Menna Nasser, Rafik Adel, and Mai Yehia — QC Team
SDKs have become an integral part of the mobile app development process, but it can be confusing to tell the difference between testing an SDK and testing a mobile app that has the SDK integrated.
In this post, we will take a look at how mobile SDK testing differs from mobile app testing and the things you need to keep in my mind while testing a mobile SDK.
What is mobile app testing?
When testing a mobile app, there are three main types of testing that you need to carry out to make sure your app works as expected.
- Functional testing: This is where you make sure that your app carries out all its functions as expected and it includes testing business flows, the UI, cross-platform coverage, etc.
- Environment testing: This is where you make sure that your app will work as expected in different real environments and it includes network conditions, interruptions like calls or texts, background/foreground state, etc.
- Non-functional testing: This is where you test your app for things that are not necessarily related to functionality like app performance, security, accessibility, etc.
What is mobile SDK testing?
When testing a mobile SDK we need to test the core functionality of the SDK. By assessing each component of the SDK as well as the overall architecture and flow we can ensure that it will work under a diverse set of scenarios. But SDK testing does not stop at making sure that all functions work properly, we also need to make sure that this happens with a very minimal impact on the host app’s UI, UX, and performance.
The challenges of mobile SDK testing
An SDK is a piece of software that is designed to be integrated with any mobile application. This presents many challenges to accommodate the usage of the SDK without leaving a negative footprint on the host app or device, so we need to keep a couple of points in mind.
Our users are developers
The most important thing to keep in mind is that mobile SDK users are app developers. Your goal is to make these developers’ lives easier and allow them to focus on building a great app. This means that your SDK should have a simple and quick integration process to prevent the adoption of the SDK from being a nightmare. More importantly, you need to maintain rock-solid stability in your SDK and make sure it never creates issues for your users.
Raise the quality bar
It goes without saying that for both mobile SDKs and mobile apps, you need to have a high quality bar. Mobile app users do not tolerate poor app quality and you need to provide an experience that matches their expectations.
However, when it comes to testing mobile SDKs you need to set your quality bar even higher. Your SDK will get exposed to many different types of apps that have different use cases and requirements. These apps will also be targeting a huge range of devices and OS versions which means that your SDK will probably run on more devices and environments than your average app.
This broad diversity of scenarios leads to a higher probability of surfacing any bugs, crashes, and other glitches or performance issues. It also means that your SDK will run on many low-end devices and old OS versions, which forces you to be mindful of your app’s efficiency with resources as well as restricts you from using some of the features and APIs available on more recent versions.
SDK testing essentials
With these two points in mind, let’s take a look at some essential things you need to optimize and test for in your SDK:
- Your SDK must work well across all supported platforms and versions without presenting any issues.
- Your SDK should be able to adapt to different locales based on the device or app’s locale
- Your SDK should not negatively impact the device’s CPU, memory, battery, or data consumption
- Your SDK must play nice with any other SDKs that might be integrated into the host app. It should not negatively affect or get affected by any SDK or library used in the host app.
- Your SDK must have a minimal impact on the host app’s UX if any.
- If your SDK has any end-user-facing UI elements, you must make sure that they can adapt to the host app’s design to maintain a seamless UI experience.
While testing a mobile SDK, you always need to have the host app in mind. Your SDK should be able to do its magic in the background, enhancing your host app’s features and experience without making an impact on their app’s performance.
A good SDK should look, feel, and behave like a part of the host app, not third-party code.
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