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Welcome to the 4th edition of our Annual Testing Report. This time we've taken the liberty of reaching out to experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence and App Testing...
In the past couple of years, there has been a tremendous increase in voice-enabled apps in the market. This is because business is looking to make its app more user-friendly and easy to use. If the same function can be performed using just your voice then why would you waste your time entering text? Voice recognition is being used by many apps from all sectors like food delivery, eCommerce, gaming, weather, navigation, social media, etc.
Voice-enabled apps are quite common these days as enterprises are trying to make it easier for users to control the app. Google was the first widely used app that utilized voice reorganization to make it simple for users to look for anything on the search engine. But when it comes to Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA), Apple does lead the way with Siri.
The idea of IVAs is not new and we have seen it in many Sci-Fi movies too. Take the example of Weebo from the movie Flubber. It was a flying robot assistant who recognized voice commands and helps perform daily tasks. It’s quite possible that we will see something like that soon in the market leveraging AI and drone technology.
Apart from GUI, a new trend is shaping up and it’s called VUI. In the world of voice apps, the primary interaction between human and machine is done through the Voice User Interface (VUI). It is a natural form of interaction where the user can speak to the device and the device will reply or perform the task that it is asked to do. For instance, If you ask the Google assistant “How is the weather in Palo Alto?” the app will convert the analog command into binary and using AI it will reply with an audio output. Here the testers need to make sure that the app is generating the correct reply to the questions. Exploratory testing plays a key role in identifying the bugs in audio-based testing.
When it comes to GUI, it is designed in a way to make it easier for the user to navigate through the business process. The graphical interface has controls such as checkboxes, dropdown lists, radio buttons, etc, through which all the features are controlled. Therefore the tester needs to test if all the control elements are working fine in all the pages.
The fundamental difference between testing the GUI and the VUI is the input type. There is limited data input in GUI testing but in VUI testing, it can create an indefinite number of test cases. When it comes to voice apps, pairwise testing can help to get better test coverage with fewer test cases.
The best way to test your app for audio functions is by using pCloudy. To perform audio testing, users need to upload their app on the platform and install it on any device of their choice. Once the device is booked and the app is installed on the device, click on the “More” option at the bottom left corner of the screen. Then you will get the audio in and audio out options in the device interaction page to do audio testing. Users can also use their voice as an input for testing using the “Audio In” feature.
This feature can be used for audio out testing as well and it is available only for devices on which audio icon is present. To perform audio output testing, just book a device on the pCloudy platform, click on the “Audio Out” icon and play any audio/video file to get the sound output on your system.
The audio testing feature is not available on any other cloud-based testing platform and this gives a big advantage to pCloudy. Testers will be able to use this feature to test their apps with voice commands. They will also be able to check if the app is responding with sound output for a particular function.
Looking at the popularity of voice apps, It is estimated that in the US, 111.8 million people will use a voice assistant at least once in a month in 2019. This makes up about 39.4% of internet users and 33.8% of the total population. Voice apps and assistants are gaining popularity due to its ease of use.
A lot of organizations are working on using AI and ML to make customer support automated. This means that there will be no more humans answering the phones or replying to chats. A basic version is already in practice which is the IVR. In the near future, there will be smart voice support applications that will listen to the customers and resolve their issues without human interference. This will also reduce the waiting time to talk to a support executive from the organizations. Again a great example of efficiency and speed.
For more information check out this video:
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It is a new publishing format by Google which is a more efficient way to develop and release app. App bundle helps to reduce your app size and deliver features on demand. Earlier, android operating system used android packaging kit (APK) to distribute and install applications on a device. These applications are downloaded by users across the world on various devices. These devices have different configurations and language inputs. To meet all the users demands, the application becomes bulky as all the features are to be downloaded.
Android App Bundle is a zip archive with .aab extension. It contains codes and resources for all the devices that the app supports. Google Play handles signing and generation, once it is uploaded for publishing. In app bundle, dynamic delivery is used to generate an optimized APK for users, based on their device configuration.
Benefits of .aab
The key benefit of android app bundle is that it the developers need to write less code to push the app in Play store. The users save space in their device by saving a small size APK. App bundles can use uncompressed native libraries in android 6.0 and up, that are stored in the APK instead of the users device. This lowers the download size and the size on disk. It serves users with functions they need on demand, instead of installing all the functions at one go. We don’t need to build and publish multiple APKs, therefore, app bundle also simplify the built and release management.
How Android App Bundle works
Android delivers APKs with the required resources using split APK mechanism. Google Play uses this mechanism to split large apps into smaller APKs, as per the device requirements.
According the Google, there are 3 types of APKs:
a) Base APK: This is the first mandatory APK to be installed. It contains the basic requirements for the application. This APK contains codes and resources that other split APKs can provide. Only the base APK’s contains full declaration of your app’s services, permissions, platform version providers and dependencies of system features. It is important that all codes and resources included in this module are included in the base APK.
b) Configuration APK: It contains specific data, based on the device requirements. Configuration APK is generated by Google Play from the app bundle that is uploaded to the store. Each of these APKs includes native libraries and resources for a specific screen density, CPU architecture or language. When a user downloads the app, their device downloads only the specific APKs for that device. You don’t create separate module for configuration APKs. If you use standard practices to organize alternative, configuration specific resources for your base and dynamic modules, Google Play automatically generates configuration APKs for you.
c) Dynamic Feature APK: These are the optional features installed required by the user. Each of these APKs contains code and resources for a feature of your app that is not needed when your app is first installed. Using the play core library, dynamic APKs may be installed on demand after the base APK is installed on the device to provide additional functionality.
Android Application Bundle Format
An Android App Bundle is a file with .aab extension which you can upload to Google Play to support dynamic delivery. App bundles are signed binaries that organize your apps resources into modules. Each of these modules may be generated as separate APKs. Google Play uses the app bundles to generate various APKs that are served to users.
Now you have generated a signed bundle, you can upload your app bundle to the play console.
Testing your .aab file on pCloudy
pCloudy supports .aab format and the user can upload the App Bundle instead of “.apk” to test their app on the device cloud.
Android Application Bundles is a big step forward in the area of application publishing and uploading. It has reduced the size of APK of your application which leads to more download of the application.
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