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Testing Hybrid and Native Applications - What is the Real Difference?

Updated: Apr 18

Initially, you will have to decide whether to choose Android, iOS, or both platforms. There are more Android user bases around the globe. The iOS user, on the other hand, spends more in stores. Compared to Android, iOS offers cost-effective and swift development.

However, there is still an open opportunity to craft a hybrid application that can operate on all devices. A hybrid app leverages HTML, CSS, and JavaScript web technologies to build mobile applications that are cross-platform compatible.

If you are exploring reaching a broader range of audiences, native applications need devoted development and testing teams, which costs much more than the other substitutes. If the mobile application doesn’t have too many multifaceted functionalities, then a Hybrid app is the better approach to move forward.

Besides, it is more significant to consider the product strategy than the individualities of the operating system when picking a platform. Nevertheless, this choice affects the development and testing processes.

In this article, let us find out how native and hybrid apps differ and how this impacts the testing of your mobile applications.

What are Native Applications?

Native applications are smartphone apps precisely developed for a specific operating system, for instance, Android or iOS. The language leveraged to develop them differs by relying on the operating system.

Native apps have the capability to utilize device-specific software and hardware. They can offer enhanced performance and take benefit of the newest technologies.

They are developed utilizing an operating system’s SDKs and have access to diverse components such as a camera, GPS, or device-based storage.

Xcode, Android Studio, and React Native are some of the exceptional native application development frameworks. Some leading native applications are Magento 2 POS, Spotify, Pokemon Go, Waze, Tesla, and SoundCloud.

What are Hybrid Applications?

Hybrid applications blend the functionalities of web applications and native apps. Like web apps, they are crafted leveraging HTML and JavaScript. Typically, they are web pages enfolded in a mobile application utilizing WebView.

They have direct access to the in-built abilities of a device. They are developed using cross-platform frameworks such as Xamarin, Mobile Angular UI, PhoneGap, React Native, Onsen UI, Kendo UI, and Titanium. Some leading hybrid applications are Gmail, Twitter, Uber, Amazon App Store, Apple App Store, Sworkit, and Baskin Robbins.

How to Test a Native Application

The advantages of monetizing native applications make them a prevalent choice. So, knowing how to perform native mobile application testing can enhance your job as a developer or tester.

Some significant functions in native mobile application testing require to be tested, comprising:

  • Native apps with built-in device functionalities such as location access, camera, and push notifications.

  • Cross-checking of screen orientation in portrait and landscape mode.

  • Connectivity testing for diverse bandwidth or offline application mode

  • Check its compatibility on numerous devices-browser-OS groupings.

How to Test a Hybrid Application

The testing team must view a hybrid application as a comprehensive system, mutually enabling both categories of components. So, when testers doing hybrid testing, they can later apply these same tactics to native application testing, not vice versa.

Some significant functions in hybrid testing require to be tested, comprising:

  • You will requisite to distinguish native and web objects to test every grouping accurately.

  • Web objects can lead to added problems that impact a mobile application, from breaking layout when not online and having safety breaches.

  • Hybrid web objects frequently have challenges with performance levels.

  • Test automation solutions may take more time to position as scripts cover wide-ranging features and functionalities.

Differences in the Testing Strategies of Native and Hybrid Apps

Today, Mobile QA experts have to concentrate more on the user interface, user experience, and performance testing than usual. Sluggish performance and interface are critical reasons why most of the user base uninstalls a mobile application. And both of these challenges are the top disadvantages of a hybrid mobile app.

Moreover, the scope of testing activities would vary for native and hybrid apps. For the prior, you must perform testing on iOS or Android functionality. The latter needs testing an application on both. Device fragmentation gets immense, and there is a wider room of work to manage.

Mutual Points for Native and Hybrid Application Testing

Fundamental technologies leveraged in native and hybrid applications differ; however, the functionality they offer is the same for both categories.

Hence, cross-platform development presents some issues in testing, but the process will be similar. Common tools for testing native and hybrid applications include Appium, Selendroid, Calabash, and UIAutomator.

There are also some joint points for both categories. Native and hybrid testing they are tested with respect to performance, features, functionalities, localization, compatibility, and usability. Both need attention to the succeeding details:

  • Assortment of operating systems, together with OEM’s custom skins, and screen resolutions

  • Constancy of user interface components and diverse network conditions

  • Dealings with third-party applications leveraged within an app

  • Resolving errors and bugs on every platform shouldn’t hinder platform synchronization.

Significant Fundamentals about Categories of Testing Mobile Applications:

1) Functional Testing

The check initiates from straightforward actions, such as install/uninstall functionality. Some of the vital things to cover are on the list below:

  • The use of camera, location, sensors, and other in-built functions

  • Checking mobile application behavior while stoppages like calls, messages, and push notifications

  • Testing on diverse screen orientation modes of the mobile application

  • Seamless flow of involved transactions

  • The precision of error communication and messages.

We require to ensure the functionalities work as made-up, and it doesn’t matter whether a native or a hybrid mobile application is the focus. However, Hybrid applications need more care to click zones like a call to action, buttons, and links.

2) Performance Testing

This category of testing indicates checking the mobile app’s steadiness and server-response swiftness. It even comprises recovery, failure, resilience, usage scenarios, and volume testing.

  • Stress tests enable estimation of system steadfastness when the load surpasses a projected rate.

  • Load tests collect data to outline the performance pointers, such as response time and system capacity, to ensure the system replies to the criteria specified in the documentation.

  • Soak tests govern whether a system can manage a prolonged load without substantial weakening in user experience.

  • Spike tests examine the mobile application behavior when the load bursts for a minor sum of time.

3) Compatibility Testing

This category of testing undertakes to test whether the application you have crafted operates on all the needed devices, browsers, screens, and operating systems.

The objective here is that the application works impeccably on both old-fashioned and modernized software. Two critical aspects to focus on here are user interface and functionality.

4) Connectivity Testing

A diverse range of applications work and behave differently in online and offline settings as they are crafted for online mode only. Other applications activate with dissimilar functionalities for dissimilar modes. Here are some of the comparable settings like:

  • Bandwidth disparities

  • Sluggish network connections

  • No network connection

  • Loss of network signals

If a mobile application doesn’t work in an offline mode, users should view matching notifications after opening it.

5) GUI Testing

A WebView leads to added challenges and risks for native applications. By owing to the extensive variation of target devices, the layout might look healthier on some of them and not so upright on the rest.

But testing a native app needs less meticulousness. When it comes to Android, the variety of screen resolutions is already surprising. With iOS devices, testing turns more problematic when the scope of work increases.

It is better to unite all the components based on the cooperation between iOS and Android design to make things simpler.

6) Localization Testing

Most mobile applications today are built for wider and global audiences. And if your app is pertinent for a worldwide audience, remember that people may not know the language you have set as default.

Above and beyond, localization goes a step ahead of translation. People use diverse metric systems, time, language, and date setups. So, a testing team requires to comprehend these facets while testing processes.

Key Takeaways

Connectivity, Functional, and localization testing methodologies for native and hybrid mobile applications don’t diverge much. Compatibility and GUI testing typically need added resources for testing hybrid applications as there are more devices to be checked.

On the other hand, performance testing is a bit diverse for hybrid applications as blending native and web components aren’t always unified.

You can initiate a project quicker if you opt for cross-platform application development. If you are not confident whether to swing to native versions in the future, try to find experts who can manage testing both categories of mobile applications.

It is better if a QA and testing team stands by your side from the start to the end and back you in all the stages. And if you have more queries on mobile application testing, feel free to connect with PerfectQA Services today itself.

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