The dominance of mobile phones as the preferred medium for accessing the internet is an established fact. This has created an app ecosystem where enterprises are competing among themselves to develop attractive, robust, customized, feature-rich, and secure mobile apps across verticals. Mobile testing has emerged as an integral part of this app ecosystem thanks to the rising cyber security challenges and fast-changing market dynamics. In fact, the criticality and complexity of mobile application testing are underpinned on the following criteria:
- Testing of mobile apps should be done across browsers, operating systems, versions of operating systems, device platforms, and networks
- Quick release of newer OS versions and patches
- The varying hardware configuration of devices in terms of screen sizes, memory, processor speed, and others can be challenging
- Unavailability of specific device platforms during testing
- Choosing a combination of devices, operating systems, and browsers to optimize testing
- Availability of various categories of mobile apps – native, hybrid, and web and their need for testing
To address the myriad testing challenges, enterprises are increasingly veering towards adopting RPA (Robotic Process Automation.) If statistics are to be believed then the global RPA market is expected to touch $10.4 billion by 2023. Let us first understand what RPA is all about.
It is an IT solution that lets enterprises automate many standard and mundane repetitive activities. Consequently, these activities are performed accurately and up to the desired expectations without any human intervention. It helps organizations to improve productivity, enhance efficiency, and accelerate a product’s time to market while upholding quality. RPA can be implemented in executing a plethora of tasks related to areas such as supply chain management, customer service, data analytics, and others. Its vast potential can only be achieved through meticulous planning.
When it comes to mobile testing, RPA can eliminate human errors and infuse reliability, accuracy, and transparency into the development and testing processes. It can easily scale the testing requirements, reduce the cost of testing, and take customer satisfaction to newer heights. Further, automated processes like RPA can significantly reduce the development and deployment lifecycle cost and duration of a mobile application. When a significant portion of testing is automated, the QA specialists will have the time and wherewithal to advance their skillsets and bring greater value to the business.
RPA helps enterprises in detecting anomalies in processes where anomalies are the outlier data patterns that do not seem to appear as normal. Such anomalies can constitute malicious codes to cause cybercrimes like data and identify thefts, data breaches, and malicious attacks, among others. To ensure that RPA performs its role in mobile app testing, enterprises should consider:
Processes to automate: It is not feasible to automate every process as there may be a need for human intervention. Besides, RPA can automate processes that are standardized, structured, and rule-based. So, the ones without standardization cannot lend themselves to automation.
Resources: There is a lack of trained resources for RPA given its relatively recent origins. To further add to the worries, there is a lack of availability of structured data across processes making the implementation of RPA and achieving accuracy a challenge.
Management approval: The implementation of RPA can cause disruption across the value chain due to its requirement for changes in the IT infrastructure of an organization. So, the management should approve of the implementation and oversee the disruption.
Robotic Process Automation can accrue a host of benefits for enterprises/developers/testers as mentioned below:
- Since RPA is run by specific tools, there is no need to remember any syntax.
- The QA team can create a test case by taking a simple drag and drop approach.
- The capability of RPA testing of mobile applications can be enhanced by assigning specific jobs to different workstations.
- As a minimal workforce is needed, organizations can save significant costs on overheads.
- Since the process is executed by bots that follow a standardized approach, accuracy is assured.
- Since there is no manual activity involved, testing can be carried out in non-stop iterations.
- RPA can be flexible and does not depend on the type of testing – web-based or mobile-based. Moreover, it allows the parallel execution of tests.
One of the major challenges to testing mobile applications is managing the frequent updates and changes. So, by automating the repetitive tasks, enterprises can achieve efficiency and better detection of glitches. Also, since mobile test automation needs to be carried out on multiple platforms, virtualized devices or emulators can be leveraged. The implementation of RPA will have the below-mentioned features:
Total test coverage: RPA testing should be comprehensive and cover every aspect of development and testing – functional, non-functional, and integration.
Scriptless test automation: RPA does not need the human resource to have any programming skills. Any business analyst or Subject Matter Expert (SME) can learn to use the RPA tool. Since the bot can access the end-user system through a controlled user interface, there is no need to have any program to run the system.
Parallel execution of mobile automated testing: Customers are wont to use multiple mobile devices from different OEM vendors. And unless an application is tested across devices its quality is not validated. The RPA should ensure the parallel execution of app testing on multiple device platforms.
Continuous integration: The integration of various APIs should be properly verified.
Network testing: The functioning of a mobile application depends to a great extent on the available network. RPA testing should evaluate the mobile apps’ compatibility with different networks.
Security testing: One of the aspects of security testing is checking if the app adheres to the various security protocols and regulations. Also, since app stores will include an app only after ensuring it does not have any offensive data, prior testing should be conducted to verify the app’s adherence to all industry standards.
Leveraging the RPA tools can help enterprises in validating the quality of a mobile application across platforms. However, it should be done after meticulous planning to ensure efficiency. It is only by adopting the right approach for automation (web-based, cloud-based, and lab-based) that RPA can deliver the right outcomes.