Testing your mobile software is something developers know is important, but is also typically pushed to the end of the development cycle. Because the benefits of testing are not usually realized until post-development, it’s easy to prioritize other more immediately visible features. However, because bugs are an inevitable part of software development, testing is essential to get ahead of these issues before shipping and potentially having to make costly fixes down the road.
Testing vs. Quality Assurance
While often grouped together, testing and quality assurance are two distinct and equally important components of the software development process. At a high level, testing is focused on the product itself, while quality assurance is focused on the customer experience more holistically. For example, imagine you were creating a calculator app. Testing would ensure that your app correctly computes various operations, while quality assurance would ensure that your app does so in an intuitive and clear way. To learn more about quality assurance, check out our recent post.
Benefits of Automated Testing
When we talk about testing in software development, we’re primarily talking about automated testing. One of the major benefits of automated testing is that it can simulate user interactions much more quickly than a human can. This means that as you incrementally add new features to your app, you can test your entire code base to ensure that the new feature doesn’t conflict with existing functionality. Most automated testing frameworks also provide you with code coverage details so that you can see exactly what parts of your code are being tested and which you still need to write tests for. Another benefit of automated testing is that it can be performed whenever is convenient for you. This means instead of taking up your engineer’s time waiting for tests to pass during the day, you could set up a system to automatically run the tests every night and then fix any bugs the next day. You can even do things with automated testing that aren’t possible with human testers, such as stress testing your app to find out how it will perform with 10x more users than you currently have.
How to start testing your mobile software
One easy way to start testing your mobile software development workflow is to add a continuous integration (CI) system to your current build process. There are several services out there that will integrate with your version control software and ensure your tests pass each time you push a new commit or open a new pull request. You can even run tests for multiple devices and across various OS versions to ensure your app will work for all your customers. Even if you don’t want to implement a new CI system, you can still leverage one of the many testing frameworks that are available and start recognizing the benefits of testing right away.