The mobile application landscape is diverse and ever-changing. With the rapid pace of mobile app development, automated testing has become indispensable. It not only accelerates the testing process but also enhances its accuracy. A key component of successful automated testing is the design of reusable test cases. Let’s dive into what reusable test cases are, their benefits, and the best practices for setting them up.
What are Reusable Test Cases?
Reusable test cases are automated test scripts designed to be generic enough so they can be used in multiple testing scenarios, including different applications or different parts of the same application. They focus on common functionalities that apps share, such as login procedures, data entry forms, navigation menus, and more.
Benefits of Reusable Test Cases
- Efficiency: By reusing test cases, you reduce the time spent writing and maintaining scripts. A well-written test case can serve multiple test scenarios, making the whole process more efficient.
- Consistency: Reusable test cases help maintain consistency across tests. They ensure that the same procedures are followed every time a common function is tested, which is crucial for reliability.
- Maintainability: Updates to test logic can be made in fewer places. If a common function changes, only the reusable test cases for that function need to be updated, not every single test script where the function is tested.
- Cost-effectiveness: Less time spent on writing and maintaining unique test cases translates into cost savings. Moreover, reusable test cases can reduce the need for extensive manual testing.
Best Practices for Setting Up Reusable Test Cases
Plan for Reusability from the Start
When you begin writing your test cases, identify the parts of your app that are common across different modules or even across different apps. Authentication flows, form submissions, navigation patterns, and data entry are typically similar across different parts of an app and are prime candidates for reusability. Design your tests with these commonalities in mind.
Use the Page Object Model (POM)
The Page Object Model (POM) is a design pattern in test automation for enhancing test maintenance and reducing code duplication. It encapsulates the properties and behaviors of a page in one place, making it an ideal practice for creating reusable test components.
Here are some best practices for using the Page Object Model:
- Encapsulate page information: Each page object should encapsulate all info about the UI elements of the page it represents, including locators (like IDs, class names, or XPaths) and methods to interact with these elements.
- Use meaningful method names: Methods in your page objects should have names that reflect the actions they perform or the elements they interact with, such as login or getErrorMessage.
- Implement single responsibility principle: Each method in the page object should have a single responsibility, meaning it should perform one function, such as clicking a button or retrieving text from an element.
- Create reusable methods: Page object methods should be generic enough to be reused across different tests. For instance, a method to fill out a form should accept parameters so that it can input any data you pass to it.
Create Modular Test Scripts
Break down your test scripts into smaller, logical modules that can be easily reused. When creating modular test scripts, identify common functions across the app that can be abstracted into shared modules and design test scripts so that each module can function independently.
For instance, instead of a single monolithic script for a full transaction, create separate modules for login, item selection, payment, and order confirmation.
Implement Data-driven Testing
Data-driven testing (DDT) is a strategy in automated testing where test scripts are executed repeatedly using data sets from an external data source. Designing test cases that can accept data inputs from external sources makes it easy to run the same test logic with different data sets. This is perfect for testing forms, search functionality, and other data-dependent functionalities.
Make sure to select a data source that suits your team’s needs and technical environment, like spreadsheets, databases, CSV files, or XML/JSON files. It’s also important that the data you use is accurate and reflects realistic scenarios that users might encounter. Finally, secure all sensitive data and ensure it complies with data protection regulations.
Use Meaningful Naming Conventions
Name your test cases, functions, and modules with clarity. Proper naming can make tests more understandable, maintainable, and easier to manage, especially as the size and complexity of the test suite grows.
Some naming convention best practices include:
- Create naming conventions that are self-explanatory, providing a clear indication of what the test case does or what feature it is testing. For example, testLoginWithValidCredentials is more descriptive than testLogin1.
- When applicable, start the test name with a verb that describes the action the test performs, like “verify,” “calculate,” “process,” etc. This immediately informs what the test is intended to do.
- Incorporate the test type in the name if you have a mix of unit, integration, system, and acceptance tests. For instance, loginPageUIValidationTest or userCreationAPITest.
- When there are multiple tests for similar scenarios, distinguish them by the specific scenario they are testing. For example, loginWithExpiredPassword and loginWithIncorrectPassword.
Parameterize Your Tests
Parameterizing tests is a strategy in software testing where you run the same test with different input values. Wherever possible, parameterize your tests so that values like usernames, passwords, and other input data can be passed in. This makes the tests more flexible and reusable across different testing environments or datasets.
Create test methods that accept parameters for various inputs and expected outcomes. This allows you to easily modify the test data without changing the test logic itself. You can also use test runners and testing frameworks that support parameterization natively, such as JUnit, TestNG for Java, or PyTest for Python.
Regularly Refactor Your Tests:
As your application changes, so should your tests. Regularly review and refactor your test cases to ensure they remain relevant and reusable. Refactoring involves updating the test code without changing its external behavior to improve its internal structure.
During this process, keep your tests independent from one another and optimize slow-running tests to speed up the test suite, making it more likely that the tests will be run frequently. It’s also recommended that you keep a record of why and how tests were refactored to help team members understand the changes and continue to build on a solid foundation.
Document Your Test Cases
Ensure that all your test cases are well-documented. Documentation should explain what the test does, how it’s used, and any data it requires. Make sure to specify the input data required for the test and the expected output or behavior.
Foster a Reusable Mindset
Encourage your team to think in terms of reusability. When someone writes a new test, they should consider whether it can be made reusable and whether existing reusable tests can be utilized.
Version Control Your Test Scripts
Use a version control system to manage your test scripts. This helps track changes over time and manage the evolution of your reusable test cases. Adopt a version control system (VCS) such as Git, Subversion, or Mercurial and ensure all team members are familiar with the chosen system and the workflow you decide to implement.
Leverage Test Libraries/Frameworks
Take advantage of testing libraries and frameworks that support reusable test components. Many frameworks come with built-in functionalities to promote reusability.
With Sofy’s automated testing, you can create test cases, group them into test suites, and reuse them across multiple different test scenarios. Sofy offers a no-code testing platform with a real-device cloud, so you can reuse the same tests for both Android and iOS devices, no changes required.
Reusable test cases are the building blocks of an efficient and robust mobile app automated testing strategy. They save time, ensure consistency, and reduce maintenance overhead. By following the best practices outlined, you can establish a solid foundation for your automated testing suite, leading to quicker releases and a higher quality app. Remember, every minute saved in testing is a minute gained in delivering value to your users.