During the early years of technology, users could access applications only with the desktop platform. However, as people became busier and busier in their lives, they couldn’t afford to stay in a place for a long period. Therefore, they wanted a piece of technology that can help them to access their important applications even on the go.
It was during this time in 2010 that smartphones started to arrive on the market. Smartphones could provide a similar experience to a desktop platform while being able to fit in the pocket. With the help of this feature, smartphones became an instant hit with the end-users. Application development industries also saw the business perspective and started developing apps for the mobile platform. Currently, developers can use various technologies like Appium automation to verify the proper functioning of mobile applications.
Continuous integration is another important part of the application development process that could further improve the capabilities of Appium automation. So, in this article, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about continuous integration and how it can benefit mobile application testing with Appium automation.
What is Continuous Integration
The term continuous integration is used to refer to the build and unit testing stages that are present in the software release cycle. After every revision of the application there is automatically a trigger for the build and reset function. This means that with the help of continuous delivery, the developers can automatically build, test, and prepare the application release for the production phase. This process also plays a critical role in improving the coordination between the application development and testing teams.
Continuous integration is a part of the DevOps software development practice. The primary objective of continuous integration is to reduce the time taken for locating bugs in the application and debugging them. Continuous integration is also a great approach to ensure that the developers can stabilize the sequential updates of an application.
The Advantages of Continuous Integration
Now let us take a quick look at some of the major advantages of implementing continuous integration in a mobile application development lifecycle:
- Using continuous integration, the application development teams can scale the engineering team size, the codebase size, and also the infrastructure for the development process. Continuous integration also plays a vital role in building the DevOps strategy and agile workflow for the application development process. This means that none of the organizations of the application development team will depend on each other for the development process.
- Continuous integration plays a vital role in improving the feedback loop during the application development process. This means that the application testers can test the ideas and also implement the designs faster with the help of an optimized continuous integration platform. It also helps to validate the proper functioning of all the changes that have been implemented in the mobile application.
- Continuous integration plays a vital role in improving the communication between different teams of the application development company. With the help of continuous integration and Agile workflow, the development and testing processes can be conducted side by side. This is yet another process that plays a vital role in quickly delivering high-quality applications to the end users.
However, with continuous integration, one of the major challenges that the application development teams can face is that the testing teams might fail to adapt to this drastic new change. Therefore, companies need to spread proper awareness about the importance of the CI and CD pipelines for improving the final quality of the application.
Challenges with the Mobile Development Industry
The mobile platform is probably the most diverse application development platform that currently exists. To justify this concept, we can use the reference that only in the Android platform more than 1000 new devices appear in the market every year. So, we can make an approximate guess about the total number considering that there are other important platforms like iOS, Windows, and Blackberry. However, this diversity does not provide any excuse for the developers to overlook the importance of the mobile platform from a business point of view. This is because a recent survey shows that more than 50% of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
By now we can clarify that it is almost impossible for the application development company to maintain a physical mobile test bench. This is because it will not only be an expensive process but will also be hard to maintain and update considering the diversity. The simplest solution to this problem is to integrate a perfect cloud platform with the primary test bench. These platforms allow developers to access hundreds of real devices with the help of their cloud servers. The developers can access all the features of these platforms by simply paying a minimum license fee. To further improve our understanding of these platforms we can use the reference of LambdaTest:
To cover the basics, LambdaTest is a continuous testing platform that helps developers to perform cross-browser compatibility of mobile web applications on a cloud grid. Cross-browser compatibility test cases ensure that the web application does not suffer from loss of performance due to multiple changes in terms of device specifications, operating system, and browser version.
LambdaTest plays a critical role in implementing continuous integration and Agile methodologies in modern automation test benches. The developers can use this platform to improve the efficiency of the test cases by executing parallel testing. With parallel testing, the developers can verify the functioning of the application with different test configurations at the same time. Lastly, Lambda Test generates highly accurate test results by combining reports from not only simulators and emulators but also hundreds of cloud-based real devices.
The Basics of Appium
To understand the basics, Appium is an open-source tool that helps the automation of native mobile applications. The developers can also use this tool to verify the functioning of hybrid mobile apps. It supports all the major mobile platforms like windows, iOS, and Android. For beginners, native mobile applications are those that are written with the individual SDKs of either windows, iOS, or Android. Native mobile applications can run only on one platform and needs to be redeveloped for other platforms as well. However, considering the demands of the modern industry, hybrid apps have started to gain more popularity than native apps. This is because with hybrid applications the developer can use the same code base for running the apps on multiple platforms at the same time. Thus, hybrid apps are an important part of expanding the company’s market share.
Since Appium is open source, the developers do not have to pay any license fee for accessing all the features of this tool. This application is developed and currently supported by Sauce Labs. While using Appium, the developers can execute multiple test cases at the same time with the help of parallel testing. A recent market trend shows that most companies are converting their websites into web applications. Web applications allow the end users to perform all the actions of a typical app without going through the hassle of an installation process. Appium also helps to automate the performance of these web applications on mobile devices. The core framework of Appium is very similar to the Selenium WebDriver.
Automation Testing with Appium
Merging of Appium Automation with Continuous Integration
The primary goal of this article was to justify how the Appium automation test cases can benefit from the introduction of continuous integration. However, before integrating Appium with continuous integration there are certain factors that the developers must ensure. They are as follows:
- The application development company must have access to the latest version of the Eclipse integrated development environment.
- You must have the latest version of the Appium test server installed on your system and in running condition.
- The developers should have Jenkins installed on their system. The Jenkins software must be available in the form of a web interface. Jenkins is a very popular automation tool that helps to build, develop and test modern mobile applications.
- Lastly, the developers have to create a new Maven project to begin the integration of Appium automation test cases with a continuous integration pipeline.
After the integration process, the developers will be able to successfully automate the Appium test cases with the help of Jenkins. It is worth noting that the automated test cases will be available for testing purposes irrespective of the target mobile platform. However, the developers must remember that the initial expenses of introducing automated test cases are quite high. So, mobile application development companies need to consider the business perspective before introducing automated Appium test cases.
So, we can conclude that continuous integration is one of the most important practices of the modern web application development industry. Various mobile regression testing frameworks like Appium can benefit a lot with the help of continuous integration and continuous development. As a developer, you must remember that your ultimate goal is to quickly deliver high-quality applications to your customers. It is also important for application development companies to realize the importance of automation testing in the competitive app development market. Many experts predict that automation testing will continue to gain more popularity with time.
So, it is the perfect time to start shifting to these modern application development practices and expanding the user base of a company. Lastly, it is important to use certain platforms like LambdaTest that help the developers to improve the overall testing experience and quality of the application.