User Interface Testing of iOS Applications

The popularity of iOS and iOS based devices such as iPhone, iPad, iPod and now the Apple Watch does not need to be certified. One of the reasons of the popularity is definitely an appealing and elegant User Interface. A good design of an application on any platform remains enticing if it is error and hassle free. It then goes without saying that the testing of User Interfaces is as important as any other areas of testing in an application.


Various routes can be adopted for User Interface Testing of iOS Applications




  • Instruments Tool

Instruments is a performance, analysis, and testing tool in Xcode 3.0 and later for use with OS X and iOS code. The UI Automation library accessible through Instruments Tools comes with the Xcode. Tests written in Javascript are run through the Instruments Application that comes with the developer tools. Performance tests and Profiling Tests run the best on Instruments. This tool can be easily integrated into Continuous Integration support and can be blended with CI tools like Jenkins. Since it can be used both with simulator and a device, it can be used for a more complete testing. This Apple tool is not Open Source and hence has its own nuisances of not being flexible enough to allow bug fixes. There is no built in test structure and is a separate tool from Xcode. Since this testing tool is from Apple itself and it goes without saying that a very good support is guaranteed for all future releases.


  • Integrating Tests into XCode

Keep It Functional, KIF is an iOS Integration Testing Framework. It writes UI test in Objective – C. The UI is then modified using an internal Apple API. No changes are needed in the app code to support KIF. Because KIF tests can be integrated into the XCTestCases, they provide integration into the Xcode testing itself and the tests can be run with other Unit Tests. These tests run both on simulators and devices and can be integrated with various Continuous Integration or CI tools. Since it is Open Source, regular modifications keep issues under check. The tests are written in Objective C and the iOS developers and the testing team does not have to put in extra efforts to learn a new language. On the other hand, since internal APIs are being used, if Apple brings any changes to these, KIF needs to change.


  • Behavior Driven Designs for iOS

The Behavior Driven Designs for iOS can be achieved using Cucumber like Frank, Calaba and Zucchini or tools like Appium and the iOS Driver. A Cucumber is an open source behavior driven development (BDD) that works with Ruby, Java, .NET, Flex or web applications written in any language. The chief advantages of these are that all of these are Open Source and are in human readable formats. But they cannot be run together with other Unit Tests as they are all separate from Xcode. New languages might be needed to learn to implement these testing aids.


An intelligent team always weighs the pros and cons of each of these approaches of testing iOS applications before making a prudent choice. As any other technology, the options available for Developers and Quality Assurance teams for the testing tools for iOS based devices increase day by day.


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