​How do you pick the right tool or tools for automated testing for mobile apps and web?

With so many options, it can be challenging for enterprise mobility teams to choose the right solution. Whether open-source or commercial, the top mobile testing tools each have their own strengths and overall benefits. But, depending on the size of the enterprise mobility team, overall skill set and available resources, some solutions may not be the right fit for all mobile developers, testers and quality assurance professionals.

Whether you are looking for a new tool, or are just considering getting started with test automation for mobile, here are the Top 10 Automated Testing Tools for mobile and what you need to know about each tool to choose the solution that is the best fit in your mobile testing lab.


#1: Appium



Appium is an open-source test automation framework that can be leveraged with native, hybrid and mobile web apps. Appium drives iOS, Android and Windows apps using the WebDriver protocol. The goal of Appium is to enable mobile testers to automate testing without modifying applications.

Appium relies on a robust community of users active on GitHub to release updates or to fix any bugs. For enterprise mobility professionals, getting involved with the Appium community allows testers to contribute to Appium’s growth and development. Appium is a full-on coding solution, that can be cumbersome for some mobile testers as it is not the most user-friendly solution available today.

Because Appium is based on the Selenium suite of tools used by testers to automate browsers across different platforms, testers who are familiar with Selenium should have a shorter learning curve when leveraging Appium.

Benefits:

  • Free to use – open-source
  • Based on Selenium – shorter learning curve for experienced users
  • Multiple language support
  • Appium does not modify mobile apps
  • Ability to get involved in Appium’s open-source community

Things to Consider:

  • No official paid support – rely on the Appium community for updates and bug fixes
  • Updates are released often, but are usually behind the curve compared to commercial tools
  • Steeper learning curve and not user-friendly
  • Testers are required to build a lot of components, such as reporting to leverage


#2: Unified Functional Testing (UFT)

Formerly known as HPE QuickTest Professional (QTP), Unified Functional Testing (UFT) is the industry-standard solution for test automation. Formerly owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, UFT is now a part of MicroFocus. UFT enables enterprise mobility teams to make testing more efficient and to collaborate.

As an established solution, UFT enables enterprise mobility teams to buy into the MicroFocus ecosystem, or the HPE ecosystem, for improved support and timely releases. Although an expensive solution, there are a lot of content and guides available to help testers get up to speed testing and writing mobile test scripts with this more mature, established framework. To use UFT with Mobile Labs’ deviceConnect™, Mobile Labs recommends the use of Mobile Labs Trust™ to connect to mobile.

Although, UFT has been used by software testers for a long time, Appium is starting to gain more traction as the automated testing tool of choice for mobile apps and web due to its open-source roots and flexibility.

Benefits:

  • Established industry-standard testing tool
  • Updates are released often
  • Full support for testers
  • Ability to leverage MicroFocus’ ecosystem
  • Robust solution – easier for less experienced testers to use

Things to Consider:

  • Cost-prohibitive – expensive
  • Most developers do not want to use UFT due to the coding environment
  • Requires use of VBScript to leverage– cannot use Java
    • Requires LeanFT


#3: Tricentis Tosca



Tricentis Tosca is a continuous testing platform enabling enterprise mobility teams to accelerate testing to keep up with Agile and DevOps initiatives. Tricentis Tosca enables testers to leverage scriptless test automation for mobile.

Testers using Tricentis Tosca write automated testing scripts by pointing at objects on the screen. When objects are highlighted, Tricentis Tosca figures out what is “behind-the-scenes” of an application by storing information about the various objects in the application. The tool also knows how to perform functions and commands.

Benefits:

  • Scriptless automation – easy for novice testers to use
  • Accelerates test automation for fast feedback for Agile and DevOps
  • Integrates with existing test assets, such as UFT, Selenium, SoapUI, etc.
  • Users have noticed slow performance when using TestArchitect

Things to Consider:

  • More experienced testers may not thrive in a scriptless, codeless environment
  • Supports cross-platform testing
  • Instruments both iOS and Android native apps
  • Provides its own browser for native mobile browser testing
  • Easy to add verification points
  • Record and playback feature


#4: Eggplant Built by Testplant



Eggplant Functional is a user-centric testing tool that enables mobile testers to test any application that can be controlled, such as mobile, desktop, or web. Part of the Digital Automation Intelligence Suite, Eggplant Functional is a visual testing tool that enables enterprise mobility teams to dynamically test from the user perspective, from the user experience (UI) standpoint, with advanced image search, image recognition and text recognition, instead of testing from the code.

Testers who utilize Eggplant Functional can use anything that appears on the screen to test with by turning parts of the screen into objects. As a visual testing tool, testers do not have to know iOS or Android messages, making Eggplant Functional an easy interface to use when writing automated mobile testing scripts.

Benefits:

  • A visual testing tool – easy-to-use interface for scripting
  • Anything that appears on a screen can be easily turned to objects for testing
  • Not required to understand specific methods, iOS messages, or Android messages
  • Full user support for testers from Testplant

Things to Consider:

  • Cost-prohibitive – expensive
  • Requires a Mac Server for iOS testing
  • Cumbersome set up
  • Lacks direct object support – testers must rely on what they can see
  • Complicated to do certain tasks when writing test scripts, such as finding an item in a picker wheel


#5: Ranorex



Ranorex provides an automated testing framework that supports cross-platform testing for desktop and mobile apps and mobile websites. Easy for non-programmers and experienced coders to use, Ranorex provides easy click and go solutions or more detailing coding functionality for testers of all experience levels.

For mobile testers, Ranorex instruments both iOS and Android native apps, and provides its own browser for native mobile browser testing. For teams leveraging Appium, Ranorex provides Appium connection capabilities that are required when leveraging Ranorex.

Benefits:

  • Supports cross-platform testing
  • Instruments both iOS and Android native apps
  • Provides its own browser for native mobile browser testing
  • Easy to add verification points
  • Record and playback feature

Things to Consider:

  • For testing, Ranorex requires mobile devices to be connected by USB or Wifi
  • Must install the Ranorex control app on each mobile device for testing
  • Unlike other automation frameworks, Ranorex does not have a device viewer when recording, requiring access to the mobile device


#6: Applitools


Like Eggplant Functional, Applitools can be built into other testing frameworks used by mobile developers and testers. By using Applitools, testers can use the solution to automatically validate the look, feel, and user experience of apps and websites.

Applitools by design will integrate with existing tests, eliminating the need to build new tests. Testers can also conduct cross device and browser tests. Applitools also enables the building of custom reports and facilitates team collaboration.

Applitools is available as a public or private-cloud service, or on-premise.

Benefits:

  • Integrates with existing tests and most other tools (Jenkins, Bamboo, JIRA, etc.)
  • Automatically validates the look, feel and user experience of apps and websites
  • Facilitates team collaboration
  • Cross device and browser tests
  • Flexibility

Things to Consider:

  • Available as a public or private cloud service or on-premise


#7: Espresso

Built by Google, Espresso can be leveraged by mobile testers for automation to write Android UI tests. Using Android processes, Espresso is object based and can be considered an open-source solution with some limitations from Google.

Not intended for novice testers or developers, Espresso enables seasoned mobile developers to leverage the tool for black-box testing and unit tests. But, it is really the mobile developers that understand the codebase under each test that can get the most out of using Espresso for test automation.

Benefits:

  • Built by Google
  • Open-source to an extent
  • Object based
  • Geared toward developers working with Android
  • Good for unit tests

Things to Consider:

  • Not suited for novice mobile developers and testers
  • Can only be used for Android

#8: XCTest


XCTest enables mobile developers and testers to create and run performance and UI tests for Xcode. Using the XCTest framework, it is possible for enterprise mobility teams to write unit tests for Xcode projects that will easily integrate with Xcode’s testing workflow.

To make using XCTest easier, Google has built Earl Grey on top of XCTest. Earl Grey is a native iOS white box UI automation test framework that adds synchronization features to make it easier to write tests.

Testing teams who are deeply integrated with development and/or know how their apps are built and have access to the code will find XCTest easier to use.

Benefits:

  • Open-source – more flexibility
  • Easy to use for developers and testers who are familiar with iOS coding
  • Useful for testing teams who are deeply integrated with development

Things to Consider:

  • Not suitable for novice developers and testers who may not be familiar with iOS coding
  • Developers are needed to write tests
  • Might not want to use if team does not know how apps or build and/or do not have access to code


#9: Smart Bear



SmartBear’s TestComplete is an easy to use automated UI testing tool. TestComplete supports cross platform testing and multiple scripting languages. It also instruments both iOS and Android native apps. In addition, TestComplete offers a record and playback feature and uses the Google Chrome browser to emulate all other browsers. Test Complete does not test on native iOS Safari or Android Chrome.

When testing, devices are connected via USB and requires that the TestComplete control app be installed on all Android devices. Because iOS apps are compiled, instrumented, and signed with a local signing certificate, no iOS control is required.

Benefits:

  • Easy to use, UI testing tool
  • Supports cross-platform testing
  • Instruments both iOS and Android native apps
  • Easy to add verification points
  • Record and playback feature

Things to Consider:

  • Must connect all apps via USB
  • The TestComplete control app must be install on all Android devices
  • Cannot use TestComplete to test on native iOS Safari or Android Chrome

#10: TestArchitect



TestArchitect provides an automation acceleration tool that is used by quality assurance (QA) teams. This solution allows testers to automate testing for mobile applications and web browsers using pre-coded actions.

Enterprise mobility teams who leverage TestArchitect benefit from scaling their test automation coverage using the tool’s codeless test automation framework. For testers with little or no automation experience, the codeless framework will make writing test scripts and testing easier.

Benefits:

  • TestArchitect offers a free and a paid version of its automation acceleration tool
  • Codeless automation – TestArchitect provides pre-built actions for cross-platform automation using C#, Python, or Java
  • Automation analytics – TestArchitect’s automation tool enables testers to build automation reports, with metrics and screenshots using a real-time dashboard server
  • CI tool integration – teams leveraging CI (continuous integration) tools like HP Quality Center, Jira, Jenkins, etc., will be able to easily integrate with TestArchitect

Things to Consider:

  • For testing, Ranorex requires mobile devices to be connected by USB or Wifi
  • Must install the Ranorex control app on each mobile device for testing
  • Unlike other automation frameworks, Ranorex does not have a device viewer when recording, requiring access to the mobile device

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™.

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