Testing is essential for producing high-quality, scalable Flutter applications, and there are two ways to carry out tests on any application: Manual and Automated Testing. This article explores Manual Testing in detail as it is one of the major ways the QA department at Fetchly tests apps created by Devs. QA focuses on checking if the app's features or functions work properly, finding errors, and ensuring UX are up to standard. The primary difference between manual and automated tests is that automated tests do not evaluate the user experience the same way an actual user would. Therefore, we go in-depth into understanding the concept of manual testing and some factors that determine manual testing procedures.
We also highlight some ways manual testing can complement automated testing, the most suitable environment for carrying out manual testing, and the pros and cons of manual testing.
Testing is a significant necessity for producing high-quality, scalable Flutter applications. Though many tech teams and developers understand the importance of testing, some still lack the experience of knowing where and when to write great tests.
Companies like CrowdSource, iRobot, Alibaba, and many others currently use Flutter. Therefore, testing is needed to ensure that the current code written for an app will still function properly regardless of any added features or how many developers are assigned to work on it.
Flutter apps are tested using one of two methods: Manual and Automated Testing.
Manual testing involves a person testing the features of software like UI, UX, and widget compositions to find errors. On the other hand, automated testing utilizes a computer program to test the features and functions of an app/software to find errors. While automated testing is an integral part of the development process, it cannot completely replace manual testing.
The major distinction between manual and automated tests is that automated tests do not evaluate the user experience as a real user would, and it does not use a real device to conduct the tests. In practice, it is common that some features work on a simulator but do not work on a real device.
At Fetchly, the QA department uses manual testing to check the functions of apps, find errors, and ensure UX is the best one possible. They do so in ways that automated tests cannot accurately simulate because time is spent checking the application to be certain it works as it should.
If you have any unanswered questions about Manual testing, this article will cover all you need to know, including the pros and cons.
Understanding Manual Testing
Code errors become more complex over time, so it's necessary to involve human intelligence in detecting and resolving them. The term "manual testing" might sound misleading because it implies that anyone can be a manual tester, but that's not the case. Experienced manual testers have a more intuitive sense of how different functions in a software or app should work since they spend a lot of time using (testing and retesting) the products before releasing them.
In most tech-based / software development firms, the quality assurance department or software engineers carry out manual testing. At Fetchly, members of the QA department are highly experienced in manual testing. So when Devs are done creating a story for a new web or mobile app project, QA uses manual testing to cross-check if the app's features work according to plan. The QA team updates the project test-related information like features, bugs, designs, and recommendations on Pivotal Tracker.
All the stories that describe each project's features, bugs, designs, and recommendations are displayed in the tracker in an organized fashion. The reporting team gets a hold of the information they need from Pivotal Tracker and provides the client with updated reports on the project's development. Based on the information the client receives, they can determine if they're fully satisfied with the progress of the report or if they want to suggest any changes or recommendations based on the features or design.
There's no doubt that new automated testing frameworks focus on user behaviour, such as linear automation, modular-focused testing, library architecture testing, and data-driven, keyword-driven, and hybrid testing frameworks. However, manual testers sometimes find coding errors that automated tools can't easily detect.
Factors that Determine Manual Testing Procedures
Manual testing isn't a one-way street, nor does it follow a straightforward process. Most times, the nature of the product can determine how manual testing would be done.
Some major determiners include:
- Differences between testing on real devices and testing on simulators.
- Relating to real devices, differences when using IOS or Android (operating system) can affect how manual testing is done.
- The model of the device.
- Screen size can impact testing.
How can Manual Testing Complement Automated Testing?
One of the best ways to thoroughly test the functions of software or application is by complementing an automated test with a manual test. Automated tests are great for discovering errors with an app's basic features and functions. However, they cannot completely simulate an actual user experience; this is where Manual testing bridges the gap.
Also, many test automation tools are limited by code. This means that if an unexpected and critical error appears outside the product's code, computerized tests will not be able to find them. Errors in server response time caused by malfunctioning hardware are a typical example of where automated testing can be limited. It can cause an application to crash suddenly with no warning. In this case, a manual tester can detect such errors by testing the server response time, thereby preventing any casualties.
At Fetchly Labs, we combine both manual and automated testing to ensure the apps and websites created for clients are in tip-top shape upon release.
Manually Testing Flutter Apps On Real Device Cloud
For mobile application testing, one of the most suitable testing environments is Real Device Cloud. The platform grants access to multiple iOS, Android, and other mobile devices, so app developers and QA testers manually test different device/OS combinations. Real Device Cloud provides testers with human-like feedback and ensures optimal coverage for your organization's target customers.
Compared to testing on emulators and test systems, Real Device Cloud doesn't cost as much as building another genuine device lab, and it submits accurate outcomes after the tests. Cloud-based applications have a variety of emulators for mobile applications, yet most testers prefer the real gadget cloud. Some popular Real Device Cloud testing platforms are LambdaTest, BrowserStack, Saucelabs,
Pros of Manual Testing
- Human intelligence is used to find any errors. Manual testers can review tests done by automated testing tools to discover errors that may have been missed.
- Testers can keep track of the quality of a product because they've familiarized themselves with all the features throughout the development process. The knowledge maintained allows manual testers to quickly identify any issues that may arise if changes are made to the code.
- Manual testing makes it possible to try and simulate all possible combinations of situations and behaviours a user can go through in a bid to catch as many mistakes as possible.
- Manual testing helps to detect errors outside of code because it analyzes the entire user journey.
- Accurate and detailed feedback on user experience is provided via manual testing.
Cons of Manual Testing
- Manual testers are human beings who can get tired or distracted. A distraction may prevent testers from catching bugs caused by a malfunctioning feature.
- More time is spent manually checking an app's additional features compared to automated testing.
- It is time-consuming to document all the errors found in an application manually. This also makes it hard to keep track of any changes made in the future. However, at Fetchly, this isn't a con because all changes made to a project are documented inside Pivotal Tracker. The tracker contains a specific tab where manual testers can archive old stories and important information for future reference.
- Manual testers must thoroughly understand the product/App flow before using it to detect errors automated tests might miss. On the other hand, automated testing doesn't require an in-depth understanding of an app's features and functions.
- Maintaining manual testers is more expensive because it is time-consuming and conducted by humans, not automation tools.
Testing, in general, is a necessary step in the development life cycle of an application. It requires careful planning and execution. A good testing strategy helps ensure that all expectations and assumptions are met. It also increases confidence in the product and keeps the developers focused on high-quality products.
*This is not the official Fetchly opinion but the opinion of the writer who is employed by Fetchly*