The Rise of Automation: Why Coding is Becoming a Job for Everyone

Guest Blog by Wendy Dessler

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

According to USA Today, as many as 73 million jobs may not exist by 2030; however, we could see benefits like an increase in productivity and economic growth “counteract” job losses. But, will it? Will it not? That is a question several economists mull over.

What we can say, given our increasing reliance and incorporation of technology, we predict that coding will be a skillset job seekers will list on their applications—along with the usual: typing, Excel-savvy, multitasking, you name it.

But does everyone have to be proficient in coding? Are all of our jobs reliant on how well we know to insert code? Read on to find out!

Automation Affects the Job Market   

Because of automation, we are seeing more self-checkouts in grocery stores and convenience stores. Even some fast food stores—like Wendy’s—are planning to install not one but more than 1,000 self-ordering kiosks in its stores.

The Why

The truth is, automation cuts market costs and saves companies a lot of money. Think about it: unlike an employee, self-ordering kiosks and self-checkouts, you name it aren’t going to get tired; they won’t come in late to work, and the chances of getting an order wrong is a lot lower. In other words, it’s safe to say automation minimizes human error.

More Automation Threatens Certain Industries

According to CNN Money, cashiers and toll booth operators, drivers, and fast food jobs are all at risk of becoming fully automated; however, other jobs like nurses, doctors, youth sports coaches, hairstylists and cosmetologists, songwriters, and social workers are far from being at risk.

Pretty much any job that incorporates a high degree of “humanness”—like empathizing with the client or using emotional nuances to do a better job—are in the clear.

 

But what how are tech industries faring? How is automation affecting the way developers and quality assurance do their jobs?  

A Shift in the Tech Sector

Thanks to automation, we even see a shift in the tech sector. DevOps teams, for instance, are responsible for deploying automation (not to mention making sure the site is up and the server doesn’t crash, etc.).

While those in the quality assurance sectors are relying more and more on coding to test products before they are distributed.

 

In some instances, they even do some degree of auto-testing, and some may use error monitoring software to rule out bugs, which you can learn more about at https://stackify.com/error-monitoring/.  

But Where Does Coding Factor In?

The age of automation is upon us, and with that, employees and job seekers can strengthen their skill sets by learning how to code. However—and this is a big, however—unless you work in the tech sector, you probably don’t have to be a coding expert.

 

Even Low-Risk Jobs Can Benefit from Knowing Some Coding Basics

As we mentioned, songwriters aren’t at risk at automation (as of yet), but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from learning some code and using automation in their song recording processes.

Long story short, learning how to code can only make you are a  more in-demand employee. But, like we said, unless your job is tech-related, it isn’t an end-all-be-all.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Final Thoughts

Automation doesn’t have to because for concern. Remember, we’ve gone through several economic transitions—such as the Industrial Revolution or even the shift from letter writing to email—that have changed how we do business (for the better).

What are your thoughts on automation? Will AI take little, some, or all of our jobs? Do you think it’s a positive or a negative? We want to know your thoughts; be sure to leave a comment in the comments section below.

Continuous Testing Principles for Cross Browser Testing and Mobile Apps

Majority of organizations are already deep into Agile practices with a goal to be DevOps and continuous delivery (CD) compliant.

While some may say that maximum % of test automation would bring these organizations toward DevOps, It takes more than just test automation.

To mature DevOps practices, a continuous testing approach needs to be in place, and it is more than automating functional and non-functional testing. Test automation is obviously a key enabler to be agile, release software faster and address market events, however, continuous testing (CT) requires some additional considerations.

Tricentis defines CT accordingly:

CT is the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline in order to obtain feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate as rapidly as possible. It evolves and extends test automation to address the increased complexity and pace of modern application development and delivery

The above suggests that a CT process would include a high degree of test automation, with a risk-based approach and a fast feedback loop back to developer upon each product iteration.

How to Implement  CT?

  • A risk-based approach means sufficient coverage of the right platforms (Browsers and Mobile devices) – such platform coverage eliminates business risks and assures high user-experience. Such platform coverage is continuous maintenance requirements as the market changes.
  • Continuous Testing needs an automated end-to-end testing that integrates existing development processes while excluding errors and enabling continuity throughout SDLC. That principle can be broken accordingly:
    • Implement the “right” tests and shift them into the build process, to be executed upon each code commit. Only reliable, stable, and high-value tests would qualify to enter this CT test bucket.
    • Assure the CT test bucket runs within only 1 CI –> In CT, there is no room for multiple CI channels.
    • Leverage reporting and analytics dashboards to reach “smart” testing decisions and actionable feedback, that support a continuous testing workflow. As the product matures, tests need maintenance, and some may be retired and replaced with newer ones.
  • Stable Lab and test environment is a key to ongoing CT processes. The lab should be at the heart of your CT, and should support the above platform coverage requirements, as well as the CT test suite with the test frameworks that were used to develop these tests.
  • Utilize if possible artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)/deep-learning (DL) solutions to better optimize your CT test suite and shorten the overall release activities.

  • Continuous Testing is seamlessly integrated into the software delivery pipeline and DevOps toolchain – as mentioned above, regardless of the test framework, IDEs and environments (front-end, back-end, etc.) used within the DevOps pipeline, CT should pick up all relevant testing (Unit, Functional, Regression, Performance, Monitoring, Accessibility and more), execute them in parallel and in an unattended fashion, to provide a “single voice” for a Go/No-Go release – that happens every 2-3 weeks.

Lastly, for a CT practice to work time after time, the above principles needs to be continuously optimized, maintained and adjusted as things change either within the product roadmap or in the market.

Happy CT!

Mobile, Cross Browser Testing, DevOps and Continuous Testing Trends and Projections for 2018

As we about to wrap out 2017, It’s the right time to get ready to what’s expected next year in the mobile, cross-browser testing and DevOps landscape.

To categorize this post, I will divide the trends into the following buckets (there may be few more points, but I believe the below are the most significant ones)

  • DevOps and Test Automation on Steroids Will Become Key for Digital Winners
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)/ Tools alignment as part of Smarter Testing throughout the pipeline
  • IOT and Digital Transformation Moving to Prime Time

 

DevOps and Automation on Steroids

If in 2017, we’ve seen the tremendous adoption of more agile methods, ATDD, BDD and organizations leaving legacy tools behind in favor of faster and more reliable and agile-ready testing tools, such that can fit the entire continuous testing efforts whether they’re done by Dev, BA, Test or Ops.

In 2018, we will see the above growing to a higher scale, where more manual and legacy tools skills are transforming into more modern ones. The growth in continuous testing (CT), Continuous Integration (CI) and DevOps will also translate into much shorter release cadence as a bridge towards real Continuous Delivery (CD)

 

Related to the above, to be ready for the DevOps and CT trend, engineers need to become more deeply familiar with tools like Espresso, XCUITest, Earl Grey and Appium on the mobile front, and with the open-source web-based framework like the headless google project called Puppeteer, Protractor, and other web driver based framework.

In addition, optimizing the test automation suite to include more API and Non-Functional testing as the UX aspect becomes more and more important.

Shifting as many tests left and right is not a new trend, requirement or buzz – nothing change in my mind around the importance of this practice – the more you can automate and cover earlier, the easier it will be for the entire team to overcome issues, regressions and unexpected events that occur in the project life cycle.

AI, ML, and Smarter Test Automation

While many vendors are seeking for tools that can optimize their test automation suite, and shorten their overall execution time on the “right” platforms, the 2 terms of AI and ML (or Deep learning) are still unclear to many tool vendors, and are being used in varying perspectives that not always mean AI or ML 🙂

The end goal of such solutions is very clear, and the problem it aims to solve is real –> long testing cycles on plenty of mobile devices, desktop browsers, IOT devices and more, generates a lot of data to analyze and as a result, it slows down the DevOps engine. Efficient mechanism and tools that can crawl through the entire test code, understand which tests are the most valuable ones, and which platforms are the most critical to test on due to either customer usage or history of issues etc. can clearly address such pain.

Another angle or goal of such tools is to continuously provide a more reliable and faster test code generation. Coding takes time, requires skills, and varies across platforms. Having a “working” ML/AI tool that can scan through the app under test and generate robust page object model, and functional test code that runs on all platforms, as well as “responds” to changes in the UI, can really speed up TTM for many organization and focus the teams on the important SDLC activities in opposed to forcing Dev and Test to spend precious time on test code maintenance.

IOT and The Digital Transformation

In 2017, Google, Apple, Amazon and other technology giants announced few innovations around digital engagements. To name a few, better digital payments, better digital TV, AR and VR development API and new secure authentication through Face ID. IOT this year, hasn’t shown a huge leap forward, however, what I did notice, was that for specific verticals like Healthcare, and Retail, IOT started serving a key role in their digital user engagements and digital strategy.

In 2018, I believe that the market will see an even more advanced wave in the overall digital landscape where Android and Apple TV, IOT devices, Smart Watches and other digital interfaces becoming more standard in the industry, requiring enterprises to re-think and re-build their entire test lab to fit these new devices.

Such trend will also force the test engineers to adapt to the new platforms and re-architect their test frameworks to support more of these screens either in 1 script of several.

Some insights on testing IOT specifically in the healthcare vertical were recently presented by my colleague Amir Rozenberg – recommend to review the slides below

https://www.slideshare.net/AmirRozenberg/starwest-2017-iot-testing/ 

 

Bottom Line

Do not immediately change whatever you do today, but validate whether what you have right now is future ready and can sustain what’s coming in the near future as mentioned above.

If DevOps is already in practice in your organization, fine – make sure you can scale DevOps, shorten release time, increase test and platform automation coverage, and optimize through smarter techniques your overall pipeline.

AI and ML buzz are really happening, however, the market needs to properly define what it means to introduce these into the SDLC, and what would success look like if they do consider leveraging such. From a landscape perspective, these tools are not yet mature and ready for prime time, so that leaves more time to properly get ready for them.

Happy New 2018 to My Followers.

Enabling Mobile Testing In a Fast Growing DevOps Reality

6 months ago I launched my 1st book called “The Digital Quality Handbook”.

The book aims to address the key challenges in assuring high mobile (as well as web) quality, by avoiding pitfalls that are commonly practiced in the industry.

I have also recently joined the working group of ISTQB to influence the material in the mobile certification course, where I plan to include insights from the book as well.

In this book, I am hosting top leaders from the industry touching the most important aspects in assuring DevOps.

The above image is taken from Amazon recommending my book close to the leading DevOps practitioner books, this is another strong validation of the book relevancy and value.

Few highlights from the book are below:

  1. Shifting quality left and right to cover as many tests automatically throughout the release pipeline is a key to move faster and identify issues earlier in the process (Angie Jones from Twitter, Manish Maturia from InfoStretch and others provide practitioner level insights and tips)
  2. Testing on the right platforms and OS’s is a key to assure high quality across different devices (new, legacy, popular) in various locations and environments
    1. I am referring to this magazine, that I author on a quarterly basis in the book, and highly recommend subscribing to receive this free asset upon each release: http://info.perfectomobile.com/factors-magazine.html 
  3. Robust automation is achieved through best practices such as building a page object model (POM) and using unique object locators rather than flaky XPATHs etc. I am referring to a free online tool that can help score your object as part of your test automation development http://xpathvalidator.projectquantum.io/
  4. Testing not only via the UI is another key for success, so complementing UI testing with API level testing can reduce the time of testing, provide faster feedback and other values. This chapter was actually developed by my twin brother Lior Kinbruner 🙂 – worth checking it out!
  5. Performance testing and UX is another challenge and key to success. A full section of the book is dedicated to wind tunnel testing, user experience testing (JeanAnn Harrison contributes a lot here together with Amir Rozenberg).

The book was #1 in the new best selling book on Amazon, and still rocking today after more than 6 months. It is #43 as of today in the overall Software Testing Book which is a great validation and honor for me and the contributors.

 

If you still haven’t got a copy of the book, i really encourage you to do so – I am already planning on my next journey so stay tuned 🙂

Optimizing Mobile Test Automation Across The Pipeline

With the massive innovation that drives the digital market these days, organizations are continuing to develop features, as well as new test code to cover these features.

What I’ve learned is that often, the test code developers would not always stop and look back into their existing test suites and validate whether the new tests that are being developed are somehow a superset to existing ones. In addition, legacy tests are a continuous load and overhead on your SDLC cycles length if they are not being maintained over time.

Oil Transport

Many Owners To The Same Problem

Since we live in an agile/DevQAOps world, test code development is not a QA only problem, but rather everyone3s. Tests are being executed throughout the pipeline from Dev to integration and pre/post production testing.

Use of smart tagging mechanism for your test scenarios (login), suites (App A) and types unit, regression) can be a good step towards gaining control over your tests.

Without some context, discipline, and continuous structured validation of the tests, it will become harder as you progress your SDLC to debug, analyze and solve defects (would be like finding the key in the below visual mess)

Find the Key in the Picture

Recommended Practices

  • Develop the tests with context, tags and proper annotations that would make sense to you and your team even 12 months from the development day. Make sure that in your execution reports you then have a way to filter using these annotations to only get the view of a given functional area, platform etc.
  • Match your device under tests capabilities to the test code and application under test. Make sure that you focus e.g. your fingerprint based tests only on the devices that support it (API XX and above).
  • Perform test code review every agreed upon time – in such review, group your feature specific test suites and try to optimize, merge, eliminate flakiness, identify missing coverage areas etc. It is harder to do it as the time progresses, so depending on your release cadence and test development maturity, set the right goals – more reviews would be better than less – it will also be shorter and more efficient that way since the delta between such review will be smaller.
  • Drive joint Dev, Test, Product, Marketing decisions based on data – When you have the ability to get quality analysis from your entire test suites, it is recommended to gather all counter parts and brainstorm on the findings. Which tests are most effective, can we shrink based on the data the release cycles, are we missing tests for specific areas, are there platforms that are more buggies than others, which tests takes longer than others to finish etc.
  • Optimize your CI and build-acceptance testing – based on the above intelligence, teams can reach data driven decision about what to include in their CI as well. Testing in the build cycle via CI should be fast, reliable with zero false positives. With quality insights on your tests, you can decide and certify the most valuable and fastest tests to get into this CI testing, and by that to shrink the overall process without risking coverage aspect.

CI_Dash1.png

Bottom Line

A test is code, and like you refactor, maintain, retire and improve your code, you should do the same to your tests. Make sure to always be in control over your tests, and by that, gain control over your quality of your app in a continuous manner.

Happy Testing!

Trends in Cross Browser Testing and Web Development

Typically, i”ll write a lot on mobile app testing, tools, trends, coverage and such.

In this blog, I actually wanted to share some up to date trends as I see them in the web landscape.

The web market has shifted a lot over the past years alongside the mobile space. We see a clear use of specific development languages, development frameworks and of course specific test frameworks aimed to test Angular, jQuery, Bootstrap,.Net and other websites.

From a Dev Language perspective, the web FE developer is mostly using the following languages as part of his job:

Sourcehttp://vintaytime.com/premium/top-programming-languages/

As a clear trend in web development, it shows that JavaScript is the leading language used by web developers. It’s actually not a huge surprise since if you move to the top frameworks used by these web developers, you will see quite a few that are based on JavaScript.

There are some trends seen recently by developers around shifting to non AngularJS web development framework like Aurelia, React, and Vue.JS that are seeing a growing usage and adoption by developers due to considerations such as (larger list of Pro’s/Con’s are in source 1 below). With this trend in mind, and you’ll read in my references below, the new solutions are still not as complete as AngularJS is.

  • Shorter learning curve
  • Simple to use, clean
  • Flexibility
  • Lightweight compared to others (less than half the size of AngularJS e.g.)
  • Better performing
  • Easy to integrate with other front-end stack tools
  • Responsive server-side rendering (Vue.JS supports it, reduces time for users to see rendered content)
  • SEO Friendly
  • Good documentation and Community Support
  • Good debugging capabilities

Source 1: https://www.slant.co/topics/4306/~angular-js-alternatives

Source 2: https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/js-angularjs/all/all

Now, that we have seen the leading web development languages, and frameworks used these days, let’s drill down into what test automation engineers are adopting.

Selenium without a doubt is the leading and base for most frameworks, however, even in this space, we see new and innovative test frameworks such as Casper.JSTestCafeBuster.JSNightwatch.JS together with the traditional Webdriver.IO and of course Protractor.

If we examine the below visual (SourceNPM Trends), it’s a clear market dominance between Selenium and Protractor that underneath its implementation does uses Selenium WebDriver, and supports Jasmine and Mocha tools.

The advantage of tools like Protractor is that they support much easier web sites that were developed in various frameworks like AngularJS, Vue.JS etc. Such advantage allows test automation engineers to agnostically use them for multiple websites regardless to the frameworks they are built with.

It is not that easy, and pink as I described above, but it does give a good headstart when starting to build the test automation Foundation.

Thre are few other players in that space that are aimed at specific unit testing, and headless browser testing (Phantom.JS, Casper.JS, JSDom etc.).

As I blogged in the past, from a test automation strategy perspective, teams might find it beneficial and more complete to leverage a set of test frameworks rather than using only one. If the aim is to have non-UI headless browser testing together with Unit testing and also UI based testing, then a combination of tools like Protractor, Casper.JS, QUnit might be a valid approach.

I hope you find this post useful, and can “swim” in the hectic tools landscape. As always, it is important to match the tool to the product requirements, development methodology (BDD, Agile, Waterfall etc.), supported languages and more.

Introducing Reporting Test Driven Development (RTDD)

In the era of “[.. ] Driven Development” trends like BDD, TDD, and ATDD it is also important to realize the end goal of testing, and that’s the quality analysis phase.

In many of my engagements with customers, and also from my personal practitioner experience I constantly hear the following pains:

  1. Test executions are not contextually broken, therefore are too long to analyze and triage
  2. Planning test executions based on trends, experience, and insights is a challenge – e.g. which tests are finding more bugs than the other?
  3. Dealing with flaky tests is an ongoing pain especially around mobile apps and platforms
  4. On-Demand quality dashboards that reflect the app quality per CI Job, Per app build, Per functionality tested area etc.

 

Introducing Reporting Test Driven Development (RTDD)

As an aim to address the above pains, that I’m sure are not the only related ones, I came to an understanding, that if Agile/DevOps teams start thinking about their test authoring and implementation with the end-in-mind (that is the Test Reports) they can collect the value at the end of each test cycle as well as prior during the test planning phase.

When teams can leverage a test design pattern that assigns their tests with custom Contextual Tags that wrap an entire test execution or a single test scenario with annotations like “Regression“, “Login“, “Search” and so forth – suddenly the test suites are better structured, easily maintained and can be either included/excluded and filtered through at the end of execution.

In addition, when the entire suite is customized by tags and annotations, management teams can easily retrieve on-demand quality dashboard and be up to date with any given software iteration.

Finally, developers that get the defect reports post executions, can easily filter and drill down into the root cause in an easier and more efficient manner.

If you think about the above, the use of annotations as a method to manage test execution and filter them is not a new concept.

TestNG Annotations with Selenium Example (source: Guru99)

As seen above, there are supported ways to tag specific tests by their priority, it is just a matter of thinking about such tags from the beginning.

Doing reverse engineering to a large test suite is painful, hard to justify and most often too late since the product by then is already out there and the teams are left to struggle with the 4 mentioned consequences from above.

RTDD is all about putting structure, governance, and advanced capabilities into your test automation factory.

If we examine the following table that divides various tags by 3 levels, it can serve as 1 reference that can be immediately used either through built-in tagging and annotation coming from TestNG or other reporting solutions.

As can be seen in the above table, think about an existing test suite that you recently developed. Now, think about the exact test suite that is tag-based according to the above 3 categories:

  1. Execution level tags
    1. This tag can encapsulate the entire build or CI JOB-related testing activities, or it can differentiate the tests by the test framework in which you developed the scripts. That’s the highest classification level of tags that you would use.
  2. Test suite level tags
    1. This is where you start breaking your test factory according to more specific identifiers like your mobile environment, the high-level functionality under test etc.
  3. Logical test level tags
    1. These are the most granular test tags identifiers that you would want to define per each of your test logical steps to make it easy to filter upon, triage failures, and plan ongoing regressions based on code changes.

As a reference implementation for an RTDD solution in addition to the basic TestNG implementation that can be very powerful if being used correctly with its listeners, pre-defined tags and more,  I would like to refer you to an open-source reporting SDK that enables you to do exactly what is mentioned in the above post.

When using such SDK with your mobile or responsive web test suites, you achieve both, the dashboards as seen below as well as a fast defect resolution that drills down by both Test case and Platform under test

Code Sample: Using Geico RWD Site with Reporting TDD SDK [Source: My Personal GIT)

 

Digital Dashboard Example With Predefined ContextTags (source: Perfecto)

 

Bottom Line

What I have documented above, should allow both managers, test automation engineers, and developers of UI/Unit and other CI related tests to extend either a legacy test report, a testNG report or other – to a more customizable test report that, as I’ve demonstrated above, can allow them to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Better structured test scenarios and test suites
  • Use tagging from early test authoring as a method for faster triaging and prioritizing fixes
  • Shift tag based tests into planned test activities (CI, Regression, Specific functional area testing, etc.)
  • Easily filter big test data and drill down into specific failures per test, per platform, per test result or through groups.
  • Eliminate flaky tests through high-quality visibility into failures

The result of the above is a facilitation of a methodological-based RTDD workflow that can be maintained much easier than before.

Happy Testing (as always)!

Google Mobile Friendly With Perfecto and Quantum

Guest Blog Post by Amir Rozenberg, Senior Director of Product Management, Perfecto

resize

Google recently announced “Mobile First Indexing”, from Google:

To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results (Source).

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-5-33-26-pm

More recently they made the Google Mobile-Friendly tool and guidelines available. A very nice interactive version is available here, and images at the bottom of the thread, while there’s also an API (which, thanks to Google, can allow users to exercise first before they code). Google also offers code snippets in several languages.

Notes:

  • Google takes a URL and renders it. If you run multiple executions in parallel there’s no point in sending the same URL from every execution because the result would be the same
  • Google returns basically “MOBILE_FRIENDLY” or not. Suggest to set the assert on that
  • The current API differs from the UI such that it only provides the results for Mobile friendly (and the UI gives also mobile and web page speed). Hopefully, Google adds that to the response 😉
  • This will probably not work for internal pages as Google probably doesn’t have a site-to-site secure connection with your network.

 

For developers and testers who do not have time, testing mobile friendliness repeatedly probably will simply not happen. That’s why I integrated Google Mobile-Friendly API into Quantum:

  • Added 2 Gherkin commands
// If you navigate directly to this page
Then I check mobileFriendly URL "http://www.nfl.com"
// If you got to this page through clicks
Then I check mobileFriendly current URL
  • Added the Gherkin command support (GoogleMobileFriendlyStepsDefs.java)
  • And the script example is pretty simple:
@Web
Feature: NFL validate

  @SimpleValidation
  Scenario: Validate NFL
    Given I open browser to webpage "http://www.nfl.com"
    Then I check mobileFriendly current URL
    Then I check mobileFriendly URL "http://www.nfl.com"
    Then I wait "5" seconds to see the text "video"

 

That’s it. Next steps:

 

Ideas for future improvement:

  • You can automate the validation such that every click would trigger a check with Google behind the scenes.

Just for fun, some more screenshots for detailed analysis for NFL.com:

 

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-5-33-48-pm

 

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-5-34-09-pm

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-5-34-23-pm

 

 

Model-Based Testing and Test Impact Analysis

In my previous blogs and over the years, I already stated how complicated, demanding and challenging is the mobile space, therefore it seems obvious that there needs to be a structured method of building test automation and meeting test coverage goals for mobile apps.

While there are various tools and techniques, in this blog I would like to focus on a methodology that has been around for a while but was never adopted in a serious and scalable way by organizations due to the fact that it is extremely hard to accomplish, there are no sufficient tools out there that support it when it comes to non-proprietary open-source tools and more.

First things first, let’s define what is a Model-Based testing

Model-based testing (MBT) is an application for designing and optionally executing artifacts to perform software testing or system testing. Models can be used to represent the desired behavior of a System Under Test (SUT), or to represent testing strategies and a test environment.

mbt

Fig 1: MBT workflow example. Source: Wikipedia

In the context of mobile, if we think about an end-user workflow with an application it will usually start with a Login to the app, performing an action, going back, performing a secondary action and often even a 3rd action based on the previous output of the 2nd. Complex Ha

The importance of modeling a mobile application serves few business goals:

  1. App release velocity
  2. App testing coverage (use cases)
  3. App test automation coverage (%)
  4. Overall app quality
  5. Cross-team synchronization (Dev, Test, Business)

 

As already covered in an old blog  I wrote, mobile apps would behave differently, and support different functionality based on the platform they are running (E.g., not every iOS device support both Touch ID and/or 3D Touch gesture). Therefore, being able to not only model the app and generate the right test cases but also to match these tests across the different platforms can be a key to achieving many of the 1-5 goals above.

In the market, today there are various commercial tools that can assist in MBT like CA Agile Requirement Designer, Tricentis Tosca, and others.

Looking at an example provided by one of the commercial vendors in the market (Tricentis), it can show a common workflow around MBT. A team aims to test an application; therefore, they would scan it using the MBT tool to “learn” its use cases, capabilities, and other artifacts so they can stack these into a common repository that can serve the team to build test automation.

tosca

Fig 2: Tricentis Tosca MBTA tool

In Fig 2., Tricentis examines a web page to learn its entire options, objects, and other data related items. Once the app is scanned, it can be easily converted into a flow diagram that can serve as the basis for test automation scenarios.

With the above goals in mind, it is important to understand that having an MBT tool that serves the automation team is a good thing, but only if it increases the team efficiency, its release velocity, and the overall test automation coverage. If the output of such tool would be a long list of test cases that either does not cover the most important user flows, or it includes many duplicates than this wouldn’t serve the purpose of MBT but rather will delay existing processes, and add unnecessary work to teams that are already under pressure.

In addition to the above commercial tools, there is an older but free tool that allows Android MBT with robotium called MobiGuitar. This tool not just offers MBT capabilities but also code coverage driven by the generated test scripts.

A best practice in that regards would be to probably use an MBT tool that can generate all the application related artifacts that include the app object repository, the full set of use cases, and allow all of that to be exported to leading open-source test automation frameworks like Selenium, Appium, and others.

Mobile Specific MBT – Best Practices and Examples

Drilling down into a workflow that CA would recommend around MBT would look as follows – In reality, the below is easier said than done for a Mobile App compared to Web and Desktop:

  1. The business analysts will create the story using tools like CA Agile Requirement Designer or such (see below more examples)
  2. The story is then passed to an ALM tool (e.g.: CA Agile Central [formerly Rally], Jira, etc.) for project tracking
  3. Teams use the MBT tools to collaborate
    1. The automation engineer adds the automation code snippets to the nodes where needed or adds additional nodes for automation.
    2. The programmer updates the model for technical specs or more technical details.
    3. The Test Data engineer assigns test data to the model
  4. Changes to the story are synchronized with the ALM Tool
  5. Test cases are synchronized with the ALM Tool
  6. The programmer completes coding
  7. The code is promoted from Dev to QA
  8. Testing begins
    1. The tester uses the test cases with test data from MBT tools for manual test case execution
    2. The automation scripts with test data are executed for functional and regression testing

To learn more about efficient MBT solutions, practices please refer to these sources:

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