Top Mobile Test Automation Tools

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Top mobile test automation tools

The market for mobile testing tools has skyrocketed within the past decade. From mobile gaming to big enterprise applications, we live in a time where ‘there’s an app for that’ holds true. The Google Play store currently has over 3.5 million applications, and the Apple Store has nearly 2 million applications in the market. It is safe to say mobile app development has become one of the leading trends within the DevOps world.

Given its huge and competitive market, it is imperative that mobile app developing teams create an exceptional, bug-free, user experience to retain customers and ensure top ratings within respective stores.

While mobile testing tools and capabilities have flourished in the world of desktop web, Mobile Testing has proven increasingly difficult, due to many different factors, including:

  • Lack of comprehensive device infrastructure
  • Changing XPath selectors and technical identifiers across different device types
  • Complex gestures and behaviors that must be tested for (double press, infinite scroll, etc.)
  • Device fragmentation
  • Existing tool-stacks are optimized for desktop-web and often are mobile-immature
  • As a result, teams struggle to find the proper balance between manual testing and automation testing. Manual testing is “easy,” but incredibly tedious and time-consuming. However, automating tests can also be time-consuming, flaky, inconsistent, and excruciating to set up and maintain.

Luckily, mobile automation frameworks and tooling have begun to pop up in the market to relieve these mobile app pain points, making mobile app automation easier to achieve.

In this article, we will focus on the top 10 best mobile automation tools to help your team release faster and with more confidence across multiple devices.

What are Mobile Test Tools? 

Mobile test automation tools allow engineers to work much more efficiently than they would have with manual mobile testing. They’re a great way to achieve high-quality test data collection in less time. They also reduce risk and can save money.

Types of Mobile Testing Tools

Today, there are a number of automated testing tools available. Understanding their relative strengths and differences is important for anyone in the mobile testing field.

Below are some types of mobile testing tools that you might be familiar with.

Functional Testing Tools

Functional testing determines if an application component works as the software intends, and can detect issues with internal navigation processes, or its response to input. Kobiton professionals are always at the ready with tools like these. 

Performance Testing Tools

You might perform well under pressure, but that doesn’t mean your applications always will. Performance testing, another Kobiton specialty, tracks front-end response times, captures key device metrics, and can even integrate with leading backend tools.

Usability Testing Tools

Whether completing real device testing or using emulators, usability testing should be center-stage in any comprehensive testing strategy. That’s because it prioritizes the user experience with accessibility measures and criteria — after all, what good is the application if it frustrates users? Kobiton engineers put users first.

Security Testing Tools

Data is everywhere, and consumers expect you to keep it secure. But just how secure is that new application? Another important consideration are security testing tools; Kobiton is proud to partner with organizations like Appdome, who specialize in mobile security. 

Choosing the Ideal Mobile Testing Tool 

When you’re ready to evaluate mobile testing tools, you’ll want to consider ways that each one might elevate your testing experience. Team familiarity, product access, and budget will also be major factors.

Kobiton logo

1. Kobiton

What is Kobiton?

Kobiton is the industry leader in pure-play mobile test automation and mobile continuous testing. With support for both AI-driven scriptless and AI-assisted script-based approaches, Kobiton offers solutions around test authoring, execution, and remediation that will fit the needs of any mobile development or testing team.

Scriptless Automation Features

Kobiton’s Manual “Capture and Execute” enables scalable scriptless automation, running in parallel across multiple devices for efficient Compatibility Testing. The approach facilitates “Run once, test anywhere” by effortlessly re-running manual tests on a library of real devices.

Transitioning from manual testing to Appium automation is seamless with Kobiton’s 100% open-standard Appium Export technology, eliminating the need for coding. Each scriptless test includes Visual, Text, Performance, Crash, and UX Design assertions, consolidating various testing aspects into one Kobiton test. The adaptable AI engine supports scalable execution across multiple devices, allowing parallel runs. Kobiton’s baked-in assertions enable intelligent remediation for Functional, Visual, Performance, Accessibility, and Crash issues within the Remediation Menu.

Serving as an “AI layer on top” of real device infrastructure, Kobiton accommodates scriptless automation on both Kobiton and other Device Lab Management providers’ devices. Additionally, Kobiton offers data-driven testing for scriptless automation, providing easy parameterization without coding, along with a comprehensive runtime environment and real device infrastructure.

To learn more about Kobiton solutions from an experienced team member, request a demo.

XC test logo

2. XCTest / XCUITest

What is XCTest / XCUITest?

XCUITest is a native, as well as hybrid, framework for iOS mobile devices. Since XCUITest is baked right into Xcode’s IDE, it provides the fastest possible testing for iOS devices. However, there are several limitations to be aware of in addition to its major benefits.

Features

XCUITest is a free, high-speed solution for testing iOS mobile applications. It offers an “anti-flake” approach, ensuring UI tests reflect the user interface, verifying elements and properties directly at the object level. The XCUITest Recorder facilitates script creation for efficient test suite building on actual devices or emulators/simulators. Although traditionally challenging to integrate into CI/CD pipelines, XCUITest has made progress in becoming more accessible for CI processes.

Limitations

XCUITest is effective for anti-flake testing on emulators and unit tests, but its stability diminishes on real devices, making it less suitable for smoke and regression testing. It supports limited languages (Objective C and Swift) and is exclusive to iOS, lacking compatibility with Android devices. Developed with iOS and Xcode Developers in mind, XCUITest may be less focused on the needs of QA Automation Engineers.

Applitools automated visual testing logo

3. Applitools

What is Applitools?

Applitools is an automation framework that offers Applitools Eyes: a tool used for UI automation testing for web and mobile applications powered by visual AI. Offering 40+ SDKs to easily integrate with your existing automation test scripts, Applitools Eyes creates a DOM snapshot at designated checkpoints of your application UI and saves & sends each snapshot to Applitools robust, AI-driven server. There, Applitools breaks down your application UI snapshots into their layout and structure creating a baseline of images within each test.

Features

Applitools integrates seamlessly with 40+ SDKs, including Selenium WebDriver and Appium, across major programming languages. It enables root cause analysis, saving time in identifying UI bugs by displaying relevant DOM and CSS rule differences.

With Applitools Eyes, coding is significantly reduced, converting complex UI assertions into a single line of code for comprehensive testing. It excels in data-driven testing, eliminating the need for conditional logic by creating visual snapshots for validation. The streamlined dashboard provides concise reporting with clear markings of visual differences.

Applitools offers smart assist for test maintenance, notifying and implementing improvements with a single click. The Ultrafast Grid facilitates parallel testing across multiple configurations in the cloud. Integration into CI/CD pipelines and applications like JIRA is straightforward.

Limitations

Applitools collaborates with partners for optimal real-device mobile app testing, while its primary focus lies in web application testing across various browsers and devices through the Ultrafast Grid. 

Espresso logo

4. Espresso

What is Espresso?

For teams exclusively developing applications for Android devices, Espresso is a great framework for automation testing at the UI level. However, there are a few limitations to keep in mind. Let’s explore the pros and cons.

Features

Espresso is a free, native framework integrated into Android SDK and Studios, offering speed without the need for a server. With a small core API, tests are easy to maintain, change, and customize. The seamless UI synchronization reduces flakiness and enhances test intuitiveness.

Espresso Test Recorder facilitates quick test suite creation and learning for junior QE by generating scripted tests. It provides clear failure reporting and debugging information, deep integration with Android, and easy integration into CI/CD pipelines.

Limitations

Espresso is restricted to Java and JUnit, exclusive to Android UI testing, requiring access to the application’s source code. Prerequisite knowledge of Android app development is necessary for using Espresso, and it is more developer-centric than QA-friendly compared to solutions like Appium.

appium logo

5. Appium

What is Appium?

Appium is an open-source automation framework, or collection of client “automation libraries” as Appium calls it, used primarily to test both Android and iOS native mobile applications, as well as hybrid and web applications. Appium is part of the Selenium WebDriver family, thus utilizes Selenium WebDriver API that specifies a client-server protocol that uses vendor-provided frameworks under the hood. With no need to compile a third-party framework or code, you’ll be able to deploy the same app you have tested across cross-platform devices with confidence.

Features

Appium, an open-source tool with a supportive community, enables cross-platform testing in one session, promoting code reusability and eliminating device fragmentation. With client libraries in major languages and support for multiple frameworks, it provides flexibility in setting up and managing the test environment. Appium allows testing on real devices and emulators/simulators with easy setup and no extra dependencies.

Appium Desktop offers a user-friendly interface with features like starting/stopping the server, viewing logs & screenshots, Appium Inspector for element location, and Step Record for auto-generating code. It supports end-to-end testing, including complex gestures, and seamlessly integrates with the CI/CD pipeline.

Limitations

Appium, a script-based tool, poses a learning curve, especially for junior QEs. While it offers environment management freedom, setup remains challenging and time-consuming. Limited to local real devices, Appium struggles with device management for multiple instances. Its use of a remote web-driver leads to slower test executions, susceptible to network issues and processing delays. Appium scripting is prone to brittle and flaky tests, causing instability and increased maintenance time.

functionize logo

6. Functionize

What is Functionize?

Functionize is a scriptless visual automation framework that utilizes AI and machine learning algorithms for not only UI testing, but also for performance and load testing, as well. The power of AI with Functionize measures visual completion of each page, versus only the DOM, to help understand how users fully interact with your product.

Features

Functionize offers scriptless test recording with Intelligent Architect, ideal for rapid test setup. It features NLP-based test authoring for creating tests in natural language, benefitting junior engineers and saving scripting time. Self-healing analysis and smart fix reduce maintenance, ensuring robust tests. Functionize provides insights into UI usability and performance, including element load time breakdowns. Leveraging AI for data collection, it offers real traffic insights to enhance user experience, crucial for shift-right testing.

With cloud-based devices for iOS, Android, and major browsers, Functionize ensures optimal scalability. It seamlessly integrates into the CI/CD pipeline.

Limitations

Functionize has been created with the cross-browser testing team in mind. Functionize only offers mobile testing at the browser-level and does not support native and/or hybrid mobile applications.

Functionize does not offer any real devices for automation testing, limiting use to virtualized devices that functionize offers via nested virtualization. While this technology is interesting, real devices are still necessary to test against true, real-world conditions and scenarios.

Katalon studio logo

7. Katalon

What is Katalon?

Katalon offers a flexible platform aimed at web, API, mobile, and desktop app testing that fits teams and projects of any size, for any purpose — from creating tests, execution, reports, to seamless integration with the CI/CD ecosystem.

Features

Katalon provides a free version and advanced enterprise-grade features like TestOps management. It offers a unified platform for testing web, API, mobile, and desktop applications. Katalon’s automation relies on a “Step Composition” method, offering advantages such as efficient automation for a single device, time savings compared to scripting, creation of reusable components, and greater control over tests and assertions for testers.

Limitations

Katalon does not offer real mobile devices and must integrate into existing device providers and device lab management solutions.

waldo logo

8. Waldo.io

What is Waldo.io?

Waldo is a no-code platform for automation mobile application testing by building end-to-end regression suites that can be automatically run against new versions of your mobile app. As of 2023 Tricentis acquired Waldo in an effort to expand it’s mobile testing platform. Waldo.io’s codeless recorder records “flows” to create one test flow, or chain together multiple test flows to create dependencies, when building your tests. Create “flows,” or test cases, and every time you upload a new version of your app, Waldo.io will automatically kick off your tests.

Features

Waldo.io claims easy onboarding. You just need to upload your mobile app file to Waldo.io in a browser and begin recording tests. This is great for quickly getting testing setup and started.

Waldo.io does not require in-depth knowledge of scripting in order to start creating automation tests. A great solution for non-technical teams or for teams who do not have testing capacity.

Waldo.io offers Visual Testing solutions that can help catch bugs that traditional, functional tests cannot.

When tests fail, Waldo.io provides quick, auto-generated assertions to help maintain tests. Additionally, when a test fails, given a different behavior of the new version, Waldo.io makes it easy to update the ‘source of truth’ directly from a failed run.

Since Waldo.io runs behind the scenes, when new versions of your application are compiled, recorded tests automatically kick off. A solution alternative to achieve continuous integration without the technical setup.

Limitations

Waldo.io provides limited information on real device access capabilities on their website, and their pricing is complex. Depending solely on end-to-end UI testing can make it challenging to identify and investigate back-end bugs efficiently, hindering the iterative process.

Wrapping up

There are many different test automation solutions out there, but only a handful that are truly optimized for mobile application automation. While we understand Kobiton’s offering as providing the most feature-rich, comprehensive, and flexible solution, we recognize that teams might have specific needs that fit better alongside other solutions. This is why we recommend taking a thorough look at your team’s makeup, skill-set, and needs before evaluating and ultimately choosing a solution.

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