Software testing is automated to increase the test coverage, improve efficiency in finding defects and enhance the effectiveness of the development process. In large, complex and time critical projects where code needs to be tested frequently and repeatedly in the same areas of application, test automation increases efficiency and reduces test cycles. If you are a software professional or manager of a software testing unit, automating your software testing activities will definitely give you a competitive edge in the market. We will discuss the various aspects of how to achieve testing automation and what are the best practices involved.
The process of using special automation software to control the execution of software tests to compare the outcome with the expected results is called Automation Testing. It is used to reduce the testing time of complex activities like regression testing and other laborious or extensive testing processes in the software development cycle.
Test automation is normally used for projects that require frequent testing of the same sections of code when the requirements do not change frequently, when the applications have to be tested for load and performance with several users and finally when the time available for testing is short. Our course on software testing and automation gives you more insights.
How to Automate Testing?
You can automate your testing process by using a supportive computer language like VB Scripting and an automated software application. There are many tools available in the market that one can use to write automation scripts. If you are wondering, how you can achieve automation of your testing activities, here is a step-by-step procedure that will help you draw up a plan:
- Identify areas in your software testing that need automation – it’s difficult and not cost-effective to automate the entire testing process of software mainly due to the expensive nature of the testing tools and also, maybe the unstable nature of certain sections of your code. So it’s very crucial to first identify the areas that need automation.
- Select the right tool for test automation – there are several kinds of testing tools available; however, choosing the right tool keeping in mind the nature of testing involved, is very important for automation. Whether it’s a code-driven testing process or GUI based testing, you must select the appropriate tool to automate the testing.
- Write test scripts – you need to develop test cases and scripts to cover large sections of software to ensure that they are functioning properly
- Develop test suites – test suites are developed to ensure that the automated test cases run one after another without any manual intervention. This is done by creating a test suite that has multiple test cases, a library and command line tool that runs the test suite.
- Execute the scripts – the test scripts can be executed either manually, with the developer choosing which test suites to run or can also be done automatically with a monitoring mechanism in place. This ensures that problems are detected effectively in case any issue arises due to code change etc.
- Create result reports – you need to create report formats so that individual test logs detailing the actions performed during testing are recorded, define the type of test report format to be created, screenshots, messages etc.
- Identify any potential problems or performance related issues – you must be able to easily identify any problems detected during testing and their causes, find out events of any failed test operations and set right the problems to achieve greater testing efficiency
Approaches to Test Automation
There are several innovative automation testing tools but before we discuss that, we need to understand the different kinds of approaches to automation, as mentioned below:
- Code-driven testing – this approach uses testing frameworks like the xUnit framework etc. that focus on test case execution to find out if the various sections of code are performing as per expectations under different conditions. Code-driven testing approach is a popular method used in agile software development wherein unit test cases are written to determine the requirements of the software being built and test for its functional capability even before the code is actually written. For more insights on code-driven testing approach, visit our course on automation with JUnit framework.
- Graphical user interface (GUI) testing – applications that have GUIs may be tested using this approach as it allows the testers to record user actions and analyse them any number of times. For example, if you want to test a website you can use automated testing tools like Selenium that provides a record and playback tool for authoring tests without any knowledge on a test scripting language. Test cases can be written in a number of programming languages like C#, Java, Perl, Python etc.
- Framework approach – the framework approach to automation is nothing but an integrated system of rules to test a specific product. The framework brings together function libraries, test data sources, object details and other reusable modules. It lays down the general rules of automation and simplifies the efforts required while bringing in a low maintenance cost. For example, if there is any change in a test case, then only that particular test case file needs to be updated without making any change to the driver or start up script. Frameworks could be linear, structured, data driven, keyword driven or a hybrid of any of these. Find out more on testing tools in our course on automation with Selenium.
Benefits of Automation Testing
• Saves time and money
• Improves test accuracy
• Increase in test coverage
• Complex testing made easy
• Increases efficiency and team morale
In short, while manual testing is effective in projects with multiple operating environments and hardware configurations, automation testing is absolutely essential today to successfully deliver large scale projects that need execution of repetitive and complex test cases. Automation testing is not only necessary but also critical to the successful development and delivery of a software project. Take this comprehensive course on software testing and automation to learn more about software testing and automation.