6 Mobile Test Automation Tools You Should Know About

Mobile Test Automation Tools

The user’s threshold to faulty products has surely gone way below the desktop era, and advancement in technology has led to increasingly complex app functionalities putting tester’s job on the spot. On one hand, comprehensive testing solutions are required to ensure an error free end product, and on the other, time has become a scarce resource in this competitive environment. Automation has thus acquired a significant place in the testing process. Although manual component cannot be overlooked or done away with, however, deploying the right mobile test automation tools, where feasible, can reduce the costs and speed up the delivery process.

Let’s observe some of the popular mobile test automation frameworks.

Mobile Test Automation Trends

According to Indiumsoft, some of the popular Mobile Test Automation Tools and Frameworks are as follows:

Mobile Test Automation Tools

Source: Indiumsoft

Appium, Calabash and Espresso are popular choices, with possibilities of XCTest and XCUITest turning out to be the next big frameworks in the iOS test automation.

In tandem with these popular choices, let us focus on the main mobile automation testing tools, the advantages they offer, along with some of their limitations.

6  Popular Mobile Test Automation Tools

Appium – It is an open source free mobile automation tool offering automation of native and hybrid mobile apps. Appium is written using the JSON wire protocol and internally interacts with apps using Selenium WebDriver and Node.js.

Some advantages of using the Appium testing framework:

  • First, it’s a free to use open source tool used for automating both Android and iOS platform apps.
  • Second, it supports a number of programming languages such as Java, C#, and Ruby without the need to modify apps for automation purposes.
  • Third, Appium is a ‘cross-platform’ tool enabling substantial code reuse between iOS and Android test suites.
  • Finally, it runs on multiple devices and emulators offering scalability.

The downside is that it offers no support for toast messages and has slow scripting. Another weakness is reduced XPath support on mobile devices. Additionally, some testing professionals feel that the test reports generated are poor and inadequate.

Calabash – It is yet another free open source mobile automation tool for Android and iOS mobile apps. Calabash testing framework allows you to write and execute tests that validate the functionality of iOS and Android Apps. It is written in Ruby.

Some advantages of using Calabash testing framework:

  • First, it is a free open source tool used for automating and testing any Android and iOS platform apps, native or hybrid, from the UI level down.
  • Second, it’s cross platform tool.
  • Third, Calabash supports testing on real devices as well as on simulators.
  • Fourth, Calabash allows support for complex features as gestures — like tap, swipe and rotate, and generate better reports than Appium.
  • Finally, with Cucumber framework (BDD), feature files can be easily written by QA, domain expert, or by developers.

Some of the cons include lack of adequate online support, non-availability of an IDE or an Editor, the need for Calabash framework to be instrumented inside ipa file for iOS, and unfriendliness to languages other than Ruby.

Espresso – It is Google’s open source test automation framework for native Android apps, and is quite suitable for white-box testing. Espresso is inside the application and has been written by Google primarily for functional testing of an Android UI. It is mainly targeted for developers.

Some of the advantages of using Espresso testing framework:

  • First, the tool is simple to setup and supports all android versions.
  • Second, it’s library is supported and maintained by Google community.
  • Third, Espresso does not need a server to communicate with, instead, it runs simultaneously with the app and delivers quick test results to the developer.
  • Fourth, Espresso allows for less testing flakiness and better test cycle stability with its unique synchronization method.
  • Finally, with Espresso, extensive testing is possible as it covers a number of UI actions and gestures.

Some of the cons include lack of cross platform support, and besides, it is not a dev-language free framework like Appium and is an app-context only tool.

UIAutomator – It is an open source testing framework by Google that offers advanced UI testing of native Android apps and games. It uses Java as the programming language and is considered as one of the best tools available for Android apps. But unlike Espresso, it is better suited for Black-box testing.

Some of the advantages of using UIAutomator framework:

  • First, scripts created can be executed on many different Android platforms.
  • Second, it’s library is supported and maintained by Google community.
  • Third, UIAutomator allows test cases to run on real Android devices, and its light-weight API is easy to adopt and use for the native apps.
  • Fourth, UIAutomator can lock and unlock a tablet or a smartphone.
  • Finally, UIAutomator can be integrated with testing framework TestNG, in which case, it can generate detailed efficient reports.

Some of the cons include restricted language support with test scripting only in Java and lack of internal view access.

UIAutomation – This is Apple’s JavaScript library that can be used to perform automated software testing on real devices and on iOS simulator. It is suitable for Black box testing.

Some of the advantages of using the UIAutomation framework:

  • First, it offers a simplified UI testing procedure.
  • Second, it offers good support for gesture and rotation.
  • Finally, tests can be run both on physical devices and simulator.

Some of the cons are that it is not an open source tool, hence there isn’t substantial and readily available support. Also, integration with other tools is an area of concern. Besides, the tests are written in JavaScript while iOS code is written in Objective-C and Swift.

As indicated by Indiumsoft, the use of UIAutomation is on the decline as Apple has released a new library called XCUITest as the replacement of UI Automation instruments. Hence, the use of XCTest/XCUITest is expected to rise but the trend is still not clear, and which framework, among a long list, will be able to offer more stable environment is still an enigma.

XCTest – XCTest is Apple’s iOS app testing framework. It enables the users to write basic unit, performance and UI tests for iOS apps. XCTest allows users to do Unit Testing for Xcode projects. XCTest is fully compatible with both Objective-C and Swift, hence, writing tests is an easy task for developers.

Some advantages of using XCTest testing framework:

  • First, testing is simple to initiate and convenient to work, with no need for additional components. It is used with native iOS languages.
  • Second, with XCode Test Recorder in place, testers can get the job done faster with minimal understanding of the underlying software.
  • Third, integrating XCTest with CI is not difficult.
  • Finally, it is much faster than many external frameworks.

Some of the cons to consider are lack of cross platform support, limited ability to test for user condition scenarios — app-context only, a little flakiness on the CI server, limited programming language support, and quite slow to run.

These tools, in addition to many other tools available in the market, assist in accomplishing both speed and quality. Considering the popularity and usage, it is advisable that every tester should know these automation testing tools to remain competitive in the market. Happy Testing!!

3 comments to "6 Mobile Test Automation Tools You Should Know About"

  1. 1. I do not agree with the statement “quite slow to run” for XCTest framework. It is faster compare to all other testing frameworks.
    2. It is challenging to test gestures using other testing frameworks like Appium, while it is easy to do the same using XCTest for iOS apps.

  2. Thanks for posting this article on mobile test automation tools. Been looking for similar content related to mobile test automation tools on the web for a case study an this is defo super useful.


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