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3 Considerations While Automating Your Mobile App Tests

astocode profile image AstroCode ・3 min read

Mobile app testing isn't that much different from testing desktop or web apps. Though there may be other intricacies in terms of device-specific aspects, we can assume that the principles that work for web and desktop will also be applicable for mobile.

One such principle is that of automating tests.

While test automation will surely make a developer's workflow faster and more efficient, there are a few critical things we still need to consider to up the testing game.

In this article, we discuss three of these considerations. While there are certainly a lot more, this list outlines the most important ones. 

1. Testing on real devices rather than emulators

Emulators are widely used to test the performance of native mobile apps. However, it's wiser to use real devices because your users will use the app on actual devices.

While emulators are good to use up to a certain degree, it's still best to be getting on a real device. Emulators don't possess the same capacity as an actual device. Hence, the resources that the app will be using for an emulator will not show reflect similarly on a mobile.

Another aspect to understand when it comes to comparing emulators to real devices is the network connection. An emulator can only use the host device's network connectivity (i.e., a laptop), while a real device can use wifi and cellular connectivity.

So the question now is: when should a developer start using a real device in the process? The answer is: as early as possible. Test-Driven Development (TDD) on devices compatible with the app will point out bugs at a higher accuracy than using an emulator will.

However, it's important to say that emulators also have their merits. Using emulators when only conducting unit tests on key functions in the code is much faster to execute than connecting devices.

2. Security

Your mobile app must be very secure - this is crucial in this increasingly digital world. Users nowadays are more sensitive and protective of their data. Rightfully so, as many data breaches have occurred over the past few years, even with big names like Facebook.

Therefore, mobile apps need to be tested thoroughly with regards to security vulnerabilities. For instance, a banking app should be tested to validate that the application's authentication system can catch potentially malicious login attempts quickly and accurately.

Having said that, here are a few more factors that should be tested to make sure the application is as secure as possible:

Confidentiality of information

It's important to check whether the app will keep sensitive information private and has end-to-end encryption.

Data integrity during transfer

Concerning confidentiality, data should be safe from modification, especially unauthorized ones when in transit.

Proper authentication and authorization

Specific users should only be able to access certain data. Also, some parts of an application should only be accessed by registered and logged in users. These two aspects should be thoroughly tested to ensure data is safeguarded.

3. Tests That Are Normally Automated

Below are a few tests that are commonly automated through scripts. You should only automate tests that will speed up the application development process.

Unit tests

This is testing in isolation a function or a method in the application. Test data is used and mocked (if using some third party library). The purpose of this kind of test is to ensure that such a unit (function or method) will function properly and not be affected by other units in the app. Unit tests are usually conducted early in the development process.

Integration tests

Integration tests check how separate units work together when logically combined. The main objective of this is to ensure that the functions properly communicate with each other.

Regression tests

When there are changes in the codebase, it's important to perform regression testing. This is to ensure that such code change doesn't affect the features of the application.

Conclusion

Testing an application well will ensure that the users will have a pleasant experience with the product. This will then translate to a better bottom line for the company. Ensure that your development and testing team has all the tools they need to help them execute this process better.

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Cover Image: Photo by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash

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