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5 Popular Test Automation Tools For React Native Apps

5 Popular Test Automation Tools For React Native Apps

July 25, 2022
 by 
David BrokerDavid Broker
David Broker

Introduction

In today’s digital economy, software developers cannot afford to rely on anything less than the latest software development practices to deliver efficient products and services. As per the data reported by Statista, the number of mobile app downloads globally has been increasing from 2016 onward, surpassing 200 billion in 2019. In 2021, consumers downloaded 230 billion mobile apps to their connected devices, an increase of more than 63% from 140.7 billion app downloads in 2016.

Given the increasing number of app downloads, testing apps has become more critical than ever, as it helps you rectify mistakes and verify that your code is working. Perhaps even more importantly, testing ensures that your code continues to work in the future as you add new features, refactor the existing ones, or upgrade significant dependencies of your project. According to the World Quality Report, automating the testing process is helping organizations speed up their decision-making to provide better outcomes in a shorter period. Automating the testing process has many benefits, but the most crucial advantage is that app developers can use automated tests to detect problems quickly before sending them to QA. Moreover, tests can run automatically whenever source code changes are checked in and notify the team or the developer if they fail. Features like these save app developers time and increase their confidence.

Annual mobile app downloads globally during 2016-2021
Graph showing the number of mobile app downloads globally during 2016-2021

Nowadays, most applications running on different platforms, such as iOS, Android, and the web, are developed with the help of React Native. React Native is an open framework for cross-platform mobile app development for iOS and Android. So, React Native automation testing plays a crucial role in the app testing process. React automation testing is crucial to delivering flawless UX. Given that React Native generates cross-platform apps, manual testing will quickly become a highly time-consuming task. In this regard, React Native automation testing will save both time and money in the longer run.

Test your apps on real devices and get accurate results. Learn more.

Now, let's take a look at various testing processes available for React Native apps and five popular React Native testing tools for automated testing.

What are React Native Testing Apps?

React Native testing apps are specialized tools designed to evaluate and verify the functionality of applications built using the React Native framework. These tools are essential for developers aiming to create high-quality mobile apps that operate smoothly across multiple platforms like iOS and Android. Testing React Native apps is a cornerstone in app development, enabling developers to discover and fix bugs before the product reaches the end user, thus ensuring a seamless and engaging user experience.

Some types of tests for testing React Native apps include:

  • Unit Testing: This involves testing individual components or functions in isolation from the rest of the application.
  • Integration Testing: For React Native apps, integration testing could involve checking the interaction between different components.
  • UI Testing: Also known as end-to-end testing, UI testing checks the interactions that a user would make with the application.

Let's consider the types of tests in further detail.

Importance of React Automation Testing

React Native helps build cross-platform mobile apps by writing code once and deploying it on iOS and Android. However, the complexity of modern mobile applications requires robust testing to ensure quality and performance. This is where React automation testing comes into play.

  • Consistency Across Platforms: Automated testing ensures your application behaves consistently across devices and OS. This is crucial for maintaining a uniform user experience.
  • Faster Release Cycles: You can execute automated tests quickly, enabling faster detection of bugs and issues. This accelerates the development process and reduces the time to market.
  • Improved Test Coverage: Manual testing can miss edge cases or complex user interactions. Automation allows for comprehensive test coverage, ensuring all functionalities are thoroughly tested.
  • Cost Efficiency: While setting up automation initially requires an investment, it significantly reduces the cost of regression testing and manual efforts over time. Automated tests can run unattended, freeing up resources for other critical tasks.
  • Early Bug Detection: Automated tests can be integrated into the CI/CD pipeline, enabling continuous testing and early detection of defects. This helps in addressing issues before they get bigger.
  • Enhanced Reliability: Automated tests eliminate human error, providing more reliable and accurate test results. This reliability is crucial for maintaining the quality and performance of the application.
  • Scalability: As your application grows, the number of test cases increases. Automation makes it easier to scale your testing efforts to match the application's complexity and ensure ongoing quality.

Incorporating automation into your React Native app testing strategy is essential for delivering high-quality applications that meet user expectations and perform well under various conditions. By leveraging automation, development teams can achieve better efficiency, reliability, and overall project success.

Various Types of React Native App Testing

React Native has been enjoying great popularity for its features over the years, and it is one of the best programming languages. So, let’s check out various types of testing used for React Native apps.

1. Writing Tests

The first step in testing is to write code that is testable. Writing your entire program in a single file with many lines of code will lead to numerous confusions while testing. So, you can write your code in multiple small modules that you can test more thoroughly than if you tested the assembled whole. In this way, writing testable code is intertwined with writing clean, modular code.

2. Unit Tests

Unit testing is a fundamental testing process used for mobile apps. JavaScript objects and methods present at the primary level are tested with it. Unit testing covers the minor parts of code, like individual functions and classes. When the object being tested has any dependencies, you will often need to mock them out. The critical thing about unit testing is that they are very quick to write and run. Therefore, as your testing progresses, you will get fast feedback about whether your tests are passing or not. 

 Image representing the unit tests
 Image representing the unit tests

Mocking

When we test objects with external dependencies, you will need to mock them out. Mocking is when you change some dependency of your code with your own implementation. Usually, working with real objects in tests is better than using mocks, but there are situations where this is not possible. So, mocking will help complete the unit testing of React Native apps without any hurdles.

Check out: Choosing the right tools for automated mobile app testing

3. Component Tests

React components are the building blocks of apps, and users can directly interact with their output. Even though your app's business logic has high testing coverage, without component testing, you may deliver a broken user interface to your users. Each component is tested functionally and visually with component testing. 

For testing React Native components, there are two essential things you may have to test:

Interaction: This testing ensures that the component is in the operating condition when interacting with a user.

Rendering: This testing ensures that the component rendering output used by React is accurate.

 Image representing the component tests
 Image representing the component tests

Component testing is a JavaScript test running in the Node.js environment. It does not consider any iOS, Android, or other platform code backing the React Native components. This type of testing cannot give you 100% confidence that everything is working, as it cannot find the bug in the iOS or Android code.

Connect to our real local devices worldwide and run geolocation tests on your mobile apps and websites. Know more.

4. Integration Tests

When developers are writing codes for complex software systems, individual components of the app need to interact with each other. All individual units are combined and tested in integration testing to ensure that their cooperation works per the app’s requirement.

Image representing the integration tests
Image representing the integration tests

An app only needs integration testing if it:

  • Combines several modules of the app 
  • Uses an external system
  • Makes a network call to other applications 
  • Operates any file or database I/O

5. End-to-End Tests

With the end-to-end (E2E) testing, you can check your app's operation on a device (or a simulator/emulator) from the user's perspective. This testing is done by creating your app in the release configuration and running the tests against it. In E2E testing, React Native components, React Native APIs, Redux stores, or any business logic are not tested. E2E testing can give you the highest possible confidence that your app is working correctly. 

 Image representing the end-to-end tests
 Image representing the end-to-end tests

There are various end-to-end testing tools available for React Native apps. Detox is a popular framework because it is customized for React Native apps. Another popular automation tool in the space of iOS and Android apps is Appium.

Check out: What Are The Different Types of Test Automation Frameworks?

5 Popular Test Automation Tools for React Native Apps

Conducting a react native app test involves an array of tools designed to assess the app’s functionality across different devices and platforms. React automation testing tools help ensure that your app is in perfect condition by performing various tests, ranging from static analysis to end-to-end tests. In the coming section, let's discuss five popular React Native testing tools for automated testing.

1. Appium

Among the top choices for this purpose is Appium, renowned for its capability in react native Appium testing that simplifies cross-platform testing tasks. Appium is an open-source automation testing tool that offers seamless automation of native, mobile web, and hybrid applications on iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. It utilizes the WebDriver protocol to drive apps on these platforms, serving as a server that receives commands from automated scripts and translates them into instructions understandable by mobile devices. Similarly, it captures responses from mobile devices and converts them into automated scripts.

One of the key advantages of Appium is its cross-platform compatibility, enabling the writing of tests for multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, and Windows, using the same API. This is made possible by the Appium "drivers" that power each supported platform. These drivers are specialized software components that implement the Appium protocol for a particular platform, enabling smooth automation across different environments. Embracing tools like Appium for react native Appium testing can significantly streamline your development process, ensuring your app performs well on any platform.

Appium boasts several powerful features, including:

  • It does not require application source code or library in React applications.
  • It has multi-platform support, i.e., it can run the same test cases on multiple platforms.
  • It allows the parallel execution of test scripts.
  • It supports various languages, like C#, Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, and JavaScript, with node.js.

2. Detox

Detox is an end-to-end framework for applications on mobile devices, and Wix developed it. The significant problems in UI testing of mobile devices are slowness and flakiness. Detox solves the problem of slowness and flakiness for UI testing of mobile devices. It provides excellent abstractions to select and trigger actions on elements during the testing.

Some of the significant features of Detox are:

  • It monitors asynchronous operations in the app to reduce the flakiness of finding the async elements in the app UI.
  • It is a grey-box testing tool that can access the code and data from mobile apps. 
  • It easily connects to any CI systems and prominent cloud testing services.
  • It provides fast feedback on your end-to-end testing.

3. Jest

Jest is an open-source testing framework created on JavaScript. It is designed majorly to test React and React Native-based web applications. Generally, unit testing is not very useful when it is run on the front-end of any software. This is mainly because unit tests for the front-end development require extensive, time-consuming configuration. Jest framework can reduce this complexity to a great extent.

Moreover, the Jest framework is used to validate everything around JavaScript, especially the browser rendering of web applications. Jest is also widely used for automating browser testing. It helps you write tests with an approachable, familiar, and feature-rich API that gives you faster results. Jest offers a combination of an assertion library, a test runner, and a built-in mocking library. Its features make it the best tool for testing JavaScript Library Projects, such as AngularJS, Vue JS, Node JS, Babel, and TypeScript.

Notable features of Jest include:

  • Speed and performance 
  • Pre-commit hooks 
  • Easy to migrate 
  • Additional features and configurations
Read: A Guide on Insurance App Testing to Optimize Cost and Time-to-Market

4. Karma

Karma is a node based automation testing tool. Karma’s ability to run tests against real browsers and real devices makes the testing more robust and reliable. As different browsers have different DOM implementations, testing against them is essential if you want to ensure your application will behave appropriately for most of its users. Karma is a tool that makes test-driven development faster and easy. The main focus of Karma is to develop a productive testing environment for the developers, where they get instant feedback about the test. 

Notable features of Karma include:

  • Remote control
  • Easy debugging via WebStorm, IDE, or Google Chrome
  • Continuous integration

5. Jasmine

Jasmine is an open-source JavaScript library testing framework to test any JavaScript application. Jasmine mainly helps with automated unit testing, which has become an essential practice while developing and deploying modern-day web applications. Jasmine uses the Behavior Driven Development (BDD) procedure to ensure that each line of JavaScript statement is appropriately unit tested. It is not dependent on browsers, DOM, or any JavaScript framework. Thus, the Jasmine testing framework is available for various versions, like standalone and node.js. It also offers extensive support for Python, Ruby, and other JavaScript-based languages. Another benefit of using Jasmine is that it is an independent framework with minimal language, browser, and platform dependency.

Significant features of Jasmine are:

  • It is independent of other JavaScript frameworks.
  • It does not need any DOM.
  • It uses clean and obvious syntax.

Conclusion

According to Statista, in 2021, 38% of software developers used React Native to build apps. As people are using more apps based on this framework, React Native testing on devices is of utmost importance. Automating React Native app tests with the help of the tools mentioned above will save developers a lot of time and effort.

If your team already utilizes test automation tools, you can seamlessly integrate them with the powerful HeadSpin Platform. This allows you to execute your automated tests on any device to which you have access. With this integration, your test automation tool takes care of the functional aspects of the test, while the HeadSpin Platform provides valuable data and insights to evaluate the non-functional aspects of the test.

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FAQs

1. What is black-box testing?

Ans: Black-box testing is a software testing method that examines the software's functionality without peering into its internal structure or coding. The primary source of black-box testing is a specification of the requirement that the customer states.

2. What is a prop in the React Native framework?

Ans: Prop is a parameter to customize a component during creation and re-render. It is like an argument passed to a React component. A prop is set by the parent component and remains fixed for an entire lifecycle of a component.

3. What is a node-based tool?

Ans: A node-based tool is a tool that needs the Nodejs engine installed for it to run and can be accessed through the node package manager.

4. What makes React Native unique?

Ans: The main difference between React Native framework and other cross-platform development solutions is that it does not render WebViews in its code. It runs on its actual native views and components.

5 Popular Test Automation Tools For React Native Apps

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