Top Android Automation Testing Tools & Framework
By Harmandeep Gover, Community Contributor - September 10, 2023
As of August 2023, Android is the most popular operating system, capturing about 39.2% OS Market Share Worldwide. This is reinforced by the fact that the Google Play Store has 2.65 million apps placed as of June 2022.
In the following sections, we’ll comprehensively learn why teams opt for Android automation and the top Android Automated Testing Tools and Frameworks that will assist QA teams in keeping up with the evolving Android ecosystem.
Why is Android preferred amongst the User and developer community?
- Android is an open-source system that makes it easily accessible, customized, and development-friendly.
- It has a large user base as it caters to multiple audiences owning smartphones of different budgets and functionalities.
- A more extensive user base means a more significant market share.
- Learning app development on the Android platform is easy with an open-source community and contribution forum.
- Simultaneously, developers and testers have adopted tools and techniques for Android Automated Testing.
Android Testing must be performed diligently to deliver high-quality apps for the best results.
What is Android Automation Testing?
Android automation testing is the process of using software tools and frameworks to automatically test the functionality, performance, and usability of Android applications. It involves different types of testing which requires creating scripts and automated tests that simulate user interactions with the app, such as tapping buttons, entering text, and swiping screens.
Various tools and frameworks are available for Android automation testing, which this guide covers in detail. These tools allow developers and QA engineers to create and run automated tests on different Android devices and emulators, providing insights into the performance and behavior of the application under different conditions.
Why opt for Android Automation Testing?
Imagine the process of developing a modern Android app. Among other requirements, it must work flawlessly on thousands of Android devices with different hardware specifications and OS versions. Android fragmentation is one of the major concerns for those seeking to create an Android app.
Manually testing an app on thousands of Android devices would take enormous time and effort. You’d have to hire many testers to work through every user scenario on every Android device, at least the popular ones. This is where you opt for Android app automation testing.
- Instead of running every scenario manually, automate as many of them as possible, create test scripts that emulate user actions, and establish benchmarks by which tests will pass or fail.
- Additionally, you can use parallel testing to run tests simultaneously on multiple Android devices, thus reducing time and effort even further.
Of course, one cannot completely do away with manually testing mobile applications. Human perception and judgment are essential because the success of an app does, in the end, depend on what users think of it. However, except for the most necessary test cases, QAs must aim to automate the bulk of their test scenarios.
Factors to consider for App Automation Testing
Android apps have evolved, and so have their features and functionalities. With the growing user expectations, adding new exciting features to the Android App is essential for customer retention. Moreover, as the number of Android devices in the market increases, so should the feature support for these devices to ensure a consistent user experience. Thus, the scope of testing has increased as well.
Let’s consider the various factors when testing an Android app:
Every app has some core functionalities that come from the users’ requirements. Functional testing is done to verify whether the app runs for every use case. Take an example of a ride-sharing application (like Uber, Lyft). A tester has to ensure the following test scenarios:
- The maps are working in sync with the user’s location
- The available cab locations shown to the user are accurate
- The driver ratings are functional and verified
- The pricing system is working as per the algorithms defined
- The booking time is optimized
Cross Platform Compatibility
Many new Android devices are launched every year. These include different shapes, sizes, configurations, and even components. Thus, it is essential to understand your app’s requirements and make sure that it is universally accepted and compatible with every Android device. Compatibility is tested based on the device and the version of the Operating system.
Follow-Up Read: Top Android Devices For Mobile App Testing
User Interface (UI)
UI is another essential aspect of any app since it is the critical connection between the user and the functionality. UI includes the visual elements of the app and how well they represent each function. App testing for UI enables the tester to ensure the correct visual representation of buttons and text.
Security has been a significant concern since technology has brought in many more users, which has made the safety of private user data more vulnerable. This is very critical for apps concerning finance and communication. Security testing is thus done to ensure the encryption and decryption of essential data. It also ensures that the data stored is safe and secure from vulnerabilities.
App development is often done in phases, and once all the stages are completed, the app is tested for any bugs. The app is thoroughly tested for all components essential such as location services, maps, social app integration, location services, maps, voice recording, etc. This is known as interface testing.
Top Android App Automation Testing Tools & Frameworks
Automation Testing of Android Apps is pivotal in a software release cycle.
Appium is another widely used open-source app testing tool. It is a cross-platform testing framework known for its flexibility, allowing QAs to create test scripts against numerous platforms, such as iOS, Windows, and Android, using the same API.
That means QAs can use the same code for iOS and Android, saving significant time and effort. The Appium Inspector provides a unified interface for inspecting and interacting with elements across iOS and Android as well. This simplifies the testing process for apps running on multiple platforms.
You can run Appium tests in parallel using Appium Grid.
NightwatchJS is a Node.js based framework that is developed and maintained by BrowserStack. Nightwatch uses Appium under the hood to achieve mobile application automation on virtual simulators & real devices. Nightwatch also takes care of the entire installation with just a single command.
You can run Nightwatch tests in parallel using Appium Grid.
Based on the Selenium framework, Selendroid is used for Android app testing. Driving UI of native and hybrid apps, Selendroid can be used on android emulators and actual devices. Similar to Selenium, Selendroid offers playback and recording features.
Selendroid can also be combined with other frameworks, such as JUnit. It offers cross-platform support through export options for scripts in other languages such as Java, Python, and Ruby.
Calabash is an open-source mobile testing framework tool that works with multiple languages, such as Java, Ruby, .NET, etc., to test native and hybrid apps.
Using Calabash, testers can write and execute automated acceptance tests for Mobile apps. It supports actions such as swiping, screen rotate, tap, etc. It has support for the Cucumber framework. Hence, easier to understand by non-technical stakeholders and supports Behaviour Driven Development (BDD).
Espresso is an open-source app testing tool used to test UI. It is an Android testing framework developed by Google. It is known for its robustness, simplicity, and flexibility.
Its core features are Synchronized test executions, intent validations, and capabilities to run recipes.
Espresso enables developers to test both Android native views and hybrid web-views. It supports test scripts in Java and Kotlin. Espresso supports both black-box testing and testing of individual components during development cycles.
Best Practices for Android App Automation Testing
Some of the Best practices for Android automated testing are:
- Understand and set an achievable scope of testing to set the right expectations across teams.
- Select the right framework based on the requirements of teams. The above list helps decide when to use which, depending on the project requirements. Numerous teams make the mistake of choosing a popular tool that might not fulfill the requirements.
- Test on real Android devices, given that multiple manufacturers release new devices each year with different configurations. Emulators and simulators cannot adequately replicate real user conditions as they appear on Android devices. They cannot simulate low battery, incoming calls, or weak internet connections, so tests run on them would be highly inconclusive. Use BrowserStack’s real device cloud to run Android app automation tests on thousands of real Android devices (phones and tablets). Leverage actual hardware and software for your automated app testing efforts and identify bugs and errors before your users do.
- Set scripting rules. Uniform scripting, along with user comments and indentation of code, plays a significant role, especially in
- Android often releases OS updates. Teams must upgrade test cases that can handle these changes.
- Check the impact of automation testing by measuring test automation metrics such as Execution Time, Pass Rate, Test Coverage, Build Stability, etc.
- Avoid comparing automation testing with the manual testing process since both play different roles in the development cycle.
- Make sure to have diligent Android App Debugging. This can be done by proper test reporting and using screenshots, video, and text logs to debug failed tests.
Since Android has a 71% market share, testers need a robust process to test their Android apps. Automating their testing process helps teams scale up their device coverage. Multiple app automation testing tools and frameworks exist in the market. Testing teams should diligently choose the correct framework and tools and set the right expectations for their engineering teams.
Moreover, it is also recommended should replace apk emulators with real Android devices to test under real user conditions and achieve accurate test results. With a device cloud like BrowserStack, you can seamlessly integrate your Appium and Espresso Automation Tests to test your Android apps on thousands of real devices.