Mobile Test Automation: whim or demand?

Mobile Test Automation: whim or demand?
December 12 10:27 2018  

The shift of different industries to mobile makes the mobile segment one of the most promising consumer IT fields. According to Statista, by 2021, 40 percent of the world’s population is expected to own a smartphone. As per the Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide research, conducted by IDC (International Data Corporation), the global spending on mobile solutions is expected to reach $1.72 trillion in 2021.

The current state of mobile software development market is changing greatly because of the influence of AR (Augmented Reality), wearable apps, IoT (Internet of Things), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and cloud computing. That makes mobile software more sophisticated.

At the same time, a dynamic marketplace requires the delivery of high-quality software in the shortest possible time. Such pressure makes companies provide a high-quality code with speed and agility. Thus, shortening of the release cycle reduces testing lifecycle, and to deal with the pressure, a test automation strategy is adapted to mobile testing. However, the current state of mobile test automation is considered to be ambiguous.

When it comes to solutions for mobile test automation, the following tools are available in the market:

  • Appium
  • Calabash
  • UI Automator
  • Robotium
  • Robot Framework
  • Eggplant
  • XCUITest
  • Ranorex, and others

Nevertheless, according to some field experts, tools currently available for mobile test automation do not provide the possibility to reuse big chunks of test automation code for all the platforms.>

But according to the research Future of Mobile Test Automation conducted by QATestLab, сontinued push for faster delivery—сontinuous delivery and сontinuous testing—will drive the development of a full-capability single test toolset that will enable mobile application delivery across all target platforms.

Even now, the main challenges of mobile automation, e.g., devices and OS fragmentation, high expenses on maintenance of mobile device park, specifics of responsive websites on mobile browsers, and complexity of gesture automation, can be overcome with tools and solutions already available in the market.

Mobile automation is already a reality

The multitude of devices and the OS fragmentation can be successfully solved by having access to a Mobile Test Lab Center which provides ample options of devices and OSs. Also, using a Mobile Lab Center equipped with real devices with access to mobile networks, you can overcome difficulties connected with network carriers.

Besides, automation of gestures is possible to some extent. Under gestures, we mean scroll, drags, pinch, multi-finger taps and so on. But in this case, gestures are viewport dependent. You begin and end a drag operation on different x/y coordinates for screen sizes, resolutions, and pixel densities. XCUI, Espresso, Appium & Calabash support automation of multi-touch. But still, it is quite difficult to effectively automate multi-touch actions and 3D touch.

In case of responsive websites on mobile browsers, they can also be automated using open source frameworks like Galen, or commercial ones like Applitools Eyes. It is still hard to access embedded (Google) Maps – as can be seen in the DriveNow or Uber apps. In this case, it is better to work closely together with developers in order to be able to retrieve coordinates via API here rather than going via UI.

The implementation of AI and ML technologies, self-healing tests, and delivery & distribution pipelines that help building, signing and testing will take mobile test automation to the next level.


So, the increasing requirements for software quality and reduction of delivery cycle initiate the growth of test automation market. At the same time, shift to mobile triggers the development of solutions for mobile automation. The tools and frameworks available in the market can cover a wide functionality of available mobile solutions reducing a testing cycle.

But, the constant development of new mobile technologies is challenging mobile test automation. This factor drives the need for more investment in the development of solutions for mobile test automation in order to enable companies to choose the tool addressing their unique needs.

Learn more from QATestLab

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Helen Johnson
Helen Johnson

has 3-year experince in content managing, skills of copyediting and proofreading of web content and documentation

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