Which Mobile Testing Framework is Right for You?

  July 18, 2023

Mobile apps are essential for many businesses to reach their target customer. As a result, flawless performance has become a top priority. 

Mobile testing plays a crucial role in this context by validating an app’s functionality, usability, and security across different devices, operating systems, and network environments. However, choosing the proper testing framework can be daunting due to the sheer number of options available and the unique considerations of each one. 

In this article, you’ll learn about mobile app testing, how to choose between different frameworks, and tips for scaling your tests with BitBar

What is Mobile App Testing? 

Mobile app testing validates functionality, usability, and stability across devices, operating systems, and screen resolutions. In addition to native mobile apps, mobile app tests can cover web and hybrid apps (for example, progressive web apps). The goal is to optimize the user experience to improve satisfaction, conversions, or other KPIs. 

Manual testing is the most straightforward approach to this process. Using tools like TestComplete, manual testers can access a series of steps with a description and detailed instructions. Then, if they identify any issues, they can record them in TestComplete and create bug reports for developers to follow up with and fix. 

Manual testing offers a quick and easy way to run tests and maintain quality, but it also can be costly, time-consuming, and error-prone. New automated approaches can be a better solution for many repetitive tasks, including regression and performance testing. New approaches to test automation make it easy to reuse tests, run tests in parallel, and maximize test coverage. 

Mobile App Testing Frameworks

A growing number of mobile testing frameworks and tools make creating and automating your mission-critical tests easy.  

Here are the most popular tests companies use today: 

  • Appium enables developers to test iOS and Android apps using the same API, making reusing code between test suites easier. You can test the production application since it requires no modifications or SDK installation. 
  • Flutter – Flutter is a popular UI toolkit with a robust built-in testing framework, including unit tests, widget tests at a component level, and integration tests at an application level. 
  • Calabash – Calabash is an open source acceptance testing framework for iOS and Android. The framework’s easy-to-understand syntax makes communicating with non-technical team members easier. 
  • EarlGray – EarlGrey is an open source native iOS UI automation framework that integrates with Xcode’s Test Navigator, making it possible to run tests directly from Xcode or the command line (using the `xcodebuild` command). 
  • XCUITest – XCUITest is Apple’s native UI testing framework written in Swift/Objective-C and integrated directly with Xcode. It can interact with iOS apps and simulate user interactions. 
  • Selendroid – Selendroid is a popular test automation framework for Android applications. Like Appium, it supports testing on multiple devices and offers compatibility with older versions of Android. 
  • Robotium – Robotium is an open source test framework for running automatic gray-box test cases for Android applications. Using the framework, test designers can write functional, system, and acceptance test scenarios across multiple Android activities. 

The best choice depends on each project’s unique requirements. For example, Appium may be the best choice for teams developing an Android and iOS app. However, teams already using Flutter for their UI may want to stick with the library’s built-in testing framework rather than try to integrate an entirely new framework on top.  

How to Scale Mobile App Tests 

Once you have selected your ideal framework and established some best practices, the next question to answer is how to scale your testing. There are thousands of device screen sizes, resolutions, operating systems, and browsers. In addition to the substantial investment to buy and maintain physical devices, infrastructure costs and engineering hours can make effective testing cost-prohibitive. 

If you don’t want to maintain your own devices, you could opt to use emulators instead. This also comes with a drawback; emulators and simulators cannot perfectly mimic the behavior of real devices. For example, cameras, biometrics, and geolocation capabilities rarely work correctly in emulators. And app performance on real devices can differ substantially from simulators due to hardware variation and other factors. 

Cloud-based mobile app testing services are a more cost-effective way to solve these challenges. By hosting a cloud-based device lab, development teams can access the latest real devices and browsers with varying configurations. And you can run tests in parallel across devices to dramatically reduce testing times. 

Try BitBar for Free 

BitBar offers one of the most comprehensive cloud-based mobile testing platforms. Using BitBar’s Capabilities Creator, you can run existing Appium tests in a public or private cloud for maximum security. You also can run tests in parallel using cloud-side execution, freeing up resources for other tasks and shortening test times. 

BitBar supports client-side or cloud-side execution. Source: BitBar

BitBar supports a wide range of mobile app testing frameworks:

IOS Android
  • Appium
  • Appium
  • Calabash
  • Android Instrumentation
  • EarlGray
  • Calabash
  • Flutter
  • Espresso
  • React Native
  • Flutter
  • Robot Framework
  • React Native
  • Xamarin.UITest
  • Robot Framework
  • XCTest
  • Xamarin.UITest
  • XCUITest
  • Your own framework as Docker
  • Your own framework as VM

In addition to test automation in the cloud, testers or developers quickly can provision cloud-based devices to run ad-hoc tests or help troubleshoot bugs. It’s also easy to capture screenshots, videos, and logs to share with management and colleagues. 

BitBar also provides managers with access to detailed test reports. These reports show execution information, execution time, and a summary of test runs. Within each report, you also can access everything from device behavior to test steps and issues that arose. 

If you want to scale your mobile tests, BitBar offers a 14-day free trial to test drive the platform. Start your free trial today.