Gorilla Logic's CEO Stu Stern tells us more about their latest testing tool

FoneMonkey for Android - Q&A

Simple question first - why was FoneMonkey for Android created?

The simple answer is that we created FoneMonkey for Android because the industry needed a robust functional testing solution for Android and there weren't any.

Was it logical progression to bring FoneMonkey to Android, given how popular the iOS app has become with developers? 

Very much so. We expect FoneMonkey for Android to enjoy the same enthusiastic reception as FoneMonkey for iOS.

Any key aesthetic differences from the iOS product or have you replicated the same successful structure?

The functionality of the tools is identical, although they are separate and distinct pieces of software, each engineered specifically for their respective platforms. 

How long has the product been in development and how many people were involved in the project?

We began the project in the early part of 2011 with two of our engineers doing most of the development, although many others made special appearances at various points in the process.

What in your opinion is the key selling point for developers to use the product?

FoneMonkey for Android's key differentiation (like FoneMonkey for iOS) is its ability to record high-level action-based scripts that are readable and editable and can even be created from scratch without recording. Both tools provide point-and-click consoles that allow non-developers to create test automation scripts, but both also generate native code for xUnit runner frameworks and so are also very well-suited for use by developers and test automation engineers.

You say that people without ASDK knowledge will be able to create scripts. Is it really that simple to use?

It really is that simple. You hit the record button and it records everything you're doing in the application. You hit the play button and the test plays back and reports any errors. Tests are saved as simple text files.

One of the key features is the automatic generation of the scripts in Java/JavaScript. How important was it to create this feature?

 We think this feature is extremely important since it relieves users from having to learn yet another scripting language. Developers doing Android development of course already know Java and the ready-to-run JUnit tests we generate can integrate cleanly with existing build scripts and CI environments. We also feel it's important to provide the option to script in a high-level scripting language, and there are of course many to choose from these days, but none are as popular as JavaScript, and we think the momentum behind HTML5 will make JavaScript even more pervasive than it is already.

Which part of FoneMonkey for Android are you personally most proud of?

What we're most proud of is that we are leading the way in next-generation testing. The previous generation of tools are extremely web-centric and don't do well at handling the far richer palette of user interface components and multi-touch gestures integral to mobile apps.

How important is it for FoneMonkey for Android to be open source in terms of application development?

As with any software product, making the source available is not essential to using FoneMonkey, but it allows innovation to happen much more quickly because user adoption happens faster and every user is empowered to also be a contributor.

I assume you're constantly looking at user opinion in adapting the tool. How important is feedback from users?

It's extremely important to us. All bug fixing and new feature development we do is in direct response to community feedback. The alternative would be our guessing what our users need most (and likely getting it wrong!).

Any exhibition plans in the near future?

We just got back from AnDevCon II and we've already committed to be at AnDevCon III, in June, although we'll likely be exhibiting elsewhere before then. For those who can't wait, we also do monthly webinars.

When can we expect the next update for FoneMonkey for Android?

We expect to do at least one update before Christmas.

What are Gorilla Logic's plans for the future? You seem to have every market covered!

Early next year, we expect to be delivering cross-platform test scripting so that the same script can be used to target both Android and iOS versions of the same application. We are also working with various partners to enable the on-demand running of FoneMonkey tests against a wide array of mobile phones and tablet hardware within a "Test Lab as a Service" device cloud.

In any case, the market is ever-evolving and so are we. And that's a big part of the joy of working in this crazy industry!

 

Stu Stern is the President and CEO of Gorilla Logic, who are a software services firm specialising in enterprise app development for mobile and the web. FoneMonkey for Android is available as a free download now, as is the source code and documentation.

Chris Mayer

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