End-to-End Detox Testing – Overview of Test Automation Tool

End-to-End Testing is a comprehensive software verification widely employed during its final development stages. Tests of this type are particularly common in creating web apps, while mobile developers often overlook them, considering this testing type too complex and costly. However, testers now have access to a tool specifically designed for E2E testing of mobile applications, which has changed the perspective on this process. We’re talking about the Detox framework, and we’ll discuss it in this piece.

Modern Agile teams adopt a comprehensive approach to software development, placing special emphasis on quality. To achieve different goals of the software project, QAs run tests of varying levels, all of which together form the so-called testing pyramid. This metaphorical concept involves grouping all tests based on their level of granularity.

On the bottom tier of this pyramid are the module tests, whose task is to verify individual components of the system. At the top are the E2E tests, which help assess the overall functionality of the entire software.

To enhance the efficiency of End-to-End testing type, progressive test automation tools are used, among which the Detox framework stands out. Detox is a JavaScript mobile testing framework used for testing React Native apps.

👉 Today, we will discuss what this testing type entails and why comprehensive testing with Detox is a good choice.

Definition, Purpose, and Benefits of End-to-End Testing

End-to-End testing is a method of comprehensive testing of the functionality of a digital solution, applied during the final stage of its development. It follows module and integration tests, which have a much smaller scope than E2E tests since they only check the individual components and their interaction, not the entire software. This doesn’t imply that one testing type is more important than the other; they simply have different objectives.

➡️ Purpose of E2E Tests

The primary goal of such tests is to verify your software product’s maximum number of app’s functions before its release. The test run is done in a test environment that simulates real conditions. In other words, testers check how the app behaves during interactions with a real user. The objects of this testing type include:

  1. The application with all its subsystems and components.
  2. The user interface of the digital solution.
  3. Integration with external services, interfaces, and databases.

Modern software products are highly complex. They consist of many components and interact with numerous external systems. If any element of such a multi-level system fails, it can jeopardize the entire application’s functionality. That’s why running E2E tests is essential, as it helps avoid negative user experiences and ensures that the program meets the end users’ needs.

➡️ Benefits of End-to-End Testing

Sometimes, mobile developers overlook comprehensive quality testing of digital solutions, assuming it is too complex, expensive, and time-consuming. Let’s look at the advantages of End-to-End testing to understand why this testing type is a crucial stage in the SDLC.

  • Increased loyalty of users: Comprehensive testing of the software product ensures that each component works as expected, leading to better satisfaction of users.
  • Cost savings: End-to-End testing helps identify and fix issues before the digital solution is released to the market, saving project budgets. The earlier a bug is discovered, the cheaper it is to fix.
  • Improved software quality: The test coverage of E2E testing is much broader than that of module and integration tests. It allows for not only checking the system itself but also its external integrations.
  • Reduced time and effort in QA: High-quality E2E testing reduces the number of repetitive errors, minimizing the need for retesting.

Considering that modern developers prioritize both speed to market and software quality, it is practical to run E2E tests using an automation framework, including the Detox tool. Let’s delve into Detox further.

What is Detox?

Detox framework is a tool for End-to-End testing of mobile React Native apps. It was created by Wix Engineering, which is a partner of React Native.

How Detox Works explanation by Rotem Meidan

Features and Advantages of the Detox Testing Framework

👉 Let’s consider together the main characteristics and benefits of Detox:

  1. Test execution starts with the app launch without the need for any additional tools. This makes Detox tests fast, reliable and provides accurate test results.
  2. The tool allows you to run E2E tests on real devices and simulators. You can also use an Android emulator. Whichever device you choose, running Detox tests enables you to evaluate the application’s behavior from the perspective of real users.
  3. You can write and run cross-platform tests on the platform for iOS and Android.
  4. Detox detects asynchronous operations in your system and initiates an automatic synchronization process.
  5. The tool has Jest integration and can be used with any test runner or even without one.
  6. This testing environment lets you run E2E tests on CI platforms, including Travis CI, Jenkins, and CircleCI.
  7. Detox uses the async-await API, allowing breakdowns during asynchronous testing to work as expected.

Considering all the above, it can be confidently stated that Detox is a promising gray box E2E testing automation tool, a testing method that involves limited knowledge of the QA specialist about the tested object’s workings. Detox popularity is also due to the high test execution speed, flexible approach to the QA process, and overall testing time reduction.

Detox VS Appium: Comparative Overview

Appium is an open-source tool widely used for mobile app quality control. When choosing a framework for running End-to-End tests, Appium is often the first to come to mind. This is because the tool has been on the market for a long time, has a large community, and provides QA teams with a wide range of capabilities.

However, many testers who have become familiar with Detox still prefer this tool for mobile testing. We have compiled a comparative table of these platforms to demonstrate the advantages of Detox for End-to-End testing of mobile React Native apps.

Testing method Gray box testing Black box testing
Supported programming languages JavaScript-oriented Java, Objective-C, JavaScript with Node. js, PHP, Python, Ruby, C#, Clojure, and Perl
Synchronization with the application under test Yes, the tool waits until the app goes into standby mode before proceeding to the next stage of testing No. This can cause unstable test results
Execution speed of tests High Lower than Detox. This is due to the installation and launch of the Webdriver connection.
Available devices for conducting tests Real device, emulator/simulator Real device, emulator/simulator
User Support Small, growing community Large community, making it easy to find help and share knowledge
Cross-platform Yes Yes
Open Source Yes Yes

Bottom Line

End-to-End Testing is the stage of software development that involves testing the entire system’s functionality, along with the UI of the software product and its external integrations. Since it is a very complex and labour-intensive process, automation frameworks are used for its implementation, one of which is Detox.

Detox platform was specifically created for End-to-End testing of mobile React Native apps, considering all the requirements of this testing type, thus enabling the execution of fast and accurate tests.

Want to optimize the testing process in your team? Reach out to our experts. We would be happy to answer all your questions!

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