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Future Belongs to Automation: iOS Mobile App Development

29/04/2016
Future Belongs to Automation: iOS Mobile App Development

It’s hard to overestimate the benefits of the automated testing in the iOS mobile app development. Quality assurance is one of the most important aspects of the full mobile app development lifecycle. On every stage, different quality tests should be implemented, in order to create stable and troubleproof applications.

Approximately the total amount of iOS and Android mobile apps is equal to 3 million samples, in app stores. Due to the huge competitivity, the customers requirements for the application quality are permanently growing. For the development of rival applications the quality assurance should be definitely at the focus of attention. Customers expect to use consistent  and reliable apps with multifunctional options and modern interface.

The quality assurance practice in the iOS mobile testing includes four types of different tests:

  • Unit testing
  • Functional testing
  • Integration testing
  • Acceptance testing

Unit testing provides the most effective coverage for the white box testing and one more beneficial option is that the test results with the hundreds of test cases will be available in no time. Integration testing takes more time than the unit testing, but still it will take you few seconds to run all the tests.

Functional testing could be a part of the integrated testing, but it’s much preferable to separate the functional tests from integrated. Acceptance testing is a final step of black box testing, it takes more time to be done than three other types of automated testing, but acceptance tests are the best in testing UX/UI and in showing the advantages and disadvantages of a mobile application from the user’s point of view.

Benefits of the automation in iOS Mobile App Development

Automated testing has more benefits and less disadvantages than manual testing, but for the stable software development, it’s better to implement both types. For instance, about 55 tests could be executed in an hour by a tester, and the same time is needed to make four different test types, arrange the test documentation and observe the test results.

“Professional testers should be quick on the draw in learning the app specifications and adapting to the distinctive features of a workflow”
Y
ana Gusti, THINKMOBILES QA team leader

The highest effectivity of the automated testing is related to large projects that have more than one release versions. THINKMOBILES quality assurance team has specified 5 main benefits of the automatization.

The benefits of iOS automated testing
The benefits of iOS automated testing

Time Saving

The automated testing saves the time spent and it’s the biggest benefit. For instance, the regression testing should be implemented for the whole mobile application every time when new features are added. In this case, the use of the manual testing will make the iOS mobile app development process much longer than it may be with automated testing.

It is not the right way for quality assurance concept not to test every unit of the mobile application considering that the implemented changes don’t have any effect. In this case, the unexpected results and bugs may be revealed after launching the application to an app store.

Processing Speed

One more benefit of automated testing, that is strongly related to the time saving, is the essential increase of the test running speed and growing of the effectiveness as a consequence. Automated tests are being executed by bots while test team is working for mobile app quality improvement. It is a perfect solution for the workflow optimization.

Usability & Reusability

The next benefit of using automatic tests is that they can be re-run in the same way, using same settings as previous tests, in order to eliminate mistakes provided by the human factor, such as forgetting to implement the necessary actions or steps while testing. The execution of automated tests would exclude many mistakes, so the errors wouldn’t produce more errors.

Permanent Test Updating

One more useful tip for the quality assurance strategy in the iOS mobile app development is to make the updating plan and, of course, use it permanently. Automated testing makes the test updating process very fast and simple.

Test Coverage Enlargement

Experienced quality assurance specialist could make the best testing scenarios providing the full test coverage, but the mobile app development is a dynamic process, so it’s quite difficult to manage all the changes and execute the test cases in accordance with adjustments.

Automated testing in iOS mobile app building gives a possibility to make the regression testing throughout the whole development process. There is the unspoken rule for the mobile application testing, that the product shouldn’t be launched to an app store without at least 87% of test coverage.

The mobile application could still have weak points in code even with 100 % test coverage. In this case, the right decision is to make the exhaustive test plan, and it’s still the most important thing in application quality assurance that couldn’t be automized. To make a perfect test plan is a quest that is available to solve only for highly qualified and experienced quality assurance testers.

Image by kuntech
Image by kuntech

Test Plan Improvement in the iOS Mobile Testing

“The test plan is a key to success of mobile application quality assurance” Yana Gusti, QA team leader

THINKMOBILES quality assurance team has created a short list of recommendations that you shouldn’t forget while making the test plan.

At the beginning of quality assurance process for iOS mobile application the first and the most important thing that should be tested is the application functionality. Provide the full test coverage and don’t miss any of the app functions.

The next step is to make sure that all the forms in mobile app are valid. Automated tests may be implemented for fast checking if the app code is provided with security options for the situations when users input the incorrect data type. For example, if a customer inputs numbers instead of symbols and this situation is not expected, the result of this interaction may be unexpected too. Of course, it will influence user’s experience for the worse. Try to forecast all the customer actions and avoid an incorrectness in mobile app usage .

If the mobile application has a localization, it should be tested at the development stage. Ensure that there are no localization issues in application layouts and content. If new features will be added to a mobile application, the localization services should be tested again for appropriate translation. For making the localization test process fast and effective, use automated testing.

Want to automate your tests?

The security testing is the last stage for the perfect test planning, but not the least one. Before loading the application to the app store, try to break the app by the server congestion. You may simply try to break the app code, and if it is possible, the mobile application still has the security instability.  

There are many potential weak spots in mobile apps, so it’s better to know when and where they could appear in the app code.

  • Data flow – make sure that data transit is protected to the full extent, check the data accessibility options.
  • Data storage – encryption is one of the most effective methods for data security, use it for the data storage security.
  • Data leakage – the most common problems with the data leakage resulting from the unsecured log files or out through the app notifications.
  • Authentication – pay attention to the process of users authentication, ensure that user’s data is under high protection.
  • Server-side controls – of course, you should focus on user’s experience, but don’t forget to assume that the back-end is secure.

Tools for iOS mobile application testing

There are many various tools for iOS automated testing, so it may be quite hard to select the product that meets all the demands of quality assurance team. The main three features that should be realized in iOS automation tool are the ability of automated test scripting and exporting test reports.

The ability to create cross-platform mobile app tests is a very important feature for the testing tool for the companies that develop mobile apps for both platforms: iOS and Android. Read this article, if you like to find out useful information about Android mobile app testing. 

We have chosen two tools for iOS mobile app testing that combine all the necessary features for qualified testing.

Calabash

Image by Calabash
Image by Calabash

The benefits of the tool usage:

  • It enables you to write and execute automated tests of mobile apps.
  • It enables test code to interact programmatically with native and hybrid apps
  • It is a completely free application
  • Calabash iOS has its own automation specification that doesn’t match existing specs or APIs. Using an established and well-known specification can help developers get up and running and testing at scale quickly.

Appium

Image by 3pillarglobal
Image by 3pillarglobal

The benefits of the tool usage:

  • The usage of standard APIs allows you to increase the usability of test cases for different testing platforms.
  • You may use different development tools and use various programming languages for writing test scenarios because of the full compatibility with the Appium testing platform.
  • Any testing framework could be used with a testing tool.
  • The WebDriver protocol has become a defacto standard, so the investments in the quality testing with Appium may become the optimum solution for the business.

It will be not an exaggeration to say that iOS testing tools list could be endless. For reaching high results in mobile application testing you should choose the one that is able to make the application more stable and reliable, as it is the main objection of the quality assurance strategy.

Striking the balance

“If you don’t care about quality, you can meet any other requirement.” – Gerald M. Weinberg

There are many tools, tricks and hacks that exist in iOS quality assurance process. Automated testing as a technique may be a powerful tool in the implementation of the application quality, but the highly qualified and experienced QA specialists could never be automized. The automatization of the testing process is able to bring great results only under the control of professionals.

THINKMOBILES QA team shares the experience in mobile app testing with hope to see more and more secure apps on app stores and, of course, make the QA competition more dynamic and interesting. The time for secure applications is now!

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