Difference Between Testing Mobile and Web Applications

Posted by: admin December 6, 2023 No Comments

In the realm of digital interactions, mobile and web interfaces stand as pillars. These interfaces may seem similar in their objective—to access applications through different devices—but the reality is far more intricate. This disparity forms the crux of the divergence between mobile application testing and web application testing.

The inception of computing devices saw desktops reigning supreme in the 1980s and 1990s. Consequently, software testing centered around desktop or web applications. However, the landscape evolved drastically with the pervasive integration of smartphones into people’s lives post-2012.

The surge in mobile device popularity prompted developers to craft an abundance of mobile applications. Today, various industries harness mobile apps across sectors—ecommerce, transport & logistics, banking, entertainment, and more. The imperative of ensuring their quality has elevated mobile application testing to a critical necessity.

In 2021, the global count of mobile devices in operation reached approximately 15 billion, up from just above 14 billion in 2020. This figure is projected to soar to around 18.22 billion by 2025.

Before delving into an exhaustive comparison, it’s pivotal to comprehend the fundamental difference between web applications and mobile applications:

Web Applications Mobile Applications
Accessed via browsers Specifically designed for mobile devices
Built using technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, etc. Developed using technologies such as Java, Kotlin, Swift, Objective-C, etc.
Accessible across devices through browsers when optimized Device-exclusive; requires installation or download
Cross-compatible across operating systems Different types – Native, hybrid, cross-platform, based on architecture and OS
Relies on Internet connectivity Some mobile apps operate without an Internet connection
Slower and less efficient Generally faster and more efficient
Easier to create responsive designs for various screen sizes Challenging to create responsive designs
Users not required to download updates Users need to download updates
No app store approval needed App store approval is mandatory

Differentiating Mobile Application Testing and Web Application Testing

The distinctiveness between mobile application testing and web application testing stems from their inherent design discrepancies. Although certain tests overlap, both necessitate unique criteria and tools. At a high level, common tests encompass:

  • Usability tests
  • Compatibility tests
  • Functional tests
  • Performance tests
  • Localization tests

Comparison Highlights: Web App Testing vs. Mobile App Testing

Web Application Testing:

  • Focuses on bug-free, functional website user experience across browsers and devices.
  • Functionalities remain consistent across devices, simplifying testing.
  • Peripheral devices tested include mouse, game controllers, webcams, keyboards.
  • User interactions mainly through mouse and keyboard.
  • Battery life is not a primary consideration.
  • No significant issues with storage and RAM capacity.
  • Prominent tools/frameworks include Selenium, WebLOAD, Acunetix, Netsparker.

Mobile Application Testing:

  • Investigates bugs, compatibility issues, network problems across numerous Android and iOS devices.
  • Varies significantly due to diverse device factors like software version, screen size, storage, etc.
  • Testing may extend to tablets and peripheral devices like smartwatches, fitness trackers, medical devices.
  • Primarily touch-based interactions, demanding specific test scenarios.
  • Battery life is a crucial aspect of testing—performance checked at varying battery levels.
  • Challenges arise due to limited storage and RAM on mobile devices.
  • Key tools/frameworks: Appium, Calabash, Espresso, Robotium, Xamarin, TestComplete.

Tools and Frameworks for Web Application Testing

As highlighted earlier, several web app testing frameworks, including WebLOAD, Acunetix, and Netsparker, exist in the market. Among these, Selenium stands out not just because it’s the oldest automation testing tool, but due to its versatility.

Selenium encompasses four components—Selenium IDE, Selenium Web Driver, Selenium RC, and Selenium Grid. Its automation testing capabilities empower UI testing across popular web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The Selenium Web Driver supports multiple programming languages, including Java, Ruby, and Python.

Tools and Frameworks Used for Mobile App Testing

Given the complexity of mobile app testing, specialized frameworks are imperative. Some notable frameworks for automating tests across native, hybrid, and mobile web apps are:

  • Appium: Built on Selenium API, Appium is an open-source tool catering to native and hybrid app testing. Its popularity stems from supporting scripting languages like C#, Java, JavaScript (with node.js), Ruby, PHP, Python. Appium offers cross-platform script development, facilitating testing for Android and iOS apps without source code access. However, it encounters occasional unstable releases and lacks script recording in its Windows OS desktop application.
  • TestComplete: SmartBear’s TestComplete is a flexible UI testing tool operating on real devices, virtual machines, or emulators. It offers scriptless and scripted options for test generation, supporting multiple mobile platforms and integration with CI/CD tools like Git, Jenkins, and Jira. TestComplete’s advantages include its support for various scripting languages and the ability to create tests without scripting. However, it faces issues when overloaded, resulting in Android device disconnection, and possesses a less intuitive user interface.
  • Espresso: Developed by Google, Espresso is exclusively for automating Android UI testing, embedded within the Android SDK. Renowned for its speed, stability, and synchronized execution, Espresso ensures fast test execution without requiring a server. Its limitations include exclusivity to Android UI testing, necessitating access to app source code for testing.

Real Devices in Testing Mobile and Web Applications

While automation expedites testing, it may not unearth real-world issues. Real device testing proves invaluable in comprehending app behavior under diverse network conditions and physical inputs. With the multitude of sensors on modern devices, such considerations are crucial.

However, procuring an extensive device lab can be cumbersome and costly, especially for smaller organizations. Collaborating with software testing agencies like testscenario, offering access to a wide range of devices across popular operating systems like Android, iOS, and Windows, can be more feasible.

Real device testing, typically conducted during later stages like integration and functional testing, combined with cloud-based testing, renders test cycles cost-effective and expedited.

Future Perspectives for Testing Mobile and Web Applications

The expanding user base and intensifying competition foresee heightened complexity in mobile app development. Consequently, quality assurance through rigorous testing assumes paramount importance. The evolving landscape would witness tighter integration of testing into the development cycle, exploring the potentials of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in software testing.

In the fiercely competitive digital arena, compromise in product quality holds no ground. Opting for top-tier software testing services becomes imperative to ensure uncompromised mobile and web application testing.

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