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

FoneMonkey for Android – Q&A

Chris Mayer
FoneMonkey-for-Android

FoneMonkey for Android brings powerful testing capabilities in a simple interfaces, helping novices and making life simpler for experienced programmers

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.

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