As increasingly more organizations run into unique challenges around extending the continuous delivery development model to mobile applications, vendors are coming out of the woodwork to start helping organizations revamp their mobile build and test infrastructures accordingly. This week, Electric Cloud tossed its hat into the ring with the beta release of ship.io, a new SaaS service that it’s launching to help users build, test and deploy native iOS and Android apps.
In spite of the fast-paced demands of the mobile marketplace, according to studies from Forrester, 64 percent of organizations release mobile apps four or fewer times per year per device. Many organizations struggle with the fragmented nature of the mobile device and operating system landscape, which can make testing a nightmare.
“Testing typically needs to cover hundreds of different devices operating across multiple mobile platforms, including mobile devices that are no longer being sold or even supported but that are stil used in the marketplace,” writes Mark Buenen, an expert in managed testing services for consulting firm Capgemini.
As a result, mobile testing lags significantly, with stats out from Capgemini stating that only approximately 55 percent of organizations test their mobile apps.
At the same time, commercial app store demands for testing prior to release raises the stakes even higher for testing, as a buggy release could take days to fix due to the time it takes for app store approval. In just those few short days, negative reviews about the bugs could scuttle the app’s future success. And within the enterprise, mobile apps are gaining importance as mobile applications gain a higher profile within core business processes.
“Mobile app development is increasingly important to a growing range of organizations, and it represents a challenge due to the range of operating systems and devices that each application must support,” said Steve Brodie, CEO for Electric Cloud.
Ship.io automatically detects and configures iOS and Android dev projects to simplify the process of creating code across multiple operating systems, versions and device screen densities. Made possible by the acquisition of intellectual property from AngelPad-backed Cisimple, an early start-up in the mobile continuous delivery space, the service is powered by integrations with GitHub, BitBucket and other Git repositories. Similarly, ship.io centralizes the automation of testing and distribution through integrations with AppThwack, HockeyApp and TestFlight. These capabilities are all condensed into a centralized management platform meant to offer a dashboard into build and test status levels across all apps and development platforms.
The ship.io release is a logical extension of services for Electric Cloud, which already focusing on automating processes for continuous delivery within the enterprise. Last week the company released a new version of its ElectricFlow Deploy product, which now, among other features, automatically detects the differences between what’s about to be deployed and what is already in an environment so that only the changed code is deployed in order to reduce risk and deployment time.
While products like ship.io could stand to make DevOps teams more effective in bringing continuous delivery to their development and deployment of mobile applications, process will still play a huge role. According to Capgemini, in its annual World Quality Report focusing on testing trends, its study showed there was a marked shift in worry about mobile testing challenges from previously lacking tools to do a good job to now lacking appropriate testing processes and methods, which 56 percent of organizations stated as a stumbling block. Similarly, lack of mobile testing expertise was named by 48 percent of organizations as one of the biggest challenges.