Facebook just did a really good thing for mobile app developers.It has open sourced its new mobile web testing software, Ringmark. Anyone can use it for free and contribute their own tests to it.
The goal of these tests is to help mobile apps run better in mobile browsers using the Web’s next generation browser tech, HTML5.
Today, creators of mobile apps have to create a version for each device — iPhone, Android (by version), and so on.
While this is fine for Apple, Google, Amazon and their app stores, it’s a time sink for the people writing the apps.
HTML5 promises to give mobile apps another option. Apps will run in a mobile browser, not directly on the device.
But because mobile browsers are not all the same, and because HTML5 is very young and still in flux, it’s hard for developers to verify theirs app will run properly in all browsers on all devices.
“The mobile web has great potential, but still needs a lot of work. One of the most frustrating problems was that of fragmentation in mobile browser capabilities and of understanding what’s possible on any given mobile browser,” Facebook’s Matt Kelly wrote in a blog post.
That’s where Ringmark comes in. It lets app makers see how their HTML5 app is working on all different types of browsers. It also lets the browser makers (Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla, Opera) how to beef up their browsers to bring better Web apps to mobile users.