Why is Test Automation Required?
Test automation is required to bypass the drawbacks caused by manual testing, as below.
Cons of Manual Testing
- Needs Excessive Resources: Requires significant time and effort, especially for repetitive and time-consuming test cases. Therefore, it can be costly and slows down the development process.
- Limited Test Coverage: It may only cover some possible test scenarios, and testers usually focus on high-priority test cases due to business requirements. This potentially leaves out edge cases or less obvious scenarios.
- Monotonous Repetitive Tasks: These manual tests can be monotonous and reduce human attentiveness and motivation over time.
- Less Scalability: Scaling manual testing to handle large and complex applications or frequent releases can be impractical and costly.
- Misfit for DevOps: The significant time, effort, and resources required by manual testing make it too slow and unfit for faster Agile and DevOps environments.
- Compliance and Security: During security threats such as Log4j vulnerability, the patches must be applied and tested within hours of vulnerability exposure. Such speed can only be achieved through automation and it is unachievable through manual testing.
- Inconsistency in Execution: Manual tests may not be executed consistently across test cycles or by other testers. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to reproduce and compare results.
- Prone to Human Error: Testers may miscalculate or make mistakes during test execution, leading to inaccurate test results.
- Difficulty in Regression Testing: As the application evolves, it becomes challenging to re-run all manual test cases to ensure that new changes haven’t introduced regressions.
Pros of Automation Testing
Here are the advantages that make automation testing a requirement today.
- Accuracy and Consistency: Automation testing tools execute tests precisely and consistently in similar fashion everytime they are run. It reduces any chance of human errors or mistake therefore, the test results are reliable.
- Speed and Efficiency: Automated tests can run faster than manual tests helping through quicker feedback and thus speeding up the overall development cycle.
- Broader Test Coverage: Automation handles comprehensive test coverage easily in less time, it also includes edge cases and scenarios that are difficult to test manually.
- Promotes Reusability: Test scripts can be reused across different test cycles, modules, and projects, saving time and effort in the long run.
- Quick Regression Testing: Easily run regression automated tests 24/7 whenever there are code changes.
- Supports Parallel Testing: Automation testing can execute tests in parallel on different configurations, browsers, or devices, which is a complex task when done manually.
- Enhances Scalability: Supports and well-suited for scaling up to test large and complex applications and it can handle frequent releases.
- More Cost-Effective: There is an initial investment in creating and maintaining automated test scripts, however test automation can significantly reduce costs in the long run.
- Built for CI/CD: Integrates seamlessly into CI/CD pipelines, provides rapid feedback and enables faster continuous release cycles.
- Data-Driven Testing: Automation allows for expansive data-driven testing coverage, which is impossible through manual testing. It makes it easy to test different data sets and scenarios through data-driven testing.
Test Automation ROI
Test automation ROI (Return On Investment) helps decide how fruitful the adoption of test automation will be and depends on many factors. The formula for calculating the ROI is as follows:
Test Automation ROI % = (( Gain – Cost) / Cost) *100
Where Gain = Time Savings + Reduced Critical Bugs
Cost = Initial Investment + Script Development Time + Maintenance Costs + Training Costs
Know how to get best ROI in test automation. No-code intelligent test automation tools such as testRigor help you achieve a more significant ROI faster. Here is a webinar to calculate ROI of no-code test automation.
How to Start Automation?
Test automation is critical today for faster and broader test coverage and quick release cycles. Here is a guide about learning software testing with examples.
Types of Automation Tests
Below are the most common types of automation tests:
- Unit Tests: Test individual units or components of the software in isolation (e.g., functions, methods, classes).
Benefits: Early detection of bugs, and promotes modular code.
- Integration Tests: Verify interactions between different components or modules to ensure they work together correctly.
Benefits: Identify integration issues and ensure the overall system functions as intended.
- Functional Tests: Evaluate the functionality of a software application from an end-user perspective. Test complete end-to-end scenarios to ensure that the software meets user requirements.
Benefits: Validates that the application behaves as expected and helps detect functional defects.
- Regression Tests: Ensure new code changes do not introduce regressions or break the existing working functionality. Re-run a set of previously passed test cases to verify that no existing features have been negatively affected.
Benefits: Helps maintain software reliability and quality over time, especially during continuous development and deployment.
- Smoke Tests: Verify that an application’s most critical and essential features work after a new build or deployment.
Benefits: Identifies showstopper issues early in the development process.
- Load Tests: Assess the application’s performance under expected load conditions, such as concurrent users or requests. It measures system response times, resource usage, and scalability.
Benefits: Helps identify performance issues and ensures the application can handle expected user loads.
- Stress Tests: Evaluate the application’s behavior under extreme conditions, often beyond its specified capacity.
Benefits: Reveals weaknesses in the application’s design or resource management.
- Security Tests: Identify vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in the application like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and authentication flaws.
Benefits: Helps protect sensitive data and prevent security breaches.
- Compatibility Tests: Ensure that the application functions correctly across various combinations of browsers, versions, and platforms.
Benefits: Provides a consistent user experience for a diverse user base.
Read here the most common reasons for test failures in your test automation.
Usual Test Automation Process
- Develop a comprehensive test strategy that outlines the approach to automation, including the testing framework, test data management, and test environment setup.
- Define the scope of automation, including which test cases or scenarios will be automated and which will remain manual.
- Identify test cases for automation by evaluating and prioritizing them for automation. Begin with high-impact and frequently executed test cases, especially those related to critical functionality and regression testing.
- Select test automation tools based on your project requirements, technology stack, budget, scripting languages, support for test environments, integration capabilities, and reporting features.
- Design the automation framework, including the structure of test scripts, reusable components, and libraries, and determine how to handle test data and configuration settings following best practices.
- Write automation scripts based on the chosen automation tool and framework. Implement the necessary test logic, assertions, and error handling.
- Configure the necessary test environments, including staging or sandbox environments, virtual machines, or cloud-based setups. Ensure that test environments mirror the production environment as closely as possible.
- Integrate automation tests into the CI/CD pipeline to automate test execution on code commits or deployments.
- Execute automated tests against the application under test, monitor and capture test results, including pass/fail status, logs, and screenshots.
- Review and analyze the test results to identify defects, anomalies, and issues. Log and prioritize defects and communicate them to the development team.
- Maintain and regularly update automation scripts to accommodate changes in the application, including new features, UI modifications, or bug fixes.
- Periodically review the effectiveness and efficiency of the automation effort.
Adjust the automation strategy and priorities based on the evaluation.
Smart Test Automation Process
- Create tests quickly using the three user-friendly options for test creation:
- Import plain English manual test cases into testRigor so they are executable by intelligent AI-powered test automation.
- If you want to generate the test steps automatically, use testRigor’s generative AI capabilities. Write the test case title and the test steps will be generated in seconds.
- You can also use testRigor’s recorder to record your actions on UI and have the test cases created in plain English, aiding easy maintenance.
- Supported integrations do not need extensive coding, configurations, and installations with testRigor. Easily integrate test management, CI/CD, issue management, infrastructure, and collaborative tools in your test automation.
- Shift left and test early with testRigor before engineers write application code. Involve Product Managers, Business Analysts, and everyone on the team to test and review, supercharging the testing process and test coverage.
- Self-healing tests require low maintenance and save enormous effort/time for your testing team, keeping your tests up to date.
What NOT to Automate?
First, it is advisable to read which tests you should automate first. Below are the tests that are not good candidates for test automation:
- Exploratory Testing: Testers use their creativity, intuition, and ability to uncover unexpected issues. This type of testing is not easily automated because it involves ad-hoc and unscripted testing.
- Usability Testing: Evaluates the user-friendliness and overall user experience of an application. It often involves human observations such as intuitiveness of the application, which are challenging to automate.
- One-Time or Ad-Hoc Testing: Test cases that are only executed once or performed irregularly may not justify the time and effort required for automation. It’s more efficient to conduct such tests manually.
- Tests with Frequent Changes: Maintaining and updating automated test scripts can become a significant overhead if the application or its requirements change frequently. In such cases, performing these tests manually may be more practical option.
- Complex Setup and Data Preparation: Test cases that require complex or extensive data preparation can be difficult and time-consuming to automate. If the effort to automate the setup exceeds the time saved during execution, it may not be a good candidate for automation.
- Non-Deterministic Tests: Tests that produce non-deterministic results, such as tests relying on random data or network conditions, can be challenging to automate and reproduce consistently.
- User Interface Layout Testing: Testing the visual layout of an application’s user interface across various screen resolutions and devices may require visual inspection, making it challenging to automate. Visual testing tools exist but may only be suitable for some scenarios.
Test Automation Tools for UI Testing
- Selenium: An open-source tool for automating web applications across different browsers and platforms. It supports various programming languages, including Java, Python, and C#.
- Appium: An open-source tool for automating mobile applications (iOS and Android) and web applications on mobile devices. It uses the same API as Selenium but is tailored for mobile testing.
- testRigor: A generative AI-based intelligent tool that enables everyone on your team to create and execute tests effortlessly in plain English. No coding skills are required to use testRigor and minimize the maintenance efforts through self-healing tests. Know about top testRigor features.
- LambdaTest: A cloud-based cross-browser testing platform that allows to perform automated and manual testing of web applications across browsers, operating systems, and devices.
- Serenity: Supports BDD (Behavior-Driven Development), a popular open-source test automation framework designed to write maintainable and highly readable automated tests.
- Playwright: Developed by Microsoft, Playwright offers a range of features that make it a powerful tool for browser automation, including web testing and scraping.
Test Automation Tools for API Testing
- Postman: A popular API testing tool with a user-friendly interface. It allows testers to create and run API requests, automate tests, and generate detailed reports.
- SoapUI: A widely used tool for testing SOAP and REST web services. It supports functional, security, and load testing of APIs.
- RestAssured: A Java-based library for testing RESTful APIs, often combined with frameworks like JUnit or TestNG.
- JMeter: Famous for performance testing, Apache JMeter can also be used for functional API and load testing.
- Karate: An open-source unified test automation platform combining API testing, API performance testing, API mocks & UI testing.
- Agile Testing Days is a 4-day conference where about 600+ international agile software testers and engineers gather.
- National Software Testing Conference focuses on software testing, automation, QA, and agile testing.
- TestBash, organized by the Ministry of Testing, focuses on exploratory testing, QA, and test automation.
- Testingmind conference focuses on current challenges and ideating the future of software testing to prepare a better QA workforce across the industry.
- The STAR conferences focus exclusively on software testing and quality improvement.
Job Preparation Articles
- A Beginner’s Guide to Manual Testing
- Manual Testing Cheat Sheet
- Top-30 Manual QA Interview Questions (+Answers)
- What Is a QA Engineer and What Do They Do?
- Director of QA Skills, Roles, and List of Jobs
- Top-24 QA Manager Interview Questions (+Answers)
- Director of QA Checklist
- Director of QA: All Resources You’ll Ever Need
- Top 10 Director of QA Certifications and Training Courses Guide for 2023
- Engineering Levels in Different Companies Compared
- Director of Engineering Cheat Sheet
- Top-25 VP of Engineering Interview Questions
Decision about test automation should be based on a cost-benefit analysis. Consider factors like the test’s complexity, stability, and repeatability, as well as the expected return on investment (ROI) in terms of time savings, improved test coverage, and reliability.
The key is ro achieve the right balance between automated and manual testing through efficient testing strategy. Choice and adoption of efficient and intelligent test automation tools such as testRigor aid your test automation process to be completed on time, with minimum efforts, and within budget.