOS developer ecosystem a lucrative place to publish and may have been a little too laissez-faire with its policies in these two instances.

So, developers, why did you do it? We understand that there may be some perfectly good reasons. Take the poll (it is completely anonymous) and let us know in the comments what your thought processes were.

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Source: [Poll] Developers: Why Did You Upload iOS Contacts Without Consent?

Appcelerator Acquires Cocoafish to Implement Mobile Cloud Services in Titanium

February 9th, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments

appcelerator_marketplace_150x150.jpgMobile development company Appcelerator announced today that it is buying “backend-as-a-service” startup Cocoafish to implement cloud services and functionality to its Titanium Platform. Acquiring Cocoafish is an astute move by Appcelerator, which focuses on tools for developers to create native and mobile Web apps. The company realized in its latest mobile developer report that 84% of developers using Titanium were utilizing some type of cloud service. With Cocoafish, Appcelerator attempts to keep all the necessary mobile development tools on its own platform.

Appcelerator admits that with the purchase of Cocoafish it is moving into direct competition with other mobile cloud services providers like Parse, Kinvey and Stackmob. With Titanium and Cocoafish, Appcelerator now has an integrated client and mobile cloud platform making it one of the most powerful mobile tools providers on the market.

appcelerator_cocoafish_logo.jpgAppcelerator’s integration of Cocoafish will be two-pronged. The cloud APIs that Cocoafish brings to the table will be integrated straight into the Titanium platform. The software developer kits that Cocoafish offers such as its iOS, Android, JavaScript and REST will end up in the Appcelerator Open Mobile Marketplace that is a repository of tools that mobile developers can purchase.

Cocoafish has 25 cloud-based mobile features including push notifications, location, social integration, user management and photo management. These should be integrated by the end of the first quarter this year. “Appcelerator Cloud Services” from Cocoafish will launch in the second quarter. The SDKs will be available to non-Titanium customers through the Open Mobile Marketplace.

Appcelertor has been courting Cocoafish for a while and started working with the San Francisco-based startup four or five weeks ago, according to Appcelerator CEO Jeff Haynie. The acquisition was natural for Appcelerator given its need to implement backend cloud support and the needs of its developers. Cocoafish is a 10-person team functioning out of a co-working space in San Francisco founded by Michael Goff and Wei Kong. Appcelerator resides in Mountain View but the company is planning on expanding its physical footprint with an office in San Francisco proper some time this year.

Developers using Objective-C, Java, PhoneGap, Sencha and HTML5 will be able to configure scalable cloud services through Titanium. This is what puts Appcelerator in direct competition with the other backend-as-a-service providers that provide the same or similar functions. At the same time, Appcelerator is still active with StackMob and Parse through the Open Mobile Marketplace and will still support third-party cloud services options through Titanium.

Source: Appcelerator Acquires Cocoafish to Implement Mobile Cloud Services in Titanium

[Video] An IT Security Guy Walks Into the Room …

February 8th, 2012 02:35 admin View Comments

it_security_redbull.jpg

The biggest geeks in all of technology work in IT security. Sorry front-end mobile developers, cloud gurus, data center managers and do-it-yourself robot builders. Enterprise IT security is run by geeks that love to play cat and mouse with a good botnet, argue over the merits of Blue Coat versus AnchorFree and have a panic button programmed on their highly encrypted smartphones that goes straight to Symantec’s headquarters. These are the geek’s geek.

In honor of yesterday’s Safer Internet Day, we present a tribute to the IT security folks that keep most of us running during the day and from drowning in a sea of spam and malware. We know the “$#!& people say” meme is a little played out but feel mostly because there have been some really mediocre entries into the genre recently. The video below is sure to leave you giggling if you belong to the geeky group of IT security experts. Check it out.

Passwords. Damn those passwords. Why do people always come up with generic, terrible passwords to really important documents and accounts? Passwords are an IT security gurus nightmare because many people have generic, easily cracked, keys or do something profoundly idiotic like keep all their passwords on a sticky note next to their PCs.

A reminder to denizens of the Web: it is suggested you change your passwords at least twice a year. Or, you might end up like these guys:

The team over at Gazzang, a company that specializes in data and application security for the cloud, sent over this video on “$#!& IT Security Guys Say.” Knowing a lot about security professionals, this entry is spot on. Watch it below and let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: [Video] An IT Security Guy Walks Into the Room …

iOS Developers Take Home $700 Million in Q1

January 24th, 2012 01:18 admin View Comments

Apple just blew everybody out of the water. It is astonishing, really. Revenue of $46.33 billion? Yeah, Greece called. It is looking for a bailout. Anyway, there is one number that is making mobile developers across the world salivate: $700 million.

That is the amount that Apple paid out to iOS developers in the last quarter. Apple has paid out $4 billion cumulatively to iOS developers through the App Store. If we extrapolate those numbers considering Apple’s 30% take of App Store purchases, the company did $1 billion in gross sales through the App Store in the quarter. Mobile developers: this is the carrot you are chasing.

We have written several times that it is unlikely that developers will ditch iOS in favor of writing for other platforms, such as Android or Windows Phone. There is too much money to be made in iOS for developers to choose and Android-first strategy, unless they are looking at some market inefficiencies that could be better served by developing for something other than iOS. We have seen some developers focus on RIM for that specific reason.

There are 550,000 apps in the App Store according to Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer and that includes 170,000 for the iPad (a number that could be misleading as many iPad apps are made with the “+” designation that means they function on both the iPad and iPhone). If we figure that the Android Market is generating even 50% of what the App Store does, that makes mobile applications about a $1.5 billion quarterly market or $6 billion a year. That is probably a high estimate considering that Apple’s last quarter happened to coincide with the holiday shopping season (Oppenheimer did note a lot of activity on iTunes and the App Store on Dec. 25).

Note, we are talking gross revenue here, not just application sales. That would include in-app purchases as well. What this does not include is money made through advertising within mobile apps, which makes the number quite a bit higher. Google does not take a cut for itself with 70% going to developers and 30% split among various parties like payment processors.

For 2012, perhaps $6 billion is not low at all between Andriod and iOS app revenue. Smartphones such as the iPhone 4S and new Android devices continue to make their way into more and more hands. Apple has sold 315 million iOS devices in its history and Android still technically outsells Apple devices. There were 37 million iOS devices sold in the last quarter and about 15 million iPads. Estimates place Android sales for the quarter within the 60-65 million range.

The fact of the matter is that there will be money to be made by some smart entrepreneurs looking to make some great apps in the near future. Developers, it is time to cast your net. Working across both iOS and Android, there is a decent living to be made writing mobile applications.

Source: iOS Developers Take Home $700 Million in Q1

iOS Developers Take Home $700 Million in Q1

January 24th, 2012 01:18 admin View Comments

Apple just blew everybody out of the water. It is astonishing, really. Revenue of $46.33 billion? Yeah, Greece called. It is looking for a bailout. Anyway, there is one number that is making mobile developers across the world salivate: $700 million.

That is the amount that Apple paid out to iOS developers in the last quarter. Apple has paid out $4 billion cumulatively to iOS developers through the App Store. If we extrapolate those numbers considering Apple’s 30% take of App Store purchases, the company did $1 billion in gross sales through the App Store in the quarter. Mobile developers: this is the carrot you are chasing.

We have written several times that it is unlikely that developers will ditch iOS in favor of writing for other platforms, such as Android or Windows Phone. There is too much money to be made in iOS for developers to choose and Android-first strategy, unless they are looking at some market inefficiencies that could be better served by developing for something other than iOS. We have seen some developers focus on RIM for that specific reason.

There are 550,000 apps in the App Store according to Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer and that includes 170,000 for the iPad (a number that could be misleading as many iPad apps are made with the “+” designation that means they function on both the iPad and iPhone). If we figure that the Android Market is generating even 50% of what the App Store does, that makes mobile applications about a $1.5 billion quarterly market or $6 billion a year. That is probably a high estimate considering that Apple’s last quarter happened to coincide with the holiday shopping season (Oppenheimer did note a lot of activity on iTunes and the App Store on Dec. 25).

Note, we are talking gross revenue here, not just application sales. That would include in-app purchases as well. What this does not include is money made through advertising within mobile apps, which makes the number quite a bit higher. Google does not take a cut for itself with 70% going to developers and 30% split among various parties like payment processors.

For 2012, perhaps $6 billion is not low at all between Andriod and iOS app revenue. Smartphones such as the iPhone 4S and new Android devices continue to make their way into more and more hands. Apple has sold 315 million iOS devices in its history and Android still technically outsells Apple devices. There were 37 million iOS devices sold in the last quarter and about 15 million iPads. Estimates place Android sales for the quarter within the 60-65 million range.

The fact of the matter is that there will be money to be made by some smart entrepreneurs looking to make some great apps in the near future. Developers, it is time to cast your net. Working across both iOS and Android, there is a decent living to be made writing mobile applications.

Source: iOS Developers Take Home $700 Million in Q1

App Testing Catches Up With the New Era of Gesture-Based Input

January 23rd, 2012 01:45 admin View Comments

soasta_150.jpgGesture-based input is the present and future of computing. We have added whole new meanings to words like swipe, pinch, zoom and flip. For mobile developers, reconciling touch-based input with design and functionality goals in apps has become a problem. Testing gestures in an app is time consuming and problematic.

A “cloud testing” company by the name of SOASTA wants to change that. It has come out with several new products today to help developers test gesture-based input for mobile applications. SOASTA said last year that 75% of all mobile and Web apps go live without ever being scale tested. By merging the cloud and new touch modules, SOASTA believes it has evolved app testing to finally catch up with input methods.

SOASTA is unveiling CloudTest, a tool that captures all user actions and gestures on real devices. SOASTA is attempting to create a new test method that is better than the previous generation of device emulators and optical recognition. By merging its gesture-based testing to the cloud, TouchTest can examine how interfaces react to input on real devices in the company’s network.

soasta_1.jpg

This can all be done without tethering, rooting or jailbreaking a device. TouchTest controls the device through software and access them through their IP address. Basically, TouchTest is Internet driven. Organizations can build a “private device cloud” with devices inside their data centers or in remote locations. That means that the number of devices needed to perform large scale testing is greatly reduced.

The notion of a device cloud is nothing new. There are other services like DeviceAnywhere, Apkudo and Perfecta Mobile that apply similar solutions. The notion is to test an application against dozens or hundreds of devices at one time by cross-examining them through device and operating system specifications in the cloud.

With TouchTest, the idea is to see a certain swipe/pinch/zoom etc. movement will work against various UI changes. What happens in an app across platforms when someone makes this gesture?

swipe_example.jpg

That swipe could be somebody trying to write the number “2″ or dragging an icon from one folder to another. TestTouch can record the movement and test it in a variety of circumstances.

“TouchTest captures not only the start and end points of each gesture, but the journey between and the speed with which the gesture is performed,” the company said in a press release. “Because CloudTest tests inside the app, all actions and gestures are captured at the object level creating tests that are more stable across releases, even as the user interface (UI) changes.”

soasta_6.jpg

Outside of testing services like DeviceAnywhere, SOASTA says that its biggest competition is actually developers testing in the old-fashioned way: fingers and eyeballs.

“Optical recognition, or screen scraping is flawed for testing, ” said Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. “It is brittle, there is no continuous framework … we saw a specific set of opportunities with TouchTest.”

CloudTest lite is available for developers right now while the fuller, paid versions for iOS and Android will be released shortly.

Is there a market for CloudTest and TouchTest? What have been your experiences with gesture-based app testing? Does the manual approach work for you or does something like CloudTest make sense? Let us know in the comments.

Source: App Testing Catches Up With the New Era of Gesture-Based Input

App Testing Catches Up With the New Era of Gesture-Based Input

January 23rd, 2012 01:45 admin View Comments

soasta_150.jpgGesture-based input is the present and future of computing. We have added whole new meanings to words like swipe, pinch, zoom and flip. For mobile developers, reconciling touch-based input with design and functionality goals in apps has become a problem. Testing gestures in an app is time consuming and problematic.

A “cloud testing” company by the name of SOASTA wants to change that. It has come out with several new products today to help developers test gesture-based input for mobile applications. SOASTA said last year that 75% of all mobile and Web apps go live without ever being scale tested. By merging the cloud and new touch modules, SOASTA believes it has evolved app testing to finally catch up with input methods.

SOASTA is unveiling CloudTest, a tool that captures all user actions and gestures on real devices. SOASTA is attempting to create a new test method that is better than the previous generation of device emulators and optical recognition. By merging its gesture-based testing to the cloud, TouchTest can examine how interfaces react to input on real devices in the company’s network.

soasta_1.jpg

This can all be done without tethering, rooting or jailbreaking a device. TouchTest controls the device through software and access them through their IP address. Basically, TouchTest is Internet driven. Organizations can build a “private device cloud” with devices inside their data centers or in remote locations. That means that the number of devices needed to perform large scale testing is greatly reduced.

The notion of a device cloud is nothing new. There are other services like DeviceAnywhere, Apkudo and Perfecta Mobile that apply similar solutions. The notion is to test an application against dozens or hundreds of devices at one time by cross-examining them through device and operating system specifications in the cloud.

With TouchTest, the idea is to see a certain swipe/pinch/zoom etc. movement will work against various UI changes. What happens in an app across platforms when someone makes this gesture?

swipe_example.jpg

That swipe could be somebody trying to write the number “2″ or dragging an icon from one folder to another. TestTouch can record the movement and test it in a variety of circumstances.

“TouchTest captures not only the start and end points of each gesture, but the journey between and the speed with which the gesture is performed,” the company said in a press release. “Because CloudTest tests inside the app, all actions and gestures are captured at the object level creating tests that are more stable across releases, even as the user interface (UI) changes.”

soasta_6.jpg

Outside of testing services like DeviceAnywhere, SOASTA says that its biggest competition is actually developers testing in the old-fashioned way: fingers and eyeballs.

“Optical recognition, or screen scraping is flawed for testing, ” said Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. “It is brittle, there is no continuous framework … we saw a specific set of opportunities with TouchTest.”

CloudTest lite is available for developers right now while the fuller, paid versions for iOS and Android will be released shortly.

Is there a market for CloudTest and TouchTest? What have been your experiences with gesture-based app testing? Does the manual approach work for you or does something like CloudTest make sense? Let us know in the comments.

Source: App Testing Catches Up With the New Era of Gesture-Based Input

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