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Test Automation for Mobile Applications: Best Practices and Tools

by thetechw
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As mobile technology continues to transform the working industry, automation testing for mobile applications has become increasingly important. The rise of mobile devices or smartphones has increased the utilization of mobile applications in many aspects of our lives. However, mobile applications pose unique challenges since they are used on different mobile platforms and must operate on various mobile devices with different sizes, capabilities, and usability. Therefore, in order to ensure optimal performance and usability for users, it is essential for mobile application developers to employ the best practices for test automation. This article will cover various topics such as what is mobile app testing, why mobile app testing is necessary, the challenges of mobile application testing, different types of application testing, and best practices for mobile app testing.

What is Mobile App Testing?

Mobile app testing is the process of verifying certain functional and technical characteristics of a mobile application. It is usually conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and usability of the application before it is released to users. It involves the detection of errors and defects and the verification of user requirements. Mobile apps need to be tested in various ways, including user interface testing, usability testing, compatibility testing, backend testing, and stress testing.

Why is Mobile App Testing Necessary?

Mobile app testing is necessary to ensure that the application is working as expected, is user-friendly, and provides the desired features. In mobile apps, user experience is very important. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the app is running smoothly and properly before it is released to the public. Without proper testing, the app could be full of bugs, errors, and vulnerabilities which can be difficult to fix after the release.

Challenges in Mobile App Testing

Mobile app testing is more challenging than web or desktop testing because of the wide variety of mobile platforms, devices, resolutions, and operating systems. Additionally, constraints such as low battery life, limited memory, and slow data connection can be challenging during mobile app testing. Additionally, testing on physical devices or emulators also involves additional costs and can be quite time-consuming.

Types of Mobile Application Testing

There are four types of mobile application testing, namely:

  • Functional testing: It is used to check whether the application is functioning properly and is meeting the user requirements. 
  • Compatibility testing: It is used to check the application’s compatibility on different mobile platforms, devices, and operating systems.
  • Usability testing: It is used to check if the application is user-friendly and provides a good user experience.
  • Performance testing: It is used to test the application on various conditions such as different network speeds, low battery, memory, etc.
Best Practices for Mobile App Testing

1. Understanding App Usability

The most important part of mobile app testing is understanding how users interact with the app. Much of this involves understanding how user experience specifications for design, animation, audio and video playback, gestures, navigation, and other elements of the interface are implemented. Understanding how an app works and what users would expect from it is a necessary step in ensuring the effectiveness of the app. It is important to gather feedback from users and to use analytics to measure the success of the app. This helps developers improve the user experience and ensure the app is maintained efficiently.

2. Real-Time Device Testing

It is also vital to do regular testing on various mobile devices before releasing a new version of the app. This makes it easier to identify bugs or compatibility issues between platforms, such as operating systems, networks, and hardware. The best way to do this is to have teams of experts simulate real-life user scenarios and use automated monitoring tools to run tests in real-time. This helps to uncover any potential issues that may have been missed during the development process.

3. Monitoring Upgrades in Operating Systems

Lastly, it is important to keep an eye on any new upgrades or changes in the different operating systems the app is running on. This includes any recent changes to app store guidelines and restrictions, as well as any changes to the platform itself. These changes can potentially interfere with the functioning of the app, leading to decreased usability and user experience. In order to keep the app running optimally, it is important to stay up to date on any changes in the operating systems and update the app accordingly.

4. Following the Test Pyramid Principles

The test pyramid consists of the three different types of tests that should be implemented in order to ensure the overall quality of the application. Those tests include unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end tests. Unit tests are concerned with testing the individual components of the application, integration tests check how individual components of the application interact with each other, and end-to-end tests verify the application as a whole. This type of testing approach ensures that all aspects of the application are tested, and any issues are identified in a timely manner.

5. Making Use of Automation Scripting

Making use of automation scripting is another best practice for mobile app testing. Automation scripting is the process of writing scripts for the purpose of automating manual testing tasks. Automated tests can be created for mobile apps in order to simulate user actions and identify any issues with the application. This allows testers to execute tests much faster than manual testing and identify issues that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

6. Utilizing Cloud Services

Cloud services allow testers to access applications and test them on a variety of different devices in order to ensure the application is working properly across multiple platforms. Cloud services also allow testers to test multiple versions of an application at the same time, allowing for more efficient testing and faster results.

7. Collaborating with the Right Stakeholders

The final best practice for mobile app testing is to ensure that all the right stakeholders are collaborating with each other. It is important to make sure that all stakeholders, such as developers, testers, UX designers, and product owners, are on the same page when it comes to the testing process. This ensures that tasks are completed on time, and the application is constantly being tested and improved upon.

Utilizing Mobile Test Automation Tools

Utilizing mobile test automation tools is also important for mobile app testing. These tools allow testers to quickly identify and resolve issues with the application. It also makes the process of creating automated tests faster and more efficient. The usage of these tools can make mobile app testing a much smoother process.

1. Appium

Appium is an open-source tool for the automated testing of mobile applications. It allows users to write tests in any language they are familiar with and execute them against iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. Appium is built on the WebDriver protocol and supports native, web, and hybrid mobile application testing. It provides capabilities like the ability to use device-specific features (such as rotate, multi-touch, etc.), supports numerous devices and simulators, and is compatible with many development frameworks. Appium makes it easy to create and execute tests based on the same codebase, regardless of the platform.

2. Calabash

Calabash is an open-source framework for testing mobile applications. It provides a behavior-driven development (BDD) framework for mobile applications written for iOS and Android. It allows for writing tests in Ruby, Java, or .NET languages and is designed to be easy to set up and use. Calabash also supports data-driven testing, which can be used to create test scenarios that are easy to maintain.

3. Selenium

Selenium is an open-source automation testing tool used for web applications. It is compatible with many browsers like Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari, and it can be used to develop test scripts in programming languages like Java, Python, and Ruby. Selenium has been widely used to test web applications, and it can also be used for mobile app testing. It is capable of driving native, web, and hybrid apps on both iOS and Android, which makes it an ideal choice for convenient and comprehensive cross-platform testing.

4. Test IO

Test IO is a cloud-based platform for manual and automated mobile app testing. It is designed as a one-stop shop for testing mobile applications on Android and iOS devices. Test IO is capable of integrating with existing DevOps tools and provides users access to a library of test cases that can be customized and reused. It also integrates with popular emulators and allows teams to easily track their app testing efforts and collaborate with in-house and remote testers.

5. Xamarin

Xamarin is a platform for cross-platform mobile app development. It provides a comprehensive set of tools for developers to create apps for Android and iOS from a single codebase. It also offers tools for end-to-end testing that allow teams to quickly test apps on hundreds of devices at once. Xamarin Test Cloud is the testing solution for mobile app testing, which integrates with popular cloud providers like Azure, AWS, and GCP for easy scalability. With Xamarin Test Cloud, teams can automate their testing process, track results in real time, and get recommendations on what to test.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important for any organization developing mobile applications to ensure they are following the best practices for mobile app testing. This includes following the test pyramid principles, using automation scripting, utilizing cloud services, utilizing mobile test automation tools, and collaborating with the right stakeholders. Through implementing these practices, organizations can create an effective and efficient testing process that yields reliable outcomes. It is advised to develop mobile apps with the target environment in front of the mind and to use various testing strategies such as manual and automation testing, test first, and shift left approaches.

 

You can use debugging tools and inspect logs to catch errors and defects in the system. To automate your entire testing automation process, you can begin with a free LambdaTest account. The platform lets you accelerate your release velocity with its test automation cloud by offering integrations with several platforms, including Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, and more. LambdaTest is preferred by over 1+ Million teams across 130+ countries and offers instant on-demand access to 3000+ desktop and mobile environments for browser and app compatibility testing.

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