test automation

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28 Dec, 2018


You are always encountered with the following question while providing software testing solution:

  • Which issues do you want to resolve?
  • Which technologies should you use?
  • How to structure your teams?
  • Which development methodologies you should incorporate?
  • What and when to test?

The last portion is usually considered as an afterthought. However, that is not always a poor decision. After all, going from no solution to some solution is the preliminary step. It does not need good test coverage. Nevertheless, when your organization and your product mature QA and software testing become an integral part of your success.

Even though these days most professional software developers agree that QA is important, we are still working out the best way to implement it. What seems clear, however, is that the ideal QA strategy should fit right into a modern continuous integration pipeline, and therefore be fast and reliable. Today, we’ll discuss how to identify test cases that are ready for testing automation as part of your QA strategy, and how to gain the most from its benefits while minimizing its disadvantages.

Keeping this scenario in mind, we will discuss the test cases that are ready for testing automation as an integral part of your QA plan and tips to the most from its benefits while minimizing its disadvantages.

Forming A Balanced Test Automation Strategy

Automatic and manual testing, one of the choices that you must make while thinking regarding your QA strategy. This is almost always the balance. There are some scenarios which are suitable for 100% approach one way or the other.

Initially, to get obvious out of the way: a few things such as unit tests are explicit. You must always have some sort of automated unit tests. Other things such as usability research and penetration testing sometimes require a human touch. The boundary between these two is where things get exciting.

Functional Test: To Automate, or Not to Automate?

Let’s concentrate on functional testing, which in web app world means testing the flow and User Interface of the app. Once you have a functioning app with a comfortable UX flow, ship it to production, you would definitely want it to have a little function test coverage. This coverage is intended to guarantee that you can safely recapitulate and enhance it over time without breaking the ability of your users to attain things. Should you test it using a manual or automated approach?

Automated tests are good due to free and fast execution. These are big advantages when you are trying to save time on development, which is generally one of the most valuable resources. After having a functional Selenium script, you can run it frequently to attain quicker results. The issue is that these appealing saving just come in after the preliminary investment of dev time to write these scripts. Unfortunately, a few automated tests break unexpectedly as you change your app. Therefore, you require continuous reinvestment in order to keep them up-to-date.

This problem doesn’t exist in manual testing. It functions as per the expectations, providing you consistent outcomes with having to mention all particular details. The disadvantages, however, are important: manual testing normally creates high costs and long improvement times.

From this, a few clear pictures begin to appear. If you have an unchanging element that you require to test frequently, automation is perhaps the way to go. Every time you implement your test suite, you will degenerate in a return on your preliminary investment. Assuming the unforeseen damages don’t occur very frequently, the continuous maintenance will not upset you either, because you just have to fix your test scripts when things break. On the contrary, if you are testing something that has a tendency to change regularly and particularly if you don’t test repeatedly, you may be better off going through a manual testing stage prior to each release.

Deciding the Time to Incorporate Test Automation

Now the question arises, how can we evaluate how often and when something is going to break? This is an extremely difficult question to answer. It depends on a specific situation that you are in.

There are five various types of test breakages. Keeping this potential breakage risk under consideration, it gives you an idea about the areas of your app that are appropriate for test automation, and which are better served by manual QA.

1. Value-Based Breakage

You want to guarantee that they accept the correct values and increase right mistakes when provided invalid values. This done while testing text input fields. Every time you change your backend, the need to upgrade your test saves it from breaking. In the same way, when you add a new required input field, your previous automated script will try to submit a form with absent data unless you upgrade it.

One more common case is declaring that a particular error message appeared and then upgrading the error message, which will also break the script.

2. Element Locators-Based Breakage

When your test script authenticates something, it normally requires to inspect and look for a DOM element, by its place in hierarchy, text, and attributes. Each one of these methods can break: varying page styles, upgrading copy, or reforming your layout can all threaten your capacity to look for the same thing reliably. This is the most common reason for breaking automated tests and extremely difficult to eradicate.

3. Page Reloading

Relying on your backside, going through a few users’ flows may need page reloads. On the contrary, reloading a page at the incorrect moment can also break the test. Changes to your app can result in broken reload login test scripts, due to:

  • Reloads being needed at various points
  • Reloads not happening anymore
  • Reloads possibly needing various amounts of time than previously

4. Pop-Up Windows

Pop-ups, such as alerts or windows, are normally used in web apps and required to be tested. So, it is common for test scripts to declare their absence or presence of pop-ups, which will break every time the app is upgraded to change the relevant behavior. Even though paper authors have found this to less frequent causes of broken tests, testers have witnessed customers being affected by this specific problem sufficient to create a particular set of rules for testers to while testing pop-up behavior.

5. User Session Times

Majority of the apps apply the logic to log out an inactive user after some time and utilize test scripts that are deliberately inactive for some time and authenticate that they expect action occurs when expected. These sorts of tests are expected to break whenever the permitted session time changes.

The Takeaway: Leverage Test Automation Strategically

Test automation is very good for development. It provides you peace of mind to serve your customers well and permits you to move at a faster speed. This will enable your team to allocate less time dealing with QA overheads and results of bugs in production. If done appropriately it can actually supercharge your development efforts. However, it has its own drawbacks. You must think thoroughly regarding your QA strategy and regarding the parts of your test suites that can be automated and will definitely pay off.

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