Mobile App Development

How To Test Apps For Smart TV: Top 3 Tips

14th March 2013

This week we’re covering the entire smart tv app development process. We’ve covered the best practices of planning, designing and developing smart tv apps for your company. Today we focus specifically on the testing phase of the smart tv app development process. We’ve explored the importance of understanding the constraints of the UI to develop rich and immersive smart tv apps. Planning and designing apps for smart tv involves iterating design concepts and testing on real devices to achieve best results. Understanding best practice for your companies smart tv app development project requires comprehensive web technology skills and an understanding of the low-level technical stuff. Like any app development project, designing apps for smart tv requires a thorough and rigorous pre-production phase and extensive planning to minimise commercial and technical risk.

Today’s blog focuses purely on the testing phase of the smart tv app development process. We’ve already looked at the constraints associated with the smart tv CPU and browser capabilities. We’ve also explained the breadth and scope of the opportunities available for companies seeking to deploy rich content to smart tv platforms through app development. Testing for smart tv apps requires comprehensive testing and a thorough QA process to ensure optimised execution and delivery to your desired market place and platform. Again we’ve asked our resident technical developers to shed some light on the testing process to achieve best results when developing apps for smart tv. Let’s hear what they have to say…

Define A Process For Testing Smart TV Apps

Developing apps for smart tv requires iterative process using target SDK’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Both LG and Samsung actually provide vendor level IDE’s, with the smart tv alliance providing one too. Similarly, both LG and Samsung provide SDK’s with their IDE’s but the smart tv alliance does not yet have an SDK. Be aware of this when defining a testing process for your smart tv app. Your testing process should enable you to develop your code in the IDE, run it in the emulator of the platform and periodically package the app and run it on a smart tv device. You can also conduct your testing in a webkit based browser.

When Developing Smart TV Apps Focus on QA

Much like any software development project, developing high performance apps for smart tv requires a focus on QA. When developing apps for smart tv, testing can be a little more laborious than developing apps for mobile platforms like iOS and Android. Mobile platforms tend to provide a more streamlined testing process for your app. This is because mobile IDE’s tend to provide direct device debugging and mature simulator environments. Smart tv emulators are less mature and direct device debugging tends to be more cumbersome. LG tv actually requires app signing to run the app on the device which can be frustrating. One way to get around this, is to sign one app and then just replace the contents of its web directory when you update rather than signing the development builds each time. TV remote debugging is done over the network rather than a cable to connection to the computer. Also some vendors debuggers only run on certain operating systems at this time. However, future cross-platform support is planned.

Take A Comprehensive Approach When Testing Smart TV Apps

Again this could apply to any software development project. Taking a comprehensive approach when testing is always important when focusing on QA. here are some tips for testing smart tv apps:

– Keep ALL issues logged in a centralised bug database

– Use decent version control to track fixes with builds

– Don’t assume the emulator will be 100% consistent

– Expect poor performance and focus on optimisation once problems have been solved

– Use browser profiling tools if the IDE’s tools are inadequate when identifying bottle necks

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to testing apps for smart tv. Tomorrow we’ll focus specifically on deployment and launching your smart tv app to your chosen marketplace. We’ve had some phenomenal feedback this week from companies seeking to develop apps for smart tv. Here at Waracle we’re working on some exciting smart tv app development projects that we can’t wait to share with you. We’re also extremely busy, as always, developing high performance apps for a range of platforms. If your business or brand is looking to develop an app for smart tv, contact a member of our team today.

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