Last week at Google I/O, Google’s developer conference, an important announcement about Facebook was made that’s gone fairly unnoticed (well, All Facebook did notice it). Android now has its very own API to take advantage of the Facebook Graph API, and is callable directly from any Android application. This is very similar to what’s happening with Facebook Connect for iPhone, but technically more sophisticated. The Android library supports the new Graph API, as well as support for authentication through OAuth 2.0. All the things the cool kids are using to build their Facebook apps.
Of course you’re wondering “How does FriendRunner fit into all of this?”. Is there really a need to load test an application that’s running on a mobile device? The answer to that is no! It’s a mobile device – that doesn’t even make any sense. Well…., unless there is also a backend server you run that the Android app talks to. If that’s the case, and you want to test the scalability of your backend server, then using FriendRunner makes loads of sense.
The way we’d imagine this to work is the following: We’d take your Facebook-enabled Android app and instead of loading it onto an Android device, we’d run it with an Android simulator. In fact, we’d run a whole lot of simulators in parallel. They’d all interact with your with your backend server giving it quite a workout, and allowing you to determine whether it would survive in the wild. The FriendRunner goodness comes into play because the Android app also needs to interact with a Facebook server, but typical Facebook load testing rules will apply, which are Don’t Do This. FriendRunner alleviates this problem by allowing the Android app to interact with it instead of a real Facebook server, and so allows a full load test to be run.
So do you think a tool like this would be of value? Does this address issues that mobile developers sometimes find themselves faced with, and would it solve their problems. Leave us a note and let us know what you think.