Taking a look at the state of mobile test automation today

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The state of mobile test automation has undergone a transformation of sorts with the adoption of Agile and DevOps. The latest trends are about adopting new technology tools, methodologies like DevSecOps, and enabling cost optimization for enterprises. As Agile and DevOps methodologies are becoming mainstream, the world of mobile test automation is undergoing a transformational shift. The far-reaching scope and usability of mobile applications across business verticals are growing at a rapid pace. 

If statistics are to be believed then the global app revenue had touched a whopping USD 19.5 billion in the first quarter of 2019. Further, mobile app development companies have created app stores catering to the users’ interest areas such as retail, gaming, banking, cab booking, travel, and so on.  

With high competition prevailing in the mobile app segment, not every app is hitting the gravy train of achieving ROI. In fact, most apps are lying in various app stores waiting for customers’ acceptance. Since mobile apps need to be compatible across devices, operating systems (Android, iOS, and Windows), and networks, they need to undergo thorough mobile app testing. This raises the cost of testing due to the following reasons: 

  • Validate mobile apps on multiple device platforms, OSs, and combinations. 
  • Execute mobile application testing more often due to OS version upgrades, the launch of new devices, and incorporation of new features, among others.  

To achieve cost optimization in testing, test automation can help significantlyIn order to aptly implement automation for mobile app testing, it is imperative to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the underlying challenges, industry best practices, as well as the current trends. Let us dig in:  

An overview of mobile app test automation scenario 

It is not advisable to automate every test case, for the same would depend on a few parameters. These would include tool selection, feasibility, business process, and the functionality of test cases, among others. Even when organizations have the mandate to adopt automation, there is often a gap between the lip and the cup.  

In other words, the mobile application testing strategy would often vacillate in tool selection, especially when it comes to its features and compatibility. So, in order to save costs, organizations often go in for open source tools such as Appium, MonkeyTalk, Calabash, Robotium, and Selendroid, among others. Additionally, organizations can leverage cloud-based testing solutions to save costs with tools like DeviceAnywhere, Sauce Labs, and Perfecto Mobile 

How should enterprises deal with mobile test automation 

Adopting an automated mobile application testing approach can be a strategic decision. If done right, it can help an organization to become efficient in QA. Since mobile QA automation requires integration with multiple processes, business channels, and tools, organizations should consider thesaspects while taking up the automation charge: 

  • Combining mobile, web, and desktop application testing by leveraging technical innovations, tools, and functional knowledge. 
  • Including the development team in unit testing thereby preventing the ingress of glitches at source.  
  • Executing the strategy ‘automate from anywhere’ in the SDLC. 
  • Preempting interdependence between the development and testing teams by avoiding code-intrusive tools. 
  • Ensuring performance testing as an added benefit.  

Challenges in automating mobile testing services 

Notwithstanding the benefits of adopting an automated mobile application testing approach, there are a few challenges that enterprises may have to deal with: 

  • Automation is not delivering substantial benefits as compared to manual testing.  
  • Persistence with manual testing as test automation is not completed within the required turnaround time. 
  • Proof of Concept taking more time and effort than expected.  
  • Selecting the right automation tool that covers multiple architectures. 
  • Lot of effort needed to fix glitches as the automation tool either finds too many UI elements or does not find their location.  
  • Difficulty in scripting for want of platform specific API knowledge and programming skills.  

The mobile application testing approach has undergone a change, thanks to the multiplicity of devices, platforms, and their periodic upgradations. With automation in mobility QA becoming the norm across organizations, let us look into the status.  

  • DevOps on the rise: With DevOps being adopted across industry segments to speed up delivery and enhance quality, among others, continuous integration and testing have taken centre stage. This is where test automation helps in the speedy execution (and achieving) the above-mentioned outcomes.  
  • Testers who are also code writers: Today, testers have to work with the development team in sprints. This requires them to generate test data, prepare environments, enable TDD, and write codes.  
  • Use of new technologies: Automation in mobility QA has brought the focus on new areas such as microservices, security, AI and machine learning, and containers. Further, technologies becoming a part of such testing include CRMs, eDiscovery, virtual machines, public services, payments, and geocoding.  
  • Small testing teams: As enterprises go for Agile and DevOps methodologies, the number of testers has shown a decline. The reasons could be attributed to more testers working alone or in small numbers as an integral part of big cross-functional teams.  

Conclusion 

With collaboration between testers and developers increasing due to Agile and DevOps, the state of automation testing for mobile apps is changing for sure. Now, testers need to upgrade their programming skills and become an enabler of quality engineering to preempt glitches. 

Cigniti’s proprietary Mobile Test Automation Framework seamlessly integrates with various open-source and commercial test tools (such as HP Mobile Center, Appium, Perfecto mobile, etc.) and helps you achieve acceleration in your mobile application testing projects. With minimal customization, it ensures significantly higher test automation coverage for your applications. Cigniti’s Mobile Testing Framework integrates with various CI tools to enable end-to-end automation. 

Mobile apps are not just an additional channel to access info, but an indicator of convenience which a business offers to its customers. A leading financial services firm wanted to improve their app quality by implementing best mobile testing practices and processes. Know how Cigniti’s automated testing framework decreased test cycle execution time by 60% & post-production defects by over 70%. 

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