In early 2023, approximately 5.44 billion individuals were using mobile phones, representing 68 percent of the global population. No wonder, these days, businesses have started investing in building mobile apps for their systems to entice more customers. Rightly so, mobile devices have become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. One can do anything on their mobile device, from ordering food and paying bills to booking travel tickets. With all the focus on mobile apps, you can imagine the expected quality of these applications, with an emphasis on finding novel ways to satisfy customers, develop those features, and test them.
When it comes to testing these rapidly evolving applications over such versatile platforms, having an automation framework in place is helpful. Let’s take a quick look at the process of testing mobile apps and some popular tools that help you achieve this.
Types of tests to automate
Similar to automation testing on any other application, the test suite can be flaky and burdensome to manage if not planned carefully. Hence, you need to pick out the right scenarios for automation. You can start by testing at the three primary levels –
Unit Testing – These tests are meant to look at the smallest code units and ensure they work. This is a fast way to test parts of your application.
Integration Testing – When multiple modules are interacting with one another, testing this interaction is essential as these areas are more prone to errors.
End-to-end testing – Performing these UI-based tests is a great way to validate user journeys. Since mobile applications can be fragmented across OSs and devices, having these test cases in place will help.
More scenarios to look at while testing
While testing at the above three levels gives us a fair idea of the quality of our application, let’s also consider the nuances that might arise, particularly with mobile applications.
Operating system – Mobile applications can be native or hybrid. With the variety of devices and OS versions in the market, it becomes tricky to be sure whether your application will work on all of these platforms or not. Hence, you have different simulators and emulators that help mimic all these cross-browser and cross-platform combinations for testing.
Device size or form layout – Here, we are talking about the screen size, whether it is a small 3.5-inch mobile screen or a tablet of 8.5 inches or larger. How your application is rendered on these different devices is crucial for determining the success of your application.
Location-based scenarios – If your application requires GPS, then testing those scenarios is essential, too. Consider an example where your application is supposed to provide services for booking cabs. Here, you will need to ensure that scenarios like location detection based on ‘current location’ are working and that real-time location is used to determine the arrival time.
Situations affected by connectivity – The essence of mobile phones is to allow you to work on the go. It is thus quite possible that you may face issues where your network bandwidth fluctuates, or you are in airplane mode or offline. In such situations, how your application should behave is another crucial factor to consider.
Some tips to ensure good quality mobile testing
Based on your needs, you can pick from various mobile testing tools. However, you can consider some of these points when going through them.
Consider the form layout of the devices you intend to support
If your application is not responsive on tablets but is supposed to be, then pick a tool that helps you handle this test scenario.
Test on both real and virtual devices
When it comes to testing mobile applications, emulators and simulators make it easy to check all the different platform permutations. However, if you only go with these virtual devices, there’s a chance that you might miss out on situations that the end user will face when using the application on an actual device.
Is your tool using the cloud or on-premise resources for testing? It is convenient to have a cloud-based testing platform as it comes with more features and flexibility.
Integration with other frameworks
Choosing a testing tool that integrates with other frameworks and tools will be beneficial. For example, if you want to build a testing ecosystem, your automation testing tool should work smoothly with your CI/CD and issue management frameworks like Jira.
Mode of creating test cases
Based on your team’s skillset, you can choose a testing tool that requires no coding, low coding, or entirely depends on coding. Most modern automation tools offer no-code capabilities to ensure that your team can leverage the benefits of automation testing without getting entangled in the complex technicalities of the tool, like learning a programming language.
Here, you can learn more about codeless automated testing.
Popular mobile testing tools
Let’s look at some of the popular mobile testing tools available in the market.
testRigor is an AI-powered, cloud-based automation testing tool. You can create tests for your mobile application in plain English using this no-code test automation tool. It can test both Android and iOS mobile applications, be it a pure native or hybrid application, even if hybrid applications might contain iframes or shadow DOMs. The best part about this tool is that it uses AI-backed self-healing capabilities to reduce test maintenance overhead to a bare minimum, allowing your testers to focus on the test suite’s quality. Know more about applications of generative AI in test automation.
You can rely on testRigor to give you the most stable test runs and facilitate easy collaboration between technical and non-technical team members. The tool integrates with other frameworks, like BrowserStack or JIRA, to broaden your test process. Depending on your needs, you can choose from this tool’s free and paid versions.
Here, see the top features of testRigor.
XCUITest is an automated UI test framework developed by Apple for performing iOS testing. You can leverage the XCUITest framework to achieve fast and reliable feedback on code changes. With XCUITest, no installation is required, and it supports testing native iOS language, easy collaboration between developers and testers, and faster, reliable, and non-flaky test execution. You can write automated UI tests using the XCUITest framework with Swift or Objective-C programming languages. The Xcode UI test recorder enables test code generation and UI recording that you can use as a base, make code tweaks, and write test cases effectively. XCUITest framework also supports CI for automated app testing.
Espresso is an open-source Android automation testing framework that Google developed. It is known to offer high-performance, concise, and reliable tests. This tool lets you quickly write your test cases without worrying about the application’s infrastructure. You can write your test scripts in both Java and Kotlin programming languages and test native and hybrid views of your application. It also comes integrated with Google’s Android Studio. Some great features of Espresso are that it automatically syncs with user-interface elements and test actions, has simple and lightweight APIs that offer support for unit testing and black-box testing, and also tests Java and JUnit native applications.
Robotium is an open-source testing framework for Android. With the support of Robotium, you can write functional, system, and acceptance tests spanning multiple Android activities. Robotium tests can be run on both an emulator and a mobile device. It can be used to test applications where the source code is available and applications where only the APK file is available.
Selendroid is a test automation framework used to test Android native and hybrid applications (apps) and the mobile web. Tests are written using the Selenium 2 client API. Selendroid can be used on emulators and real devices and can be integrated as a node into the Selenium Grid for scaling and parallel testing. The use of Selendroid requires knowledge of Selenium. The tool can simultaneously interact with multiple Android devices (emulators or hardware devices) and supports gestures.
UI Automator is an open-source testing framework provided by Google for automating the testing of user interfaces in Android applications. It supports cross-app testing, event simulation, assertions, and integration with other frameworks. UI Automator scripts are typically written in Java or Kotlin and interact with the Android device or emulator through the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Test scripts can be run on physical devices as well as emulators, which allows for a broad range of testing scenarios.
With LambdaTest, you can create and run automation tests for mobile apps on simulators, emulators, and real devices. Using their services, you can also test your Android and iOS mobile apps manually. Writing tests here is easy thanks to their intuitive interface that tries to simplify test creation through interactive steps and test case recording. Depending on your project requirements, you can select from their free and paid plans.
Xamarin.UITest is a cross-platform mobile app testing framework developed by Xamarin, a subsidiary of Microsoft. It is designed for automation testing of mobile applications on Android and iOS platforms using C# and .NET, making it a valuable tool for mobile app developers and testers who want to ensure the quality and reliability of their apps. You can perform cross-platform testing, create scalable tests, use its REPL tool for real-time interactions and UI elements, and use the Xamarin Test Cloud to further scale testing.
Detox supports gray-box testing, meaning the tester partially understands the internal structure of the system under test.
It is worth noting that a slight lag or functionality issue in your mobile app or website is enough to send your mobile application’s users to a competitor app. Having a seamless user experience with your mobile application is critical to ensure that your application stands out in the market.
You can choose from the abovementioned tools to ensure top-quality testing based on your needs, application specifications, team skills, and budget. Thorough and continuous testing using intelligent test automation solutions such as testRigor can aid you in gaining sure success.