Archive for the ‘Mozilla’ Category

Mozilla Mobile QA (Firefox for Android) and AppThwack

Here at Mozilla, we’re always looking and investing in different ways that our mobile related testing efforts and strategies can evolve and expand into new avenues as Firefox for Android mature as a product. We’re always engaged in seeking out different yet worthwhile services and tools that can integrate into our regular QA process.

Whilst we continue to operate as a small team (Mobile QA for Firefox on Android is about two-full time employees); we’re seeking all the help we can get whether it be from community or from those who have created services and utilities to assist mobile QA efforts.

We react in seeking solutions by continuing to identify and respond to problems. In identifying our areas of contention, we still see Android device fragmentation and access on-demand to Android devices as major paint-points of Android testing. To administer any type of soluton would involve boasting and utilizing the services and assistance from others. Currently we use DeviceAnywhere for one-off direct device testing; but we desired a service that targets automation.  

A couple months ago we stumbled upon AppThwack, a service that manages mobile application and fragmentation issues by deploying uploaded Android Package (APK) files and deploying (installation) on real Android based phones and tablets. The devices are hosted and interfaced through web front-end that makes it easy to view and extract results ran from automated tests (currently self-written and provided MonkeyRunner tests are available, and on-track towards deploying Robotium and possibly in the near future Mozilla based Robocop tests). Alongside, screen-shots are provided from multiple device orientations which make it usful for identifying any user-interface issues. A test-run takes a couple minutes and any data collected may be bundled and downloaded together to deploy towards any new Bugzilla bug for track-keeping.

Currently, we are utilizing their service for testing Firefox for Android builds during our rapid release Beta cycle and are looking at different strategies of integration for the other channels within our cycle.

If you would like to see what a test-run looks like click here.

Site Compatibility Testing for Firefox for Android

The Mozilla Developer Network has recently accepted an excellent informational article written by Jason Smith, Lawrence Mandel, and Janet Swisher essentially entailing the largely problematic issue of browser and content compatibility with the mobile web. If you are interested in site testing for Firefox for Android, please give the article a read; and help us improve the web. Let us know if you have any questions about compatibility testing or want to become involved in Mozilla’s mobile web compatibility effort, please sign up for the mailing list.

Debug preference for testing H.264/MPEG-4 AVC in Firefox for Android

Nightly for Android has recently adapted a new about:config preference for using and more-so testing Android H.264/MPEG-4 AVC decoding. The preference is media.stagefright.omxcodec.flags

Utimately, this preference allows one to override whether Firefox uses Android’s H.264/MPEG-4 AVC software or hardware decoder. As Chris Peterson mentions in the same announcement, this is useful for debugging different configurations and conveinent for testing.

Flags values to note:


  • 0 – Android will use either hardware or software decoding (default)
  • 8 – Force software decoding
  • 16 – Force hardware decoding


Reference: OMXCodec::CreationFlags