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Customer Success: Selenium, Appium and Automated Testing in Australia

Monday, July 30, 2018

Mobile Labs’ Customer Success Team went to Australia to visit with one of the “big four” banks to chat about automated testing with Appium & Selenium.

Last week Mobile Labs’ Customer Success Team traveled to the “land down under” to spend time with a longtime customer of ours who is one of the “big four” Australian banks. While visiting, our very own “men at work” caught up with the bank’s team of mobile testers and QA to check-in and chat about all things automated testing. The primary objective was to learn more about the team’s innovative work leveraging both Selenium and Appium onsite.

But, before diving into the bank’s recent innovation in the areas of test automation, here is a little background information on our history together:

Customer Profile: “Big Four” Australia Bank

  • Over 1,100 branches across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Asia and the UK
  • More than 4.6 million online customers and over 2 million mobile users
  • Over half of all online banking logons are from a mobile device
  • All testing is spread out between teams in Australia and Singapore

How We Met: Initial Challenges and Results

Back in 2013, the bank discovered that increasing mobile online banking logons led to a strain on current resources for both delivery and available mobile devices for testing. To solve this issue, the team needed a solution to speed up testing with a streamlined solution for device management and access while also protecting customers’ sensitive financial and personal data.

Ultimately, the bank chose to implement the on-premises version of our internal mobile device cloud, deviceConnect™. With deviceConnect managing and sharing mobile devices from one central portal is easy across all of the bank’s teams, regardless of geographical location.

The team also enjoyed the following results:

  • Secure, 24x7 access to real devices
  • Eliminated the purchase of duplicate devices for all teams resulting in cost savings
  • Integration with its existing testing tools (Selenium and UFT)

Because of its high-levels of security, deviceConnect provides the level of protection the bank needed to safeguard its valuable customer data.

Over the past few years, the team at Mobile Labs has greatly enjoyed working with the various teams at the bank and watching them continue to grow and to expand their mobile testing.

Thanks to its recent growth and success, the bank found that they needed to continue to enhance and expand their testing processes into new business units. Growth coupled with the continued need to test and deliver mobile apps and mobile web experiences faster has pushed the team to explore and expand their technological capabilities. The team also needed a solution for mobile testing to bring greater flexibility and speed, which brings us to the adoption of Appium.

Adopting a Center of Excellence with Test Automation, Selenium & Appium

One of the most intriguing accomplishments of the testing team at the bank is their “Center of Excellence.” The bank’s “Center of Excellence” features a glass enclosure housing all devices and a monitor showing all automated tests as they are running across various mobile devices.

Mobile Labs’ deviceConnect sits with the “Center of Excellence” to offer support for mobile device sharing and testing. Located near the elevators, the “Center of Excellence” can easily be viewed by all team members and other visitors to illustrate the scale of testing accomplished by the bank.

The “Center of Excellence” is currently powered by a robust Selenium grid. It is quite an impressive setup. Because the testing team at the bank is currently focused on continuous testing, it is currently leveraging TeamCity as the build system that deploys all of its applications. As a build management and continuous integration (CI/CD) server, TeamCity enables the bank’s various teams to queue builds and tests for execution.

Currently, all automation tests are developed using Eclipse. Once developed, the tests are loaded onto the Selenium Hub. For the bank’s team, the Selenium Hub serves as the central point of the Selenium grid. Each grid contains a single hub with multiple Selenium Nodes connected to it.

When a test is ready to go, TeamCity build agents communicate directly to a Selenium Hub, which will communicate to each Node to execute a test on a specific browser platform for web testing.

But what about for mobile app testing? To handle test automation for mobile, the team will be leveraging Mobile Labs deviceBridge™ on MacOS Nodes that host the Appium server. With deviceBridge, the team can run Appium scripts against all devices in deviceConnect.

Who Can It Be Now? The Switch from UFT to Appium

When we first started working with the bank, the testing teams were utilizing UFT for testing. Over the past several years, the testing teams have made the move to open-source tools as part of a culture wide shift. With open-source tools, testing teams enjoy more flexibility, greater cost savings and are not restricted by only being able to use one programming language.

But why Appium as its open-source tool of choice? The team was already familiar with Selenium, a tool that they continue to leverage for mobile web testing. Therefore, the learning curve from Selenium to Appium was not as steep as it typically is for those without Selenium experience. The testing team at the bank is among the most innovative teams that Mobile Labs has ever worked with, so it only seems natural that the testers and QA engineers would embrace and excel with Appium.

Based on their interest and in-house Appium expertise, the team at the bank was excited to learn more about deviceConnect’s built-in Appium server. With the built-in Appium server the testing team at the bank can better harness the power of leveraging Appium with deviceConnect for improved Appium performance. With the Appium server all Appium services are constantly running and will restart itself if it runs into any issues.

Mobile Labs’ built-in Appium server can also:

  • Support eight concurrent tests for iOS
  • Support sixteen concurrent tests for Android
  • Provide metrics for Appium sessions created by team and app details
  • Increase parallel testing capabilities

With Appium’s increasing popularity among testers, deviceConnect’s built-in Appium server continues to generate interest among testing and QA teams who are eager to embrace an open-source environment like Appium for test automation.

At Mobile Labs, our team has made a commitment to serving as, “Your Appium Success Company,” and our team of experts are dedicated to continuous improvement to the built-in Appium server in the pursuit of helping teams acheive Appium success.

Want to learn more about how one of Australia’s big four banks leveraged deviceConnect for success? You can check out the full case study here.

Mobile Labs

Mobile Labs provides enterprise-grade mobile device clouds that improve efficiency and raise quality for agile–based, cross-platform mobile app and mobile web deployments. The company’s patented device cloud, deviceConnect™, is available in both hosted and on-premises configurations. Ready to try deviceConnect? Check out our free trial.

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