TestFairy is looking to solve for the unobserved nature of beta user testing, saving developers a world of headache
10 Israeli startups of intrigue presented at the Geektime conference this week, the coolest conference to ever have the name Geek attached to it. In this series we’ll be providing you with an in-depth look at said startups, if for no other reason than the fact that we can’t have you, our avid Geektime readers, not being able to keep up with the conversation at the next big soiree you attend where everyone will obviously be talking about these companies. So without further ado, here they are in all their glory:
Android developers, please note the following company: If you have ever attempted to develop an Android app, you’re familiar with the common issue of having to ensure your application is compatible with the wide range of devices, screens and hardware that come along with the Android ecosystem. But with all due respect to your friends and family who may be interested in helping you patch your way through this process, the debugging process is far more complicated an issue than to allow the oversimplification sum-up of an issue with blanket statements like “You have a problem” or “it doesn’t work properly.” You want to know exactly who encountered a bug, how they came across it, and what was the complete series of actions that led to the appearance of the bug.
Addressing this very issue is Israeli startup TestFairy, who tracks the user experience of beta testers of your application in a simple and unobtrusive way, without the need for a dedicated SDK or any tinkering to the code of the app itself.
Control the platform – control the problems
That Android is the operating system that dominates the market today is not surprising. Dozens of device makers chose to use Google’s operating system, helping Android to achieve broad based market exposure and adoption across various markets around the globe. But along with the obvious benefits for Google, come pitfalls that present significant challenges to app developers who are forced to make case-by-case adjustments to their apps in order to ensure its compatibility with a wide range from the devices, screen sizes and UI/UeX’s. As much as this makes app development difficult, it makes the testing process almost impossible.
To help developers many companies have started to offer services that liaise between app developers and users, such as uTest, Testflight etc. These services help to test, debug and report bugs of existing products to their developers. But even here, there is a significant problem when it comes to reproducing the bug, a process that can be the cause of much frustration on behalf of the developers who simply do not understand how one user could have totally crashed their app.
TestFairywant’s to solve this specific issue and allow for developers to track beta tester user sessions. Using the system developed by the company, TestFairy allows developers to view a breakdown of videos showing what happened to the device during the test. Every touch on the screen is recorded to show a complete picture of the testing session that led up to the bug in question.
Maintaining quality control
The company was founded in 2013 by Yair Bar-On and Gil Megidish, who as entrepreneurs of their previous endeavor found themselves suffering from the same testing issues they later formed TestFairy to solve. They would send friends their apps to test out but they had no idea what exactly was being tested and what were the various problems. The platform itself was formally launched last May, after a long closed beta period.
TestFairy provides a detailed report that includes various parameters of the device, such as memory status, CPU, cellular input level, GPS, battery status and other data relevant to understanding the review process of the users. In addition, the system is able to document what happened to the application even if the device went to work in the background. That is, even if the user has another application running during use. It’s important to note that the screenshots and videos are saved only on the test app, so that if the user moved to their gmail account or Facebook – the system will not record or keep such information, with the Shell only for monitoring applications that are currently passing through the server.
TestFairy is very careful when it comes to the privacy of the user, with testers being told already in the invitation email how the application is used and what it will be recording so that the user remains aware of that. When the app opens, a second warning appears informing the user that the app is testing and that all data shown may be recorded for quality control. Once the user closes the application completely, Testfairy ends its recording and monitoring and sends all data and reports to the developers who receive a special link via e-mail through which they can view the information recorded.
TestFairykey does require any action to be performed to the code of the application – All a user must do is upload to the APK to his TestFairy account as is and the system “wraps” the code that monitors the activity around the app. An email sent to the beta testers of the app that contains a link to the new TestFairy-active version of the app for the users to download. The system saves all tests which allows developers to go back and revisit old problems and can compare it with bugs appearing on the current version available on the market.