The Future of Mobile Testing is Scriptless

It's very difficult to predict the future. But one thing's for certain: Around the corner, you can expect no-code solutions, including for mobile testing.

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Coding brackets surrounded by the "no" bar

Image: Sofy x Ahasofy, Shutterstock

I’m sure most of us could think of at least a dozen things we’d offboard, automate, or simplify if we had the chance.

But did you know that advances in no-code technology have started to make a lot of this a reality?

For example, you can now perform complex tax calculations by answering a few simple questions. You can build beautiful websites simply by dragging, dropping, and entering the text you want. You can even visualize and automate workflows with a few clicks of a mouse.

But could there be a substantial benefit in codeless test automation?

In this blog entry, we’ll define what scriptless testing is, highlight considerations, and walk through some of the popular tools out there.

What is scriptless testing?

The standard way to test applications is to write code-based test scripts that interact with elements, mock callouts, make assertions, and validate results. This is all completed by developers using a Java-based framework like Mocha, Jest, or JUnit. It takes many of the same tools and resources that it takes to write the application itself. If your organization cannot provide adequate developer hours, you may struggle to implement adequate testing using a code-based framework. 

Enter scriptless testing, also known as automated testing. Scriptless testing provides a way to create and automate tests without writing code-based test scripts. Scriptless testing uses no-code functionality that abstracts the test creator from the underlying script, providing an abstraction from the code written to perform the test. 

Despite the name, scriptless testing still involves scripts. It’s just that the tester isn’t responsible for creating the scripts, the tool does it for you. In general, scriptless testing works through record and playback tools. Your Interactions on your device/browser are recorded while you run through the use case. Each interaction with the application elements (click, swipe, hold) is recorded.

The tester may also provide assertions by indicating expected results. While these actions are being recorded, they’re converted into the code-based scripts needed to run the test automation. With scriptless testing, the whole suite of tests can be captured without code and executed easily. 

Emulators

Many scriptless testing tools provide a suite of emulators to choose from. An emulator (not to be confused with a simulator) is a virtual representation of a real device, like an iPhone or a Google Pixel.The advantage of using an emulator is you can record and test application behavior on devices you do not possess. This allows the tester to verify that an application works as expected across different devices.

Of course, the downside of using emulators is exactly that – they’re just emulators. Try as they might, they’ll never directly match a real device’s look and feel, and can only attempt to imitate a device’s performance.

Real device testing

Some scriptless testing tools let you take advantage of any device. Real device testing tends to be more accurate, is closer to replicating the real user experience, and has more responsible UI validation. 

Making sure to record and automate test scripts across multiple devices, if necessary, creating a library of tests for each device. Depending on the tool, you may need to recreate the same test scenario for each device. A tool like Sofy is made to deliver accurate test results across multiple devices.

Record the test once on a real device, and watch it work across multiple devices. While most test automation relies on identifying tags and reading XPath, Sofy uses AI to understand the context and purpose of your test so it can make adjustments if needed.

With Sofy, you can perform iOS real-device testing, Android emulator testing, and everything in between.

A representation of a computer and code

Image: Sofy x atibody, Shutterstock

Scriptless tools

Scriptless testing frameworks and tools have been around for a while. Besides Sofy, here are some of the pioneers in the industry: 

  • AccelQ: With the assistance of AI, AcccelQ automate web, desktop, and mainframe application.
  • Selenium IDE: Selenium is an open-source testing framework. Selenium has many tools and products, one of which is the browser recording plug-in, which allows the user to record interactions, convert to automated tests, and run whenever. For more test customizations, the user exports the test to different languages.
  • TestGrid: Another AI automation tool. Like Sofy, TestGrid uses machine learning and AI to turn common language into executable test automation.
  • Ranorex: Uses a recorder to capture testing actions on mobile and web. Ranorex can integrate with Selenium web driver to address shortcomings.

Scriptless advantages

Scriptless approaches bring with them a variety of advantages. These include:

  • Abstraction: Create simple to complex test automation for mobile with clicks, not code. Worry about the test and not maintaining the code. There are several mistakes you can make in writing test classes. With the no-code approach of scriptless testing, the tool builds scalable code on the backend.
  • Citizen developers: Writing great test automation is no longer constrained by access to developers. Business users, system analysts, and business analysts are now empowered to create test automation. This means a greater pool of resources to support testing efforts.
  • Supported Integration: Many scriptless automation tools already have built-in integration with other tools. (Using Jenkins? Install the Sofy plugin.)
  • Reusability: Scriptless automation makes it easier to reuse test cases for different devices and operating systems.

Disadvantages of scriptless testing

But scriptless approaches can also come with some disadvantages, such as:

  • Less flexibility: Code will always offer more granular control of actions. Inevitably you’re giving up flexibility for ease and convenience. 
  • More cooks in the kitchen: You don’t need code to run up technical debt. The more people writing test cases, the more opportunity there is for redundancy and ineffective test cases, even though the tool is simpler to use discretion when handing over the keys.
  • Difficult to version control: The advantage of open-sourced, code-based tests is that they can easily be packaged, versioned, and deployed using a repository like Git. A seasoned developer team can be very effective with proper change control. Scriptless testing may rely on proprietary technology that’s more difficult to manage.

The world of technology is always moving the direction of abstraction. In turn, scriptless testing will only grow and provide increased advantages. Most organizations—whether small, medium, or large—can benefit from moving testing automation to a no-code solution. On top of that, Innovations in AI and Machine Learning continue to be leveraged to create powerful end-to-end test automation solutions.

On the fence? Consider the future.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed above are those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official beliefs or positions of Sofy.

 

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