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Top considerations to make when selecting a mobile functional test automation framework

An essential component of any mobile development project is testing. Whether these trials are carried out at the end of the initiative or as the team completes each sprint, testing is key. Mobile app testing ensures that the program is not only ready for public availability, but that it will offer the best possible end-user experience.

When it comes to mobile application testing, many teams opt for an automated framework. This approach comes with a number of benefits for developers, including scaling the coverage of the tests for every feature included in the application, as well as the ability to reuse automated tests. Red Badger test manager Samera Butt noted that this not only saves costs, time and other resources, but can also speed up the project’s time-to-market. As a tester herself, Butt said mobile app automation simply makes the process clearer and more streamlined.

“As a tester, automation is about making our lives easier by using it to overcome problems such as time and testing more efficiently to ensure quality is maintained not just within the application being developed, but also within the testing process,” Butt wrote.

A range of available options
Currently, there are a number of available approaches for mobile test automation, including those involving the cloud and on-premises software. Cognizant noted that as the mobile market continues to grow, demands for automated mobile tests are increasing, especially those related to functional and performance testing.

As a result, however, there are several challenges that can arise as teams select a framework for the project at hand. These can extend to rising device diversity, as well as the different types of networks these units operate on. With so much to factor in, it can sometimes be a challenge to choose the mobile functional test automation framework that is best suited for the application being developed.

Top considerations when selecting a mobile test framework
Thankfully, our SOASTA engineers have put together a list of the top considerations to make when choosing a framework. Keeping these aspects in mind will help teams single out the approach that will fit their unique needs.

  • In-app testing capabilities – One of the first aspects to examine is the in-the-app testing capabilities of the product. The mobile test automation program should allow access to the internal workings of the app, supporting location strategies, intelligent waits and validations. Decision-makers should also ensure that the product does not use optical recognitions. These can be slow to establish as well as to operate, and can result in sensitive or frail changes to the program’s UI.
  • Ease-of-use – When selecting a framework, testers should also consider the program’s ease-of-use, ensuring that it offers the ability to use the app as a means to record a test. In this same vein, recording and playing back a test should be a quick and streamlined process, and establishing a simple test shouldn’t demand the use of Objective-C, Java or other coding.
  • Gesture support – A proper framework will also offer precise gesture support that spans any gesture the app might generate. In addition, best-in-class frameworks will enable testers to add support for custom in-app gestures.
  • Accessors – Our SOASTA experts also recommend utilizing a framework that includes a robust, all-inclusive library of accessors, which enable developers to separate application components and deal with each individually. These will be used for displaying output, validating, passing parameters, waiting and conditionals, so the product’s library should be extensive. For example, the best frameworks allow conditionals to carry out different actions when used for testing an iOS 7 and iOS 8 device.
  • Continuous integration – Continuous integration is another essential consideration, as at least some type is utilized by all development teams and thus must be included in the testing process. Therefore, the mobile test automation framework should have the capacity to integrate with systems like Jenkins and Bamboo and support a command line API.
  • Integrated testing platform – Another key consideration to make involves the framework’s ability to integrate all testing requirements into a single platform. Mobile app testers often also do other types of testing, and having a single dashboard to manage their tests is important. Another benefit of a framework that supports all forms of automation is that test creators can establish their backend states and do validations directly against their servers.
  • Support for all operating systems – One last element to examine is whether or not the framework supports new mobile devices and operating systems on the day that they are released. This is especially critical to consider with the speed at which users adopt new device models and versions in the mobile market. Testing tools must be able to support tests on all recent versions to ensure that developers are keeping up with market demands and conditions.

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