Xamarin opens its Test Cloud beta; buys Calabash framework maker

Xamarin opens its Test Cloud beta; buys Calabash framework maker

Summary: Xamarin is inviting testers to kick the tires of its new automated-testing cloud service for mobile developers, which is based on technology from Xamarin's new acquisition -- LessPainful.


Xamarin -- the company enabling developers to use Microsoft's C# and Visual Studio to write native mobile apps for iOS and Android -- is expanding into the testing realm.


On April 16, Xamarin announced it had purchased  LessPainful, the Danish creator of the Calabash cross-platform mobile test-automation framework. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Xamarin plans to keep the LessPainful office in Denmark and plans to hire additional employees there, officials said.

Xamarin also announced today, on the opening day of the company's Evolve 2013 conference (sponsored by Microsoft, among others), that it is opening up its beta of the Xamarin Test Cloud, which is based on Calabash.

Calabash was originally a proprietary library for Android. In January 2012, LessPainful decided to open source Calabash. 

The Xamarin Test Cloud is an automated user-interface testing service that is designed to enable mobile developers to test their apps on hundreds of mobile devices. Xamarin's pitch is this kind of service will help developers overcome device silos, letting them test apps on real, non-jailbroken mobile devices.

The Test Cloud is available to developers writing apps using Xamarin's tools, as well as Objective-C, Java, RubyMotion and PhoneGap, Xamarin officials said.

Xamarin has been allowing a select set of testers access the Test Cloud already; today marks the opening of the beta to others interested in kicking the tires. To sign up for the beta, developers can go to the Xamarin Test Cloud page.

General availability of Test Cloud is slated for the third quarter of calendar 2013.

"We asked hundreds of developers which tools they were using for automated UI testing, and only eight percent were doing it at all," said Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman. 

Friedman said Xamarin execs had tried themselves all kinds of mobile testing tools and found them hard to use, with cumbersome UIs, fragile tests and poor integration with integrated development environments. They realized there was a real need for a solution in this space.

In other mobile news today, Microsoft updated its Outlook.com app for Android devices. The Android version of the app now has an overhauled interface (more similar to the Outlook.com UI for Windows 8), plus other new features, including support for conversation threading, filters for unread and flagged mail, as well as the ability to mark messages as junk. The app is available from the Google Play store.

Topics: Software Development, Android, iOS, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Open Source


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • that's no good

    adding M$ proprietary stuff to FOSS stack is unacceptable for the community.
    LlNUX Geek
  • Do you even know who Xamarin are?

    Since you're a "Linux Geek" I assume that you know who Miguel De Icaza is, if not then see Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_de_icaza Whilst he does have a leaning towards Microsoft's open standards he is firmly an open source man at heart. Xamarin by the way has no affiliation to Microsoft.
    Microsoft is a very different company in the development space too which you may not be aware of. Mono was possible because C# is an open spec language just like Java. F# which is a functional language on .NET is open source as is the web MVC framework and Entity Framework which is the database ORM layer. Also it's worth noting that Windows 8 metro apps are the only ones that can be written in JavaScript and HTML5 at the moment, letting you use any number of foss javascript libraries. You sure can't do this on Android or iOS yet (and I'm not counting PhoneGap as it's an HTML shim).
  • Xamarin are showing Microsoft how it could have been

    We have compiled all our XNA/ C# Games onto Android, thanks to Xamarin.

    Microsoft may have dumped .NET and C# in Windows 8 Metro, but we can still use our C# development skills (and Visual Studio) to develop Android Apps now.

    The Windows 8 Store is looking pretty sad now. Thats whats happens when you dump on your Indie Community Microsoft.
    • I'm Confused

      I don't understand your reference to Microsoft dumping .Net and C# in Windows 8... I can use both to produce Windows Store apps if I choose.