When testing software, you can choose between manual testing and automated software testing. Manual testing is time-consuming and tedious, which can be discouraging for software developers. One way to overcome these problems is to automate software testing.
In this article, we will talk about the features of automation testing to help you decide whether to implement it in your software development project.
What Is Testing Automation?
Software test automation describes any process that involves using separate tools to test the software being developed. These tools use script sequences to validate products with much less human intervention than traditional testing methods. In QA automation testing, automation software controls tests, compares results to the predictions and reports results. Automated software testing reduces time-to-market and delivers more efficient product testing. QA test automation enables continuous product testing and delivery. The two most common approaches to this technique are driven by Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).
QA automation has become an integral part of many business strategies. By 2026, according to financial experts, the global automation testing market is expected to grow to a $50 billion industry. This growing industry has brought many tools and methods for automation software testing.
Related: What Causes Software Bugs? Types of Defects in Software Testing
What are the benefits of automation testing?
Automated testing benefits include:
- Improving testing efficiency: a large part of the web application development process is testing. By automating this process, you can reduce the amount of time spent on testing and reduce the number of human errors. Improving efficiency can help developers meet product delivery deadlines;
- Continuity: automation engineers can easily understand the software developer’s work, scenario, defects, fixes, and previous tests through the automation test report;
- Lower operating costs: by purchasing the necessary automation software, you will reduce many costs and increase long-term profits. Large capital costs are offset by lower labour costs for testing;
- Maximum test coverage: maximizing test coverage with manual testing will require a lot of work. Automated software testing will use quality test cases to ensure 100% test coverage, ensuring that all user interfaces, databases, and web services meet business requirements;
- Fast feedback: software testing QA automation speeds up test cycles and eliminates repetitive test cases. The testing software will provide test results to all team members faster than a manual tester. After that, any problems can be fixed in a shorter time than with traditional testing;
- Increased return on investment (ROI): investing time and money in repetitive manual tests can increase time to market while potentially missing some bugs. However, an automated test system will reduce product development lifecycle costs, defects present, and time to market;
- Improved scalability: with automation in testing, companies can assign fewer human testers to each project. Automation tools give organizations more flexibility and scalability to handle more projects;
- Easily executable tests: Many tests and test cases are complex, lengthy, and prone to errors. Robust automated testing scripts help to reduce the number of errors to a minimum.
Related: What is Quality Assurance Software Testing? A QA Process Flow Guide
Test automation challenges
Each test automation strategy comes with a set of challenges. However, using the right tools can help you overcome these challenges in your business. Here are four of the most common issues.
- Choosing the right tools
When integrating test automation software for the first time, an enterprise may not be experienced in choosing the best tools for a given application. Not every software package offers the required test coverage for a product. Given the wide variety of testing tools available, many vendors exaggerate product capabilities.
The QA team should do enough research on a particular tool rather than paying for the most popular one on the market. You can solve this problem by defining the tooling requirements for the application. Make sure you also consider the skills of the team members. By choosing software testing tools that meet your requirements, you can speed up the testing process. If you can’t find one tool that fits all your needs, try a multi-tool solution. Also, identify the most important application components to test. This way you only spend money on the tools you need.
- Wrong testing infrastructure
To maximize test coverage and test execution speed, you need the right infrastructure. For example, testing an application on multiple browsers and combinations of operating systems requires a parallelization strategy. This situation requires a strong infrastructure. Many companies are unable to create the necessary test structure on their own, especially when they get into automated software testing. The cloud infrastructure offers the necessary configurations in the test environment so that you can run your tests efficiently. In addition, these infrastructures are cheaper to maintain with the same benefits.
- Lack of expertise and communication
While your QA team may have a lot of experience with manual testing, automation is a separate challenge. If team members do not have experience in this area, they will have to undergo training until they reach the required level for automated testing of web applications. In addition, many teams lack communication. Failure to communicate can result in someone taking on assignments they are ill-prepared for, or the team failing their tests. You can overcome your lack of experience by using an automated testing system to allow team members to use their best programming language.
- The wrong approach to testing
If your company has the necessary tools, infrastructure, and experience to conduct automated software testing, you may still be using the wrong testing approach. Automation software does not tell you which processes to automate. Not all tests can be automated, so automation must be strategic. When developing a test automation strategy, try to use the test automation pyramid or risk-based testing. Test automation pyramids rank tests to run based on ROI. Priority should be given to automated unit tests, then service tests, then user interface testing, and exploratory testing. This template allows you to fix defects at an early stage before moving on to other tests. Risk-based testing prioritises testing of items with the highest risk of failure. You can consider a component “risky” if its failure will lead to serious consequences. Focus on service level agreements, failure rates, and the financial cost of defects when prioritizing.
Automated Testing Process
Below, we’ve described software automation step-by-step:
Step 1. Selection of the testing tool
The choice of testing tool largely depends on the technology on which the application under test is built. For example, QTP does not support Informatica. Thus, QTP cannot be used to test Informatica applications. It’s a good idea to do a Proof of Concept of the Tool (feasibility demonstration) at AUT.
Step 2. Determining the automation volume
The scope of automation is the area of the application under test that will be automated. It helps to define the following points:
- Business critical features;
- Big Data scenarios;
- General application features;
- Technical feasibility;
- Frequency of business component reuse;
- The complexity of automation test cases
- Ability to use the same test scripts for cross-browser testing
Step 3. Planning, design and development
In this step, you create an automation strategy and plan that contains the following details:
- Selected automation tools;
- Frame design and features;
- Inbound and outbound automation elements;
- Preparation of automation stands;
- Graph and timeline of scripts and execution;
- Automation test results.
Step 4. Testing implementation
At this stage, automation scripts are executed. Scripts need to enter test data before they can be run. Once completed, they provide detailed test reports.
Execution can be done using the automation tool directly, or with a test management tool that will call the automation tool.
Step 5. Technical support
This stage of automated testing is carried out to check whether new features added to the software work properly or not. Autotest maintenance occurs when new automation scripts are added and need to be tested and maintained to improve the effectiveness of the automation scripts with each successive release cycle.
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What Are The Types of Automated Tests?
When starting to use test automation tools, the company must determine the priority tests for automation. Remember that all of the following types of software testing can be automated or manual.
- End tests
End tests (E2E) are among the most valuable to implement. They model the end-user experience throughout the application. Some examples of E2E tests are checking that a user can log in, changing account settings, and uploading images. These tests allow the enterprise to be sure that the application will work without errors for the end user. Because E2E tools record and replay user actions, test plans are records of user experience flows. Products that do not have full test coverage will benefit the most from E2E testing of vital business flows. Keep in mind that automating these tests is capital-intensive. For products requiring rapid release of E2E tests, you need to automate. Otherwise, you may want to do them manually.
- Unit Tests
Unit tests look at individual components of the code. They usually cover individual features to ensure that the expected input produces the expected output. For code with a large number of critical calculations, an automated unit testing strategy should be used. These tests are affordable, easy to use and provide a high ROI. Since they are at the very bottom of the test automation pyramid, almost all enterprises should use them for their applications.
- Integration tests
Many divisions refer to the services of third parties. During testing, the codebase cannot access the third party. In integration tests, utilities are simulated to determine if the code will function as expected. Integration tests are similar to unit tests and they can serve as a cheaper alternative to E2E. In general, their implementation is cost-effective and should provide a high return on investment from automation.
- Performance tests
Performance tests measure the responsiveness and speed at which an application responds to a stimulus. Typical metrics include response time to search engine results and page load time. These tests measure these indicators. Automated performance tests run test cases against multiple metrics to find any speed loss or regressions.
- Exploratory testing
Exploratory testing is relatively random testing that uses unwritten sequences to look for unexpected behaviour. Solutions for automated testing of exploratory tests exist, but they are still in their infancy. If you find software testing tools to create an exploratory testing suite, you can give it a try. However, it is often more efficient to run these tests manually.
- Code analysis
Code analysis tools can be static or dynamic. They may be looking for style or flaws. A software automation tester does code analysis while checking the code. The only thing that automated tests require for code analysis is setting up rolls and updating tools.
- Regression testing
Regression testing includes the repetition of functional and non-functional tests. It determines whether previously developed software continues to work after an update. Failure to succeed breeds regression. Almost all code changes require regression testing. Due to its repetitive nature, it is well-suited for automation. However, regression testing to identify visual flaws (eg, incorrect font, element placement, colour scheme) is preferable to manual testing. Automated visual regression testing takes screenshots of previous product states and compares them to expected results. The development of this process is time-consuming and expensive. On the other hand, a person can quickly notice visual problems on a page.
- Automated acceptance tests
Automated acceptance testing (AAT) checks that the system satisfies user needs and business processes within acceptance criteria. In addition, they determine whether the end user finds the application acceptable for use. Due to the critical nature of AAT, the business, software developers, and QA team must collaborate. Once set up, acceptance tests can act as regression tests.
- Smoke test
A smoke test is usually performed after a maintenance or deployment window. They ensure that services and dependencies work properly. These preliminary tests reveal simple malfunctions that can lead to serious consequences that can lead to failure of the release. Smoke tests are subsets of test cases that cover the functionality of a unit of code. They are usually done through automatic deployment. The smoke test determines if the program starts, if the buttons work, and if the user interface opens. Thus, smoke tests can act as acceptance tests.
The right choice of automation tools, testing process and QA software testing team are the main components of automation success. For successful testing, manual methods and automation go hand in hand.
If you are searching for quality software testing services, NEKLO can become your reliable partner. Our QA software testing services help our clients build mobile and web applications that function stably and bug-free. Contact us through the form on our website – and let’s team up!