With the mobile revolution, there are increased challenges in the testing world. Mobile apps need to be robust before they are launched in the market. Consequently, aspects such as supporting multiple operating system versions, cross-platforms, usability, networks, data usage, and in-built native features are some of the common aspects in terms of testing mobile apps. Considering such a vast ecosystem of mobile applications, test automation is the most appropriate approach to ensure increased test effectiveness, increased testing efficiency, and faster time to market. Some of the most common testing tools used for mobile test automation are Appium, Frank, iOS UI Automation, Robotium, and Selendroid. However, mobile test automation does not mean only the selection of the right tool and technology. There are several other aspects which need to be considered while choosing the automated mobile testing as the choice of testing methodology. Let us look at the few of those –
The primary aspect to be considered is the cost factor which includes timelines, the available bandwidth of the testers with the appropriate skill set, IT infrastructure, automation tools, and training. A thorough analysis of the ROI needs to be done. Automation testing no doubt helps to reduce efforts as once the test cases have been developed they can be rerun without the need for manual effort. The time saved in this process is directly proportional to the cost saved. Test automation also allows the testing to be done in parallel. Fixing the issues earlier saves a lot of development time.
Scope of Tests
Another important aspect is the scope or coverage of the automated tests. Complex automated tests, if developed with the right approach, can contribute significantly to the overall quality of the app being delivered and also to the time to market. Test case coverage must not be just restricted to application functionality but also cover areas like database tables, memory usage, etc., to name a few. Testers should focus on creating new automation tests rather than just automating the manual test cases. There is no point in aiming for 100% automation because, at times, it makes sense to choose partial automation over complete test automation.
Proof of Concept
One of the best practices for any organization is to start with a proof of concept (POC) rather than jumping onto a full-fledged implementation. This helps to mitigate the risks related to the failure of implementing the automation test strategy. This will also help to identify if a single tool can serve the purpose or there is a need to evaluate additional tools to meet the cross-platform and multi-device automation goals.
Selecting The Right Tools and Technologies
The choice of automation tools used is also a key factor in the success of automation testing strategy. Look for features such as multi-device, cross-platform support, ease of integration with other tools, and ease of implementation. The automation tools should also allow testing specific areas such as interruption and battery state changes. While open-source tools do not have upfront license cost, the use of those tools could require specialized expertise and, therefore, higher incur resource costs. While making the decision about the tools and technologies, organizations should consider all such factors.
Use of Cloud-based Automation Tools
When using the cloud-based automation tools, the overall costs such as per-user licensing, hardware costs, operating expenditure, and depreciation related costs can be dramatically reduced. Cloud-based tools are reusable and scalable which make them perfect candidates for performance and load testing scenarios. They also have an added advantage for organizations with teams spread across multiple locations. Testers can execute the tests from different locations as well as have access to test results and reports at a centralized place.
To conclude, while test automation can be highly effective in mobile app testing, the principles of test automation are quite different from those applied traditionally to conventional web applications. Mobile app testing has additional layers of complexity because of devices, toolsets, environments, and test coverage. A successful automation strategy involves in-depth planning, a highly customized approach, and flawless execution. Following certain best practices, using the appropriate toolsets, and following a comprehensive approach, organizations can yield great cost and time reductions in the app development lifecycle.