Mobile and web are the two major interfaces we use to interact with digital information. To the common eye it might appear that you’re just using different devices to access the same application. But, that’s not the case; and this is at the heart of all the differences between mobile application and web application testing.
Desktops were the first computing devices to become popular (in the 1980’s and 1990’s). So, software testing was all about desktop applications or web applications. But as time changed, smartphones became part of most people’s life (after 2012).
Developers reacted to the popularity of mobile devices by designing more mobile applications. Most industries nowadays use mobile apps – there are ecommerce apps, transport & logistics apps, banking apps, entertainment apps, etc. To ensure their quality, mobile application testing has become a necessity.
Number of mobile devices operating worldwide in 2021 was around 15 billion. It was just above 14 billion in 2020. This number is forecasted to grow around 18.22 billion by 2025.
Before we dive deep into a detailed comparison, let’s understand the basic difference between web application and mobile application.
Web Application vs Mobile Application
|Web Applications||Mobile Applications|
|Designed to access using browsers||Designed to use on mobile devices|
|Optimized web applications can be accessed across desktops, tablets and mobiles via browsers||Mobile apps are exclusive to their devices and needs to be downloaded or installed.|
|Web apps work across operating systems||There are different types of apps based on their architecture and the operating systems they work on – Native, hybrid and cross-platform|
|Cannot work without an Internet connection||Mobile apps can function without an Internet connection|
|Slower and less efficient||Faster and efficient|
|Easier to create responsive designs for various screen sizes||Creating responsive designs can be very difficult|
|Users are not required to download updates||Users should download updates|
|App store approval not required||App store approval required|
Difference between Web application and Mobile application Testing
You would’ve understood the key differences between web application and mobile application from the above table. They are built unlike each other. Users interact with both in different ways as well. So, it becomes mandatory to test both with unique criteria and tools. At a high level, the tests are mostly common for both mobile and web. These common tests include
- Usability tests
- Compatibility tests
- Functional tests
- Performance tests
- Localization tests
Here is a high level comparison of how web app testing and mobile app testing differs
|Web Application Testing||Mobile Application Testing|
|The objective of web app testing is to check whether a bug-free and highly functional website user experience gets delivered irrespective of browsers and devices.||Mobile app testing has to report bugs, compatibility issues, network issues, etc. This has to happen for a wide range of Android and iOS devices depending on whether it’s a native or hybrid mobile app|
|Functionalities don’t vary significantly across devices, which makes it easier to test||There are a lot of device based factors such as software version, screen size, storage capacity, OEM software overlays which needs to be considered while testing|
|Peripheral devices testing includes mouse, game controllers, webcams, keyboards, etc||Testing may be required on tablets and peripheral devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and even medical devices such as a heart pacemaker|
|User interactions are primarily through mouse and keyboard.||User interactions happen mainly through touchscreen which requires specific test scenarios|
|Battery life is not a major aspect while testing||Battery life is a key aspect while testing. Testers have to check app performance when battery is at full charge and also when it is low.|
|Storage and RAM capacity is typically not an issue with web applications||Storage and RAM capacity of mobile devices is limited. This can lead to troubles while testing mobile apps|
|Primary tools or frameworks for web application testing – Selenium, WebLOAD, Acunetix, Netsparker, etc||Primary tools or frameworks for mobile application testing – Appium, Calabash, Espresso, Robotium, Xamarin, Test Complete, etc|
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Tools or Frameworks for Web Application Testing
As mentioned in the above table, there are multiple web app testing frameworks available in the market such as WebLOAD, Acunetix, Netsparker, etc. But the undisputed favourite has been Selenium. And that’s not just because it’s the oldest automation testing tool.
There are four different components to Selenium – Selenium IDE, Selenium Web Driver, Selenium RC, and Selenium Grid. Automation testing capabilities of Selenium is one of its best traits. You can automate UI tests for web apps across popular web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari
The Selenium Web Driver is compatible with many programming languages including Java, Ruby, and Python.
Tools or Frameworks Used for Mobile App Testing
The complexity of mobile app testing makes it necessary to have specialised mobile app testing frameworks. Here are few such popular frameworks used to automate tests across native, hybrid and mobile web apps.
Appium provides multiple advantages to its users
- Supports cross-platform script development
- Android and iOS-based apps both can be tested
- Source code access is not required
- Has extensive online community support
- There is multiple language support
There are few disadvantages as well…
- The Appium server desktop application receives frequent unstable releases
- Application server desktop application for Windows OS doesn’t have script recording
TestComplete – This automated UI testing tool from SmartBear is flexible and easy-to-use. It can run on real devices, virtual machines or emulators. Also, there are both scriptless and scripted options available for this tool for test generation.
TestComplete has its own set of perks
- Multiple mobile platforms support
- Easy to integrate with CI/CD tools such as Git, Jenkins, and Jira
- Record and playback feature to create tests without scripting
- Can generate keyword-driven tests
And couple of downsides…
- When overloaded, android devices get disconnected
- A non-intuitive UI
- iOS 3D touch, multi-touch gestures and on device button presses are not recorded
Espresso – A tool developed by Google to exclusively automate testing of Android UI. As part of the Android SDK, Espresso is used for native app development.
- Easy to use and fast to execute
- A server is not required to run the tool, allowing for faster feedback
- Very stable testing due to synchronized execution
But there are few drawbacks too…
- Espresso is exclusively for Android UI testing. So, it’s limiting
- Testing with Espresso requires you to access app source code
The Role of Real Devices in Testing Mobile and Web Applications
Automation testing accelerates the testing process. But it might not discover real-world bugs and issues. Real device testing is great to identify how your app responds under different network conditions, and also physical inputs. There are a lot of sensors on mobile devices these days and those needs to be taken into consideration as well.
At the same time, it can be extremely difficult and expensive to procure a large device lab; especially for smaller organizations. In such cases, it is ideal to work with software testing agencies such as testscenario. You get to test on a wide range of devices on popular operating systems such as android, iOS and windows.
Real device testing is best done during later stages such as integration, functional, and non functional testing. Also it should be done in tandem with cloud device testing. That would make your test cycles less expensive and faster.
What’s the Future of Mobile and Web Application Testing?
An ever-growing user base and increasing competition would evolve mobile apps into further complexity. Undoubtedly, this brings more focus on quality via software testing. Increasingly complex apps would make testing more challenging.
To counter this, software development teams would try better integration of testing into the development cycle. The possibilities of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in software testing would also get explored further.
Competition in the digital space is massive. It leaves no room for compromise as far as your product’s quality is concerned. Ensure you get the best software testing services for no-compromise mobile and web application testing. Get in touch with testscenario.com today.