How Can You Set Up a Mobile App Debugging Environment?

In the modern generation, mobile applications have started to gain a lot of popularity due to the importance of portability in the lives of daily users. This is because while using mobile applications, the end users can gain desktop-like performance on devices that can fit in their pockets. However, mobile application development and debugging is a very complex procedure as all the devices are unique and have multiple variations. App developers have to use a mobile testing lab to improve the accuracy and dependability of the test cases. It is also important to incorporate advanced testing processes like automation testing and regression testing to further boost the quality of the overall testing infrastructure.

With this article, we are going to guide the new automation testers and developers through the process of setting up a mobile app debugging environment. We will also mention some other important tips that can help the developers utilize the full potential of this configuration.

Rise of The Mobile Industry and Mobile App Testing

During the early years of the Internet, app developers could only access all the applications and Internet services with the desktop platform. However, the end users started to realize the importance of a device that can serve their needs at any instance. Due to these demands, portable devices, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches started to arrive in the market. Currently, the three most popular mobile operating systems include Android, iOS, and Windows. Android being the dominant player in this segment has over 70% of users all around the world followed by iOS in the second place.

To understand the diversity of the mobile market, we can consider the example that more than 1000 new devices come into the market every year which are all unique in terms of software, hardware specifications, and also display resolution. Therefore it becomes almost impossible for the app developers to restrict the test cases to only emulators and simulators as they cannot mimic the physical parameters of a device. Using a mobile testing lab, the app developers can understand the influence of various parameters like unstable bandwidth, low battery, and user interaction errors.

Moreover, the app developers have started incorporating automation testing to initiate and execute the test cases automatically and boost the efficiency of the testing environment. With automation testing, the system will emulate human interactions while communicating with the app and generate a detailed test report. This report will show the usability, user interactivity, and stability of the application that is currently being developed. The proper implementation of automation testing practices will integrate the following parameters in the testing environment:

  • Automation testing helps in the elimination of test repetition with the help of auto-test execution. Developers can unlock the full potential of this feature by combining the test cases with appropriate test instances like unit testing. Auto-test execution also helps in incrementing the accuracy of the test cases.
  • Modern automation test cases help the integration of dedicated tools, libraries, and dependencies to access additional features for boosting app quality. It is also possible to integrate artificial intelligence with modern automation test cases for improved test accuracy and quality.
  • The integration of automation testing for mobile app development will also help the app-developing companies eliminate complete manual test cases. However, the developers must remember that with the current technology, it is impossible to eliminate manual testing. So, the most efficient practice is to maintain the perfect balance between automation testing and manual testing.

Setting Up a Mobile App Debugging Environment

The developers have to involve several steps and considerations to set up a mobile app debugging environment to ensure a smooth debugging process. It is also important to understand that the actual setup process will vary depending on the iOS or Android platform. To assist the new automation testers and developers, we have mentioned a general guide for both of these platforms:

For the iOS Platform

  1. The first step in this process is to create an Apple developer account in case the developers do not already have one. This account is necessary for accessing the developer options.
  1. After this, the application testers have to install Xcode on their Mac from the official website. We can define XCode as the primary integrated development environment for the iOS app development process.
  1. The next step in this process is for the application developers to enable the developer mode on iOS devices. For this process, they have to connect the iOS device to the Mac and open XCode. Then they have to navigate to the window option and select devices and simulators. The final step is to select the connected device and enable the developer mode from the option.
  1. Now all that is left is to begin the debugging process in Xcode for the iOS applications. To perform this process, the developers simply have to open the project in Xcode and set the breakpoints in the code. Then, they will run the code on all the connected devices and use the native debugger for inspecting variables, identifying issues, and seeing the steps through the code.

For the Android Platform

  1. While working on Android applications, the application developers first have to install the Android studio from the official integrated development environment for Android app development. This studio will include all the necessary tools that will be required for performing the debugging process.
  1. Now, it is time to enable the developer mode on Android devices. For this process, the developers simply have to navigate to the settings option on the Android menu. Here, they have to go to the About phone option and tap on the build number multiple times until they see a message that will confirm the enabling of developer options.
  1. Now, it is time to enable the USB debugging option from the developer options. After this process, the app developers have to connect the device to the computer.
  1. Finally, all that is left is to begin the debugging process using Android Studio. The first step is to open the project in Android Studio and set the breakpoints in the code. After this, the developers have to run the code on the connected device or emulator and use the Android debugger to see through the code, resolve issues, and check the variables.

General Tips to Consider

  • The application developers need to use logging statements to output information in the console. They can use several tools like ‘console.log’ to assist in this process.
  • It is a good idea to use emulators or simulators when the actual device might not be available in the test lab. However, testing on real devices is crucial for performing a comprehensive check on the functioning of the application.
  • The application testers can consider the implementation of 3rd party debugging tools like Firebase performance monitoring or TestFairy.  Using these tools, the testers can get insights into the mobile app performance and potential issues that might be present in the source code.
  • The app developers can consider the integration of cloud platforms for remote debugging. This is because using AI-powered test orchestration and test execution platforms like LambdaTest, the app developers can run the test cases on multiple devices through remote servers.

Integration of Cloud Platforms with a Mobile Testing Lab

The process of setting up and maintaining a mobile testing lab is not only very expensive but also time-consuming. So, the app developers can integrate cloud platforms to achieve similar test results while eliminating the physical device lab. While using these platforms, it is possible to access thousands of real devices through remote servers. Moreover, cloud testing helps app developers access the test bench from anywhere in the world and also perform testing on legacy devices and older browser versions. To properly understand the influence of cloud platforms in the modern mobile app debugging process, we can consider the reference of LambdaTest:

  • While using LambdaTest for executing mobile app testing, the application developers can natively initiate the Appium test cases. Moreover, while using this process, the developers can run the test cases on more than 50 different devices at the same time.
  • To boost the efficiency of the mobile app testing process, LambdaTest allows the integration of parallel testing. Using parallel testing, the app developers can run the test cases or multiple different combinations and devices at the same time.
  • LambdaTest also combines the test reports from not only multiple real devices but also emulation software to improve the dependability and accuracy of the test reports.
  • LambdaTest also supports the incorporation of advanced test cases like automated regression testing and automated cross-browser testing to further boost the quality of mobile applications. The app developers can easily initiate these test cases by entering the following code snippet in the terminal window of LambdaTest.
  • While using LambdaTest, the application developers can maintain a real-time activity log to keep track of all the currently running past and field test instances. LambdaTest also has an integrated bug-tracking tool to keep track of all the bugs and errors that have been previously detected in the app infrastructure.
  • After executing the mobile test cases, LambdaTest will automatically generate a detailed test report. The core infrastructure of LambdaTest will automatically capture vital information like screenshots and videos during the execution process to allow the developers to quickly find and navigate the faulty elements.
  • Finally, LambdaTest also has an efficient support system to assist the new automation testers and developers. For instance, the official website consists of rich documentation that explains all the features and tools available with this platform. The developers can also facilitate individual support using live chat, over-the-phone support, and even the mailing feature. It is also possible for the testers and developers to discuss among themselves using the open-source community of LambdaTest.

The Conclusive Views

In this article, we explained all the important steps required for setting up and maintaining a mobile app debugging environment. It is also important for the developers to understand that certain steps may vary depending on the specific requirements of the application that they are currently working on. It is also important to understand the role of automation testing in devising modern test cases. Considering the preferences of the developers and the company standards while choosing tools for mobile app testing will also have a role in boosting the test environment productivity. Finally, the developers should conduct frequent surveys of the target audience and understand their requirements. By incorporating these data, the application developers can massively boost the accuracy of the application and improve their target audience.

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