Automating the test execution

The decision to automate test execution can significantly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of mobile application testing. By choosing the right automation approaches and frameworks, application testers can optimize their testing process, depending on the type of application being tested.

In-Depth Look at Test Automation Approaches

Two primary test automation approaches can be employed in mobile application testing:

This approach leverages the user-agent identifier sent by the browser to simulate a specific browser on a particular device. It is ideal for testing mobile web applications, as it allows testers to emulate various device-browser combinations without the need for physical devices.

In this approach, the application under test is run directly on the device. It is suitable for all types of mobile applications, including native, hybrid, and mobile web applications. This method provides a more accurate representation of the end-user experience, as it tests the application on the actual device.

Choosing the Right Test Automation Framework

The type of application being tested can influence the choice of test automation framework. For example, mobile web applications can be tested using conventional web automation tools, while native apps may require specialized tools tailored to their unique requirements.

To automate software testing effectively, approaches used for traditional applications can often be applied to mobile applications as well. These methodologies include capture/playback, data-driven, keyword-driven, and behavior-driven testing. These techniques provide a range of options for automating test execution, depending on the application’s complexity and the specific testing needs.

Understanding Methods to Automate Software Testing

For successful test automation, application testers must be familiar with the automation script recording or creation process and how to interact with the application’s graphical objects. Several methods for identifying graphical objects are employed in mobile testing automation, including:

This technique involves comparing screenshots of the application with a baseline image to identify differences and detect issues.

  • Optical character recognition (OCR) is used to identify and extract text from images, allowing testers to verify text-based elements within the application.

This approach involves identifying objects within the application based on their properties and attributes, allowing for more targeted and accurate testing.

UX and Test Scripting

Manual scripting is often necessary to refine recorded scripts for improved readability and maintainability. Full GUI-based testing can be achieved without the need for scripting, streamlining the testing process and reducing the potential for errors.

Execution Speed Considerations

The execution speed of test automation can vary depending on the method used. Native tools provided by system manufacturers tend to be faster than image/OCR comparison, as they do not require pixel-by-pixel comparison with a baseline image. However, the need for this comparison can slow down the overall testing process.

Maintenance and Test Script Quality

The maintenance effort required for automated test scripts depends on their quality. Application testers primarily use maintenance to provide updated baseline images, ensuring the accuracy and relevance of test results.

Evaluating Automation Tools

To create effective test automation solutions, test automation teams must select the right tools that align with both organizational and technical requirements. When evaluating test automation tools, consider these two categories:

This includes aspects such as cost, vendor support, ease of integration, and alignment with company culture.

Technical considerations include compatibility with the application under test, ease of use, functionality, scalability, and customization options.

Setting Up an Automation Test Lab

Developers and testers can choose between on-premise and remote device test labs when targeting their test automation efforts. A combination of these approaches can also be applied, depending on the project’s needs and resources.

On-premise device test labs can be challenging and time-consuming to maintain, but they provide valuable support during the early development and testing phases of a mobile app. Utilizing both physical devices and emulators or simulators in an on-premise lab can help identify issues and optimize the app’s performance.

As the app development progresses to more advanced stages, teams must conduct comprehensive regression, functional, and non-functional tests. These tests are best executed in a fully-equipped device lab, which is where remote device test labs come into play. Managed in the cloud, these labs are continuously updated and maintained, ensuring access to a wide range of devices and operating system combinations.

Remote device test labs not only complement on-premise labs but also provide additional benefits such as in-depth test reports and advanced test automation capabilities. By utilizing commonly available remote device test labs, teams can access a broader set of supported features, enhancing their testing processes.

When executing large-scale tests through a test automation framework or continuous integration job (CI), the stability of the overall test lab is crucial for efficiency and reliability. Well-designed test labs are built to guarantee that devices and operating systems are consistently available and stable, minimizing disruptions to the testing process.

It’s important to note that remote device test labs are not always necessary during the later stages of app development. A well-maintained and properly designed on-premise lab can be just as effective as a remote lab, depending on the specific requirements of the project.

In conclusion, automating test execution can significantly enhance the mobile application testing process, provided that the right approaches, frameworks, and tools are utilized. By carefully considering the unique needs of each project and selecting the most suitable test automation techniques, developers and testers can optimize their testing efforts and ensure the highest quality mobile applications.

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