This week Facebook finally launched its long-awaited iPad app into a storm of user complaints that it crashed too easily and hadn’t been tested thoroughly enough to eliminate sufficient bugs.

The universal app for both iPhone and iPad is intended to strengthen the relationship and integration between Apple and Facebook, as well as provide Facebook fans with a stable, slimmed down, touch-navigable platform from which access all their pages, statuses, photos and so on. “We’re releasing it now because it’s done,” said Bret Taylor, the firm’s chief technology officer.

But just hours after release users started to report bugs, which Facebook admitted but claimed wasn’t unusual for any new product. A Facebook spokesperson told the BBC all products were always vigorously tested before launch: “However, as with all new technology products, occasionally unexpected bugs will surface once people start using products on a mass scale.”

You might agree with Facebook’s stance and feel that teething problems are somewhat acceptable, particularly for a free app. But the emotional attachment people have with their mobile applications – and particularly their Facebook lifeline – should never be underestimated. It’s highly unlikely that a much-loved brand of Facebook’s stature will actually suffer in reputation as a result of the well-publicised glitches, but less-established brands certainly would not want to risk delivering an under-tested product that could result in an unsatisfactory user experience.

Relatively speaking, mobile application testing clearly isn’t the most mature software testing or quality assurance patch, but it is becoming exponentially more important to testers, developers and end users every day. That’s why anybody developing mobile apps – from the keen startup to big commercial brands looking to open up new monetised channels – must take a serious look at their mobile testing processes.

Sogeti High Tech, a market leader in Engineering and Technology Consulting Services certainly has been taking mobile testing seriously for more than six years already. Its Mobile Application Testing Services is part of Sogeti’s Systems and Software Engineering business line, dedicated to real-time and embedded developments as well as to technical and scientific information system creation required for product lifecycle management.

With its head-office in Grenoble, France, this service is fully dedicated to mobile application testing. This service manages four lines of certifications: JavaVerified, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Symbian Signed. Over the last six years it has performed close to 6,000 sets of tests on behalf of Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Symbian, and the Java Verified group. This Mobile Phone Testing Service is closely committed to multiple lines of testing and is strictly customer-focused, working closely with business stakeholders to improve the added value of these various lines of test.

To find out more about how Sogeti’s Mobile Application Testing Services can help your business, please contact Sogeti High Tech directly, or call Sogeti UK to talk through our services and your options.

Karen is a director in the High Tech department.

Posted in: Software testing, Testing and innovation      
Comments: 1
Tags: , , , , , , ,


A recent article in The Economist shares a remarkable story about the difficulties Lockheed Martin faces in the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, the most expensive military-industrial programme in history.  The project is over-budget, and way past its delivery deadline.

When the F-35 program began in 2001 its lead contractor, Lockheed Martin, was expected to begin deliveries in 2010.  Now, the delivery date has been pushed back to at least 2016.  The development costs have exceeded USD $56 billion.  Some of the problems are related to the complex mechanical design of the aircraft, but according to The Economist, the main cause of the programme’s cost overruns and delivery delays is integrating and testing the software that runs the aircraft’s electronics and sensors.

Lockheed Martin is well aware of the complex issues associated with integrating and testing new and existing software, and notes that “building ultra large-scale systems requires dramatic improvements in software technology.”

To help drive these improvements, Lockheed Martin created a company-wide research effort called the Software Technology Initiative, “to revolutionise the way that software-intensive systems are designed, built, integrated and evolved.”  But even with its goal to produce systems “five times faster and at one-fifth the cost of current approaches,” the company faces delays in its software testing and integration efforts.

Some of the delays stem from the huge volume of code that aircraft will require to perform its primary task, to fly and fight.  To illustrate how important code is to the F-35, Lockheed Martin compares it to the 1960s’ era F-4 fighter, which relied on software for only eight percent of its capabilities.  In contrast, software accounted for 85 percent of the capabilities of the F-22 Raptor, which was launched in 2000.  The F-35 fighter, with its stealth capabilities and suites of advanced software and sensors, will have more than 90 percent of its capabilities provided by software, on the order of several million lines of code.  That’s a lot of software testing.

I’m not going to pass judgment on the F-35 programme, but want to point out that The Economist does a great job in illustrating the scale of the problem.  The task of efficient and reliable software testing is critical for any designer or manufacturer of products that incorporate electronics – not just for someone working on an outrageously complex new fighter plane.  But without a robust, scalable and sophisticated software testing methodology the F-35 is nothing more than blue-sky thinking.

Karen is a director in the High Tech department.

Posted in: Software testing, Testing and innovation      
Comments: 0
Tags: , , , ,