Mobile automated testing has been a godsend to our team. It allows us to test mobile apps without coordinating live or manual tests.
Automated testing specifically refers to a piece of software that will interact with an app according to some defined test cases. It’s a great way to automate repetitive, but necessary tasks, and is very useful for regression testing, or making sure that old functionality still works correctly after new changes.
For any mobile developer, testing is a critical component of continuous delivery. Automation makes your life easier by prompting instant tests whenever you make code changes to the source code repository. Even if your organization does not follow a continuous delivery process, automated testing is still a useful tool for measuring app functionality. When paired with specific manual testing, it provides a holistic approach to app testing.
Image source: Mobile Labs
Top Benefits of Automated Mobile Testing
1. Consistency – you can expect the same instructions to be executed 100% of the time, since the test is being performed through software and computers.
2. Speed – many times, a computer is faster than a human
3. Increased productivity – the person who previously had to issue and monitor human tests is now free to do other tasks
4. Simultaneous testing – you can now run tests on multiple devices at the same time, either locally or in the cloud
There are also some cons, such as:
1. Initial development cost – code will need to be written to actually execute the test cases, as opposed to manual testing where the test cases are executed by a person interacting with the device.
2. Effort to maintain – the test code might need to be changed as the app is updated over time
3. Personnel training – some testers may need to learn how to code, or have a developer help them write the code to automate testing
Different Types of Testing Frameworks
There are many automated testing frameworks out there, and some are even cross-platform. This means that they can be used on both iOS and Android. Among them, two of the most popular are Appium and Calabash.
Image source: Testdroid
Here at MetroStar, we prefer to use Calabash framework because of its tight integration with the Xamarin Test Cloud, which allows us to test our apps on many different iOS and Android devices.
Calabash is an open-source framework that works together with the Cucumber testing framework and the Gherkin language to allow us to write test cases that are easy to read for everyone on the team. Calabash code is written in Ruby, which is widely regarded as a very easy-to-learn language. Calabash also allows us to interact with the app using a wide variety of gestures such as touch, swipe, and scroll. It also allows us to take screenshots at any time, so that we can see what was being displayed on the screen whenever a test fails.
How We Use Automated Testing
Testing is very important for us here at MetroStar and we integrate throughout our app development process. Usability testing techniques such as A/B testing and eye-tracking are employed as early as the design phase, ensuring our apps provide a great user experience for our users.
Throughout the development phase, our developers use a combination of different devices, emulators, and simulators to make sure we provide the same great experience to users no matter their device or operating system version. Additionally, we are currently in the process of integrating our automated testing practices into our continuous delivery process, helping us deliver better apps faster.
Need help testing, building, or improving your app? Chat with us!