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Top Mobile Automation Testing Framework in 2024

Pratik Patel
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Pratik Patel
  • Jul 3, 2024
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    10 min read
Top Mobile Automation Testing Framework in 2024
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Mobile test automation has received more emphasis than ever before, due to the increase in demand for and availability of apps in today’s society. Estimates the global mobile app testing market at $18.76 billion by 2032, thus proving that it is a relatively well-developed industry. It postulates that the subject market will grow at a rate of 15.7% and a CAGR of about 13.1% between the period of 2024-2032. It confirms the stability, security, and effectiveness of application usability on multiple devices. Comprehensive and effective testing of mobile applications contributes to high levels of user satisfaction, less expenditure on fixing bugs after the release of the application.

Purpose of choosing a leading automation framework for mobile testing:

  • Enhance testing speed, leading to more frequent app releases.
  • Boost testing productivity.
  • Facilitate cross-platform testing.
  • Ensure the success of mobile applications.
  • Achieve quicker releases.
  • Reduce reliance on manual testing.

Criteria for Selecting Mobile Testing Framework

While selecting framework for mobile testing, there are some criteria that one must follow:

1. Ease of use and Learning curve

Get started testing faster with a versatile framework. Open-source frameworks that support multiple programming languages open the door to a wider talent pool. Testers with various backgrounds can jump in and contribute, regardless of their prior coding experience. This boosts team efficiency by allowing everyone to leverage their existing skill sets. Plus, onboarding new testers becomes a breeze when they can utilize familiar syntax from languages like Python. This frees them to focus on crafting effective tests, not learning a new language first.

2. Platform compatibility

By a unified framework that enables mobile application testing in a single environment, you can achieve maximum test coverage for both Android and iOS platforms with significantly less effort. The power of a unified framework extends beyond native applications. Ideally, the chosen framework should seamlessly integrate with various environments, allowing you to effortlessly run the same tests across iOS, Android, and even web platforms for your hybrid or cross-platform applications.

3. Scalability and Performance

A robust automation framework should handle a growing test suite efficiently, accommodating numerous test cases and users without compromising performance. This ensures smooth test runs as your application evolves. Modern frameworks leverage parallel testing, distributing test execution across multiple machines or processes to significantly reduce overall execution time. This means large test suites run in a fraction of the time, freeing up valuable resources. Choosing a scalable framework is an investment in your testing process's future. As your application and test suite grow, the framework adapts, maintaining comprehensive test coverage and efficiency.

4. Cost efficiency

Open-source mobile test automation frameworks offer a compelling advantage. By eliminating licensing fees and ongoing maintenance expenses, you can achieve robust testing capabilities without straining your budget. This allows you to invest those resources into other areas of your development process. Open-source frameworks thrive on a vibrant and active community. This translates to a wealth of free resources, tutorials, and ongoing support. You'll benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of developers worldwide, helping you overcome challenges and optimize your testing process.

Top Mobile Automation Testing Framework

Here are the top mobile automation testing frameworks as there are many commercial frameworks present but, our main focus is on open-source frameworks. If you want to know more about the mobile test automation framework, stay tuned with us!! Also, Here we mention the top open-source frameworks:

Top Mobile Testing Framwork in 2024

1. Appium

Appium is an open-source mobile testing tool that continues to be the favored cross-platform testing for mobile devices, and it is compatible with both iOS and Android applications. It permits the tests to be written in different programming languages and allows the use of the WebDriver protocol. The main feature of the Appium testing framework is to allow parallel execution of test scripts. 

Feature Description
Supported Platform Android, iOS, Windows
Latest Version Appium 2.11.1
GitHub Link https://github.com/appium/appium
Client Libraries https://appium.io/docs/en/2.0/ecosystem/
Key features
  • Support both hybrid and native applications. 
  • Compatible with various testing frameworks like TestNG and JUnit. 
  • Provides support for real devices and emulators. 
  • Supports cloud-based testing solutions.
Uses Cases
  • Perform end-to-end testing across different platforms. 
  • Running tests on multiple devices simultaneously.
Popular integration
  • Jenkins for continuous integration. 
  • BrowserStack and Sauce Labs for cloud-based testing
Performance
  • Generally slower than other automation tools due to the complexity of mobile environments. 
  • Resource-intensive, especially when running on multiple devices.
Community Support
  • Extensive community support and active forums. 
  • Regular updates and patches from the maintainers.
  • Availability of numerous tutorials and example projects.
Documentation
  • Comprehensive official documentation. 
  • Numerous third-party resources and tutorials.
Supported Programming Languages
  • Ruby
  • JavaScript 
  • Java
  • Python 
  • C#
Pros
  • Cross-platform support. 
  • Actively community and extensive documentation. 
  • Support parallel execution
Cons
  • Extended set-up time. 
  • Relatively slow in speed. 
  • Limited support for certain native app features.

2. Espresso

Espresso, developed by Google, is preferred for UI testing in Android. The main feature of the tool is the simplicity and high effectiveness of the developed API to create UI tests.

Feature Description
Supported Platform Android (native)
Latest Version Espresso 3.6.0
GitHub Link https://github.com/espressomd/espresso
Key features
  • Espresso handles synchronization automatically.
  • Espresso uses a powerful Matcher API for identifying UI elements within your app.
Uses Cases
  • This reduces the learning curve and makes adoption easier
Popular integration Android Studio
Performance
  • Prioritize rapid test execution and developer efficiency.
  • Good for most UI testing scenarios in Android apps.
Community Support Backed by a large and active community of developers who contribute valuable resources and best practices.
Documentation Extensive and well-written, providing valuable resources for learning. Ensures a consistent experience within the development environment.
Supported Programming Languages Java and Kotlin
Pros
  • Official Android framework, Easy to use.
  • Eliminating test flakiness.
  • It excels in UI testing
Cons
  • Limited to Android, Requires Java knowledge.
  • Espresso might be slower than directly executing native Android code for testing purposes due to its higher-level abstraction.
  • It design specially for testing native android app

3. XCUITest

XCUITest is widely used to perform testing of iOS applications, and it is developed by Apple. It operates in harmony with Xcode and is possible to write the tests in both Swift or Objective-C. The main features of XCUITest are Reliable elements interaction, Robust test recording.

Feature Description
Supported Platform iOS (native)
Latest Version 7.21.2
GitHub Link https://github.com/appium/appium-xcuitest-driver
Key features
  • XCUITest leverages the XCTest framework, Apple's core testing framework.
  • You can automate tests to verify that users with disabilities can interact with your app effectively.
Uses Cases Unit testing, UI testing
Popular integration Xcode
Performance
  • It offers a significant advantage in speed compared to some cross-platform testing frameworks.
  • The tight integration with Xcode and the iOS system contributes to efficient test execution.
Community Support
  • XCUITest's community support is strong.
  • Being part of the Apple developer ecosystem ensures access to official documentation and support resources.
Documentation
  • The documentation for XCUITest is extensive and well-maintained by Apple.
  • It provides valuable resources for learning and using the framework effectively within the Xcode development environment.
Supported Programming Languages
  • Swift
  • Objective-C
Pros
  • Official iOS framework, Powerful, Integrated
  • Allows developers to leverage their existing skill sets for writing tests.
  • Offers a robust set of assertions for verifying UI elements.
Cons
  • Limited to iOS, Requires Swift/Objective-C
  • It doesn’t support popular language like Java, JS etc.
  • It might not be as comprehensive as some other testing frameworks.

4. Detox

Detox is famously known for its capability in providing end-to-end test solutions for React Native applications and in correlation with Javascript. There is no risk of interference from other processes in the system, because it actively checks that the app is inactive before the interactions take place, making the tests far more reliable.

Feature Description
Supported Platform iOS, Android (Native, Hybrid)
Latest Version 20.23.0
GitHub Link https://github.com/wix/Detox
Key features
  • Detox offers a robust and versatile solution for cross-platform mobile app testing.
  • Its ability to write tests in JavaScript/TypeScript, leverage native testing frameworks.
Uses Cases Functional testing, Regression testing
Popular integration Appium, CI/CD tools
Performance
  • It leverages the efficiency of native frameworks for UI interactions.
  • The abstraction layer and complex tests might introduce some performance overhead.
Community Support
  • The quality and quantity of community support can evolve over time.
  • It's a good practice to check the activity level of the GitHub project and online discussions to gauge the current state of the community.
Documentation The official Detox documentation is a good starting point for learning and using the framework effectively.
Supported Programming Languages JavaScript/TypeScript
Pros
  • This element means that the execution of a particular process happens quickly and can refer to CI/CD integration.
  • Detox excels in black box testing
  • It handles asynchronous operations effectively.
Cons
  • It is hard to configure and up to now few are starting with the testing of multi-driver cases.
  • While focusing on black-box testing, might not get offer same level of granular control over UI elements.
  • Drawback for tests requiring very specific interactions.

5. Calabash

Calabash is a type of acceptance testing on mobile application cross platform systems, where the application is tested on the iOS and Android devices.

It empowers testers to write executive tests scenarios as, if the actual user is interacting with the app making sure that its behaviour is in accord with the anticipated result in all scenarios.

Feature Description
Supported Platform iOS, Android, Web
Latest Version 0.9.10
GitHub Link https://github.com/calabash
Client Libraries https://github.com/calabash/calabash-android
Key features
  • Calabash allows you to write tests in a single language (Ruby) that can be executed on both Android and iOS devices.
  • Allowing you to write tests in a human-readable format that focuses on the expected behaviour of the app from a user's perspective.
Uses Cases Functional testing, Regression testing
Popular integration Appium, CI/CD tools
Performance
  • The performance impact will likely be more significant for very complex tests with numerous interactions.
  • The performance of your tests will also be influenced by the capabilities of the devices you're testing on.
Community Support Not much vibrant
Documentation Explore the available official documentation thoroughly.
Supported Programming Languages Ruby
Pros
  • Accessible to non-technical stakeholders and detailed reports
  • It simplifies testing across platforms and reduces maintenance overhead.
  • Focus on BDD and clear communication.
Cons
  • Slower execution as well as complex setup.
  • Potential limitation in native functionality.
  • Due to its architecture, debugging tests might be complex.

Comparison of Framework

In this table we are going to compare different frameworks with different aspects:

Framework Appium Espresso XCUITest Detox Calabash
Setup Moderate (Requires Appium server setup) Easy (Integrated with Android Studio) Easy (Integrated with Xcode) Moderate (Requires Node.js setup) Moderate (Requires Ruby installation)
Execution Speed Moderate (Depends on device & network) Fast (Optimized for Android) Fast (Optimized for iOS) Moderate (Depends on device & network) Potentially Slower (Consideration)
Learning Curve Moderate (Requires understanding of Appium & mobile testing concepts) Easy (Simpler API for Android) Easy (Simpler API for iOS) Moderate (Learning JavaScript/TypeScript for testing) Moderate (Learning Ruby for testing)
Features Cross-platform, Supports multiple languages, Scripting flexibility Rich assertions, Record & Playback (limited) White-box & Black-box testing, UI automation, Accessibility testing Cross-platform, Black-box testing, Integration with CI/CD tools Cross-platform, BDD approach, Object recognition
Cloud Testing Integration Yes (Integrates with various cloud providers) Yes (Many cloud providers support Appium) Yes (Many cloud providers support Appium) Yes (Many cloud providers support Appium) Yes (Many cloud providers support Appium)
Appium Inspector Support Yes No No Yes No
Parallel Execution Support No Yes Yes Yes No

Choosing the Right Mobile App Testing Tool for Automation

The best mobile app testing tool for automation depends on several factors, including:

  • Target Platforms: Are you testing an Android app, an iOS app, or both?
  • Development Languages: What programming languages are you comfortable with?
  • Project Requirements: Do you need advanced features like hybrid app testing or parallel execution?

Here's a breakdown of some popular mobile app testing tools and their strengths:

1. Appium

  • Best for: Cross-platform testing (Android & iOS)
  • Pros: Open-source, supports multiple programming languages, large community, extensive features.
  • Cons: Slower than native frameworks (Espresso/XCUITest), requires more setup.
  • Our Take: If you need to automate tests for both Android and iOS apps, Appium is the clear choice. Its flexibility and extensive community resources make it a powerful tool. (Check out our founder's book on Appium here!)

2. Espresso

  • Best for: Native Android app testing
  • Pros: Developed by Google, natively integrated with Android Studio, fast execution speed.
  • Cons: Limited to Android apps, requires familiarity with Java/Kotlin.
  • Our Take: For native Android app testing, Espresso is a great option due to its tight integration with Android development tools and fast execution speed.

3. XCUITest

  • Best for: Native iOS app testing
  • Pros: Developed by Apple, tightly integrated with Xcode, ideal for native iOS apps.
  • Cons: Limited to iOS apps, requires familiarity with Swift.
  • Our Take: For native iOS app testing, XCUITest offers a seamless experience within the Apple development environment.

4. Detox

  • Best for: Native iOS and Android app testing with a focus on React Native apps
  • Pros: Open-source, focuses on React Native apps, offers a clean and readable syntax.
  • Cons: Limited to native apps, primarily designed for React Native development.
  • Our Take: Detox is a good choice for automating tests on React Native apps for both Android and iOS.

5. Calabash

  • Best for: Hybrid app testing (web technologies within native app)
  • Pros: Open-source, supports hybrid app testing, offers behavior-driven development (BDD) approach.
  • Cons: Requires scripting knowledge in Ruby or JavaScript, might have a steeper learning curve.
  • Our Take: Calabash is a powerful option for automating tests on hybrid apps, but its reliance on scripting languages might require additional learning effort.

In summary

  • For cross-platform testing, choose Appium.
  • For native Android apps, consider Espresso.
  • For native iOS apps, XCUITest is a strong option.
  • For React Native apps, Detox is a good fit.
  • For hybrid app testing, Calabash offers BDD features.

Choosing the Right Tool + Right QA Agency is Crucial

Selecting the most suitable mobile app testing tool for automation is a critical decision. It impacts the resources required, the project's cost, and the overall development timeline. While numerous commercial testing tools exist, each has its strengths and weaknesses.

At Alphabin, our mobile automation testing experts possess extensive experience with various tools. We can help you navigate the options, understand the pros and cons of each framework in relation to your specific project needs, and ultimately guide you towards the best tool for your application.  

While other QA agencies and experienced in-house QA automation engineers struggle with months-long testing cycles using open-source and commercial tools, Alphabin offers a revolutionary solution. 

Our custom AI-driven frameworks, powered by Appium, turbocharge your mobile app testing, achieving an impressive 70% coverage in just weeks (not in months). This ensures your app is thoroughly tested and ready to delight your users, allowing for quick, bug-free releases.

Don't settle for average testing. Partner with Alphabin and experience the difference.

Contact us today and unlock the future of mobile app testing!

Something you should read...

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should we automate tests for mobile apps?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow
  1. Efficiency: Automated tests run faster, allowing more frequent testing.
  2. Consistency: Tests are executed uniformly, reducing errors.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: Saves time and resources in the long term.
  4. Increased coverage: Tests across diverse devices and OS versions.
  5. Faster feedback: Provides quick insights into new builds.
  6. Regression testing: Ensures existing features remain intact.
  7. 24/7 testing: Runs tests during idle times for productivity.
  8. Improved app quality: Leads to higher-quality apps with fewer bugs.
  9. Agile and CI/CD: Integrates smoothly with Agile and CI/CD workflows.
  10. Complex scenarios: Handles intricate tests efficiently.
How do I choose the best mobile automation testing framework for my project?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow
  1. Platform Compatibility: Ensure it supports your target OS (Android, iOS, Windows).
  2. Ease of Use: Look for a user-friendly framework with a low learning curve.
  3. Programming Language Support: Choose one that supports languages your team knows.
  4. Community and Documentation: A strong community and good documentation are invaluable.
  5. Integration Capabilities: Ensure it integrates well with your existing tools and CI/CD pipeline.
  6. Testing Speed and Performance: Evaluate its speed and setup time to fit your timelines.
  7. Cost: Consider licensing fees and setup/maintenance efforts.
  8. Scalability: Ensure it can handle many test cases and parallel executions.
What are the open-source automation frameworks available for mobile app testing?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow

There are several frameworks, which are available for mobile automation testing, that help to make mobile applications more reliable and provide seamless experience. Here are top mobile automation testing framework:

  • Appium - Native, hybrid, and mobile web apps on both Android and iOS
  • Espresso - Native Android apps
  • XCUITest - Native iOS apps
  • Detox - React Native apps on both Android and iOS
  • Calabash - Native and hybrid apps on both Android and iOS
  • Robotium - Native and hybrid Android apps
  • UI Automator - Native Android apps
  • Selendroid - Native and hybrid Android apps, as well as mobile web apps on Android
  • KIF (Keep It Functional) - Native iOS apps
  • EarlGrey - Native iOS apps
Why should I choose Alphabin for my mobile app automation testing?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow

We deliver faster results (weeks, not months) with industry-leading 70% coverage thanks to our custom frameworks and expert team. Partner with us for a competitive edge and a bug-free app.

About the author

Pratik Patel

Pratik Patel

Pratik Patel is the founder and CEO of Alphabin, an AI-powered Software Testing company.

He has over 10 years of experience in building automation testing teams and leading complex projects, and has worked with startups and Fortune 500 companies to improve QA processes.

At Alphabin, Pratik leads a team that uses AI to revolutionize testing in various industries, including Healthcare, PropTech, E-commerce, Fintech, and Blockchain.

More about the author

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