The Evolution of Mobile Scriptless Testing

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The Evolution of Mobile Scriptless Testing

There are over six billion smartphone subscriptions on the planet*, a staggering figure considering there are about eight billion people, including children. At the same time, the volume and variety of mobile apps grow, whether for general consumers, business customers, or even to support organisations' internal productivity and collaboration. Mobile is now at the heart of how we live and work. 

With mobile becoming a more significant part of software development also comes the need to test those apps, and keeping up with testing requirements can be challenging, especially when there are frequent updates, plus the need to support multiple operating systems, versions, plus new and legacy smartphones. However, testing has to be prioritised: a poorly tested application could lead to a bad user experience if not thoroughly scrutinised.

This is why it is essential to have a robust mobile testing strategy, which increasingly includes automated low-code/no-code, codeless and scriptless techniques and tools. Of course, there is some overlap between those definitions, but they all indicate different degrees of 'codelessness'. One thing they all have in common is that this is a big growth area. According to the latest annual Perfecto State of Test Automation Report, low-code/no-code test solutions are increasing in popularity, with almost half of the survey's global respondents using codeless capabilities.

Scriptless benefits

And this growth is understandable, given the hurdles that scriptless testing can help address. For example, in the same survey, one of the biggest challenges respondents quoted was limited test resources. In time-pressured environments with barely enough people to cover priority tasks, there is the risk that testing becomes squeezed, leading to performance or even security issues.

 However, with low-code/no-code testing, testing can be extended to more people, regardless of their coding skills. Any user can create and execute tests, without writing test scripts removed (hence 'scriptless'). More repetitive and tedious tests can be tested this way, freeing up more time and resources for other activities. And even if a test is very complex, scriptless can be used to make a start, and then the test can be converted to a script for the more complicated aspects. 

Tools such as Perfecto Scriptless Mobile enable teams to streamline test creation for even the most complex native mobile use cases. From biometric authentication, image injection and two-factor authentication to network virtualisation and more, the latest generation of scriptless mobile tools significantly speeds up testing, enabling even non-technical team members to execute tests. Scriptless testing is easily scalable and allows teams to go from manual to automated testing faster. 

 Scriptless also fits with the shift-left movement, whereby developers or agile testers perform more tests earlier in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), and by automating as much as possible, the additional workload is minimised. In addition, Scriptless contributes to continuous automated testing, which often fails due to scripting issues (a problem reported by 40% of organisations surveyed), so consequently, test coverage can be expanded.

Scriptless testing has advanced

Scriptless testing tools have existed for a few years but were high maintenance and static. Since then, they have evolved, with modern scriptless test automation tools now using AI/ML for creation and maintenance, further improving test efficiency while complementing test automation coverage managed by developers and test engineers. Indeed, it has been estimated that as much as 90% coverage for regression tests could be achieved when combining code-based testing with scriptless testing automation. That is a significantly higher percentage of test coverage traditionally reached by most organisations.

 Furthermore, beyond functional GU testing, scriptless can also cover more advanced use cases, such as biometrics, audio/video, image injection, secure and regular test, and network virtualisation. As developers incorporate more of these features into their apps, the ability to automate testing of these often-complex requirements. 

 An increasingly popular form of low-code testing is behavioural-driven testing (BDD), which, instead of code, involves user-focused language to describe how an application should behave. Using plain English, BDD testing simplifies comprehension, communication and team collaboration. Many BDD tests are written using the business-readable programmable language Gherkin.

Scriptless fundamentals

Scriptless solutions may eliminate the need for coding, but they still need to be easy to use. The latest generation of scriptless tools, such as Perfecto Scriptless Mobile, incorporate drag-and-drop functionality and intuitive interfaces that simplify test execution for anyone, regardless of their level of technical knowledge. It is also essential that any scriptless tool fits into existing test environments so that teams can get up to speed quickly without the need for any reengineering. 

 It also makes sense to make the most of reusability, an inherent part of scriptless. Whether on web or mobile, GUI elements are automatically recorded in a repository. This makes it easier to track previously created elements and repurpose them. For instance, a common module could be designed for a set of entities with a particular reuse idea in mind. Given the speed and scale that many test and development teams are dealing with, any method that makes recycling components more straightforward has to be an advantage. Reusability is also achieved with multiple steps, which are combined together and saved as independent tests. These tests are then embedded as a part of a parent test that needs to reuse those saved steps. 

 Another importance aspect is the ability to schedule jobs as a part of testing. These jobs are run in an automated batch mode without manual intervention. This helps to keep projects moving at speed, so that testing supports time to market for mobile apps, but without compromising on the comprehensive nature or quality of testing which also assists in identifying any defects and quality issues.

All these developments and requirements in the world of scriptless mean that teams are better positioned to keep pace with escalating mobile app testing needs at speed and scale, even when dealing with limited time and resources. Whether a long-term mobile app development team or one new to this area, scriptless will help overcome multiple challenges.