Quality Assurance (QA) testing is a crucial part of the development process and is paramount for delivering highly competitive, robust mobile products. Today's wide range of mobile ecosystems and device models comes with challenges, and developers must choose the appropriate QA testing tools to give their products an excellent competitive edge.
Without a doubt, smartphones have become more than a tool to make calls and surf on social media. Mobile devices have become multipurpose personal assistants and even lifelines for users who use them to access services like medical care or finances. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the mobile app market has become an attractive pool of competition growth with approximately 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide. This huge number means that mobile apps are gaining growing visibility and are becoming increasingly necessary for those 3.8 billion users’ everyday lives. As a result of this growth in mobile device usage and app adoption, the mobile app development industry thrives, with 218 billion apps downloaded in 2020. With the help of automated QA testing tools, this number will most likely grow to reach 258 billion downloads globally by 2022.
However, such promising growth doesn’t come without its challenges. Development companies must recognize the need to stay on top of cutting-edge technologies and methodologies to speed up their development processes without jeopardizing quality. As we already know, developing mobile apps is a whole different world from developing computer software or websites. App development should be efficient, agile, and fast to keep up with the competition and stay on top of the growing market. Here’s where having an appropriate QA testing strategy can make or break a development company’s success at producing robust mobile solutions. Luckily, modern technologies have led to many groundbreaking QA testing tools and platforms to hit the market and drive better and faster development forward.
What is Automated QA Testing?
Automated QA testing means that an automation tool handles testing procedures. This tool performs the more extended, repetitive parts of QA tests so developers can spend more time on higher-value tasks, helping drive test coverage and scalability. The QA testing scenarios that would take QA analysts several hours to implement can take an automation tool a few minutes. For this reason, many QA automation tools have now become an industry-wide standard.
Developers can execute automated QA tests repeatedly without staff interaction, making it the most cost-effective and efficient method, especially for mobile products with a long maintenance life. Developers can enable testing to be done parallel with most development processes or even as nightly test sessions. That way, by the next day, the results can be ready for review. In such a manner, automated QA testing can help optimize developers’ time and help detect bugs earlier, saving money and shortening delivery periods.
Additionally, manual testing on its own is no longer enough for apps that will remain competitive. Automated QA testing is a must to achieve durability, engagement, and compatibility between users and devices. That doesn’t mean, however, that automation will replace manual testing. Actually, any relevant QA testing strategy should ideally combine both.
The key to success lies in determining which one is most suitable for each stage of the product, and in most cases, developers must find a synergy between both. There are still cases where manual testing is essential to a successful project. The thing is, manual testing can be taxing. It requires physical effort and time to ensure the app does everything it’s supposed to do the way it’s supposed to do it. Henceforth, finding a balance between manual and automated QA testing is key to deliver high-quality, robust, and disruptive mobile products.
When to Use QA Automated Testing Tools?
According to the Test Automation Landscape 2020 Report conducted by Katalon, 90% of developers use some QA automated testing. This figure comes as no surprise considering that QA analysts often use automation testing to facilitate test codes’ interactions with the subject application and shorten testing times. They are also helpful for GUI (Graphical User Interface) testing, performance testing, load testing, and API testing, but not all projects contain these specifications. So, the question is: when is it relevant to run mobile automation tests, and when is it better to stick to manual testing? Let’s look at some of the cases when it’s reasonable to use QA automated tools.
Cases for QA Automated Tools
- Long-term projects. Investing in automation is worth it when a product requires continuous development and planning to keep it running smoothly.
- Maintenance checks. When an app needs data from a remote server via an API, it requires daily synchronization monitoring.
- Regression tests. The most popular test to run on automation tools. Regression testing is very repetitive, but it’s required to make sure that changes to the app don’t break any existing functionality. Automation is significantly cost-effective for high-volume regression tests.
- Continuous Integration (CI) pipelines: CI pipelines need repeated tests whenever a commit is added to the code repository to ensure no errors impact the product negatively. Automated tests are the only option here.
- Functional testing: QA automation tools enable quick and easy evaluation of the actual performance of an app’s functional requirements. It helps developers pinpoint if the app is working with the proper interoperability, compliance, security, and efficiency.
It’s important to remember to include both manual and automated mobile testing to get the best of both worlds. Manual testing, for instance, can be helpful on usability testing, while automated testing is more suitable for highly repetitive functional tests. A synergy between the two can tackle all aspects of a mobile product to ensure the proper functioning and enhanced operability.
Let’s look at some automated QA testing tools we at Foonkie Monkey often use and others that we consider relevant for delivering robust, competitive mobile products.
Appium is the most popular open-source, cross-platform automation framework, and it is by far the most used tool for mobile UI testing. Its popularity comes from the fact that it makes mobile app testing a lot more efficient by offering unparalleled scalability and flexibility. Appium’s flexibility enables developers to write testing code against platforms such as Windows (desktop and mobile), iOS, and Android while using the same API. This flexibility means that developers can use the same code for all platforms, which translates to savings in time, money, and effort. Appium can also repeatedly write and run tests at various sessions.
The Appium HTTP server is written in Node.js. It implements Selenium WebDriver, making it the tool of choice for developers skilled at Selenium, an automation tool for web products. Moreover, unlike other QA automation tools, Appium provides a very stable WebDriver-based interface that keeps testing easy regardless of any upgrades. Actually, Appium is considered a Selenium WebDriver designed for automated testing in mobile devices that creates and handles multiple WebDriver sessions. Also, Appium’s server has a client-server architecture that receives test requests in a JSON format and converts them into recognizable commands for native testing frameworks.
It has gained traction in the app development industry thanks to its impressive features and now has over 35% of the market share in Android apps and over 40% share in iOS.
- Appium can be integrated with most CI tools such as Jenkins or Bamboo and enables automated testing during release cycles.
- Tests for both iOS and Android platforms are written using the same API.
- Appium allows developers to write the test code in any language.
- It’s free.
- Appium is compatible with all of Selenium’s features.
- It enables app testing by simulators of real devices.
- Appium offers cross-platform compatibility.
- It provides real-life monitoring of the tests.
Katalon Studio is a free QA automation tool for both web and mobile environments. This emerging platform facilitates automated tests, provides test recording, and gives analysis reports. Katalon is also designed to create and reuse automated test scripts for UI without coding and works seamlessly with Continuous Integration tools like Jenkins or Bamboo. Another great feature is that it has built-in integration with Git, which helps with version control and stores all test code and framework libraries. This way, developers can quickly clone, pull and push all changes into Git.
Additionally, it uses Groovy as the scripting language and supports external Java libraries. It is one of the best tools for automation testing, and it works on top of Selenium and Appium, which makes it the perfect enhancer for developers who work with those frameworks.
One of Katalon’s main advantages is that it’s easy to deploy. This simplicity lies in the fact that it has dual scripting interfaces and doesn’t require code, making it easy to use for users with limited programming skills. For more proficient programmers, Katalon enables scripting with syntax highlighting, debugging, and code suggestions. It also has templates for test cases, test suites, test objects, and reports and supports local and remote testing. This tool has several pre-installed templates that allow repeating testing patterns and also enable parallel and sequential executions.
- Supports cross-platform testing and code reuse.
- It doesn’t require downloading or installing any other components; it’s a complete package.
- Katalon has a record and playback feature enabling the recording of a script, thus handling tests that need to be conducted repeatedly.
- Unlike other QA automation tools, Katalon Studio provides testing analysis and reports.
- Easily integrates with Jenkins, Bamboo, and other CI/CD tools.
- It enables easy automation of mobile and web services and the scripts’ execution on the desired platform.
- Katalon can record and run the same tests on multiple browsers.
TestComplete is an automated testing tool developed by SmartBear Software that can perform automated functional testing modules for desktop, web, and mobile applications. TestComplete enables developers to either run tests within the platform or export them, so they run on external applications. It also has native support for Behavior Driven Development (BDD), a unique feature that is easy to use and compatible with Artificial Intelligence. BDD enables hybrid object recognition engines to work with AI to find dynamic UI elements fast and easily.
- It enables fast mobile automated testing with one set of code supported by Xamarin.Forms.
- TestComplete has a real-time information tool that enables tracking of the progress and status of tests from any device simultaneously.
- Run tests in parallel across various devices and operating systems, which is especially useful for large-scale projects.
- It integrates with API testing tools such as SoapUI to ensure that APIs are working as expected.
Ranorex is a powerful cross-platform tool for GUI QA test automation. It is considered one of the most comprehensive automation tools because it provides testing solutions for several environments, devices, and applications. Ranorex allows for automated testing of all desktop, web, and mobile apps. However, for mobile apps, Ranorex is a good solution because its features are flexible and allow for wholesome testing procedures. Moreover, it is optimal for implementing automated testing in Continuous Delivery (CD) and DevOps environments that demand continuous testing and feedback. This way, Ranorex is perfect for developers who need a platform that integrates with CI/CD tools and test management tools.
Ranorex is built on Microsoft’s .NET platform, and it does not have its scripting language. It uses standard programming languages such as VB.NET and C#, which help edit recordings and create custom tests. Furthermore, it has a codeless approach supported by its record-and-play feature, allowing for automated UI testing through UI-actions recording for less experienced developers.
- Ranorex offers multi-platform testing.
- It offers codeless test creation.
- Ranorex has a built-in image comparison enabling image-based automation.
- It provides automatically generated reports that provide details on test execution and results.
- Ranorex offers effective in-team collaboration.
Eggplant is an AI-powered test automation tool that works for all desktop, web, and mobile applications. It provides an intelligent approach to QA test automation that provides considerable test coverage and modern technology-based automation. Eggplant’s added benefit is that it is based on AI and Machine Learning (ML). It uses these technologies to auto-generate test cases and optimize test execution, which is priceless when finding bugs, errors, and better coverage of the overall user experience.
Eggplant’s AI also allows developers to create models that capture the app’s states, actions, and navigation patterns. This AI application helps developers address any user experience gaps by increasing test coverage without any additional efforts. Moreover, Eggplant’s Digital Automation Intelligence platform tests any technology on any device and operating system, from the user interface to APIs and databases. Its image analysis technology also allows developers to perform testing tasks and validate functionality based on the app user’s perspective.
- Developers can run tests from the command line without any supervision.
- Eggplant provides AI-powered tools to ensure the continuity of unsupervised tests.
- Delivers tested products at DevOps speeds.
- It allows for fast, automated testing of the entire user experience.
- Eggplant predicts the impact of any new product versions on the users before release.
How We Use QA Automation Tools at Foonkie Monkey
At Foonkey, we take our QA strategies very seriously because our ten years of experience have led us to understand its relevance for delivering wholesome mobile products. When we’re building our mobile apps, we always put a well-thought-out testing strategy at the forefront of our development processes. We understand testing is critical, and we know that a great user experience and design are the results of solid development and appropriate testing. Regardless of the type of app, the size of the project, or the specifications of a given product, we consistently implement robust testing methodologies that merge manual testing with automated tools such as those exposed in this article.
Our QA expert team first identifies which tests need to be automated, and through thorough research and analysis, they determine which automation tools meet the project’s needs and budget. On this point, it’s essential to have different options for test creation, and our experts like to be able to choose from a variety of scripting languages. Also, since we are known for our cross-platform products, we need to have a tool that allows test automation for different operating systems. Thus, we usually use Appium and Katalon as the main drivers for our automated mobile QA processes.
To verify all of our system’s functional and non-functional requirements, our testing team creates the relevant automated and manual test cases and executes all of them before deployment. With these automation tools merged with our manual testing methodologies, we’ve managed to identify and correct issues efficiently, saving development times, costs and delivering the innovative, high-quality, and durable mobile products we are known for.
It’s undeniable: testing is crucial to ensuring the success and durability of any mobile product. In the highly competitive landscape of modern mobile apps, proper testing strategies lay the groundwork for development companies to deliver relevant products continuously. Developers must merge manual techniques with automation tools to ensure the wholesomeness of the final product. Luckily, all the tools exposed in this article, and many more, are within developers’ reach, and now developers can automate many aspects of testing. These automation tools promise to increase the scope of any testing strategy and significantly improve any app’s quality.
That said, choosing the best mobile testing tool that adapts to your product and team is paramount. Whichever platform proves relevant, QA automation is the gateway to optimize development processes and deliver durable products that will stand the test of time.
At Foonkie Monkey, we always remain at the forefront of the latest technologies and tools to enhance our development processes and deliver better, more competitive products. If you have an app idea, don’t think twice about contacting us!