Tools – Introducing STF

Device Management Tool

 
STF enables users to control devices from a browser in the same way as they could if they were in their own hand. From it’s own website openstf.io it allows you to:

  • Forget having to pick up physically a device ever again. No more learning where the buttons are, or where the power cord goes.
  • Remote control any device in realtime, using your mouse and keyboard. Or even your own smartphone.
  • Manage inventory. See which devices are connected, and who is using which device. Search devices by any specification.
  • No app installation is required as a user. Do realtime testing on more than one device, just from your browser

It’s further functionality includes:

  • Android support from 2.3 including FireOS.
  • Keyboard and mouse input with Multi-Touch.
  • Copy and Paste both to and from the device.
  • Take screenshots of the device.
  • Drag and Drop APK files and install/launch apps all in one step.
  • Open URLS.
  • Display logs with realtime filtering.
  • Run Shell Commands without leaving the browser.
  • Debug remotely with Android Studio, Chrome Debug Tools as if it was plugged into your computer.
  • Device Rotation.
  • Control multiple devices at once.

Installing npm is easy when wanting to run a local copy or when using docker. Check their github account for more information. Installing without docker is more difficult, we will have a blogpost in the future detailing various installation setups.

To add a device to STF:

  • Attach the device via usb to an STF instance.
  • Enable USB debugging on the phone.
  • Ensure ADB is running on the STF instance computer.

In general I’ve found Open STF to be the best device management tool available. It is fully featured and response times are incredible. It isn’t a magic bullet to your device management problems, it has some limitations and requires solid process around it’s use. A future blogpost will list a process for STF use that we’ve found works well.

Limitations:

  • No iOS support at present. This is planned and being worked on.
  • As it is using screen capture it may miss some on screen device quirks. The responsiveness and general performance of STF should limit these though.
  • Some testing may still require the device to be in a users hand, although organization/application dependant.
  • Your phone will constantly be being charged. This will lead to batteries degrading faster. Luckily STF has a battery monitor built in.

Key Benefits:

  • Ability to see all devices attached to STF.
  • Higher device utilization, less devices needed.
  • No more running around trying to find devices. No more email spam asking where devices are!
  • The experience is almost exactly the same as using the phone in hand.

Improvements:

  • Automation support is somewhat built in, but needs further investigation. In a future post we will detail how to use STF with your automation framework.
  • Notifications should be available when devices are removed and a process in place for allowing a user to take a device off the STF grid.
  • Usage details for phones should be available.

This post was originally posted on InvestingInTesting.com