Mobile Application Testing Using Selenium

By Prometteur solutions 18 Min Read

Welcome to our blog post on mobile application testing using Selenium.

Selenium is a tool that is transforming how we test mobile applications. It has highly effective automation capabilities spanning platforms and devices. It operates by streamlining rigorous mobile app testing and enables teams to release higher quality, resilient apps users love.

This guide, mobile application testing using Selenium, covers “how to harness Selenium” for simplified and comprehensive mobile application testing.

It will show you how to learn to configure selenium automation testing tailored for mobile. It will also show you how to scale test coverage through parallel execution and integrate testing into deployment pipelines.

With Selenium, you can unlock efficient mobile app test automation to continuously deliver fantastic user experiences

What is Selenium and its role in automation?

Selenium actively serves test automation as an open-source framework that offers portability across platforms and browsers. It provides effective tools to actively automate testing of both web and mobile applications.

By enabling test simulation of user actions, mobile application testing using Selenium helps developers actively validate application functionality during development cycles. Specifically for mobile apps, automation leverages Selenium WebDriver to streamline test automation for native, hybrid and mobile web apps.

The mobile testing capabilities it provides allow running automated tests in parallel – saving manual mobile testing efforts and driving more comprehensive coverage.

Mobile application testing using Selenium plays a key active role for teams by facilitating continuous test automation and regression suites to actively deliver high-quality digital experiences.

Setting up Selenium for Mobile Application Testing

Mobile application testing using Selenium is possible with Selenium Appium which enables test automation across native, hybrid and mobile apps. With support for Android, iOS, Windows and Linux platforms through a single test script – it streamlines quality assurance. Follow these steps to implement Appium:

  1. Visit http://appium.io and download the Appium server and sample code
  2. Unzip the downloaded Appium package locally
  3. Get the Android SDK tools and create an Android Virtual Device (AVD)
  4. Open Eclipse IDE and import the Appium Java/JUnit test samples
  5. Inspect the project structure and sample test code
  6. Launch the Appium server executable to start the service
  7. Observe the Appium server logs in the terminal
  8. Modify the sample test script per your application needs
  9. Execute the JUnit test suite against the target mobile app
  10. Add additional test cases to validate different flows
  11. Integrate Appium testing into CI/CD pipelines
  12. Analyze test reports and coverage to fix defects early

With these steps, Appium testing can be incorporated to automate UI flows spanning various mobile platforms. This enables identifying issues quickly and shipping high-quality apps.

Selenium Mobile Application Testing Frameworks

When considering test automation for mobile apps, Selenium automation provides robust support through some key frameworks for mobile apps.

Selenium Appium

Appium is an open-source test automation framework used for automating tests on mobile apps. It allows quality assurance teams and developers to write tests against native, hybrid and mobile web apps. All of these can be for platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows.

Appium works by using the WebDriver protocol to drive native app functionality and APIs. Appium leverages vendor-provided automation frameworks like UIAutomation for iOS and UIAutomator for Android. This allows it to access components within to automate mobile application testing.

Some key advantages of Appium include:

  • Cross-platform support:

Tests can be written once in languages like Java, Python, PHP, etc and run on multiple platforms like iOS, Android and Windows apps. This saves significant time and effort over having to rewrite separate tests for each platform.

  • Support for all types of mobile apps:

Appium can automate tests on native, hybrid and mobile web apps. Native apps have platform-specific code, web apps run in a browser, and hybrid apps are a mix of the two. Appium works with all three types.

  • Automated testing on real devices:

Appium allows connecting to real iOS and Android devices and emulators/simulators to execute tests. Testing on real devices provides confidence that the app works as expected on target platforms.

  • Access to advanced mobile features:

Appium provides API access to advanced mobile capabilities like GPS, notifications, barcode scanning etc that can be automated for testing.

This enables testing popular mobile features.

  • Active open source community:

Appium has an active community contributing ideas, fixing bugs, and releasing frequent updates. This brings reliability along with faster evolution of capabilities.

  • Supports many programming languages:

Appium supports writing test scripts in Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, C# etc making it easy to get started for test automation engineers.

  • Reuse existing Selenium tests:

Appium builds on the Selenium WebDriver API so existing Selenium test cases can be reused for mobile app testing with minor changes. When you reuse test cases, you make your work easier and faster.

  • Expressive locator strategies:

Element identification uses advanced locating techniques like id, name, class name, XPath, accessibility ID and iOS predicates to uniquely locate elements to automate.

  • Image-based testing:

Appium facilitates visually validating elements and screens through image templates and image-based comparisons for verification of visual correctness.

Mobile application testing using Selenium is possible with Appium. Appium simplifies mobile app test automation with its robust framework, cross-platform capabilities and active support community. Companies can leverage these advantages to accelerate testing and delivery of mobile apps.

Selenium Selendroid

Selendroid is an open-source test automation framework used for automating tests on Android apps. It interacts with Android apps using the UiAutomator framework. A key highlight is its support for automating native and hybrid Android apps.

Unlike other mobile testing tools, Selendroid is optimized for Android and leverages the Android instrumentation framework under the hood. This allows it to more deeply access elements and activities within an Android app during test automation.

Advantages of Using Selendroid For Android Test Automation

Some of the major advantages of using Selendroid for Android test automation include:

Android focused:

Selendroid is dedicated and optimized exclusively for Android apps rather than trying to be a cross-platform test framework. This results in faster test execution.

No modification of apps required:

Selendroid can automate tests on apps without needing access to the source code or need to instrumentation. Black-box testing is enabled on installed app APKs.

Interact with multiple browser instances:

Test scripts can interact with multiple browser instances on the device enabling more comprehensive automation.

Faster test execution:

Leveraging Android instrumentation results in relatively faster test execution cycles compared to other mobile testing tools.

Java library for building test scripts:

Selendroid provides a Java client library with interfaces for building automated test scripts resulting in cleaner object-oriented code.

Supports hybrid apps:

In addition to native apps, Selendroid allows automating click actions within embedded webviews of hybrid Android apps.

Detected & recovered from app crashes:

 If the app under test crashes during test run, Selendroid detects it and recovers test execution from the last known stable state.

Continuous integration support:

Test scripts can integrate with CI/CD pipelines enabling running automated regressions on Android apps.

Emulator and real device support:

In addition to real Android devices, tests can run on the native emulator that ships with Android SDK.

Active open source community:

Selendroid is actively maintained by a community of developers and testers contributing with new enhancements and bug fixes.

Another way of mobile application testing using Selenium is through Selendroid. Selendroid simplifies and accelerates automated functional testing for native, hybrid and web Android apps. Its tight integration with Android frameworks results in reliable and robust test automation capabilities for companies and teams building Android apps.

Appium supports wider test coverage with more functionality while Selendroid specializes in Android-exclusive use cases.. 

Choosing the Right Framework

Analyze your application type, target mobile OS, language comfort, CI/CD pipeline when deciding which framework best suits your testing needs. Native app test automation is better with Appium or Selendroid.

The iOS/Android versatility of Appium makes it a popular choice. But assess project-specific needs before finalizing your mobile test automation framework using Selenium.

Writing Test Scripts for Mobile Applications

Initialization Section

This section sets up the necessary prerequisites before tests can start executing.

  • Import libraries: All required client libraries and test frameworks are imported e.g. Appium Java client, TestNG
  • Set desired capabilities: Platform name, device ID, app location etc. are defined to configure test runs
  • Create driver instance: The AppiumDriver instance is initialized which launches the Appium server and application under test

Test Cases Section

This constitutes the actual test automation content.

  • Each test case is written as a separate reusable method. For example `loginValidUserTest()`, `addProductToCartTest()`
  • Includes necessary test steps like app login, adding a product, checkout process etc.
  • Test assertions and checkpoints are added after key steps to validate expected behaviour and output. These validate whether the test has passed/failed.

Teardown Section 

This section allows gracefully closing all processes post test completion.

  • Quit driver: Closes the Appium driver to terminate Appium server session and application lifecycles safely.
  • Generate reports: Custom reporting and logs can be produced from the automation results for insights.

Such script structure maximizes reuse with configurable test data and makes maintenance easier. Teams can build reliable automation frameworks following these best practices.

The goal of mobile applications using Selenium frameworks should be to build modular, reusable and maintainable automated checks that provide coverage across critical app functionality and user flows. Following coding best practices and test processes will enable sustainable and evolving test suites.

Best Practices for Mobile Application Selenium Testing 

Tips for improving efficiency and effectiveness

Use Appium along with Selenium

Appium extends Selenium WebDriver capabilities to support native, hybrid and mobile web apps across platforms like iOS, Android and Windows. Mobile application testing using Selenium – Appium combines the best of both for mobile test automation.

Automate critical user journeys

Focus test automation on end-to-end core user journeys like signup flows, purchase workflows etc. This checks app behaviour more holistically.

Modular page objects

Page Object Model structures code by having a class represent each app screen, with the class consisting of identifiers and methods to interact with UI elements. This encapsulation ensures clean, reusable code.

Validate across layers

Validate not just UI but also databases, API responses and logs after critical transactions to ensure integrity across app layers.

Reliability measures

Add waits and syncs between test steps, exception handling and failure retry mechanisms to make test execution reliable in case of unexpected app behaviour or test environment issues.

Combining Appium and Selenium capabilities along with coding best practices, comprehensive validation and reliability measures helps boost overall efficiency, effectiveness and coverage of mobile test automation.

Strategies For Optimizing Test Coverage

Align test scope with priorities

Define the scope of test automation based on critical business scenarios, high-risk areas and frequency of usage. This ensures testing provides the most value.

Test across environments

Execute tests across emulators, simulators and real devices to catch issues arising from environment differences in OS, screen sizes etc.

Automate performance testing

Complement functional testing with automated load, stress and scalability testing to uncover issues that manifest at high usage – like slowdowns, and crashes.

Validate all behaviors

Practice behavior-driven development with inputs from business analysts to ensure every intended functionality and business rule is validated through explicit test cases.

Traceability to requirements

Link every test case to corresponding requirements and track bidirectional coverage with traceability matrices. This prevents gaps in test planning.

In essence, a combination of prioritization, environment simulation, non-functional testing, behaviour validation and traceability helps optimize the breadth and depth of test coverage for mobile apps.

Recommendations For Integrating Testing into Mobile App Development Lifecycles:

Shift testing left 

Start testing from early dev cycles through shift-left testing. This enables detecting issues quicker and cheaper compared to later in cycles. Leverage test-driven development as well.

CI/CD pipeline

Setup CI/CD pipelines using tools like Jenkins to automatically trigger mobile test automation suites with every code commit and generate pass/fail reports. Enables continuous feedback.

Promote collaboration

With shift-left testing, promote increased collaboration between developers and testers. Devs gain more confidence from continuous feedback while testers influence quality earlier.

Virtual test services

Make use of service virtualization tools to simulate unavailable backend systems or 3rd party services during development. This removes external dependency bottlenecks.

Stakeholder involvement

Include business, ops and other stakeholders during test planning to ensure test coverage is designed based on diverse real-world usage scenarios and needs.

integrating these processes, tooling and teamwork recommendations with Selenium test automation maximizes overall app quality through holistic and continuous validation safeguards.

An optimal mobile application testing using Selenium’s test automation strategy leverages Selenium’s capabilities. With this, it applies process integrations, environment simulations, automated validations and stakeholder involvement.

The aim is to achieve comprehensive and reliable testing. This ultimately leads to higher-quality mobile apps.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Application Testing Using Selenium

Mobile application testing using Selenium has come a long way. Especially, with Appium and Selendroid providing robust test automation capabilities catered to mobile platforms. From this blog, we see that as teams aim to ship high-quality mobile apps at speed, leveraging Selenium for test automation is key.

After going through the concepts in this guide on how to automate mobile application testing, best practices and integrations – some key takeaways emerge:

  • Appium and Selendroid as tools for Selenium testing open up efficient automated testing for native, hybrid and mobile web apps across Android and iOS platforms. The WebDriver protocol and tight vendor framework integration power the test engines.
  • Modular script architecture, reliability patterns, test data externalization and framework integrations are coding best practices that enable scale, speed and suite maintenance.
  • Shifting testing left, implementing CI/CD execution, virtual test services and business stakeholder involvement bring optimization benefits. They include the validation of coverage and depth based on real-world usage.
  • Test automation must focus on customer-impacting user journeys, emulate production environments, validate across app layers, and trace to requirements. This drives overall quality.

When there is a combination of Selenium testing capabilities with strong automation approaches, including appropriate framework usage and accelerated feedback through pipelines, teams can aspire to master mobile test automation.

The outcomes would be Resilient apps, delighted customers and accelerated releases!

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