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WAP WML Testing

As I was completing intelligent roaming testing, an urgent request came through to test WAP on a new tri-mode AMPS-TDMA-CDPD phone using a WAP gateway being set up by AT&T.

Ericsson R280 with micro-browser and optional chatboard
Ericsson R280 IS-136 TDMA phone with CDPD data and micro-browser with optional chatboard.

The micro-browser on the phone was purchased from Unwired Planet and embedded in the phone unmodified. However, it had just been upgraded and the phone I was to test contained a special build with the updated browser.

The task was to verify the updated browser could access, browse and download from the soon to be live AT&T gateway.

Because the CDPD stack and WAP browser had been purchased off the shelf, testing was to focus on application compatibility with the phone rather than full blown WML and CDPD verification.

The request came so late in the project that I was instructed to skip developing a formal test plan/specification. Another engineer had tested WAP earlier in the project but was on extended vacation out of the country. Since I was just rolling off a prior task and had not been assigned a new task, I got to test WAP functionality.

Using the existing WAP test plan, the WAP Forum's WAP-WML specification and trade publication articles describing popular uses of WAP as a guide, I set about testing.

In testing a user interface, I always first attempted to methodically go through the UI and make sure everything that could work, did work. Depending on the way the phone was provisioned, all UI menu items were seldom if ever available simultaneously so, several passes might be required to enable all functionality and verify it worked at a minimal level.

Then, I would switch to interactions. In the case of the WAP browser, most if not all bugs I found were in the UI and related to the UI not handling phone interactions. For example, I might begin a download and while the download was in progress, attach a tether and attempt to synch the email to MS Outlook.

This was in the days of small black & white displays so downloadable themes and ringtones had not yet hit the scene. never-the-less, trying to retreive something such as a stock quote could take so much time to complete that other interactions could be attempted.

Other interactions would be to receive a call while a download was taking place, to cause signal fade during download etc. Sometimes the UI would leave a display artifact, other times reset the UI and even completely lock up the phone. Never-the-less, if my memory is correct, all problems I found during this testing were phone UI related.

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