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WP7 internet testing tips

June 17, 2011

When your phone is plugged into your dev machine or your using the emulator connected to the internet you really are testing in best case scenario when it comes to internet connectivity. In real life I find it is usually the reverse scenario where your reception will change from H,3G,E down to an almost unusable GPRS and sometimes non existant signal all within the space of a few mintues as you transit around town and when going rural don’t expect any signal for longer than any network timeout you can imagine.

Here’s a couple of ways to test your app under real conditions.

– use it the whole way to work. On the bus, on the metro, in the car because these are the places users will use, make sure it handles no internet connection gracefully.

– In your local coffee shop or tea room, but go to the back corner where internet fades in and out, you know spot its where no one is sitting using their phone as you can’t surf the net without a few annoying dropouts.

– The best way to simulate a slow GPRS connection however while trying to debug in visual studio is unplug your machine from the internet and turn off any WiFi on your dev machine and phone. Then goto your phone settings and turn off the 3G option, this will force the phone to revert to GPRS on your data plan. Prepare to be amazed by the speed of the snail pace internet, sometimes I wonder if my old 300 baud modem is much slower.

Moral of the story, test your app every day for at least 2 weeks before you release not connected to you laptop. Every app you release, you should be using every day and you will pick up the bugs and annoyances before users give you bad reviews.

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