With over 6.5 billion smartphones in use worldwide, developing a mobile app that provides a seamless user experience across all devices is not an easy task. Before releasing an app to the public, extensive testing is required to ensure compatibility across various operating systems, screen sizes, networks, browsers, and real-world usage scenarios. While in-house testing on a few devices is a good start, it is nearly impossible for a team to secure and test their app on the full spectrum of mobile devices. This is where device farms come in as an efficient solution for comprehensive mobile app testing.
Device farms provide developers with on-demand access to a vast array of real mobile devices and networks. By leveraging these remote testing labs, app creators can ensure functionality and usability on the thousands of device configurations in the market today. Additionally, device farms enable testing on both new and older model devices, as developers must account for consumers who don’t upgrade to the latest hardware each year. This article will explore the capabilities of device farms for mobile app testing, and how they can help developers release higher quality apps to the public.
What is Device Farm
A device farm is a cloud-based service that allows organizations to test their mobile apps and websites on multiple devices. This makes mobile testing more efficient and cost-effective as it eliminates the need to purchase or maintain physical device labs. Device farms can be maintained internally by a company or they can be hosted in the cloud.
Benefits of using device farms for app testing
Get instant access to broad device diversity instantly
With a device farm, you will get instant access to a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and different operating systems. This eliminates the need to physically procure and maintain a large inventory of devices.
Ensure cross-browser compatibility
Testing on a device cloud farm provides access to a variety of browser types and versions, both latest and legacy, for comprehensive compatibility.
Enable simultaneous testing
A device cloud eliminates the need for testers to wait for physical devices to become available. Multiple testers can simultaneously access devices in the cloud, allowing for efficient and uninterrupted testing.
Integrate with bug tracking and management tools
Device cloud farms can be integrated with continuous integration (CI) tools, allowing for automated testing and deployment. This helps streamline the development process and ensures that code changes are thoroughly tested on a wide range of devices.
Debug issues faster
Being able to debug issues faster means you can fix them before they become bigger problems, which can save you time and money in the long run.
Types of Device Farms
Device farms are a crucial component of software testing, enabling developers to test their applications on a wide range of devices and operating systems. There are three main types of device farms: cloud-based, on-premise and Hybrid.
Cloud-based device farms are hosted by third-party providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or TestGrid. These farms offer users access to a vast array of devices, including smartphones, tablets and desktops. Cloud-based device farms are a popular choice for businesses that need to test their applications on a variety of devices without having to invest in their own hardware.
- Highly scalable and flexible – can easily add or remove devices as needed
- No upfront infrastructure costs – pay only for what you use
- Easy to get started quickly without large capital investments
- Automatic maintenance and updates are handled by cloud provider
- Access to a wide variety of devices and OS versions
- Less control over hardware compared to on-premise farms
- Reliant on internet connectivity and cloud provider uptime
- Potential security and data privacy risks
- Ongoing subscription costs rather than one-time upfront costs
- Limited ability to customize environment compared to on-premise
On-premise device farms are hosted on a company’s own premises. These farms typically consist of a smaller number of devices than cloud-based farms, but they offer businesses more control over the testing environment. On-premise device farms are a good choice for businesses that need to test their applications on specific devices or operating systems.
- Greater control over data and security
- Can be customized to meet specific needs
- No ongoing costs for cloud access
- More expensive to manage
- Can be time-consuming to set up and maintain
- Less scalable than cloud-based solutions
Hybrid device farms combine the features of cloud-based and on-premise device farms. Hybrid farms typically use a cloud-based platform to manage the devices and run tests, but they also include a number of on-premise devices. Hybrid farms are a good choice for businesses that need a flexible testing solution that can be scaled up or down as needed.
More cost-effective than on-premise device farms
More scalable than on-premise device farms
More flexible than on-premise device farms
Less control over data and security than on-premise device farms
Requires more upfront planning and coordination
Elevate Your Testing with TestGrid’s Real Device Cloud
TestGrid gives you access to a huge collection of real devices over the cloud. These devices include many brands, models, and versions. TestGrid often adds the newest devices. This helps make sure testers can check how apps work on the mobile, tablet, and desktop devices that customers use.
In addition to its cloud-based device farm, TestGrid offers a dedicated device lab for organizations seeking a more controlled testing environment. This on-premises solution provides businesses with complete control over their testing infrastructure, enabling them to tailor their testing processes to their specific needs and security requirements.
TestGrid’s real device cloud offers several unique features that make it stand out from the competition:
- Run tests across thousands of real mobile devices, browsers, and operating systems. TestGrid’s extensive device lab ensures your app works flawlessly across all endpoints your customers may use.
- Regular addition of the latest devices to ensure testing on the latest hardware.
- Integrates with all major CI/CD platforms. Pre-built integrations make it easy to integrate TestGrid into your workflows.
- TestGrid supports popular testing frameworks such as Appium, and Selenium making it easy to integrate with your existing testing workflow.
- TestGrid’s cloud-based infrastructure allows you to run tests in parallel on multiple devices, speeding up the testing process and reducing the time it takes to get your app to market.
Device farms provide an affordable and professional solution for automated testing across a wide variety of devices. However, you still need to write, manage, and update automated tests. In certain scenarios, a hybrid approach combining manual testing with automation may work better. Overall, device farms are a valuable tool as part of a comprehensive testing strategy, complementing in-house testing environments and enabling continuous testing across an expanding matrix of devices and platforms.