How to Test Mobile Applications That are Rapidly Evolving and Have Shorter Release Cycles.

August 23, 2019

Nowadays every mobile application development needs to deliver frequent updates to satisfy users' insatiable appetite for new features, fix anything that goes wrong, and to stay one step ahead of the competition.

But to stay ahead in the game, one must be prepared to serve users with frequent updates and often prefer automatic updates. Plan for short mobile release cycles but make sure that you have to water tight plans for testing your rapidly evolving application to set the benchmark each and every time.

What triggers frequent releases?

One of the most important factor and inevitable one is either the launch of new mobile devices and/or OS updates.

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Competition in the device market is fierce, and new devices are released all the time. Then there are the OS updates. Major releases may be months apart, but minor releases can come as frequently as every few days, at times without warning. If your mobile app doesn't support the latest devices and operating systems, it may affect the user experience and app performance.

By planning your development and testing cycle for such frequent updates you can come out at the top without risking time to market for updates with a smooth-running application every single time. Secondly, user feedback can be swift and brutal. If you release a flawed mobile app, you can count on a near-instantaneous flood of negative ratings and reviews.

Even trivial mistakes such as not publishing what's new in your latest version can trigger complaints. Bad reviews can kill a new app before it gets off the ground and can cause an established app's ranking to nosedive. A lower app store ranking reduces downloads, which in turn can lower your ranking even more. This vicious circle has an immediate effect on your business and can quickly lead to mobile oblivion. Climbing up the app store rankings takes much longer than falling down.

If you see your rank starting to drop, you need to put the brakes on right away. Therein lies the importance of short mobile release cycles: when your pipeline is set up for rapid releases, you can implement fixes quickly and confidently. Thirdly, as a corrective response to user behavior, especially abandonment. Once you release, you need to know how users are interacting with your app.

With usage-analytics data, you can determine if users are completing an application flow from end to end or if they are abandoning it (and where).If you find that critical flows (the ones that make you money) aren't working, you need to rethink how users interact with your app and quickly deliver a new version

How to manage frequent releases of an evolving mobile application?

1. Put the best brains to work.

You want the best developers on your team. That is particularly true for mobile app development, which is on the cutting edge of software technology. Everybody is going agile and nurturing DevOps—and that means fast mobile release cycles.

2. Take the automated testing approach.

Automated testing is the best approach to mobile application testing infrequent release scenarios. In this process, an array of test cases are set up, which should generally cover 80 percent of the testing process. The percentage is not a rule but a general guideline followed in the software industry. Here is a list of test cases that are generally performed through this particular approach:

  • Automate most tedious manual test cases
  • Automate test cases that can be easily automated
  • Automate test cases for most frequently used functionality
  • Automate test cases that are impossible to perform manually
  • Automate test cases with predictable results

Some tools available for mobile automation testing include:

  • Appium: Appium automation tool is an open-source tool that can be used for automation of different applications like native, wap and hybrid apps. It is a good tool for automation of apps that are written on Android or iOS (native), web applications that are accessible via a mobile browser (wap) and applications that are wrapped around the ‘web view’.
  • Robotium(Android): Robotium framework is an android test automation framework. It has good support for native and hybrid applications. Robotium tool makes it easy to write robust automatic black-box UI tests for Android applications.
  • Selendroid: Selendroid is a test mobile automation framework. It can be used for UI of different applications like native, hybrid apps and wap. Tests will be written using Selenium 2 client API.
  • UI Automator (Android): UI Automator Automation framework allows testing UI using the creation of automated functional test cases and running them against the application under test on one or more devices.

Advantages of Mobile Testing Automation

Automation of mobile testing has proven to be really helpful. Below is a list of advantages that come along with the automation of mobile application testing:

  • Increases testing efficiency
  • Enhances regression test case execution
  • Saves a bunch of time, while also executing more test cases
  • Same test scripts can be performed again and again
  • Test scripts can be run in parallel on multiple devices

3. Adopt Agile, Go for Continuous Development & Testing.

Continuous Testing in a DevOps environment takes test automation to a level never achieved before. With continuous testing, we are now able to test early, test often, test faster, and automate. The result is unprecedented levels of quality and efficiency. DevOps and Agile are about transforming people, processes, and technologies to deliver innovative solutions at a rapid pace.

Continuous testing is about achieving unmatched quality. In other words, with continuous testing, organizations are in a better position to achieve both “speed” and “quality” when delivering applications at scale.

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Time and resources are scarce. Agile and DevOps practices reduce release cycles, at the same time requiring fast feedback as an essential quality control factor. With increased efficiency in production and shorter release cycles comes the problem of limited time for testing. You need to make sure that all the important aspects of your application are well tested.

Without causing any delay in the time it takes to market it. That means you need to create a test for every new or altered requirement. Establish a test framework that supports data-driven testing and reuses the existing test. Keep the test framework aligned with the evolving nature of applications, automate advanced use cases and keep them running, and review and interpret large volumes of test results.

As a result, doing it all in one go takes time and consumes resources if you don’t have the right tools in place. In short, the Test Analytics is there to help enforce agile principles. This is done by removing the testing bottleneck and enabling organizations to test early, often, automatically, and continuously.

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