Free Software – Or Maybe Not?

So, I finally decided to splash out on some new Movie Maker or Video Editing software. Like most people probably would I opted to do a spot of research before I committed. I would rather have good free software if I can get it but I am also prepared to pay for it if required.

Anyone having gone through this painful exercise before will appreciate how time consuming it is. Firstly you have to beware of all those helpful folk who creatively explain how wonderful this or that software is – usually under a title such as “Top Free Video Editors” or “Best Free Movie Editing Programs” or similar enticing titles which ultimately end up with a bias write up and a referral link to the provider through their commission account URL.

Sometimes it becomes quite clear that the writer has not even bothered to download and use the software. When they have used the software the bias is often always towards their best commission provider. This does not bother me too much.

What does bother me is the blatant advertising of products under the banner of “Free Software” which you either have to download to find that half the features do not work unless you opt for the full upgrade or when they imply “Free” they were referring to the 30 day trial.

Suffice to say that we all end up downloading tons of useless software only to have to uninstall it all again. I have made a conscious decision to no longer look at the free software unless it comes by recommendation. It simply is not worth all the trouble, deceit and broken promises.

Seriously, life is too short. If you want something then go straight to the branded products where the price is clearly stated, the support outlined in writing, and if anything is dubious then move on to the next big player. At least the branded goods have reputations they can ill afford to lose if they get things wrong.

We have all spent hours struggling with this install or that install which for one reason or another refuses to do what it is supposed to do. Our computers are all configured differently and we have a variety of programs of which any one could be causing a conflict with the new install. This is accepted. This is the norm.

However, when you are stuck, and you have reached the point where your PC is about to become airborne, you will think about contacting support and you will want that support to be there when you call.

Real Devices Vs Emulators

To check the mobile applications and programs, the testers can use both real devices and emulators. The procedure of product testing on actual devices demonstrates the real behavior of the app utilized by the end users.

Emulators are not real devices. They just imitate the main features of the mobile software. Emulators should be installed on PC or mobile device. Besides that, the specialists can also use simulators – virtual devices. There are several differences between simulators and emulators.

How Do Simulators Differ from Emulator-Based Testing?

  • Development language. Simulators are created in the languages of a high level. Emulators – in the assembly language of a machine-level.
  • Debugging. It may be rather difficult to use simulators for debugging, and emulators are more suitable for this purpose.
  • Replacement of the original software. Simulators submit the software only partially, and emulators can submit it totally.
  • Simulators are oriented to testing of the external behavior of the product, while emulators – to the internal behavior.
  • Simulators are designed to simulate the internal state of the product, while emulators – imitate the outer behavior.

Often, there are such situations when the usage of emulators/simulators is more convenient than the testing on real devices. For example, the deadline is coming and there is not enough time to buy a real device or it is impossible to get it in a short period time. In such a case, the emulators are the way out.

Besides that, it is impossible to get every model of the mobile device required for testing (especially, when the budget is limited). Emulators help to save money and time. Usually, they are free of charge and to use them, it is necessary just download the emulator and run it.

Emulators are more suitable for web testing, as one should only cope-past the URL of the developed application to launch it. And for testers, it is easier to make the screenshots of the detected errors on emulators.

But the main disadvantage of emulator-based testing is that emulators cannot imitate the issues of the product battery. Moreover, it is impossible to simulate various interruptions, e.g. incoming calls, notifications, messages, etc.

It is rather difficult to imitate the full performance capacities of the product. Usually, they are lower than the original software has. But the mobile devices have their own minuses.

What Are the Cons of Real Devices?

  • The price of modern mobile devices is really high.
  • The number of available mobile devices – their models and OS version – is large. It is impossible to have a device of every type and model.
  • During unit testing, it is difficult to connect the real devices with the IDE.
  • Sometimes the USB port that connects the real device and machine does not work properly. Thus, the test results will not be correct.

Despite all pluses and minuses, the choice of emulator or real device should be based on thorough analysis of product peculiarities, deadlines, available budget and resources.

To perform mobile testing, desktop testing or web site testing efficiently these methods should be adjusted for each company and each project. QATestLab is independent, offshore software testing company located in Kiev, Ukraine. QATestLab performs testing of products on each stage of software development cycle.