Explore the world of mobile app testing with Appium, an open-source automation tool revolutionizing the efficiency and reliability of test scripts.

Appium-based test script optimization for mobile app testing

Test scripts can be defined as instructions designed to ensure the proper functionality of the software applications. Test scripts are the primary tool for analyzing the application's behavior during mobile app testing. Test scripts can be both manual and automation-based. The aim is to optimize them according to the changes in the software's infrastructure to maintain the efficiency and reliability of the application.

Appium is a mobile application test automation tool. It is available as open-source software that allows automated app testing on both iOS and Android platforms. This article will explain why Appium is highly preferred for test script optimization, followed by tips on integrating Appium with mobile app testing.

Why Appium for test script optimization?

Appium is widely used in test script optimizations. Here are some of the reasons why.

Supports Native, Hybrid, and mobile web apps:

With Appium, a single automation tool is enough to write test scripts that can support multiple mobile applications, and this is one of the most significant advantages of using this tool. It has a high level of versatility to support Native, hybrid, and mobile web apps. 

The test scripts developed for one type of mobile application can be reused for other types, too. This approach saves time and eliminates the necessity of building separate test scripts for different mobile application types. Appium is highly useful in testing hybrid applications that are a blend of both native and web applications. It gracefully deals with the complexity of the elements of hybrid applications.

Appium supports mobile app testing on various scenarios, including the transition between native and web views within an application. Appium is a highly flexible mobile app testing tool that can adapt to any modifications in the applications under test.

WebDriver Protocol and its usage:

The WebDriver protocol specifies a collection of RESTful HTTP APIs that allow client libraries and browsers to talk to each other. It can also be described as a standardized protocol for automating web browsers and mobile devices. Appium, along with the WebDriver protocols, provides a consistent and uniform mobile app testing experience. The WebDriver protocol uses RESTful APIs for communication between the test script and the browser, making the process simple and elegant with well-defined endpoints for multiple actions.

The protocol defines the commands that allow test scripts to engage in actions such as swiping, tapping, and interacting with mobile elements. The construction of Appium on top of WebDriver provides language binding for many widely used programming languages, which means that the applications can be built on any language, and Appium can implement testing on it.

Unaltered source code

Appium interacts with the app under test during mobile app testing without modifying its source code. So, there are no changes to the app’s behavior. As there is no requirement for changing the code, the testers have no reliance on the developers. Appium also provides many locator strategies to identify the dynamic elements effectively. The non-modification approach and flexibility of the tool pave the way to an accelerated adoption.

Cross-platform assistance:

Appium aids in the execution of the same set of test scripts written on a standard set of commands on multiple platforms, like Android and iOS. Using the same test scripts saves time and money for the testers and developers. Appium also supports parallel test execution in mobile app testing.

Appium in mobile app testing

Mobile app testing performed under optimal test scripts can ensure efficiency, scalability, reliability, and security. It helps the company to have a competitive edge in the growing market.

To optimize the test scripts using Appium, QA professionals need to adopt various strategies. Here are some of the best practices. Besides Appium, many cloud testing tools like LambdaTest support mobile app testing at scale on the cloud. LambdaTest is an AI-based test execution and orchestration platform offering a real device cloud to test your mobile apps on over 3000+ environments.

Improve test data handling.

 The flexibility and operability of the test scripts directly depend on the nature in which the massive test data are handled. The best practice is storing the test data in external files, called externalization. In this approach, there is no need for any modification in the test scripts while making changes to the test data. YAML is a data serialization language, and it is also human-readable. Using YAML as a configuration file to store the test data’s key-value pairs is recommended.

Appium tests can also be integrated into a database to extract test data dynamically to ensure that only the last updated data and not outdated data are used for test execution. It is also essential to parameterize the test scripts so that they can accept input values as parameters. This ensures the reusability of the test scripts because passing different sets of data to the same test script becomes simple.

Usage of Page Object Model(POM):

Page Object Model is a design pattern commonly used to elevate the maintainability and readability of test scripts. POM can be applied with Appium to accurately distinguish between the test code and the UI elements of an application. With the integration of POM in Appium for mobile app testing, when the user interface of a page is modified, only the code that is oriented with that page object needs to be changed, not the tests. Here are the steps to be followed while using POM with Appium.

  • Page class creation for each screen or page.
  • Initialization of page objects into the tests.
  • Monitoring test logic and page actions
  • Enhancing reusability with locators

Implementation of wait strategies:

Wait strategies are implemented in the test executions to make the test scripts wait for the elements until they get loaded. Test scripts should be trained so that they interact with the intended elements only when they are ready. Appium possesses many wait strategies to ensure synchronization. Here are some of them,

  • Implicit wait: In the implicit wait mechanism, the Appium server puts the DOM under poll until the desired element is located. If the element is found, the test script is resumed. The search for the component runs until the end of the specified timeout. In cases where no element is found, an exception is raised.
  • Explicit wait: In the precise wait mechanism, the test script is not executed until the specified condition is met. Explicit waits are crucial settings when an element takes more time to load.
  • FluentWait: FluentWait allows the scripts to continue executing the tests even if the elements are not found. Specific exceptions are ignored in this waiting strategy, and the testers themselves can customize polling intervals.
  • Wait for visibility: In this setting, the test scripts wait until the expected elements are visible.
  • Wait for clickability: In this waiting strategy, the test scripts hold their execution until the desired element becomes clickable.

Creation of Reusable functions:

  • Appium supports creating reusable functions for everyday actions such as logging in, interacting with frequently used elements, and navigating between screens. In this approach, code reusability and redundancy reduction are highly possible. Multiple test scripts use reusable functions. This method discourages duplication of code, making the whole process more optimal. There are few chances of error when the standard actions are centralized in reusable functions because there is little to no need to repeat the same code frequently.
  • The practice of using reusable functions enforces the maintainability of the code. During any change, only the function-oriented toward it needs modification. These changes propagate automatically throughout all the test scripts.

Run tests in parallel execution:

Implementing parallelization in test execution increases efficiency and saves a lot of time. Appium supports parallel execution with the implementation of frameworks like TestNG or JUnit. TestNG is also a testing framework inspired by JUnit for JAVA, and it provides testers complete control over test cases and test execution. Parallel execution can be achieved in the Appium using TestNG with the following steps.

  • Installation of dependencies.
  • Organization of test suites (to facilitate parallel execution.)
  • Usage of appropriate TestNG annotations
  • Configuration of TestNG XML file

While going with parallel execution, always ensure that the test cases are independent. Using appropriate synchronization mechanisms will pave the way for conflict-free parallel test executions. Before commencing the parallel execution of mobile app testing, check for resource constraints. Appium and TestNG are known to significantly optimize the utilization of test scripts and reduce the test execution time.

Test script preservation:

Mobile applications often undergo changes and modifications. So, it is vital to maintain test scripts by adjusting them to the new changes and accommodating them to all the further modifications happening in the application. Appium-based mobile app testing will surely need some best practices to preserve the efficacy of the test scripts. Some of the strategies are as follows:

  • The testers must always be aware of the release notes and their dates. Reviewing them frequently will help you stay informed and updated about the changes to the mobile application.
  • The testers must stay connected to the development team to be aware of the upcoming changes and features in the mobile application. Test scripts can be effectively managed using version control systems, where it is easy to track changes, have rollbacks, and manage the test scripts effectively.
  • Error-handling mechanisms that capture and log information relevant to failures and errors can be implemented in the test scripts. This helps the testers come up with efficient solutions during the debugging process.
  • The Appium server has a remarkable ability to generate sufficient log information. Sometimes, the logs could be more straightforward and more obscure. It would be highly appreciable if the testers learned to read and understand the logs.

Wrapping it up

An open-source automation tool like Appium supports the adoption of various best practices and strategies discussed earlier in this article to enhance the efficacy of the test scripts and thus elevate the productivity of the mobile application or web application. It reduces the efforts put into manual testing by detecting errors and bugs in the early stages of the software development process itself. Appium and the right strategies can optimize test scripts and produce the best mobile web applications.