While some companies implemented test automation decades ago, it did not become widespread until recent years. The shift from the traditional Waterfall methodology to the Agile approach undoubtedly played a significant role in the increased demand for automation testing. In the Waterfall approach, software projects were treated as a one-time event, similar to constructing a bridge.
The process involved planning, designing, building, testing, and validating the final product, resolving any minor defects that arose along the way. The assumption was that if the planning and engineering phases were executed correctly, everything would function as intended, except for some minor programming errors that could be quickly corrected.
This approach necessitates verifying that the final outcome aligns with the specifications only once. If a test fails and requires modification, the test must be conducted again to ensure the correction was successful. Since most tests are performed only once or twice, it is generally more cost-effective and practical to conduct them manually rather than automate them.
What is Automation Testing?
Automated testing is a method of software testing where testers use automated software tools to run test cases. Automating the test suite saves the time and effort needed to perform repetitive and resource-intensive tasks that are challenging to do manually.
In today’s modern development environment, it is essential for software-dependent businesses to invest in automated software testing to release high-quality software products quickly. Automating the testing process simplifies it with minimal effort, resulting in better software releases, reduced costs, and faster time-to-market
Importance of Automation Testing
Automated software testing holds several key benefits for software businesses, including the ability to store and use test data from a central location, which saves time and effort in creating and running multiple test cases. Additionally, automated testing is cost-effective, as it reduces the need for manual testing and can save money in the long run.
It also saves time, especially for repeated tests that can run at night, allowing developers and testers to be more productive and focus on critical tasks or creating new features. Automated testing can also expand test coverage, which results in better app quality and performance. Lastly, quick feedback from automated testing enables developers to identify defects promptly and take swift corrective action.
Automated vs Manual Testing
|Aspect of Testing
|Utilizes automation tools to execute tests automatically without human intervention
|Relies on human testers to perform tests manually
|Testers write test scripts and automate test execution
|Testers are hands-on and involved in all aspects of the testing process, from creating to executing tests
|Can execute numerous test cases and provide higher test coverage
|Limited to the number of tests human testers can perform.
|More efficient and less time-consuming compared to manual testing
|Relatively less efficient and more time-consuming compared to automated testing
Best practices to consider when implementing test automation:
- Define Test Automation Scope: Clearly define what types of tests will be automated, such as functional, performance, or security tests.
- Choose the Right Test Automation Tool: Select a tool that fits your team’s needs and goals, such as open-source or commercial test automation tools.
- Create a Test Automation Framework: Develop a framework that provides a set of guidelines and standards for test automation, such as coding conventions, test case design, and reporting.
- Implement Continuous Integration and Delivery: Integrate test automation into your CI/CD pipeline to enable continuous testing and delivery.
- Collaborate and Communicate: Involve all stakeholders in the test automation process, including developers, testers, and business analysts. Communicate the benefits of test automation and get buy-in from the team.
- Maintain and Update Test Automation: Test automation requires maintenance and updates to keep pace with changes in the application under test. Develop a plan to regularly review and update your test automation suite.
- Measure Test Automation Success: Define metrics to measure the success of test automation, such as test coverage, test execution time, and defect detection rate. Use these metrics to continually improve your test automation efforts.
Test Automation Framework
- Keyword-Driven Framework: This framework uses table formats and keywords to define functions and execution methods. It requires extensive programming knowledge to create the testing scripts.
- Data-Driven Framework: This framework enables the creation of scripts that work with multiple data sets, providing broader coverage with fewer tests.
- Modular Testing Framework: The modular testing framework involves the creation of scripts for small and independent tests to eliminate redundancy. While this approach may take more time initially, it provides greater flexibility and easier maintenance in the long run.
- Linear Scripting Framework: This framework is best suited for small applications, as it allows for the use of test scripts with minimal planning. However, it does not support the creation of reusable scripts, which can lead to more maintenance work in the long run.
What to Automate?
Determining what to automate in software testing is critical because not all tests can be automated. Manual testing is preferable for tests that are only conducted a few times, while automated testing is recommended for repetitive tests and those that require a significant amount of data to execute.
To achieve maximum impact, the following tests should be automated:
- Repetitive tests
- Tests that are prone to human error
- Tests that require multiple data sets
- Functionality that introduces high-risk conditions
- Tests that are impossible to run manually
- Tests that run on multiple hardware or software platforms and configurations
- Tests that require significant time and effort to execute manually.
Stages of Automation Testing
The Automated Testing process is designed to run parallel to the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and consists of five stages:
In this stage, the final goal to be achieved is defined, and a feasibility analysis is conducted to determine the tests that can be automated and those that require manual intervention. The overall budget and required expertise are also addressed.
The approach to achieving the end goal is designed, and a test plan is created. The framework within which the test scenarios will operate is selected, and an automation solution that meets business needs and requirements in terms of cost, functionality, and flexibility is chosen.
Automation Engineers work closely with developers to gain access to the correct environments, test data login credentials, and create a similar environment on local machines if necessary. Test scripts are written based on requirements and scripting standards. These scripts should be structured, reusable, and easy to understand.
Test engineers focus on executing the developed test scenarios individually and in parallel to achieve quick and accurate results.
Reporting and Maintenance:
After test execution, an automated tool generates a report containing details of bugs and defects that need to be fixed to maintain the system.
Test Automation Tools
Choosing the right test automation tool is a crucial decision for software companies before starting automation. To select an ideal tool, the following considerations should be taken:
- Understand project requirements: To select the best automation tool, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of the project requirements, including the nature of the app, what needs to be automated, and the number of test cases to be automated.
- Consider existing tools as benchmarks: An existing automation tool like Selenium can be considered as a benchmark to determine the best tool for the project.
- Ease of maintaining scripts: To save time and effort, it is essential to consider a tool in which developing and maintaining test scripts is simple.
- Ease of test execution for non-technical members: The simplicity of test execution and whether manual testers with little or no technical knowledge can easily perform it should also be analyzed.
LambdaTest is a cloud-based digital experience testing platform that offers a user-friendly, approach to automated testing. The platform offers an intuitive UI that allows users to easily navigate and perform the testing process. With LambdaTest, users can run automated tests on a wide range of browsers, operating systems, and mobile devices, allowing for comprehensive testing of applications. This ensures that applications work seamlessly across various platforms and devices.
- It is crucial to assess your testing requirements and determine if the tool aligns with your project’s environment, technology, and code elements. Evaluate if the tool is compatible with your budget after gaining a comprehensive understanding of your project needs.
- It’s also essential to consider the learning curve of the tool and determine if the required learning time is feasible for your objectives.
- It’s advisable to invest in a tool that supports the majority of the coding languages used in your project.
- Ensure that the current version of the tool is stable and that the company has received positive feedback, offers good customer support, and has adequate online resources to assist users.
Tools for executing automated tests are readily available in the market. Below are some of the top tools that you can consider:
- Selenium: Selenium is an open-source tool that provides a unified interface for scripting in various programming languages. It is fully compliant with W3C standards and is one of the most popular frameworks for automated testing. The community is actively maintaining the project and adding new features such as Healenium, an AI-powered open-source library.
- Playwright: This open-source framework for automating browsers via a single API is based on Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit. It enables the creation of concurrent tests that run parallel to the browser context.
- Cypress: This front-end automated testing framework allows you to inspect web applications, networks, storage, and any DOM. Its retry-ability feature enables tests to complete each command as soon as the assertion passes, eliminating the need for hard-coded waits.
- Puppeteer: This Node.js library simplifies the process of automating websites and running tests without requiring you to deal with the quirks of the WebDriver protocol.
Effective testing requires a combination of manual and automated techniques. While automation can greatly enhance the efficiency of testing, manual testing is still necessary to validate the results and ensure that the application meets the desired quality standards.
Choosing the right test tools, methodology, and team and striking a balance between manual and automated testing are critical components for successful automation. By gaining a thorough understanding of the automation process and taking the necessary actions to improve it, you can ensure that your testing efforts are efficient, effective, and of high quality.