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Enterprise Mobility Blog, Mobile App Testing

Automated Testing of Mobile Applications & Agile Development

Testing of Mobile ApplicationsLast updated July 28, 2016

Organizations today are forced to roll out mobile apps at breakneck speed in order to keep up with the constant change and emerging technologies that define enterprise mobility.

Development methodologies that worked great for web and desktop apps do not necessarily translate well to our mobile world. IT has to rethink app development and testing in order to meet the increasingly high demand for quality mobile apps.

A modern development methodology, such as agile, is essential.

In addition, tried and true manual testing, while still necessary, cannot be the only form of testing if enterprise app deployment schedules are going to be met.

Automated testing methods are becoming more essential for enterprise IT – especially when it comes to mobile applications. Adding automation into corporate testing frameworks can help facilitate agile development cycles, promote faster testing processes, improve mobile web and native app functionality and improve productivity.

Agile Development

Agile development can be used across multiple platforms, including Web and desktop, but it’s particularly well-suited for mobile app development. With shorter development cycles and a user base that has high expectations for quality and functionality, mobile app development needs to be as efficient and effective as possible.

Taking the time to manually test each component of a mobile web app, native app, or a hybrid can significantly increase development cycles, and prevent an enterprise from staying responsive to its employees’ and the market’s needs.

Since automated testing requires an investment in designing the testing framework and scripts, many QA directors see it as a method best left for stable applications. However, without automated testing, agile development and delivery in a mobile world isn’t possible.

Test design and automation for agile development can ensure total coverage of functionality, performance and security without extensive testing time.

Time is of the essence when it comes to agile and test automation can speed up the testing of mobile applications without sacrificing quality. Automation frees up testers’ time for more complex test cases by replicating portions of the test that don’t need manual management.

When mobile app test automation is part of the testing framework, manual testing efforts can focus on challenging or mission-critical features. If a particular component of an app is similar to previous apps, or there’s a script that can quickly be created for testing, this can free up the testing team’s time to manually test the more difficult components that need direct management.

Automated Mobile Application Testing Guidelines

In order to make the most of automation’s ability to facilitate agile development, enterprise test teams should use the following guidelines:

  1. Scripts should be written while development is creating the application. Automation doesn’t start when development is complete. When scripts are created concurrently with development, it allows testers to get to work on testing as soon as possible. By coordinating with developers and overseeing the functionality, performance and security features that are going into an app, testers can create the best test plan and scripts early in the app development lifecycle so testing can be completed as soon as the app moves from development into QA.
  2. Having a good framework in place makes automation easier to maintain. Automation requires planning, and agile calls for fast-paced development cycles. These may seem contradictory, but a good framework can make it easier for testers to quickly implement new tests. With a general framework for an app’s development, testers can rely on the existing function libraries and maximize the re-use of components, which can save even more time.
  3. Review the automation progress frequently so necessary improvements can be made in a timely manner. Like all test automation, testing native and mobile web applications in an agile environment will need refining from time to time. In order to make sure that the scripts and test plans are as effective as possible, enterprise QA teams should frequently review the progress of automation and make necessary changes to test plans.

The growing presence of mobile devices in the enterprise is driving companies to quickly deploy mobile applications for customers and employees. The need to deploy highly reliable, well-performing apps quickly in a rapidly changing mobile environment predisposes mobile app development to an agile development methodology.

Likewise, automated testing of mobile applications is a necessity in order to maintain the quick deployment cycles necessary for mobile app development. Now more than ever, the combination of automation and agile development can be the impetus to high quality apps hitting end-user devices on-time and on-budget.

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Steve Orlando

Steve Orlando is a seasoned development and quality assurance professional with experience testing and developing mobile, Web, mainframe, CRM and desktop applications. In his role as director of product development for Mobile Labs, Steve drives the design and implementation of the company’s private mobile device cloud, deviceConnect™ as well as its automated mobile app testing solution, Mobile Labs Trust™. Steve also leads the team of developers focused on Mobile Labs' solutions. Prior to Mobile Labs, Steve was a solutions architect and development manager for Pyramid Consulting where he designed a solution accelerator for HP QTP to extend automated testing to a mobile device and served as the subject matter expert for automated testing. Steve’s experience also includes various IT, QA, development and programming roles for companies including Verizon Wireless, Alltel Wireless, Matria Healthcare and the University of Georgia.

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