Mobile Automation Testing Tools: Test Automation For Rapid App Development

As with most development, mobile application development uses an agile way of working. Mobile app testing manually can be repetitive and time-consuming which costs you more time and money at the same time by onboarding more people to do the manual test. In line with sprint-based development, mobile automation testing has increased in popularity among app developers, speeding up their work processes and encouraging better and more robust results.

In order to achieve compatibility between users and devices, the implementation of an agile development process that includes test automation as a part of the process is required. It has been proven that test automation significantly adds value by enabling testing to be done, in parallel with other agile processes— for example, having tests run overnight as a part of Continuous Integration practices. By the next morning, the tests will have been executed and the latest results will be ready for review. Fixing an issue at an early stage can save time and money, allowing developers to finalize the product faster. Moreover, test automation results in better quality applications, with fewer bugs.

Jump to sections

The Implementation of Mobile Automation Testing
Different Approaches for Mobile Native, Hybrid and Web Apps
Selecting Mobile Automation Testing Tools
Open Source Mobile Automation Testing Tools
Appium
Robotium
Enterprise Mobile Automation Testing Tools
SeeTest
Eggplant
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
Calliope.pro
Summary
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Mobile automation testing offers the possibility to test mobile apps in an instant and effective way. After tests have been automated, they can be repeatedly run, with precision and speed. In most cases, this will be the most cost-effective way for the regression testing of software products that have a long maintenance life. There are a lot of mobile automation testing tools for various mobile platforms available, more of which we will cover later in this article.

The Implementation of Mobile Automation Testing

Mobile Automation testing can be a complex task. It requires thorough planning, preparation, and market research for the right tool. All this is necessary for creating the most effective tests that will add value and provide a rapid return on investment. The steps to implement mobile automation test tools are as follows:

  • Research the options – there are many tools on the market, and it is important that software products are evaluated against testing needs and project expectations
  • Identify which tests can and should be automated – clearly determine what is in scope for mobile automation
  • Get the requirements right – formulate requirements for the mobile automation testing and the tools for automation
  • Try a few tools before you chose one – select and evaluate several available and seemingly suitable tools
  • Select the most suitable tool based on your – choose the one (or more) tools based on your results
  • Explain your choice to stakeholders – discuss the chosen automation tool with the other project parties, clarify the reason behind your choice and get approval
  • Proceed to development – framework based mobile automation testing is a good approach, encouraging consistency while making maintenance easier

Different Approaches for Mobile Native, Hybrid and Web Apps

Native and hybrid apps are available from the app stores, whereas web apps are mobile-optimized web pages that look like an app. Both hybrid and web apps use HTML web pages, but hybrid apps use app-embedded browsers to render content, rather than using the browser installed on the device.

Native applications are inherently connected to the hardware and operating systems on which they are running. To meet the challenges of testing for native mobile applications, it is possible to test using emulators and simulators, but it is important to test on the physical devices, supported by the application under test.


Source: EngineerBabu.com | Some to the most popular test frameworks by OS.

There are several advantages of native apps:

  • They offer the fastest, most reliable and most responsive experience to users.
  • They can tap into the wider functionality of the device; including the camera, microphone, compass, accelerometer and use more complex gestures (swipe).
  • Publishers can make use of push notifications, alerting users every time a new content item is published or when their attention is required.

Unlike native mobile development, mobile applications using web technologies can support many mobile platforms. Web apps are sometimes designed to look and behave like apps and can be ideal when the purpose is simply to make content or functionality available on a mobile device, such as where an app is either not a good fit or is too expensive. Web apps use JavaScript, CSS, HTML5 and other languages. Developing a web app can be simple and quick; however, their simplicity is also their downside. Web apps are limited in what they can do effectively in terms of features, and they will generally require an Internet connection to function. They are also slower and less intuitive than native apps. Web apps are designed once for every platform and therefore will not look or behave like a real app on any one device.

Hybrid mobile applications combine the advantages of native and web applications. They are usually quicker to build (therefore, cheaper) and maintain than native apps. However, they could be called a “step-up” from browser-based web apps. The trade-off, however, is that the app will not be as fast as a native app, as it still depends upon browser speed.

The basic test concepts are as follows:

  • Tests work with native controls in hybrid applications in the same way they work with controls in regular mobile applications.
  • Tests work with web controls in a hybrid application in the same way you work with web controls.
  • Native app level tests are performed in the same way when working with Android or iOS applications.

Selecting Mobile Automation Testing Tools

Open Source Mobile Automation Testing Tools

Appium

Appium is a mobile automation test framework that works for all: native, hybrid and mobile-web apps on iOS and Android. Appium is a great choice for test automation frameworks, as it can be used for all these different app types. In essence, Appium derives its roots from Selenium and it uses JSON Wire Protocol internally to interact with iOS and Android apps using Selenium’s WebDriver. It can control Safari and Chrome on mobile devices, allowing for testing on mobile websites via these browsers, which represent much of the market.

Robotium

Robotium is a test framework created to make writing robust automatic UI test cases for Android applications simpler. With the support of Robotium, test case developers can write function, system and acceptance test scenarios, spanning multiple Android activities. Robotium tests can be run on both emulators and devices. Tests created by Robotium are written in Javascript.

Enterprise Mobile Automation Testing Tools

SeeTest

SeeTest performs tests on real devices and on emulators. It creates a test on one device, which can then run other devices, models and operating systems (e.g. Android test runs on iOS). SeeTest plugs into any testing environment – WebDriver (Selenium), HP UFT/QTP, JUnit, Microsoft Visual Studio and Python and other testing environments. Moreover, it can be implemented into any continuous integration environment – HP Quality Center (ALM), JIRA, Jenkins and other continuous integration environments.

Eggplant

Eggplant can naturally conduct mobile app testing using the iOS Gateway and Android Gateway agents, connecting directly to live mobile devices or emulators. This allows it to fully test mobile apps on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and other mobile devices. EggPlant’s unique image-based UI testing approach is the natural way to test user-experience focused mobile applications, and massively reduces the effort of cross-device and cross-platform mobile software testing.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

Calliope.pro

To achieve results, a goal you must be uniform and consistent, in order to provide 100% CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) we also provide excellent automated test reports where you can gather all the valuable information for the team as well as for business stakeholders. Calliope.pro integrates and supports every CI/CD pipeline, for example, GitLab, Jenkins, and Bamboo. Calliope.pro is a dashboard, independent of any test solution, that unifies your test automation results. You can also use it to start and schedule test execution. When working with larger mobile app development teams this kind of clarity and overview can be crucial in keeping the team on track.


 

Summary

Mobile automation testing tools are a solution to a problem faced by mobile app developers: how to produce high quality, robust and reliable software, with the ever-growing complexity of technology while being under massive competitive pressure. Mobile automation testing can be a cost-effective solution to this problem. It can provide the following advantages:

  • Increased efficiency of testing activities
  • Increased effectiveness of running tests
  • Reduced time in bringing an app to market

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