Introduction to Test Automation:
A complete contradiction to manual testing is automation testing. It is a process of controlled execution of tests that involves the use of tools. The outcome is compared to the predictions. The results cannot be manipulated as automated testing does not involve human intervention at a deeper level.
Why is Test Automation a must?
Well, who loves errors, I bet even the testers dislike errors in the automation testing process? The purpose of automating tests is to improve the accuracy of software products. There is a need to control time, effort, and money spent on testing. Manual testing resolves the issues but it fails when you run a detailed test of repetitive nature or data-intensive tests.
Automate tests if they are run on multiple builds and frequently performed. It’s necessary if it involves huge data and multiple sets of data that challenge the accuracy if tested manually. To meet the requirement of testing on different hardware and software, automation helps.
You can automate anything and everything that can be defined in a process. Run mock tests if required. Regardless of your approach, and framework planning and execution of automation tests are crucial.
Aim to improve the QA Process. The tests help to align with the best practices of automation testing.
“A speedy yet robust process of automation testing is the key to being competitive”
Test Automation Plan:
Exceptionally the plan should have a scope, comparative parameters, priorities, testing sequence, and analysis of potential risks. Keep it easy to understand so that testers can relate to it and test as per schedule. Feel free to automate API tests, data-driven tests, cross-browser tests, or even unit tests. Finally, a well-documented plan is mandatory.
- Automation Testing Architecture: It includes basic things that help you mark the milestones. Plan and estimate capabilities to obtain desired results from the approach you finalize. Your focus should be on the goals and achieving them in minimum time. We know that Return on Investment (ROI) is a valid concern. A speedy yet robust process of automation testing is the key to being competitive. Delivering high-quality software products with a process that is short and accurate is a dream of many software companies. Create tests that consider diverse user behaviors to make the product ready for all types of customers. With rich experience in developing software products, you have some idea from the look and feel of the product. Use these feelings to test the application. The features that are your marketing key points should be easily assessable and perform flawlessly.
- Approach for Automating Testing: The testing plan should consider the automation frameworks that are easy to maintain. Just like we hire quality testers, select appropriate approaches e.g., modular, linear, or data-driven. The goal setting in automated testing is important. Your approach lets you deal with complex or large tests that are difficult to edit. Categorize the tests and keep them small enough to focus on one thing. If the function is large each feature can have separate tests. To manage this, form a group of tests you created.
- Automation of Test Cases: Create test cases that consume less time, reduce efforts and minimum manpower. A well-written test case is the source of successful automation of testing. Self-dependent test cases can produce clear results. Interdependencies can not only delay the process but reduce clarity in running tests. Some of the tests should run parallel to speed up the tasks. Create the groups of tests on basis of functions or set of features that you need to check on priority.
- Select the Right Automated Testing Tool: Be mindful while selecting automated testing tools. Your requirements, price of tool and the output matters a lot. A technically good fit tool enhances the capabilities of testers. Look for what level of technical support you require. The strategy of testing, what applications are you testing, which languages are used, and over which platforms are decisive factors for automated testing tool. Select feature-rich tools that are easy to integrate with your systems and are easy to maintain. Its ability to test a variety of applications and support different skillsets of team members needs to be considered. The cost of tools along with their utility in long term is a strategic decision.
- Be automation environment ready: A stable environment for testing is needed to take the actions you have planned. Do the trials using your automation tools. Make the testing more predictable, have a consistent test environment and stage environment to match the production. Decide on how will be the data treated during and after testing.
“The team members should be aware of what is happening in the automation space, so involve them and make them equally responsible for tests.”
Best Practices of Test Automation:
- Predictable Test Cases: The frequently run tests when run manually are at risk of missing out few steps. Automate the most frequently run test cases, contains multiple conditions, and consumes more time if done manually.
- Order of Tests: Design your automation to include a proper flow of testing. Sequencing tests in the right order will have a positive effect on the results and are helpful in testing across platforms, browsers, and applications.
- Independent Automated Test Cases: Create multiple tests with reusable components, this reduces the time in creating a new test case. Independent test cases are load-bearing; run them anytime and even parallelly in different environments.
- Create Test Cases: The approach towards test cases has a direct impact on the quality of test automation. Understand user behavior, to create better tests. Create user stories to write test requirements and scripts such as the team is clear on the stakeholders’ expectations. Test cases should be well-written, complete, and reliable. It requires proper opening and closing statements, conditions, what happens when conditions are not met. A data-driven approach makes the tests reusable by changing the data stored in external files.
- Documenting Test Cases: Clear document ideally contains Test case ID, description, group name and priority. Use of meaningful variables is advisable and never use static data in tests. The methods of testing should be selected wisely and check for duplication in test cases.
- Quality Test Data: Create good quality and well-structured test data for data-driven testing. Data required for testing is manually created and stored in the desired location. The testing automation tools read these files irrespective of the formats it is stored in, making it easy to reuse the data. Reusability reduces the need to edit the data for repetitive tests. You save time on the preparation of test data-driven tests.
- Divide Efforts of Automated Testing: Based on the skills of QA team you need to divide efforts of automated testing. Utilize the skillsets of each member in various activities of automation for faster compilation of testing needs of a project. If you plan to use an open-source testing tool your team should have superior coding skills. A tool helps you create automated tests without a thorough knowledge of programming languages. Divided efforts ensure validations, functional flow, and data usage.
- Collective Ownership of Automation: The team members should be aware of what is happening in the automation space, so involve them and make them equally responsible for tests. Testers can contribute to finding invalid tests, missing validations and enhance their abilities. Both technical and non-technical testers can be a part of automation testing.
- Change Resistant Automated Tests: Provide a unique name to the tests which can be changed if the interface of an application changes during various stages of the build. It helps if the location of an object is changed and also provides better control. The assigned names ensure that the changes in UI do not affect the tests.
- Gradual Increase in Automation Testing: Initial plan may include test automation of certain repetitive flows. With the confirmation of their success, you may focus on more tests to be part of the automation.
- Identify Slow & Failing Tests: Never stop testing but eradicate the tests that fail to perform, are no more required and the ones which have sluggish behavior. Simply add a timer to the tests and find which tests are slow. Improvements can be made based on the test reports.
Eliminate from Test Automation:
- Need to automate all: Every test cannot be and should not be automated. The decision to automate tests depends on a straightforward ratio of repetition of tests. A rarely performed test is certainly for manual testing. Processes that involve several small checkpoints that cannot be automated unless you conduct hundreds of trials can be an exception. Something that consumes more time when automated, opt for manual testing.
- Avoid GUI Automation: GUI testing adds to complexities and increases overheads as with every minor change testing is required. Instead of GUI tests conduct tests for core functionalities.
- Complete Automation: Certainly, automation improves testing quality but few things require human contact and intelligence. Things that cannot be automated or you have skipped should be manually but thoroughly tested. Writing good quality test cases and introducing a variety of tests is a preferable option.
Closing Thoughts on Test Automation:
Overall, the best practice is to start testing at an initial stage, do frequent testing and continue to collect feedback from the team to improve the test automation. Cultivate a culture of following best practices of testing. Encourage the creation of new test cases and automate testing of complex functions. Talk to us about your automation requirements and share your testing experiences.