November 9, 2020 Jonny Steiner

These are the best Programming Languages for Mobile App Testing

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If you ask 2 testers what their favorite programming languages are for test automation chances are you will get at least 3 responses. Everyone has a go-to but they also have a backup.

Sometimes a QA team, already proficient in testing using specific programming languages is thinking of starting a new mobile test automation project with a new language and framework. Making that choice is sometimes a confusing and frustrating process.

There are some important points to consider.

  • Should you pick the same programming languages as the developers?
  • Which language has more community support than others?

In that case, I have prepared a list of the 6 best programming languages for your test automation suites.

Integrating with a Framework

It is as important to make sure that you have selected the best possible Framework for your test automation. We recently did a review of some of the best test automation frameworks so check that out.

The best news we have for you is that the programming languages and frameworks that you choose should factor in the comfort level of those using them. The reason why it makes sense to keep it a more personal or organizational level choice is for better results and communication.

Whatever programming languages you choose and whatever frameworks you execute your test suites it will integrate with our SeeTest Digital Assurance Lab by Digital.ai. Once logged in from your browser, you will have access to thousands of remote mobile devices all located in one of our 8 global datacenters. With options available for functional, performance, and accessibility test execution, no matter what language you choose we will be able to help you elevate your automated testing to the next level.

So let’s breakdown the best programming languages for your mobile test automation

C#

C# programming languages

C# was initially created by Microsoft based on the concept of object-oriented programming. Over time it has grown to become one of the most popular programming languages for test automation. It is best suited for Android, Windows, and iOS platforms.

One of the reasons that C#’s momentum is growing in the test automation world is because of its features, and it’s Selenium compatibility. Automation testing teams use C# for both mobile automation testing and cross-browser testing. They use the POM (page object model) in order to develop effective and sustainable tests.

Many development teams choose C3 because of its compatibility with different test frameworks like NUnit. Cross-browser testing capabilities are also popular.

C# Pros

  • C# integrates with Windows and is easily installed on the network.
  • One of the most common languages, so it is easy to find developers familiar with the language.
  • Since C#is compiled, it is more difficult for hackers to attack your code.

C# Cons

  • Yes compiled code makes it on this list as well since it is difficult to work with and must recompile each time that you make a change.
  • Since C# is part of the .NET framework the server must be a Windows server.

Java

Java Programming Languages

The most common programming language for developers and QA. Java already has tons of support, frameworks, plugins, and other resources available for testers. It shows that when selecting a test automation language community support is still a factor that moves the needle.

Owned by Oracle Java was built using the idea of object-oriented programming. Using the principle of write once, run anywhere it gives Oracle many cross-platform benefits. This is key in that Stackexchage has reported more than 3 billion devices worldwide running Java developed apps.

Java Pros

  • Java’s simplicity makes it easy to write automation tests.
  • Object oriented means that you can reuse code and form standard programs.
  • With the JVM present on your machine no other software needs to be installed to run Java.
  • Java’s lack of an explicit pointer and its great security manager makes it secure.

Java Cons

  • It consumes a great deal of memory and as a result, runs slower than other languages.
  • Java also consumes a lot of memory because of its Java Virtual machine.
  • As a result of the two above Java requires higher processing power.

Javascript

Listed as the top Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages in 2019 Javascript is a great programming language. Used mostly for front-end development it is just as popular in the test automation word.

As shift-left testing has grown in popularity so has the popularity of Javascript. In this methodology, developers work closely with QA in order to develop and implement efficient automated testing. It gives developers the ability to write test code and QA the ability to speak to the developers in the same language. Either way, it adds up to better collaboration.

It is not only mobile apps either. JavaScript pairs well with Selenium for automated browser testing. There are a number of testing frameworks that work well with JavaScript for test automation. FFor more about that check out our overview of Nightwatch.js.

JavaScript Pros:

  • JavaScript is an interpreted language so the compilation times are shorter. Its client-side script also speeds up execution.
  • JavaScript is easy to learn and understand.
  • It is highly popular and well-supported.

JavaScript Cons:

  • With its client-side code, visible JavaScript is not the most secure language.
  • Browser testing is essential because different browsers interpret JavaScript differently.

Perl

Perl Programming languages

Originally developed for manipulating text, Perl is a language used for many tasks. Some of the most common uses of Perl is in system admin, web development, and test automation.

The language itself is meant to be more practical than beautiful. Ease of use and efficiency are promoted over elegant minimal code. The built-in test processing support processes text quickly and Perl supports both procedural and object-oriented programming.

QA teams have been using Perl for preparing configuration files and parsing log files. With the great number of extensions available you can use it to power your test automation environment. Many items are easily tested with Perl like command-line tools, databases, and desktop apps.

Perl Pros

  • Strong support for functional programming languages.
  • Perl supports external libraries.
  • Freely developed as an open-source language.

Perl Cons

  • It is difficult to detect and fix bugs as a result of Perl’s ability to manipulate text.
  • While good for testing Perl is not meant for developing websites or apps.

Python

Python Programming Languages

Python is great for newcomers to the coding world. As a result, it is also a great option for manual testers who are beginning to work on test automation. Due to the language’s readability Python is easy to learn.

Python integrates into Selenium for better cross-browser testing and with PyUnit and Pytest you can run all manner of automated testing. These, are also fully compatible with SeeTest.

Python Pros

  • Since it is so widely used Python has a high compatibility for a varied number of use cases.
  • Python has a large and active community which makes educational material plentiful.
  • Since it is a free open-source language anyone can start using it.

Python Cons

  • Different teams create their own code repositories but the code suffers from a low level of reuse.
  • The language excludes non-coders that can lead to coding bottlenecks with only a limited number of people able to use Python.
  • Business leaders who do not have a background in coding, struggle to see the viability in Python in that its benefits are difficult to explain.

Ruby

Ruby programming languages

Also open-source Ruby focuses on productivity and simplicity. Simple to use and implement Ruby uses object-oriented architecture to make it a powerful language.

With a large community of developers, Ruby is becoming the preferred development language for web apps.

Easily integrated with Selenium Ruby is great for automated testing. With just a few short lines of code, you will be cross-browser testing in no time.

Ruby also offers the best support for the Cucumber language which means that it is a great option for BDD testing.

Ruby Pros:

  • Promotes the best standards and practices for web development.
  • The system of modules, scripts, and the concise nature of the language makes rapid development achievable.
  • An Open-source language, Ruby is supported by a large community of developers continuously improving and updating the language.

Ruby Cons:

  • Slow runtime speeds make scaling difficult.
  • Built-in dependencies and modules make the language inflexible.

The best programming languages for test automation period

While these are the most robust and popular languages in the test automation community it is impossible to say right out which is the best. It so often comes down to a matter of preference and decision making.

The good news is that all of these languages are great for test automation and all of them are compatible with our SeeTest Platform. With large user communities and being open-source, you can pick and choose which languages work the best for your testing projects. Then it is simply a matter of getting comfortable with your choice and using that choice to develop the best apps around.

Jonny SteinerContent Manager

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