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Ok, I've developed my Java ME application. Now what?

Posted by maltron on April 25, 2007 at 11:05 AM PDT

I’m pretty sure that developing a Java ME application is an incredible experience. First, because you have to be very clever on fit everything in a very tiny devices, restrained by display resolution and screen size, not much memory and a few ways of input data (usually a numeric keypad or stylus). Second, because once you did the application and you deploy into your device, it’s really feels good taking your application right into your pocket and do something useful. (I particular I loved to show off some application developed by myself, which it’s something that my friends already had in their “heavy” laptops…Sometimes, it’s hilarious).

However, taking this application into the open market and get users to play, it’s totally another story. It really doesn’t matter how simple your application will be, a certain amount of quality is always required (and trust me, you’ll avoid a bunch of problems if you maintain some quality). I guess the most obvious question in your head is:

All right, but how do I keep a good quality in my mobile applications?

Simple answer: Use the 5 “T”’s rule: Test, Test, Test, Test and Test

The need of testing is increasing as devices are getting more powerful and new JSR’s are coming up each year. You check the device specifications of some manufactures, you will realize that for each new functionality, you (as developer) must perform more and more testing in order to give some warranty of the mobile application you’re developing.

Ever since I joined the Mobile and Embedded Community, I was thrilled with the perspective of the cqME Project, which it’s all about testing your application before reaching the end user. If you ever wonder how you could test your application and what kind issues on your application, cqME Project might be the answer to your prays.

Besides having some technology like cqME Project that enables you to help testing your application, something else that I advice and it’s very simple: Take your application out

It sounds a bit weird (specially for geeks like I am) but this is testing work. I’m not saying that you should take your mobile application to the movies, but play with your own application, installed on your phone and use it on a several situations of your daily life. That was something that I did a lot when I wanted to make sure that my application will act as I planned. Most of the times, you’re developing a ME application sitting in chair, looking at your emulator and playing in a environment that it’s by far, totally different from the experience the user will face it.

The first thing you notice when you take your application “in the wild”, you’re going to test the user interface and see if you can get any information with few keystrokes. Sometimes, I’m sure this it will be the first modifications you’re going to make it.

The fun part of testing, it’s that you can do it in so many different situations, such as:

  • When I go to my dentist and I cay test any connectivity (either with Bluetooth or GPRS)

  • When I go out for a dinner, I check if I hear my application play a sound (or even vibrate) due a notification through JSR 205.

I know it may sound a little weird, but all this is necessary.
Perhaps you find some willing users to help you speed up the process. Because, once your application is on the open, it will be hard to know what went wrong on your code.

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