We at Fora Soft have been using iOS automating testing for some of our projects. Learn from our expertise what mobile automated testing is all about, when you need it and when you don’t. Don’t forget to check out the list of the most popular iOS automated testing tools below.
In recent years, more organizations have begun developing native app versions of their web applications. With the number of mobile apps downloads increasing, the brands will have to focus more on testing automatically to speed up a new app version release process. Time is money and this way you can stay ahead of the competition.
As per the MarketsAndMarkets report, the global automation testing market size is expected to grow from USD 24.7 billion in 2022 to USD 52.7 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 16.4%. To keep up with the pace of the ever-changing testing landscape, you should be familiar with the latest news on iOS testing automation.
What is iOS testing automation?
Automated testing is imitating real user action according to a certain scenario. For example subscription purchasing, data inserting, button tapping, etc. All done automatically using special software and with no human participation. You can automate testing of any product, including an iOS app.
- Concurrent testing on multiple devices. That means, more tests can be run per build/release. For instance, automated regression testing that ensures a new feature or a change in the code doesn’t affect the overall system performance. This results in a better quality of released products = better user experience.
- Faster testing process. You save time and money for better product quality.
- Minimized human error. Automated testing ensures thorough testing of the same areas over and over again. Going through the same feature might be monotonous to a human and result in them missing bugs and errors.
- Testing transparency. When the testers swap, old scripts stay, and the testing process will continue as intended. Regression testing stays the same, too. If you need to change something, or if a new tester wants to check the application logic, the script will work as documentation. This is one of the main advantages.
- When iOS updates, you have to wait for the automated testing tools to update, too.
- The initial development of automated tests can be time-consuming and costly (but it’s worth it in the long run).
When do you need automated testing?
Do you even need it? The answer is “yes”, if:
- Your app has too many functions and features, and you are going to support it while adding new things along the way. Why do you need auto testing then? New functionality can conflict with the old one. For example, you’ve introduced a chat and calls broke. To find out the problem, the tester has to test the whole app manually. It takes a lot of time, and the tester is at risk of missing something else! Auto testing helps avoid that problem, as the tester won’t have to test everything after introducing each feature. Whatever stayed the same will be checked automatically, as long as you launch the tests and then collect the results. It helps reduce the testing time and the development costs.
- You are going to adapt the app for each new iOS version and take advantage of new system possibilities. Every iOS update can break something within the app. Even if you never planned to update the app in the near future, it might be that you have to. In that case, automated testing will help with that. After running the tests, you’ll understand what it was that broke and be able to solve the problem. Obviously, you wouldn’t add automated testing with this sole purpose, but they will help a great deal if they are already implemented.
- There are testers on your team that possess some knowledge of mobile automated testing. They at least have to know some popular programming language if you go for, say, Appium. Or, they have to know Swift if your choice is XCTest / EarlGrey / KIF. Testers also need to know how to work with mobile testing tools. If your employees only know how to manually test apps and have no knowledge of programming languages whatsoever, you will either have to teach them or hire new ones.
When you don’t need automated testing?
However, writing automated tests is programming, although you’re not writing new functions for your app but rather a program that goes through your product and checks it. It is expensive. It won’t be worth it to add automated tests if:
- The app is small. It doesn’t have lots of functions and it is easy to test it manually. With that being said, you are not planning on adding new functions on a constant basis.
- The app is supposed to be developed and distributed within a short period of time, such as those for the World Cup-2018 or the Olympics-2014.
- The app changes frequently. The functionality is unstable. For instance, a startup that looks for its client and keeps changing the main features.
What are the best automated testing tools in iOS?
Apple developed a fully native tool that is out there only for testing iOS apps. Since it is native, external dependencies won’t be there. You develop tests in Swift or Objective-C, which helps developers and testers interact more effectively. However, developing in those languages isn’t that simple. It might be that testers will turn to developers to ask for help far too often, which will make work a bit chaotic.
There is a test recorder, too. It records real actions with an app and creates a test out of them, but using it is actually quite hard. It isn’t very accurate and it’s best to use it as an assisting tool while developing main tests in Swift or Objective-C. XCUITest/XCTest also works in a separate thread, and doesn’t read the state of an app. Therefore, delays in updating the data may lead to a failure to find requested elements.
The Framework by Google. It requires tests in Objective-C or Swift. The framework synchronizes requests, UI, and streams – that’s the advantage of it. However, EarlGrey isn’t very popular because you can only test iOS apps with it. It isn’t very different from XCUITest, yet it is not native, so testers would rather use XCUITest.
KIF is a framework that has to be added to the project to use it. Objective-C or Swift are the testing languages. Its realism is its main competitive edge. KIF can simulate interaction with a user, therefore it’s very good for UI testing.
You see the iOS-only tools above but when mobile development is in question, oftentimes the developers go for both iOS and Android apps. So no wonder there are cross-platform tools for automated testing.
Appium is the most popular tool nowadays. It allows testing apps regardless of the platform, type, and system version. Writing tests for each platform is possible using a unified API, without adapting the app to work with a specific testing framework. Appium doesn’t require adding to the app source code. It works as a separate tool. Let’s take a look at its advantages:
- It is cross-platform. The testers can develop tests for iOS and Android in the same environment, in the same language. They can even re-use the code. It saves time and money.
- Wide functionality. You can launch and stop the app, check the visibility of elements on the screen, and use gestures. Simulators and real devices work with Appium.
Appium has some disadvantages, too. It is essentially a superstructure over native iOS and Android drivers. The tests can break more often due to the mistakes in the superstructure code. It’s important to note here that Appium is very popular, develops quickly, so arising problems will likely be solved in the future.
So, a quick summary.
You should consider automating your testing process if:
- your app is complex and has many features
- you don’t dramatically change the features too often
- you want to save time on testing basic functions like login, payment, booking, etc.
Tools and methods:
We’ve covered the most popular iOS automated testing tools in the sheet above. Whenever you choose a tool, consider the application’s peculiarities, check if there will be an Android version of the app. Also, consider your testing team and their preferences! 🙂 Want to automate your mobile app testing process and stay ahead of the competition? Contact us! We will reply shortly to discuss details and provide a time-money estimation based on that.