Software development has become complex, and testing accuracy is a challenge. Test automation becomes crucial to improve test accuracy and software development efficiency.
Compatibility, security, cost, scalability, test environment, ease of use, etc., are some factors that can affect the selection of test automation tools. In addition, test automation can enhance software quality while saving time and resources for organizations. Scripted sequences are utilized to scrutinize software and can be performed at any time of the day.
Scripted sequences automate repetitive tasks such as testing and deployment, ensuring consistency and accuracy in software testing. It minimizes the risk of human error and reduces the amount of manual work required, reducing the overall cost of software development.
In this blog post, we’ll offer you a concise guide to test automation, including its importance, factors, and best practices for selecting suitable tools.
Definition of test automation
Test automation involves executing pre-written scripts using tools to examine software performance and compare outcomes to previous test runs. It ensures software meets requirements and functions adequately before release. The good thing about test automation is that you can use it for the unit, API, and regression testing.
Importance of test automation in software development
Software developers test their products, but defects persist in the delivered product. Despite test engineers’ efforts, defects can slip through, causing errors during deployment. Test automation is the best way to improve software testing effectiveness, efficiency, and coverage.
Automation testing suits projects that demand repeated functionality tests or have already undergone initial manual testing. It offers a gateway to adopt complex software testing methodologies, generate reliable results, and eliminate manual testing errors.
Apart from this, there are other benefits of test automation,
1. Increases coverage area
Testing automation enhances the scope of tests to help testers build high-quality software. It enables the inspection of memory contents, data tables, and internal program states to ascertain the efficiency of product functioning.
In addition, automated testing can run numerous intricate test cases in each test cycle, achieving higher test coverage.
2. Improves accuracy
In manual testing, even a skilled tester can make costly mistakes, but in automated tests, they precisely execute the same steps without failing to record detailed results.
Plus, it reduces the monotonous nature of creating test cases repeatedly for each test. This, in turn, offers testers more time to improve the test cases’ quality.
Because of this, testers are no longer subjected to repetitive manual tests and have more time to develop special automated software tests and deal with complex features.
3. Speedy feedback cycle
Automated tests reduce the time to complete a feedback loop for new features, making bug fixes faster. Companies can eliminate the risk of releasing buggy software by speeding up the feedback cycle with test automation.
Faster feedback cycles also help reduce software development time due to the rapid detection of bugs.
4. Reusability of test scripts
Automated software testing offers a substantial advantage of reusable test scripts, which save significant time and effort otherwise spent on developing test cases.
Instead of creating new cross-browser scripts for each new operating system or device, you can reuse automated test scripts. This allows testers to optimize their time and improve their testing efficiency.
Factors to Consider When Selecting Test Automation Tools and Frameworks
Despite the remarkable benefits of test automation, some businesses have wasted time, effort, and money on automation tools.
The key to successful automation testing is identifying the right tool. To achieve optimal results in cost, quality, and timeliness, enterprises should choose the best test automation tool from the many available options.
1. Compatibility with different platforms and OS
While choosing an automation tool, ensure support for platforms you use for application deployment. The more compatible the tool is, the better it is from the convenience and cost optimization point of view.
Given the changing dynamics of the digital ecosystem, choosing a QA automation testing tool compatible across operating systems is better. Notably, the tool should also offer backward compatibility for older versions of OS.
The more complex the automation testing tool you select, the more expensive it will be for your team. Apart from this, some other factors can increase your test automation budget.
These include tools with broader functionalities and support for multiple programming languages, advanced reporting and analytics features, training, documentation, and customizability and scalability options.
However, carefully calculating your budget and selecting the tool will provide enhanced ROI for business in the long run. You can select from open-source tools such as Katalon Studio, Jasmine, Appium, Selenium, Citrus, etc., or go for a licensed one like TestComplete.
3. Learning curve of the development team
Compared to manual testing, automation testing requires extensive technical expertise. Testers using automation tools must be proficient in programming and running test scripts effectively.
If your testing team has programming skills, pick an automation tool in that language. Not a factor if hiring dedicated automation testers. However, you can consider codeless automation tools if you don’t want to require specific programming skills.
4. Availability of tech support
You must ensure higher tech support from test automation service providers. For this, you need to check the provider’s official documentation and website to get an idea of the support you can expect from the solution provider.
You can check if open-source test automation tools have an active user community. It helps users solve problems and answer key questions by interacting with community members.
Five recommended practices for selecting suitable test automation frameworks and tools
By implementing automated testing, you can shorten the development cycles, avoid repetitive tasks, and enhance the overall software quality. To do this right, you can follow these best practices:
1. Decide which test cases need automation.
To begin with, set a goal and identify which tests to automate. Various testing types serve specific purposes, such as unit testing for small application segments and functional/GUI testing for user interface aspects.
When automating tests, divide them into smaller logical tests focused on objectives like the ease of editing, managing, and sharing the test code. Smaller tests allow frequent updates when adding new functionality.
After this, group several simple automated tests into one more significant test organized by functional area. Further, you can create a test tree to orchestrate tests in a specific order.
2. Hire a dedicated development team.
Test automation requires consistent effort and attention, which can be challenging for in-house development teams to manage alongside their primary responsibilities.
Therefore, having a dedicated team of professionals to manage test automation is recommended. Hiring a team with specialized roles and skills ensures efficient test automation.
This team must include an automation architect who can design and oversee the automation process. Additionally, the team may need multiple automation engineers to execute the automation testing according to the project requirements.
3. Pick the right automated testing tool.
Choosing a suitable automation tool from the several testing tools available in the market can be challenging!
However, you can consider the following pointers for choosing the automation:
- Offers ease to creating automated tests
- Able to integrate with your existing ecosystem
- Provides built-in support for testing packaged applications such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and Workday
- Supports CI/CD pipelines and external platforms to ensure testing continuity
- Easily integrated with other tools like Jira, Slack, and Slackbot
4. Execute test automation
You must successfully execute test automation to get the best result from your preparation and tasks. For this, you can use pipelines like CI/CD or DevOps to increase the speed of your release and maintain the quality.
Besides, you can follow the below tips to automate the testing process:
- Parallelize test cases that require no interdependency to save time
- Use a pipeline orchestrator or a scheduling tool to execute test cases in parallel
- Put the application through tests under stable servers and network connections
- Avoid unexpected failures and elements that eat time
5. Analyze and reuse
You need to have a clear strategy for examining unsuccessful test cases and implementing appropriate measures to resolve the detected issues. This can help teams avoid conflicts and optimize resource allocation when refining the application.
Other than this, you can follow these tips as well:
- Identify any slow or failing tests and adjust their configurations to improve testing efficiency
- Expand test coverage by comparing test outcomes to validated reports and documentation from previous versions
- Utilize in-tool or third-party test reporting functions for streamlined test reporting and maintenance
Tying it all together
Test automation is an integral part of the software development process, and selecting the right tools for your project is crucial. You can maintain a seamless release cycle and frequently enhance product quality and release features with appropriate test automation tools.
While selecting the right tools and determining the relevant factors is challenging, an effective software testing strategy comes in handy. Don’t forget to stay updated with the latest test automation trends to deliver reliable software and stay ahead of the curve.