What is Automated Software Testing and Why Does it Take Place in IT?
There are two types of testing: manual and automated. Nowadays automated software testing services are in high demand.
Continuous testing speeds up software delivery. It makes the entire testing process faster. And with immediate feedback that helps you identify bugs and other problems in your application early on. It ensures that development teams are building high-quality, reliable applications. In addition, the very ability to organize and conduct effective testing can significantly reduce costs in the company. Both by saving developers time and by creating a solid delivery pipeline. There they can quickly make changes to the code with minimal risks of disrupting the application in a productive environment.
In addition, it should be understood that not everything needs to be automated. And not everything can be automated. Therefore, it is important to carefully assess, study and analyze your requirements before deciding how best to organize test automation. When should you automate your tests and when not?
What Tests Can be Automated
Almost every development team is working on a project. It is critically dependent on deadlines. It means that there is always not enough time to apply all the best practices. The same applies to testing strategy. As testing as an activity is not always a priority for development teams. You need to try to find a balance and make the right choice depending on the type of application being developed, the time frame, the testing software used, and the resources available. Here are the important types of tests you can automate.
This is a great way to get started with test automation. Because unit tests target only a portion of the code that validates it. And it does not depend on other parts of the application. Thus, developers get more information about the work of the created functionality. Thanks to today’s testing culture, many teams use test-driven development (TDD). There they start writing tests before they write code. This ensures the quality of both the code and the tests.
If you have dozens of features in plan and a tight deadline for their development, you can select among them those that have a high probability of failure. Testing such functions should be started as early as possible.
Regression and Integration Tests
Integration tests are used to determine if individual modules in an application are working as a group. While regression tests are used to verify that the functionality of an application is working as expected. These two tests are usually performed after application changes/enhancements. So testers are constantly running these tests. Automating these tests saves a huge amount of time. It free it up for other types of tests.
Load Tests and Performance Tests
For performance tests and load tests, there is no alternative in the form of manual testing. Since it is necessary to simulate hundreds or thousands of users working in different conditions: from different browsers, in different time zones, using different operating systems, etc.
Repetitive Test Scripts
These are very important tests that development teams have to run almost all the time. For example, the operability of the login function – it provides the ability to use the application, affecting its availability. Therefore, it is better to automate testing and save a lot of time for testers and developers.
Unlike other tests, smoke tests are not as complex and relatively easy to implement. That being said, passing these tests is critical. They inform the development teams if the basic functions of the application are working correctly, for example: whether the application login window opens, whether users can log in, whether the API is available, whether the application is available from different locations, etc.
Which Tests do not need to be Automated
Learning more and more about the benefits of test automation and getting deeply imbued with them, one can ask a natural question – why not automate all tests at all? The answer in the form of “don’t try to automate everything” goes against the DevOps mindset. It explicitly aims to automate everything and everyone. There are several factors to consider before planning test automation. Here are examples of tests and scripts that don’t need automation.
User Experience (UX)
This testing area cannot be automated. Many aspects of UX design require manual, lengthy, and tedious testing. For example, when developers want to understand how easy it is for users to sign up for a website. Or to check which sets of fields give the best visibility to user profiles. Tests like these have to be done manually.
Early Development Stages
When a function is just being developed, changes are constantly made to its code. And this can make it difficult to compile and test. It takes less time to manually test these features, so you should wait for a stable release.
Functionality that Matters Little
Testing automation takes time and effort. So you should not automate testing all functions developed within a project, but only the most important functions. Low priority can be left aside and continue to manually test them.
Tests Without Clear Results
Development teams need to know the expected output for each function input. If the results are unclear, then automation will not provide the necessary evidence that the function is working as expected.
Tests that cannot be fully Automated
If half of the test is automated, and the other half is still performed manually, then this leads to complexity and additional costs. Since such a test is time-consuming. And its reliability is questionable. It would be more rational to continue testing such functions manually.
Automated Testing Frameworks
Within each software development and delivery team, the QA team is responsible for developing, implementing, and executing tests. For each type of testing, a test scenario, principles, rules and tools for conducting should be defined. A testing framework is a collection of these guides, tools, and practices that helps test engineers execute test scripts efficiently.
There are different frameworks for different testing purposes. Some of the most popular types of automated testing frameworks are:
- Modular: the application is divided into separate modules and each module is tested in an isolated state;
- Linear: composing and executing test scripts. Testers write test scripts sequentially, then execute them for each individual test case;
- Library architecture: built on top of a unit testing framework, with the only difference that it contains functions for reuse;
- Data-Driven Testing: Test scripts are executed and verified against data stored in a central data warehouse or database (SQL, ODBC resources, CSV or XLS files);
- Keyword Testing: In this framework, it is not necessary to have programming skills, since the keywords used in creating tests are separate from the technical code. It is enough for a tester to have an idea of the whole set of actions implemented in the framework.
- Hybrid: A combination of different frameworks.
The main goal of all software development teams is to provide fast delivery of quality and reliable software product. Continuous testing is essential to ensure a fast and efficient delivery process. Automation is the key to ensuring that the software being developed can quickly go through all stages of the development pipeline and provide customers with its functions. However, this does not mean that teams should invest all their time and resources in test automation. Teams need to understand what can and should be automated and what shouldn’t. Choosing the right test coverage early in development is essential.
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