Facebook today addressed three challenge areas that make it hard for developers to build apps on the mobile web: app discovery, browser fragmentation, and payments. As part of the second one, Facebook released Ringmark, a new mobile browser test suite, which it developed with open web technology company Bocoup. Facebook will soon open source it, publish it on GitHub, and donate it to the W3C.
The test suite for mobile browsers helps you, the developer, understand which mobile browsers support the functionality your app needs, such as orientation lock for games or camera functionality for social apps. Facebook says it is comprehensive, fair, and tests the feature sets which developers really need.
The rings are similar to how software versioning works: each ring has a comprehensive list of tests in order to test the features in each ring. Ring Zero represents the base functionality that most mobile phones have today. Ring One represents what functionality is needed to unlock the most common apps that developers want to build: 2D games, music and video apps, and camera apps. From there on, each subsequent ring represents a slice of features that will unlock the next generation of mobile web apps, based on developer necessity.
The Ringmark suite already contains over 400 tests, and more will be added over time. These will include ones that measure performance under heavy use and improved functional tests that prove features really work as they should. Tests are grouped into modules by W3C specification, and written using QUnit's assertions, with a simple fixture if necessary. Tests for individual modules can be run atomically, and the actual Ringmark site is just a specially built flavor of output for the entire test suite.
Facebook says Ringmark is a work in progress and the company is looking for feedback via the Facebook Page. Once it's open source, Facebook hopes you'll contribute to Ringmark as well.
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