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Automation testing allows you to speed up and facilitate the testing process itself. However, not all testing can be automated, so there will always be room for manual testing.
Software testing aims to identify and correct application problems and improve product quality. Testing helps find flaws made during the development phase.
Test automation is an activity aimed at reducing manual labor in the testing process. That is, automation refers to the use of special programs that take over the routine testing work. For example:
In the testing process, there are many such tasks that various tools can perform. It is crucial to choose the right program for automation, write one on your own, or turn for help to the professional QA engineers from IntelliSoft. From automated to API testing, we have conducted different examinations for our clients.
Suppose you want your testing to pay off and your software quality to reflect a well-thought-out plan that allows you to optimize your product before your customers use it entirely. In that case, this article will show you how to build and implement a top-notch test automation approach.
Table of Contents
What Is Test Automation?
Automation testing refers to software verification in which engineers perform the basic functions and steps of a test, such as startup, initialization, execution, analysis, and result delivery using automated testing tools. Testing is an ongoing and streamlined process that helps engineers learn whether the software meets specific requirements. In short, testing guarantees the high quality of any IT product.
Why Is Automation Needed?
Test automation is a good way to increase efficiency and the reach and speed of software testing when you need to repeat the same test scenarios.
- Does not require human intervention. Run and move on to other tasks.
- Manual testing of all workflows, fields and negative scenarios takes more time and money (under certain conditions).
- Helps increase test coverage.
- Increases test execution speed.
- Challenging to test multilingual sites manually.
Manual testing can get boring, resulting in a loss of engagement and errors.
Automation Test Pros
The tester takes about a day to perform manual tests and find and log errors. With automation, this process will take minutes and allow finding bugs in the code when it is entered into the source code repository.
The initial investment in automation is most significant due to the time and effort needed to set up and test frameworks. The next phase involves fixing bugs and testing newly implemented functionalities. The longer you can get value from your investment in pre-made tests, the higher your return on investment (ROI) will be.
Fast execution is one of the primary advantages. Testing everything manually, especially with large applications, is long and expensive. An automated script does not need to consult instructions and documentation, and it dramatically saves execution time.
Testing automation helps you cover more code, improving software quality overall. The more tests you run, the more code, features, and things that don’t work you can test. When a business has more coverage, it can get to market faster and become more competitive.
Business return after the initial investment
The cost of fixing a bug discovered late in the development cycle is 40 times that of fixing a bug found early in the coding process. In addition to the time and effort required to construct a testing automation framework, collect high-quality test data, select appropriate tools, and set up the necessary infrastructure, finding skilled testers who can implement one can be lengthy. Since several tests may run simultaneously, test automation can enhance the number of issues found earlier in the SDLC.
Automated tests are an excellent way to confirm that an application still functions appropriately after changes.A new bug may appear after adding a new feature to an application or fixing a bug. In other words, we can talk about a regression bug.
While the tests are running, the test engineer can do other useful things or run the tests after hours (this method is preferable since the load on the local networks is reduced at night).
Criteria for Automation
The following are some general criteria for test automation. Remember that these are merely ideas, so keep that in mind.
Testers may need to conduct exams more than once. Automating a test that you can only perform manually once makes no sense. This kind of test consists of the three phases listed below:
- Do any necessary configuration on the test, including setting up the data and the environment.
- Carry out the function and find out what the outcomes are.
- You need to clean up both the data and the surrounding environment.
- In the beginning stage, we wish to have the capability of maintaining a consistent atmosphere.
When a function is a determinant, its output is identical every time engineers execute it with the same input. The same is true for automated testing.
Imagine that we wish to evaluate an additional function. We know that 1+1 equals two, so 394.19 plus 5.81 equals 400.00. The purpose of adding is decisive.
In contrast, the software may have many diverse inputs, making it difficult to achieve the same outcome over time. Certain variables may be completely random, making it challenging to forecast a particular outcome.
You cannot automate subjective topics. That is where usability testing, beta testing, and similar techniques shine. Important as user input is, it is impossible to automate. Most developers believe software test automation requires significant financial and resource inputs.
Categories of Automated Tests
Several ways to classify automated tests exist.
- Performance tests
These audits examine a system’s response times and stability while under strain to determine performance. Various variants of these tests, such as load and spike testing, concentrate on particular and complex circumstances.
- Accessibility tests
These tests determine whether or not apps are accessible to users with varying requirements, such as those with problems with vision, hearing, or other senses, as well as those who use assistance tools like screen readers.
- Smoke tests
The focus is verifying essential functionality and pathways to ensure the build is stable and subsequent testing may go as planned.
- Usability tests
These checks look at how user-friendly and obvious a system is. Real users conduct usability tests or exams under conditions simulating actual usage and collect data based on the results.
- Security tests
The following are some general criteria for web test automation. Remember that these are merely ideas, so keep that in mind. Your criteria may change depending on the specifics of your situation.
- UI tests
They concentrate on the graphical user interface that consumers interact with, including testing on various device types (desktop, tablet, and smartphone) and resolutions.
- Regression tests
This examination entails rerunning functional and non-functional tests to ensure that no new problems appear in a program previously working well.
Automated testing consists of five different levels/layers.
Developers examine separate modules or parts in concert to make sure they function as intended. Integration tests become even more crucial when engineers build an application using a microservices architecture.
Developers utilize linters, formatters, and type checkers to aid in the detection of typos and code errors.
This audit tests the smallest piece of code, enabling engineers to detect problems immediately.
This check tests the interactions between the APIs, ensuring that requests are processed correctly and that responses live up to expectations.
This exam checks several parts simultaneously by navigating a graphical user interface and running predefined flow scenarios. The results of these tests are the closest to what an actual user would experience when interacting with the software.
Which Test Cases to Automate?
You can use the following criterion to choose test cases for automation to maximize the automation ROI:
- High-risk, mission-critical test cases
- Time-consuming test situations
- Test scenarios executed repeatedly
- Test cases that are highly laborious or challenging to run manually
What NOT to Automate?
Despite all benefits, you cannot apply automated testing to some cases.
Ad Hoc Tests
Examples of ad hoc test cases include those newly designed but have not been manually executed at least once and those whose requirements are constantly shifting without prior planning or preparation.
Weigh the effort to automate an ad hoc test against the criticality of the feature the tests touch upon to determine whether or not they are genuinely relevant to the product at all times and whether or not they are something the tester would think of at the project’s inception.
For instance, a tester checking a feature that handles data compression or encryption may have run extensive ad hoc tests with a wide range of data, including different file kinds, sizes, corrupted data, combinations of data, different techniques, and other platforms.
We shouldn’t try to automate negative tests because they need analytical thinking from the testers. Negative tests can be challenging to determine whether they pass or fail and provide helpful information.
Negative testing will require much manual work to represent a disaster recovery situation accurately.Let’s say we are testing the dependability of web services. The main goal of such tests is to cause errors and determine how reliable the product is.
Simulating the errors above is not simple; it may require inserting stubs or using intermediary tools, and there are better courses of action than automation in this case.
Checks with Massive Pre-Installation
These examinations call for huge prerequisites. The product connects with any messaging queue system requiring installation on a system, setting up of queues, establishing queues, etc.; for example, we may have a product that integrates with a third-party program for some of the functions.
The automated scripts will always depend on the functionality/setup of the third-party software, which might be anything.
Who Should Be Involved with Test Automation?
Developers specializing in planning, coding, simulating, and testing software are automation test engineers. Nevertheless, automation testing is a method for testing software that checks and compares actual output with the predicted result. This kind of software testing is often unnecessary. Thus, programmers write and generate code to do it automatically and efficiently. An automation test engineer should possess the following skills:
- Strong analytical abilities
- The capacity to focus on small details
- Excellent decision-making skills
- Meeting deadlines and performing successfully even under pressure
- A sound business strategy for the program or system
- Thorough knowledge of the software development life cycle (SDLC)
- The capacity to operate both individually and as a team
Automation Test Challenges
Automation tests also have some drawbacks you cannot ignore.
Getting the Necessary Skills
Complexity analysis and coding knowledge are necessary for all stages of the test automation process. Most test automation tools are only helpful to people to create and maintain automation frameworks, construct solutions, and execute test scripts. They also need technological chops to handle the inevitable glitches.
Assuming that manual testers can work with automation technologies or develop a solution without the proper training needs to be corrected. Yet, spending money on training and hiring newly qualified staff members is also tricky. Also, it takes time and is impractical for businesses wishing to expand quickly.
Communication & Collaboration
Testing automation is only functional with teamwork. More conversation between the IT and business teams is helpful for this more than for manual testing.
Developers, business analysts, project managers, technical architects, and even a subset of customers should all weigh in on which tests to automate. Due to the high cost of automation technologies, it is essential to have a well-defined test strategy, including a detailed test plan, scope, and timeline, from the very beginning.
Establishing channels of communication and collaboration among many individuals and departments takes time. Furthermore, developers and testers must spend time gathering evidence of effectiveness and historical data.
Initial investments in equipment, human capital, physical space, etc., are substantial when automating a process. Occasionally, you’ll have to pay license fees and regular operating expenses. In addition, one must consider the cost of training the resources and building up the grid, even for open-source tools. Convincing upper management to fund automation testing is a big hurdle testers must overcome.
To demonstrate to management that the financial benefits of automation are substantial, one must compare the cost of production errors against the cost of implementing automation.
Pay attention to the intangible benefits, such as the chance to update and modify old workflows and procedures to increase efficiency by reducing duplication or redistributing workers.
Tools for Testing
A significant obstacle to the effectiveness of automation testing is choosing the appropriate automation technology. Numerous tools are available, both licensed and open-source, making it challenging to decide which one to use. The type of application and the degree of automation testing influence the tool selection. The test engineer should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each tool before making a decision based on the following criteria:
- Ease of use
Integration with external technologies like Jenkins, Maven/Gradle, Github, Jira, etc.
Studying and identifying the most appropriate instrument is a complex undertaking. Thus, it is difficult to investigate and determine the best suitable instruments.
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A crucial component of this automation testing stack is the utilized device grid. Testing can only be exhaustive if conducted on real devices to simulate natural user conditions. Nevertheless, establishing an actual device lab is costly, time-consuming, and requires continual updates. Choosing a real device cloud may be an excellent solution.
What Is a Test Automation Framework?
A set of instructions for developing and designing test cases is exactly what a test automation framework is. It is a theoretical component of automated testing that enables testers to use available resources better.
Within this framework, engineers can break down the application into “functions” and “parts,” and individual tests are performed on each component separately.
Using this framework, test data and script logic are entirely separate, which enables testers to store data in an external location.
- Linear Automation
Within this structure, each stage of the testing procedure is written one after the other in a strict chronological order.
Within this architecture, the test data and the script’s logic are separate, but keywords are in a different data table.
It is a hybrid of a data-driven and keyword-driven framework, as its name suggests; more specifically, it combines the two.
How Do You Choose the Right Tool for Test Automation?
Before beginning the automation process, one of the most critical choices a software company can make is selecting an appropriate test automation solution.
- Ease of Maintaining Scripts: To save time and effort, you should consider using a tool that makes creating and updating test scripts easy.
- Easy for non-tech members to run tests: Look at how easy it is to run the test and see if a manual tester who doesn’t know much or any technical language can do it.
- Benchmark: You can select the appropriate tool for your project by comparing it to an existing QA automation tool and using that as a benchmark. Consider Using a current tool as a Benchmark.
- Explicit requirements: Get a thorough understanding of the project requirements, including the type of your software, what needs to be automated, and the number of test cases.
TOP Test Automation Tools
Many tools for automated testing are out there, so pick the best ones with our help.
With testRigor, manual QA teams can build automated tests 15x faster using just English. The product is AI-driven. Testing every part of an application is possible, from the server to the API and mobile app. In less than 30 minutes, users may run the entire test suite, and it will integrate well with their CI/CD pipeline.
You can conduct complex automated tests even without knowing how to code. testRigor examines all potential arguments so the user can refer to any element naturally without sifting through XPaths, CSS Selectors, etc. In comparison to other widely used automation tools, our tests are incredibly stable and require far less upkeep (95% less, to be exact). testRigor’s automated screenshots of each test phase further facilitate the troubleshooting process.
testRigor offers the ability to run tests across many browsers and platforms, and it supports more than 2,000 client-browser combinations. You may also put the emails, text messages, and phone calls through their paces. The tool is free of charge.
For Agile teams, Mabl is a platform for intelligent test automation. It is a SaaS system that incorporates automated end-to-end testing into the entire development lifecycle. Reliable test creation, execution, and maintenance have never been more straightforward.
Software teams may improve application quality, accelerate development, and boost test coverage with Mabl, enabling everyone to guarantee the quality of the apps at any level. The application’s UI changes as it develops, and Mabl’s native auto-heal feature evolves tests along with it. The detailed test results assist users in swiftly and efficiently resolving errors before they reach production.
A 14-day free trial of Mabl is available to test the product at no cost.
The Austrian software development company Ranorex GmbH introduced Ranorex Studio to the market in 2007 as a commercial Windows GUI test automation solution that supports desktop, online, and mobile application testing.
Ranorex is built on the Microsoft.NET platform and does not utilize a specific scripting language. The framework supports standard programming languages C# and VB.NET for editing recordings and creating custom tests.
Making testing significantly more straightforward with its codeless approach, Ranorex is a go-to framework for a newbie. Based on the XPath query language, Ranorex enables the quicker and more effective search of web application components. By capturing UI activities, the Ranorex record and playback interface allows the automation of UI testing.
Ranorex Studio offers a wide range of environments, requirements, and options. A 14-day free trial is available to test the product at no cost.
A mobile testing platform called Kobiton facilitates mobile app delivery and testing by providing manual and automated testing on actual devices, in the cloud, and on-premises.
Kobiton tests mobile devices for quality-conscious clients. The QA and development teams benefit from our fleet of genuine devices and various deployment choices as they work to design the ideal mobile experiences for their end consumers.
At Kobiton, we recognize the significance of customer experience to brand perception and are passionate about working with businesses to decrease app abandonment, speed up delivery, and improve the satisfaction of their customers.
Kobiton has something for every team trying to build a memorable mobile app experience, whether you need to increase your team’s bandwidth using our scriptless automation capability, tame device chaos with our private and local cloud, or simply expand the device coverage with access to our public cloud. A 14-day free trial is available to test the product at no cost.
Software testing and patch release processes are managed by development teams in enterprises using LambdaTest, a cloud-based testing tool. Some key features are live browser testing, resolution display testing, and support for numerous browsers.
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Users can test their public or private websites, and web applications live on multiple mobile and desktop browsers running on various OS systems. Moreover, LambdaTest allows customers to create full-page screenshots of websites across multiple platforms, browsers, operating systems, and resolutions. You can obtain the services through subscriptions on a monthly or annual basis, and each one comes with support by phone, email, and live chat.
The package of open-source software testing automation tools known as Selenium has quickly established itself as the industry standard in the field of quality assurance. Selenium software supports various programming languages, popular operating systems, and browsers. Experts use it in production by multiple firms, including Netflix, Google, HubSpot, and Fitbit, amongst others. The entirety of the suite offers a variety of solutions useful for a wide variety of testing issues and requirements.
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Test Automation Process
The test automation process typically consists of five stages.
Step 1) Test Tool Selection
The technology that the Application Under Test is constructed on impacts the selection of the test tool. For example, QTP does not have support for the Informatica database. Experts recommend carrying out a Proof of Concept of Tool.
Step 2) Define Automation’s Scope
The area of your application under test is the scope of automation. The following details aid in determining the scope:
- Cross-app capabilities that are common
- Scenarios with a lot of information
- The difficulty of the test cases
- Technology readiness
- Cross-browser testing capability to use the same test cases
- The characteristics crucial to the business
- How much of a business’s components are recycled
Step 3) Planning, Design, & Development
During this phase, you develop an automation test strategy and plan that includes the following details:
Step 4) Test Execution
Before the scripts can run, engineers should put test data into them. After they start running, they give detailed test reports.
It is possible to execute directly with the automation tool or through the test management tool, which will call the automation tool.
For example, Quality Center is a tool for managing tests, and it will call on QTP to run automation scripts. Scripts can run on one computer or a group of computers.
Step 5) Maintenance
In an automated testing phase, the test automation maintenance approach verifies the correct operation of newly implemented features. If you want your automation scripts to be more efficient with each new release cycle, you should perform maintenance on them after each time you add new ones.
Test Automation Best Practices
You may have already chosen a testing framework and a team to perform test automation. But have you seriously considered what you should automate or how feasible it is?
1. Choose Test Cases to Automate
Repeatability is directly proportional to automated testing’s value. Manual testing is preferable for tests that only run infrequently. Cases that run frequently and need much data to achieve the same result are ideal for automation.
The automation of tests is only as effective as the planning and design that goes into them. It’s essential to develop an automation test strategy. The first step in automating tests is to decide what kinds of tests you want to automate and why. We have discussed types of automated tests above. This step will help you determine which tests to automate first and provide a road map for future checks.
Keep testing modest and targeted. Separate read-only and read/write tests. You can reuse these tests without putting them in every automated test.
You can combine numerous simple automated tests into a larger one. Engineers can organize automated tests by functional application area, major/minor division, standard functionalities, or base test data. If an automated test references other tests, you may need a test tree to run tests in order.
2. Pick the Suitable Automated Testing Tool
You will need to choose an automated testing tool to automate tests successfully. There is a wide selection of automated software testing tools available on the market today; however, it is essential to select the automated testing tool that caters to your needs in the most comprehensive manner.
While choosing an automated testing solution, keep these crucial considerations in mind:
- Ability to accommodate testers of varying levels of expertise. Is there a need for keyword testing, or is your quality assurance organization capable of writing automated test scripts?
- Tests for re-usage. Develop automated tests that you can reuse, are easy to maintain, and are resilient against changes in the program’s user interface. Would this damage your automated tests if you make changes to your user interface?
- Support for your technology and platforms. Do you have a test? What operating systems support programs in Net, C#, or WPF? Will you be testing web applications? Do you require assistance with testing mobile applications? Do you work with iOS or Android exclusively, or do you work with both?
- Capability to test applications in enterprises. Does your product include built-in support for testing pre-packaged applications like SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and Workday?
3. Allocate Your Automated Testing Efforts
Not everyone on the team may be familiar with creating automated test scripts. They may be more skilled at creating test cases than other QA engineers. TestComplete’s keyword tests feature is a good example of how an automated testing tool may facilitate the creation of automated tests without requiring a developer to have a solid grounding in scripting languages.
Put another way, a keyword test (or keyword-driven test) is a string of words that triggers a particular operation. With keyword tests, engineers can simulate keyboard actions, menu selections, method and property calls, and more. As an alternative to automated test scripts, keyword testing is increasing in demand. In contrast to scripts, this test is accessible to users of all skill levels and facilitates the development of practical automated tests.
4. Come Up with Quality Test Data
Engineers save the information into the input fields in a separate file during an automated test. You can retrieve this information from a database, an XML file, an Excel spreadsheet, or a database table. One of the hallmarks of a high-quality automated testing tool is its ability to read and iterate over the contents of data files with an intuitive level of understanding. To make your automated tests more reusable and manageable, use external data. The data files can expand with fresh data to include new testing scenarios without needing to modify the actual automated test itself.
Although creating test data for your automated tests is tedious, you should spend time and effort producing well-structured data. Writing automated tests gets much simpler when good test data is available. The easier it is to extend current automated tests as the program develops, the earlier you produce high-quality data.
5. Prepare Automated Tests Resistant to Changes in the UI
Scripts or keyword tests are helpful for automated tests. These tests depend on the examined application. Especially in the early stages, the app’s user interface may change between builds. These changes might affect the test results, or your automated tests might stop working with future app versions. The problem is that automated testing tools use a list of properties to determine what an object is and where it is.
If the control’s name or location has changed, the automated test will fail because it won’t be able to find the object. Before running the automated test on the new version of the application, you may need to change all of the old names to new ones across the whole project. However, if you give your controls unique names, your automated tests will still work even if the user interface changes. You won’t have to make any changes to the test. This fact also stops the automated testing tool from using location coordinates, which are less stable and break easily, to find the control.
Checklist to Implement Test Automation
Put a tick next to every point to make sure you’ve got them all.
- Kickoff Meeting: Set a date and time to discuss the goal of test automation, its requirements, and the plans for it with your development engineers, automation experts, and stakeholders.
- Requirement Gathering: After defining the objectives, criteria, and plan for your test automation approach, set timelines for the automation team to collect the essential project requirements.
- List of Test Cases: Request that your developers produce a list of use cases and their priorities. In other words, how important is each test case to verify that the product is consumer-ready?
- Methods for Test Automation Strategy: Ask your automation team to specify the test interface, the language to utilize, the data (inputs/outputs), and the preparation process.
- Sign-off: Evaluate the use cases before signing off so the automation team can estimate the required work. Your team members can stay on track with their necessary deliverables if you have a plan and a deadline.
- Main Framework: Construct the fundamental structure necessary to automate use cases. You need to develop a unified system that determines the guidelines for test automation.
- Test Script Creation: Automate the use cases based on the set goals. Carefully identify the elements, create the data, document the scripts, and examine them.
- Demonstration & Reporting: After finishing the suite, you should demonstrate the completed framework, automated tests, and reports.
If you choose our automated testing service, we will evaluate each application’s functionality through the automation software testing service. The objective is to guarantee that the product will perform exactly as you expect. Our professionals set up non-operational auto-examinations to assess performance, safety, and other factors to improve quality. If you like, our experts can employ both manual and automated testing.
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