In software testing, we come across different testing processes, terms and tools that are required under various test conditions. The smart way is to choose the right thing at right time, along with taking into account organizational norms and boundaries.

test automation, test automation process, test automation selection processWhat Is Automation Testing?

We all understand that automation is taking over our manual work. So, we find organizations are moving more and more into automation, so far as testing is concerned. Before moving into the details of test automation we need to understand the need of automation – based on the project or application on which we are working on. The obvious question that arises is the need to understand “What makes automated testing critical?”.

First and foremost, in today’s competitive world, there is a constant need to deliver software – better as well as faster. This is only possible through an effective and efficient software testing – a crucial factor to help the organizations. Furthermore, recently organizations are working more and more towards Agile, working often through Scrum methodology – which means that the rate of deployments are going up and so is the frequency of Regression Testing.

However, in the initial sprints, it’s rather easy to keep up with the delivery rate of new features. This is because the product is still relatively small, at this stage and there is not much requirement for Regression Testing. But, in the later sprint, the actual product takes a concrete shape. By this time, the features become more mature, comprehensive and elaborate, thereby demanding extensive period of Regression Testing.

Let us now delve into the key drivers that are necessary for the test automation of software.

Key Drivers for Test Automation:

Following are some of the key drivers of test automation:

• Imminent need to reduce effort and resource utilization in manual testing
• Increased demand on improving quality and timeliness of delivery
• Reduction of regression testing costs
• Faster Time-to-market for CRs, enhancements and releases
• Improved test coverage and customer satisfaction
• Development of reusable components

So, the above points look interesting, right ? If we can have so many positive aspects of automating an application, why don’t we go for it? Yes, we can go for it but before this we need to identify the need, to highlight on some of the best practices to be followed.

Best Practices

We need to follow the best practices on automated testing, so as to achieve the desired outcome – a better software:

• It’s highly crucial to identify the modules which should be automated & which should not be. Mostly, the repeated tests should be automated and everything cannot be automated.
• Clear test design should be followed, so that there will be a transparency to track the manual test case coverage by the automation script.
Automation testing should not follow record and playback method. It should have a standardized process.
• Platform based approach is recommended so as to ensure scalability and reuse of components
• Test Automation is an added quality check and not the replacement to manual testing
• Selecting the right automation tool is a very important exercise which ensures the overall success of the initiative.
• The whole testing exercise should be done in a phase wise manner with impetus on assessing the results from each phase.
• The maintenance/enhancement of test scripts should be continuously done.

Selecting An Automation Tool From Lists

First, There are plenty of automation tool available in the market. Every tool has its unique capability and features. We need to select a tool – that fulfills our requirement and also friendly with the cost and capability factor. Below are some popular automation tools that are hugely accepted by software testers worldwide.

• Selenium
• Test Complete
• CodedUI
• Robotium
• Watir
• Telerik Test Studio
• Cucumber
• Silk test
• Sahi

Next, tool selection also depends on the easiness and interest level of the existing testers in an organization. Since programming knowledge required to prepare test scripts so usually some sort of hesitation is always there. In addition to that it is also time consuming for a tester to gain good programming knowledge as well as complete script preparation within speculated period of time. In these kind of situations, it is a smart step to choose tools which are having minimal programming requirement for test script preparation.

So now a day’s organizations prefer automation tools that are based on the above type of listed popular automation tools platform but which is customized with such a framework that helps the testers to write test scripts with minimal programming knowledge.

Moreover, some organizations are also going forward an extra step to build these customized tools of their own which directly have a very good effect on time, cost and resource management. These customized tools are mainly build on data driven framework which uses a predefined data sheet as the input. The testers are only required the input the data in the data sheet with a basic web technology knowledge.

Another major aspect of test automation is to reuse and maintain test scripts. As it is the truth that changes will be happened in modules someday, so we need to plan ahead the way to have a test data management. This helps to update / maintain test data without script modification every time. Instead of hard-coding the value parameterization is the best practice to follow.

Last but not the least is the reporting. As every task or work needs a report to be analyzed so as automation testing framework. So reporting plays a big role in test automation. As we were discussing about the customized tools earlier, organizations are also integrating customized reports in their tool to reduce the time and cost further. But in general, the automation test reports should be simple, clear, understandable, and accurate to evaluate.

Finally, understanding the need and aspects the test automation should be done and it will be profitable in a long run. Happy testing!!!

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