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How to Create Effective Automated Mobile Testing

By Product Management | February 27, 2015

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

Creating automated mobile testing tools enables companies to increase development agility, accelerate time-to-market of app delivery, reduce testing costs, and launch the latest and greatest apps with confidence. Testing needs to determine whether the app can be successfully downloaded to the device, executed on the device, and interact with the supporting back-end content infrastructure. A working mobile test automation strategy that runs the same script across all of your devices, will give your developers and QA teams confidence that they are delivering the best app to end-users. The primary factor that determines the success of an automation tool is its ability to work across platforms and technology stacks. The mobile market is ever-changing, so the tools need to reflect the latest mobile technology.

Integrated App Development and Testing Cycles

Software tests have to be repeated often during all development cycles to ensure the app is of the highest quality and bug free. Every time source code is modified and with each new release, software should be tested on all supported variants of OSs and all configurations of hardware.

Automated testing throughout the integrated cycle enables mobile OS system level control, incoming alerts and error handling, and hybrid objects support. It also enables device logs and rich media reports that include video and visual data, memory status, battery usage, and more. These tools provide critical information to developers, giving them the ability to create error-free, robust apps.

Device Diversity

Given that there are potentially tens of thousands of unique client devices that might be used to access your mobile app, this is a considerable challenge. These include multiple platforms, multiple browsers, rendering differences, and mobile devices with varying application run times. When choosing devices, here are a few criteria to keep in mind.

  • Target Market and Competition End-Users – which devices and OS versions will your end-users actually use the most, based on organizational analytic data.
  • Generic Market Statistics – top devices sold (smartphones and tablets) in the regions you cover.
  • Change Rate and Market Dynamics – the mobile market is in constant flux, so it is important to keep up with trends and continually incorporate these changes into device testing strategies.
  • Emulators and Real Devices – a combination of device emulators and real devices will give you broad coverage, and this is easily accomplished with a cloud-based system.

Network Diversity

Users access apps via multiple types of networks with varying speeds of connectivity based on geographic location. Mobile app behavior can be affected by changes in network conditions such as Wi-Fi, 2G/3G/4G, bandwidth, connection speed, etc. This diversity requires additional testing to ensure acceptable app behavior in real-world conditions.

  • Consider setting up automated primary testing on Wi-Fi and using network simulation.
  • Test mobile apps in real network conditions, because this is an essential part of analyzing the behavior of the app.

Platform Diversity

There are different mobile OSs on the market, such as Android, IOS, Symbian, Windows, and BlackBerry. Testing a mobile app across multiple devices running on the same platform and every platform poses a unique challenge. Cross-platform test automation enables the following:

  • Reusable code between different platforms
  • Clear separation of test logic from platform interaction code
  • One test case confirms app behavior is the same across platforms
  • Faster development
  • Pooled resources

Conclusion

With automation, testing can be implemented on a larger number of platforms and perform far more tests efficiently. Automated tests can execute thousands of complex tests during every test run, providing coverage that is not possible with manual testing. Once tests have been automated, they can be executed quickly, over and over again. Consider a cloud-based platform, which allows testing to be scaled to fit your requirements without the lead time needed to expand your local infrastructure.

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