Software testing plays a critical role in ensuring quality, performance and security of software. Automation testing is the process through which Quality Assurance Engineers (QAs) test software through automated software testing tools or bots. Automation adds value to QA testing because it provides greater and more accurate testing coverage during the test cycle. This allows QAs to carry out quick and efficient testing and avoid getting swamped up in complex and time-consuming test cases and tedious task repetitions.
In order to take maximum benefit of automation testing, the QA must assess the need for automation in the project. Here are some reasons why QA teams require automation testing
in their QA practices:
- 1. There are repetitive tasks in each development cycle
- 2. There are frequent regression testing cycles
- 3. There is a need to simulate multiple user scenarios within the project
- 4. There is a large set of Build Verification Testing cases
- 5. There is unfeasibility to perform manual testing for critical functionality
The role of the test automation tool is important: it validates the quality of software and produces reliable, repeatable results at any point. However, it is mandatory to take the right decision when selecting an automation tool. There are several categories of tools that QAs can choose from according to their specific needs. These include Open-Source Tools, Commercial Tools and Custom Tools.
1. Open-Source Tools Open-source tools provide free platforms to access and use source-code that can easily be modified. They are developed by the community and are popular due to their free accessibility. However, they contain fewer features as compared to commercial tools.
2. Commercial Automation Testing Tools As the name suggests, commercial tools are specifically designed for commercial purposes. They require users to purchase a paid licenses but also provide a greater range of features, along with technical support. Some of the best commercial automation testing tools include UFTOne, TestCafe Studio and Browserstack.
3. Integrating Multiple Libraries / Plugins to Build Custom Framework For some niche projects, open-source software or commercial testing tools cannot fulfil the requirements. Such projects require the custom development of a testing tool. However, these are rarely used as they require technical experts for deployment.
Selection CriteriaChoosing the right automation testing setup is as crucial as selecting the right tech stack for developing the application. There are multiple factors to be considered when selecting an automation tool. However, some factors might need to be compromised in order to achieve the desired requirement. For example, reusability and maintainability can be achieved using a complex design pattern, but execution time may be compromised. So, the testing team needs to assess the project requirements and select the testing tool accordingly. Following is a list of some factors to consider:
A. Analyze Your Project NeedsChoosing the right tool for automation depends on the particular testing requirements for that project. For example, it is important to identify exactly what features or technology stack need to be tested, what areas of testing exist, what test cases can be automated, what is the expertise of the team available for testing etc. Type of automation is the first level of identification e.g determining whether the project requires Application Programming Interface (API) level automation, end to end automation, or both. Only by thoroughly analyzing the project can we select the right tool for it.
B. Ease of UseThe tool should simplify the process of developing and maintaining test scripts and minimize the need for human resources. Script creation and execution should be quick, easy and error-free. for any project member, regardless of technical knowledge. For example, the Behavior Driven Development (BDD) framework is written in simple English known as Gherkin language and is mapped with step definition (code) so a non-technical person can easily understand the automation coverage and execute it accordingly.
C. Reporting CapabilitiesThe tool should have good reporting capabilities, including the ability to generate simplified reports which are easy for non-technical teams and management to understand. Different formats should be available to filter out the level of detail in reporting. In case of bugs or failures, it should provide detailed report on what went wrong.
D. Technical Support and AssistanceThere should be availability of dedicated technical, professional and user support. This can include training material and resources, tutorial videos, technical blogs, active online forums and a platform for live support with quick response time from support team.
At the moment, the scope of automation testing is vast and a wide variety of test automation frameworks and tools are available in the market. With so many options to choose from, it is important that organizations make the right decision and select the testing tool that best fits their specific needs and requirements before jumping into implementation of an automation framework.
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This article was originally published in TestPlanet