Best Practices of Mobile Test Automation for Cross-Platform Testing with Katalon Studio
Mobile test automation is an essential part of the software development process. With the growing number of mobile applications for both iOS and Android platforms, it has become imperative for organizations to ensure the quality and functionality of their apps across these two major platforms.
This article explores the best practices for mobile test automation using Katalon Studio, a powerful mobile test automation tool, with a focus on enabling the same test scripts and object locator strategies to be used for testing both iOS and Android applications.
Why Cross-Platform Testing?
Cross-platform testing is a vital component of mobile test automation because it allows organizations to ensure consistent user experiences on both iOS and Android devices. By employing the same test scripts and object locators, teams can streamline their testing efforts and reduce maintenance overhead. This approach significantly improves the efficiency of the testing process.
Challenges in Mobile Test Automation
There are several challenges in mobile test automation, and the most common theme that is highly inefficient and error-prone is maintaining separate test scripts and object locators for test automation coverage across different platforms. This approach not only hinders test automation productivity but also introduces unnecessary complexities, making it challenging to ensure consistent application quality. In the world of rapid software development, where mobile applications are constantly evolving, the need for agile and sustainable testing methodologies is paramount.
Setting Up Katalon Studio for Mobile Test Automation
Before we delve into the best practices for cross-platform testing with Katalon Studio, it's essential to ensure your environment is set up correctly. Follow these steps to get started:
1. Install Katalon Studio
Make sure you have Katalon Studio installed on your machine. You can download the latest version from the Katalon website.
2. Install Required Mobile Automation Libraries & Drivers
Download and install the required libraries such as Appium (2.X) for mobile automation, and the necessary drivers for iOS (XCUITest) and Android (UIAutomator2). You'll need Xcode for iOS testing and Android Studio for Android testing. Make sure these tools are properly installed and configured.
Best Practices for Cross-Platform Mobile Test Automation
Katalon offers everything needed to get started in one platform, including the Page Object Model (POM) design pattern, dependencies and tools, without the technical know-how. Its approach is similar to web automation, with keywords, test data, folders, and integrations. Katalon allows testers to automate native, hybrid, or mobile web applications, making it a versatile tool for mobile test automation.
Now, let's dive into the best practices for achieving successful cross-platform mobile test automation using the built-in capabilities of Katalon Studio:
1. Page Object Model (POM)
Apply the Page Object Model (POM) design pattern for your mobile test automation project. The POM principle separates page elements and their actions from the test scripts, making it easier to maintain and reuse them for both iOS and Android applications.
In Katalon Studio, we use the same approach with a slightly different implementation: applying the concept of Object Repository (page elements) and Test Case (interactions/validations), as can be seen in the following image:
2. Platform-Independent Locators
Using platform-independent locators is a key element in the success of cross-platform mobile test automation using Katalon Studio. Platform-independent locators ensure that your test scripts can seamlessly work on both iOS and Android applications without the need for extensive modification. These platform-independent locators comply with both of Appium's UIAutomator and XCUITest drivers (selected/defined via the Locator Strategy dropdown in the object spy / object properties feature).
Here's an in-depth look at this best practice:
2.1. What Are Platform-independent Locators?
Platform-independent locators are locators for mobile elements within your application that work across both iOS and Android platforms. In the context of Katalon Studio, these locators are typically defined using the Object Repository, which acts as an intermediary between your test scripts and the mobile devices.
Key platform-independent locators include:
- Accessibility Locators (Appium Accessibility ID): These are unique identifiers that you can assign to elements in your app, making them easily locatable. Accessibility locators are a recommended choice for cross-platform testing because they are consistent across both iOS and Android.
- XPath and CSS Selectors: While less platform-independent than Accessibility Locators, XPath and CSS selectors can still be used for cross-platform testing. However, you may need to tweak them slightly to accommodate platform-specific differences.
2.2. Advantages of Platform-Independent Locators:
- Reusability: One of the primary benefits of platform-independent locators is that they can be reused across both iOS and Android test scripts. This reduces the effort required to maintain your test scripts and locators, making your test automation more efficient.
- Simplified Maintenance: When elements in the application change or evolve, you can make updates to platform-independent locators in one place, and the changes will propagate to both iOS and Android test scripts. This significantly simplifies maintenance.
- Enhanced Test Script Portability: Using these locators ensures that your test scripts are more portable and less reliant on specific platform details. This portability can save time when adapting your tests to different applications or when switching between platforms.
2.3. Tips for Using Platform-Independent Locators:
- Naming Conventions: Consistently name your Accessibility IDs to reflect the function or purpose of the element. This not only aids in locator management but also improves code readability.
- Element Hierarchy: When defining XPath or CSS selectors, try to rely on the element's hierarchy within the app's user interface rather than hardcoding absolute paths. This makes the locators more robust and adaptable to changes.
- Validation: Regularly validate your locators against both iOS and Android applications to ensure that they still work as expected. This helps catch any platform-specific issues early in the development process.
- Responsive Design: Account for responsive design principles when designing your locators. Elements might be positioned differently on different platforms, so your locators should be designed to handle these variations.
3. Data-Driven Testing
Leverage Katalon’s data-driven testing capability to test the same functionality with various data inputs. This approach helps ensure the app's compatibility on different devices and under various conditions.
4. Comprehensive Error Handling
Increase the use of Katalon’s ability to handle errors gracefully in your test scripts. Make sure to review the execution logs to assist in manageable troubleshooting. Katalon’s robust error handling ability ensures the stability and reliability of your tests.
5. Test on Real Devices and Emulators
Test your mobile applications on both real devices and emulators to cover a broader range of scenarios. Real devices can reveal platform-specific hardware and connectivity issues, while emulators provide a cost-effective way to conduct tests in parallel.
6. Continuous Integration
Integrate your mobile test automation into your continuous integration (CI) pipeline. Regularly run automated tests on both iOS and Android to catch regressions early in the development process.
7. Parallel Test Execution
Leverage Katalon Studio's parallel execution capabilities to run tests simultaneously on multiple devices. This reduces testing time and increases coverage.
8. Regular Maintenance
Continuously update and maintain your test scripts and object locators as the application evolves. Maintain clear documentation for easier collaboration within your team.
9. Collaboration and Communication
Foster collaboration between your development and testing teams. Encourage communication to share insights and resolve issues effectively. Cross-platform testing is a team effort.
10. Performance Testing
Include performance testing in your mobile test automation strategy. Ensure that your application performs optimally on both iOS and Android devices. Leverage Katalon’s ability to integrate with several industry-leading performance testing tools.
Benefits of Katalon for Mobile Test Automation
Katalon offers everything needed to get started in one platform, including dependencies and tools, without the technical know-how. Its approach is similar to web automation, with keywords, test data, folders, and integrations. Katalon allows testers to automate native, hybrid, or mobile web applications, making it a versatile tool for mobile test automation.
Katalon also offers practical scalability and maintenance, as the same scripts and object locators can be used across iOS and Android. Its visual testing feature allows for keyword-based AI without the hype, enabling testers to easily verify layout and content. Additionally, Katalon's cloud-based capabilities (TestOps, TestCloud) provide scheduling, executions, and reports, allowing testers to easily manage and execute their tests on remote servers.
Mobile test automation is a crucial aspect of ensuring the quality of mobile applications on both iOS and Android platforms. Using Katalon Studio for cross-platform testing allows you to streamline your testing efforts and improve the efficiency of your testing process. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can create a robust, maintainable, and efficient mobile test automation framework that works seamlessly on both iOS and Android devices. Embrace these practices to save time, reduces the risk of errors, and ensure that your tests consistently perform across different mobile platforms.