These are 9 best practices you need to know when building a mobile app testing automation framework! Let us help make your testing job a little easier.

Updated January 30, 2017.

Believe it or not, but automated QA testing is critical for a successful mobile app. An app goes through multiple development stages as it transitions from concept to finished product, with testing being one of the most important stages.

Without a comprehensive testing framework, enterprise mobile applications may lack the reliability and performance needed to effectively support major business goals or help employees work with increased efficiency.

One of the basics of mobile application testing is establishing an efficient framework to improve accuracy of tests and reduce time spent testing. In this mobile application testing tutorial, you’ll learn how test automation can help reduce testing time and improve overall app quality, how to determine if automation is the right testing strategy and how to run a basic test using automation.

Why Automate Native and Mobile Web App Testing?

Running automated tests can help QA teams more efficiently navigate some of the challenges of mobile app testing. When you consider the overwhelming number of mobile devices and operating systems on which an app needs to function, as well as how quickly new devices and operating systems are made available, it becomes clear that manual testing simply isn’t efficient enough for an agile-focused development environment. The speed at which apps are released to market limits the amount of manual regression testing that can be done. By automating regression tests, you can ensure that new development doesn’t cause existing functionality to break while also allowing the development team to focus on closing out sprints on schedule.

In addition to saving time, automated mobile app testing can help testers avoid human errors that are harder to eliminate with manual testing. For example, a tester could forget to run a manual test or skip it due to time constraints. With test automation, neither of these scenarios happen. In addition, automated tests run with fixed data, eliminating keying errors. With automation, test results can be recorded to ensure the test was done accurately and a repository of previously run tests is established. Testers can get precise and detailed information from that test database that feeds directly into their next round of tests, making them more effective and efficient.

What Is The Difference Between Manual and Automation Testing?

In short, manual testing is replicating typical and atypical human behavior with the app, done in a manual way such as actually holding the device and experimenting. These tests are designed to weed out bugs like, "if the screen is rotated and I open another app, and I enter the app again, does the app still function like normal?" While time consuming, manual testing is absolutely essential to make sure the app will perform as expected.

Automated testing on the other hand is designed to program a typical behavior of the user and test a specific functionality of the app, and do it in a scaleable way. For example, "on an app that requires touch ID to be accessed, if the app is closed and then opened again, does the app prompt the user to enter their touch ID 100% of the time out of 100 test cases, and this needs to be tested across the last 3 versions of Android, the last 3 versions of iOS and across all flagship devices." This scenario could take hours to manually test, but through efficient scripting, the process can be automated entirely.

5 Important Questions When Setting Up An Automated Mobile Testing Framework

Before doing any automated testing on mobile devices, testers need to determine whether automation is the best approach. Here are a few best practice questions to ask before automating any test that was previously completed manually:

  1. Is the test sequence of actions well-defined?
  2. Does this test sequence need to be repeated multiple times?
  3. Can the sequence of actions be automated?
  4. Does the mobile app behave the same whether its tested using automation or manual testing?
  5. Do you need to use the same testing across multiple operating systems or phone configurations?

If testers answer yes to any of these questions, then you have a good test case for automation.

4 Automation Testing Best Practices

Moving from a manual testing process to test automation expedites and improves the manual processes currently in place. Here’s a basic mobile application testing tutorial as a starting point for automation.

  1. Select a mobile app testing tool that leverages your existing web or desktop test automation solution. This will reduce the learning curve and provide the team with a testing environment that is consistent with the testing process already in place, extending existing skills to mobile with little to no additional training.
  2. Focus on automating tests that need to be run multiple times. One-time tests are not worth the test development time.
  3. Ensure the test cases selected for automation are up-to-date and compatible with the newest mobile operating systems.
  4. Use a data-driven automation testing framework to allow testers to work with reusable, variable data to test multiple scenarios. These scripts can iterate over large sets of verification data, and are ideal for large testing and repetitive environments.

Automated mobile application testing is a necessary practice for enterprise test teams. With this mobile application testing tutorial and tools that extend existing automated testing solutions to mobile, testing teams can become more efficient and create more reliable tests.

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Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan serves as Mobile Labs’ chief technology officer. In this role, Ryan provides the technological vision and drives Mobile Labs Trust’s product road map. Ryan has more than 35 years of experience in leading software development teams that design and build robust and market-leading solutions for large-scale enterprise customers among Fortune 1000 companies.

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