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AWS Device Farm broadens appeal with Web app support

AWS users who didn't have an interest in the AWS Device Farm before are intrigued by an important new feature.

The AWS Device Farm could get an influx of new customers, thanks to a new feature revealed this week.

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Device Farm allows application testing on a farm of mobile devices maintained by Amazon in one of its West Coast data centers, which developers can remotely access.

Until this week, that testing could only be done on native iOS and Android applications that run on the mobile device itself, rather than apps accessed through a Web browser; now, the service expands to include Web apps as well.

IT pros expect the tool to reduce mobile app dev pains.

"One of our products has the ability to do video ads that run in a mobile Web browser, and, typically, at least on iOS for any video, they don't autoplay," said James Young, CTO at VidRoll LLC, an ad tech company based in Santa Monica, Calif. "Testing and all the mechanics around mobile Web ads ... is painful."

Kevin Felichko, CTO of, an online auction company based in Frederick, Md., expects to test it out as part of a Web-design project.

"We're building a responsive website, and if you can only test on one or two devices that you have locally, it can be kind of frustrating -- especially when you get a support request from someone who is using [a device] that you don't have access to," Felichko said.

The Web app testing in the AWS Device Farm uses Appium as a test framework, which analysts said is becoming the standard in the market, but Felichko said he'd also like to see behavior-driven device-testing frameworks like Cucumber included.

Mobile testing is becoming more important, as mobile devices and apps proliferate, according to Jason Wong, analyst at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn. Amazon is competing here with pure-play vendors, such as Perfecto Mobile Ltd., which partners with Amazon nemesis Microsoft. Google also bought a tool called Appurify, and Oracle acquired CloudMonkey, which makes MonkeyTalk and is considered an alternative to Device Farm's Appium.

Expect Amazon to continue pushing the envelope with AWS Device Farm as well, said John Jackson, analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., beyond standard mobile devices to standalone connected wearable devices, which don't depend on a host phone for connectivity or app logic.

"It's good to see that a complex service like this is extensible enough to accommodate demand for alternative testing scenarios, because today's corner cases are tomorrow's mainstream practices," Jackson said.

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for SearchAWS. Write to her at [email protected] or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.  

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