The past weeks have been unparalleled in terms of activity among the mobile developers around mobile device clouds. Personally, I am happy to see Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and numerous other companies are stepping up in delivering open, standards based tools and services from cloud for mobile devs.
We are collaborating with many of the other parts of the mobile dev tool chain, like CI services, testing tool vendors and with hardware vendors to innovate and ease the pain of mobile dev and test. The fragmentation is not easier this year compared to last year, quite the opposite (as the post by Opensignal Labs indicates), so developers need to be equipped with proper tools to deliver high quality apps.
The containerization of services has helped us a lot to reach scalability in tailoring and mass customization of our services. It is safe to say, that using devices from cloud is now becoming mainstream and the amount of the most innovative requests to get access to real hardware is amazing: Every imaginable language, direct device access, custom framework or home brewed tool, all go with the help of containers.
We can create isolated and repeatable dev environments for every request that are synced through the development lifecycle, and isolate the devices from the dev environments. No more any kind of lock-in for some tools or environments, always choose the best of breed.
Continuous deployments: Faster release cycles have become a source of competitive advantage. With containers it is easy to push or pull the relevant images to the right endpoint servers and simplify CI/CD process. Also mocked back-ends are easy with containers. With mock servers devs do not need to talk with IT department to open a VPN access or whitelist IPs to their development back-end.
Also hybrid device clouds are a new trending way to leverage the existing hardware investments already in-house and taking the rest of the required hardware from the cloud. Often customers run their CI process in house and use much wider selection of hardware from cloud few times a week to get confidence on compatibility and functionality on the rest of the end user devices.
In fact, there is no difference for developers; they do not need to worry about where the devices are, as long as they get instant feedback on their code commits. Containerized back-end is deployed to make sure the actual, latest test environment is used. They can use the same CI server/service and just run a different job depending on the target device set. It is mix-and-match of various editions of Testdroid, physically separated, but still getting the same excellent 24/7 support from a real person for both.