Native App Performance Still Beats HTML5

HTML 5 versus Native AppsAccording to Forrester research, native mobile apps outperform their HTML5 counterparts. HTML5 apps are a one size fits all approach where just one set of code is created for every platform. Native apps are designed specifically for a certain operating system. One of the major points of differentiation in the performance of each type of app is load speeds. Serdar Yegulalp of InfoWorld writes:

Mobile HTML5 apps are known to be slower than native mobile apps. Some of this is due to delayed updates or bugs in stock browsers on mobile platforms.

Also, Forrester found that 59% of time, HTML5 apps took longer than planned to complete with a lot of time lost fixing issues and retesting. Despite this, Forrester’s survey in October 2013 showed that 43% of IT managers were using HTML5.

But don’t completely discount the usefulness of HTML5 apps. Forrester notes that they still have their place like for apps that put content over interaction. Also, it is possible to use a hybrid approach of both native and HTML5. Serdar Yegulalp sums up the Forrester report quite well:

HTML5 is useful as one weapon in the mobile arsenal, but is still no silver bullet.

When creating a mobile app, there are a variety of factors, like cost and time, to weigh when deciding between a native or HTML5 approach. One major part of the equation should be the effect this choice will have on your user’s sentiment. For example, if your app is taking too long to load, it may instill negative feelings. Whether you choose HTML5 or native apps, pay special attention to load time. Since the app ecosystem is becoming increasingly crowded, having a top quality app is the only way your company will win – and keep – users.

This post originally appears on the Applause App Analytics Blog.

FCC Speed Test App Could Help Developers and Testers

FCC Speed Test appThe Federal Communications Commission is the latest organization to leverage the power of in-the-wild testing to obtain user feedback under real-world conditions. Last week the FCC announced that it will be using ordinary folks like you and I to assess mobile broadband speeds. The free “FCC Speed Test” app is designed to capture device performance metrics such as download speeds and latency. The app will run in the background and is designed not to exceed 100MB a month so that it won’t overuse a customer’s data plan. Individual users can view their own device’s performance within the app. Currently, the app is only available on Android but an iPhone version is expected to be released in January 2014.

The purpose of the initiative is to develop cumulative, nationwide data on mobile broadband speeds. Right now, there is a lack of unbiased data regarding the subject and carriers can claim their download speeds based on their own controlled lab tests. By utilizing testers in-the-wild, the FCC can accurately gather metrics from consumers operating their devices under actual conditions. This will provide consumers with valuable statistics when choosing a service provider.

What does this mean for you as a developer or tester? You already know that connection speeds vary by location and they certainly aren’t as reliable as lab connections. Once the full FCC data becomes publicly available (reportedly sometime next year) you’ll have a road map of trouble spots.

Use this information to guide your own in-the-wild testing. Perform extra testing in areas that have poor connectivity levels or focus extra testing on carriers with spotty networks. This information will empower you to make your app better by making sure it works in the hands of all your users, no matter where they are or what type of connection they have.

Mobile App Testing Basics

Mobile App TestingPicture this: You’ve spent hours painstakingly developing an awesome mobile app, only to find that it has been met with lackluster app store reviews. What went wrong? One of the first questions you should ask yourself is “Did I bother to test it before launch?” While that may seem an obvious question, take a quick look at the reviews of low rated apps and it’s clear to see that some have skipped this crucial step.

Josh Galde of App Developer Magazine has created a list of some of the essential testing steps and it’s a worthwhile read as a quick refresher. Here’s a snippet:

Testing for Variables

During development, it is important to consider the varying factors that will apply to your target audiences when they are ready to use your app. For the best understanding of the functionality and feel of your mobile app there are several key factors to keep in mind while testing your mobile app including; device type, OS’s, screen size/hardware and connectivity.

Device Diversity – While it seems that testing on the most popular devices should be standard, it isn’t. It is crucial to address the diversity of the devices’ software, multiple OS’s (Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry etc.) and different versions within each, and in Android’s case, the various device manufacturers. To compound this, consumers of mobile products don’t consume applications in a uniform way. When asked what types of mobile technologies they are using to deliver their products (web, native, or hybrid), most customers answer “all of the above.” In these cases, a strong quality assurance strategy should include the ability to understand and support mobile across all of these technologies.

Hardware Diversity – The reality is, with the growing presence of hardware diversity, you should run your mobile application through several tests to ensure that it functions and appears as it should, regardless of screen resolution or available controls. In many cases, customers testing mobile applications across different handsets often identify bugs that occur in the device, rather than identifying bugs in the application itself. That is why it is important to test across several devices, ensuring that your mobile product works across the many smartphone and tablet configurations that exist in the market today.

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