Mobile software development market is extremely dynamic, fast-changing and fragmented with more and more enterprises adding mobile apps into their corporate strategy every day. Traditional software testing methods have proven to be inapplicable in mobile apps quality assurance process, as there is a great variety of mobile platforms that operate on different networks. QA professionals have to deal with rapid development cycles and test software applications on at least three leading mobile platforms (i.e., Android, iOS, and WM). Mobile environment establishes unique demands and challenges, and choosing the appropriate mobile testing solution is vital for ensuring successful corporate mobile strategy. In this article we’ll present the most effective practices of mobile software testing.

Consider Device and Platform Diversity

Mobile phones have long since become something more than just a means of communication, gradually turning into a multifunctional personal gadget. It’s challenging to launch a new mobile product as it should be tested on multiple mobile platforms and across a wide range of devices. Effective testing on target devices and platforms helps mobile software developers collect appropriate metrics and allows application quality improvement. Certainly, it’s simply impossible to test your software app on all mobile devices and OSes. Therefore, it is important to identify your target devices and platforms (with approximately 5-10 “must test” combos). The majority of regression and functional testings will be conducted on these devices. It’s necessary to automate these two testing phases (regression and functional testing) to provide a rapid release of new applications with fresh functionality to the market. Keep in mind that around 30% of the mobile devices will have to be replaced each quarter to keep pace with new mobile devices introduced to the market.

Automation is Vital

Nowadays mobile development cycles are shorter than they have ever been; that’s why it’s important to reduce QA-cycles time as well. Automation in regression testing has become mandatory specifically when iterative or Agile development methodology is used. Automation allows performing more tests on different devices and OSes and significantly reduces application lifecycle management(ALM) efforts. As a result you obtain many different benefits: cutting on QA expenditures, faster and more reliable problem identification and solving, improved QA process and extended coverage. A device-independent testing approach is considered to be the most effective because scripts can be written once and then used multiple times on different platforms. Proper script automation must support a low level functionality (screen/key touch, etc.) and logical abstractions which execute platform-independent actions like user login.

Three types of mobile apps test automation mechanisms can be highlighted: user agent-based automation, cloud-based automation and lab-based automation. User agent-based automation uses different add-ons for mobile browsers ( Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox) that can be scripted to interact with web pages and applications. This functionality may be automated with such tools as QTP, Selenium or RFT. Cloud-based test automation supports Web-based QA on multiple platforms. Lab-based automation includes setting up tools and В testing environment and leveraging physical devices and simulators using automation tools such as Selenium.В 

Tips for Selecting Appropriate Automation Mobile Testing Tools

When selecting automation testing tools it’s important to evaluate how they can be integrated with test management environments and identify reusable scenarios on different platforms. If you’re testing a native app, make sure that automation tests are compatible with multiple browsers and can be re-used on a set of platforms. Here are some tips that will help you set up the best mobile app testing process:

  • Select tools that support multiple devices and platforms
  • Introduce automation in non-functional areas
  • Introduce automation during the early development stages
  • Conduct feasibility tests of the tool to adapt to diverse OS/technologies
  • Use tools supporting emulators and devices to conduct mixed testing
  • Take into consideration platform support before you start writing your testing scripts
  • Sometimes you may need more than one tool to implement proper testing automation, but try to avoid creating chains of testing tools
  • Look for data-driven automation support, as it’s beneficial to automate test cases with reusable business logic, data-driven tests, functional issues

Conclusions
Nowadays mobile app development and services have become business-critical. Selecting effective mobile testing solutions/practices is influential for the business operations. In mobile app testing it’s important to successfully adapt to mobile development pecularities. There is an increased necessity to introduce automation into mobile app testing to enhance reliability, scale and efficiency and reduce product’s time to market. Try to introduce device-independent automation of the testing process at early stages of app development, and provide QA professionals with access to a reasonably wide selection of mobile devices. Non-functional testing that covers security, adaptability and usability issies is also of great importance if you are striving to develop quality mobile applications.

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