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Best Practices For Automating Mobile Testing
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With the penetration of smartphones going on at a breakneck speed, the users’appetite for mobile applications has shown a commensurate increase. This has more to do with the values of convenience, usability, and utility such applications offer to the end users. The landscape of mobile applications has expanded beyond the traditional ecommerce and gaming domains with virtually every business vertical contemplating tapping into the huge user base of smartphone owners. Thus, you see the app stores being flooded with mobile apps of all types – banking, gaming, weather, retail, health, news etc.
All said and done, these mobile apps can pose numerous challenges for their developers. These range from lack of omnichannel compatibility, cost issues, and variations in user skills. The need for a mobile app to have omnichannel compatibility is to ensure its smooth functioning across the touchpoints of device platforms, operating systems, operating conditions, and network configurations. Ultimately the cost factor becomes all important as these mobile apps need to be validated for quality across a slew of devices. To ensure a mobile app functions seamlessly across channels and platforms, it needs to undergo rigorous mobile test automation. The cost of such testing can increase, even more than the development cost owing to reasons –
Mobile automation testing has to validate the functioning of apps on numerous devices and operating platforms.
The tests need to be frequent as operating systems or features often go for multiple upgrades.
The mobile testing services should ensure the apps being tested should deliver high performance and receive high ratings from their target customers. In doing so, let us understand the areas where business enterprises should focus on while going for mobile test automation.
Accessing information, products or services through mobile apps is not going to be an isolated fare, for the digital transformation of businesses would entail integration. Thus, businesses should focus on fine tuning their mobile application testing approach to include web, mobile, and desktop application testing as well. However, it must be borne in mind that mobile application qa testing would not apply to all areas of mobile functional testing. In fact, the level of testing would be based on parameters like the type of testing tool used, the functionality of use cases, and the type of application etc.
Even though businesses are clear about the need to automate the testing process, they are often unclear about the mobile application testing methodology or the specific tool features to embrace. Thus, they end up choosing open source tools like Appium, Robotium, MonkeyRunner, Selendroid, Monkey Talk etc., to test native, web or hybrid applications across Android, iOS, or WindowsOS platforms.
Challenges for businesses to choose an automation tool
Tools based on multiple architecture – cloud or emulator based
Every tool claims to be the best in the industry
Varying price range – free to premium
Not enough firsthand information for testers to understand the features or select the criteria for testing
Best practices for automating mobile testing
Let us now discuss the best practices that businesses should undertake while automating mobile testing.
Cost estimation: Automation of testing mobile applications should begin with cost estimation. It should include the measure of efforts to set up the test environment, test script creation and execution, validate the critical requirements, integration of third-party tools, review/rework, and log defects among others.
Automation tool selection: This is arguably the critical part of any mobile application testing approach. The automation tool should have a robust recording and replay feature and the ability to integrate third-party tools. Moreover, the tool should be able to execute test cases on both simulators and devices. Importantly, simulators are used to check the functionality of mobile applications by virtualizing users. Choose a tool that works on a majority of app types and operating systems and know about any possible compatibility issues. Do not go for a tool that does not provide for an interface to modify the script, for the tester needs to make frequent changes based on the changing user scenario.
Ensure performance, load, stress, and security testing: A robust app should be able to handle load up to a specific threshold. The automated testing exercise should verify the performance of the app in terms of its ability to handle the load. This can pre-empt issues that can lead to a bad user experience. It can check out for glitches or vulnerabilities that may reside in third-party apps, for they have the potential to derail the performance of the app.
The automation of mobile testing entails practices that check for a range of parameters including the choice of tools, ability to record and log defects, conduct simulation for test users and provide a platform to write test scripts using a known programming language.
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