Software tests have to be repeated often during development cycles to ensure quality. Every time source code is modified software tests should be repeated. For each release of the software it may be tested on all supported operating systems and hardware configurations. Manually repeating these tests is costly and time consuming. Once created, automated tests can be run over and over again at no additional cost and they are much faster than manual tests. Automated software testing can reduce the time to run repetitive tests from days to hours. A time savings that translates directly into cost savings.
Jim Hazen is an Automation Consultant and “veteran of the software testing trenches” who helps companies with test automation and performance test implementations. He has presented at multiple professional conferences, including STARWest and STPCon, and published articles in ST&QA Magazine on test automation and communication techniques for testers. You can learn more about Jim on LinkedIn.
Amazon is testing delivery drones that pick up warehouse orders sorted by robots, Google is testing self-driving cars, Starbucks is testing cashier-free stores dedicated to mobile ordering and payment, and Facebook is testing a brain-computer interface that may one day translate thoughts into digital text. There are mundane versions of automation technology behind all of this testing — software automation testing. Companies use automation technology to create the software responsible for the products and services causing all the hype.

Automated testing is, well, automated. This differs from manual testing where a human being is responsible for single-handedly testing the functionality of the software in the way a user would. Because automated testing is done through an automation tool, less time is needed in exploratory tests and more time is needed in maintaining test scripts while increasing overall test coverage.
The main goal in software development processes is to satisfy customers with timely releases of software that works flawlessly. Test automation makes it possible to execute test cases during off-peak hours, and to distribute them in parallel across multiple physical or virtual servers. Automated tests complete in a fraction of the time required for manual testing, giving the team significantly faster feedback on the quality of the application and its suitability for release.
Not all small businesses need the extra features and support provided with paid accounting services. Wave Financial offers free, cloud-based accounting software specifically designed for small businesses. Unlike other free accounting software programs that limit capabilities, Wave Financial offers a comprehensive set of accounting features without the monthly price tag. [Go here for a full review of Wave Financial.]
Those who believe they will be actively customizing their automated test environments may want to start with Selenium and customize it from there, whereas those who want to begin in a more structured test environment may be better off with one of the systems that are built on top of Selenium. Selenium can be scripted in a multitude of languages, including Java, Python, PHP, C#, and Perl.

Not all small businesses need the extra features and support provided with paid accounting services. Wave Financial offers free, cloud-based accounting software specifically designed for small businesses. Unlike other free accounting software programs that limit capabilities, Wave Financial offers a comprehensive set of accounting features without the monthly price tag. [Go here for a full review of Wave Financial.]
Asana is a good project management tool for small teams and businesses that need to communicate frequently about ongoing projects. Look for individual dashboards to watch progress toward task and project goals as well as workflows, reminders, and notifications to keep everyone on task. You can track progress in Kanban boards, list views, or calendars, whatever works best for the individual.
A free business suite that offers accounting, receipt scanning and invoicing capabilities, Wave is ideal for small businesses who employ less than 10 workers. It also works for entrepreneurs, freelancers, consultants and other self-employed professionals. The app is easy to set up and even easier to operate owing to its simple dashboard, which has everything you need for your financial management processes.
Testing in these short Agile iterations often necessitates a “shift left” approach. This shift left in agile development process means testing starts much earlier in the application lifecycle. As a result, in such an approach, developers with strong technical expertise are increasingly being held accountable for testing, and thus, they often work alongside testers to create test automation frameworks.

With Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), business customers, testers, and developers can collaborate to produce testable requirements that help them build higher quality software more rapidly. However, ATDD is still widely misunderstood by many practitioners. ATDD by Example is the first practical, entry-level, hands-on guide to implementing and successfully applying it.

Choosing the framework for your project comes down to deciding what guidelines will produce the desired results of the automated tests. Often, developers end up designing a custom framework. This requires experienced testers and dedication to planning for the changes that may arise while implementing the automated testing. In some cases, an existing automation tool already has the functionality necessary to achieve the desired result of automated tests.  

Top software development teams around the world rely on Smartsheet to get their products to market in record time. Software development often requires collaboration across teams and functions, and Smartsheet provides a flexible solution to accommodate the different ways people work. With multiple views - traditional Grid, Gantt, Calendar, and Card - each team can work the way they want, yet remain connected on the ultimate goal. Improve visibility into work as it’s getting done across teams with Smartsheet Sights dashboards, and improve collaboration with automated workflows. Streamline new software development efforts, accelerate time to market for product launch plans, and create and manage product roadmaps, all in one intuitive platform.


Automated testing or test automation is a method in software testing that makes use of special software tools to control the execution of tests and then compares actual test results with predicted or expected results. All of this is done automatically with little or no intervention from the test engineer. Automation is used to to add additional testing that may be too difficult to perform manually.

During my three years at Socialtext, I helped maintain a test tooling system through a user interface that was advanced for its time. O'Reilly took it as a case study in the book Beautiful Testing. The team at Socialtext uses the same framework today, although it now has several tests running at one time on Amazon's Electric Compute Cloud. Although we had a great deal of GUI-driving tests, we also had developer-facing (unit) and web services (integration) tests, a visual slideshow that testers could watch for every browser, and a strategy to explore by hand for each release. This combination of methods to reduce risk meant we found problems early.

You can (and should) regularly back up files to an external hard drive or NAS (network-attached storage) de­­vice in your office--but what if the whole place goes up in smoke? Hedge your bet with an online backup service like Mozy, which automatically archives whatever you'd like across the Internet, safe and sound. Just select what you want backed up, and Mozy does the rest, either in bulk while you sleep, or in real time, as files are changed. ($5 per month for unlimited service)

“If you need a framework to test web services, you may use a different set of tools within a framework,” says Jones. “You should be able to combine tools within a framework in a way that allows you to test, so you are not limited to just UI, integration, or web-services testing. Build your framework in a way that supports a range of testing goals.”


Tipalti is a cloud-based payment automation and management software that is known for helping businesses accurately meet deadlines. The solution helps solve problems that include non-compliance, late payments, administrative overload and complications arising from human error. Time spent on financial management is significantly decreased, solving one of the biggest problems facing accounting teams.
However, actually building automated tests for web applications can be challenging because the user interface of your application might change regularly, because of incompatibilities between browsers and because you usually need to support various server or client platforms. The following tools make it easier to build and execute automated tests for your web application.
ClearBooks is cloud-based accounting software with a full set of A/R and A/P features. It connects to your business bank accounts, and you can use it to send quotes and invoices, manage vendors, create purchase orders, pay bills, and run reports. It can be used by small businesses in any country, but U.S. users may find the unchangeable U.K. date format confusing. clearbooks.co.uk
FreeAgent is a feature-rich, cloud-hosted accounting platform intended to help small businesses and freelancers. It is relied upon by more than 60,000 businesses with its ability to bring together and manage all aspects of financial operation. The software comes with an array of tools designed to let you efficiently manage all important financial tasks and processes such as payrolls, taxes, expenses, estimates and invoices, bank transactions, cash flows, time tracking, and your project’s financial performance.
Of all the automated testing tools on our list, none of them is more simple or adaptable than this one. If you’re not from a programming background or you’ve never done automated software testing before, Ranorex lets you run your test without a script. It easily integrates with other testing tools such as TeamCity and nCover, and it comes with robust debugging capabilities.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting has two plans for small business owners. The Accounting Start plan is for a single user primarily interested in invoicing, expense management and reporting. In addition to these features, the other plan, The Accounting plan, has support for multiple users, can create quotes and estimates, allows you to record and track the bills you owe, and has simple inventory-management capabilities. Integrations that link the software to other business programs like POS systems and payroll are available. sage.com
With EasyForm Expense Management, employees will no longer have to physically submit expense reports. Users can take a snapshot of their receipts and easily upload them alongside their expense claims. Thereafter, managers can quickly approve or reject expense claims based on acquired data and audits. The software also utilizes GPS technology for reconciling travel-related expenses by tracking distance traveled during a business trip. Its travel intelligence capability also provides useful insights on how to better optimize one’s cost and spend.
In this case, you could check the screens to see if they still created a user with the right setup, but once that's done, there's no need to recheck that create use works over and over. Instead, consider creating actual command-line parameters to speed up testing. In the example at the client, a simple command-line tool could have flipped the ratio from one hour a day of testing and seven hours of setup to seven hours of testing and one hour of setup.
You can buy the QuickBooks disc for a “one-time” cost or download the super-duper version for some more dough, but you’ll probably end up footing the bill for upgrades in future years (and the upgrades cost almost as much as the original software). And some of the software’s features and reports just aren’t necessary for small businesses, so you might end up with a lot you can’t use. QuickBooks Pro accommodates up to three users, but the second two will cost you extra, too. It’s only compatible with Windows.
LiveAgent is a little more expensive for the most basic plan, but there are a lot of features packed in that you wouldn’t get from similarly priced options. Customer satisfaction and self-service tools, service level agreement rules and reporting, and even canned answers for common questions are all included at the lowest subscription cost. LiveAgent also has an optional VOIP tool as an extra add-on for companies who want to integrate their customer phone calls directly with their help desk.
Kathy Yakal has been annoying computer magazine editors since 1983, when she got her first technology writing job because she tagged along with her ex-husband on a job interview. She started freelancing and specializing in financial applications when PCs became financial tools for consumers and small businesses (after a stint at a high-end accounti... See Full Bio
First, you need the right tools. Second, you need qualified testers who need to be trained. Third, you need to invest time and effort in automation infrastructure and to develop tests on top of it. Developing automated tests is a software development effort itself. Tests need to be designed, coded, and validated before you can really put them to use. But the biggest effort comes just when you think you're done.
Trello gives teams a visual way to collaborate over tasks, projects, approval flows, or the next big idea. It is based on one of the most efficient methodologies ever conceived — Lean. Lean and kanban (lean’s visual project management system) was used by Toyota manufacturers to manage projects as early as the 1960s. Trello is totally free for as many cards, lists and comments as you like.

With Ranorex Studio, every member of the team can build automated tests for desktop, web or mobile software with graphical user interfaces, regardless of programming ability. The Ranorex Recorder provides reliable capture-and-replay functionality for codeless creation of tests. Easily edit recorded actions, add text and image validations, set parameter values, and build data-driven tests without writing a single line of code. For users who prefer to build tests entirely in code, Ranorex Studio supports industry-standard programming languages C# and VB.NET with a comprehensive IDE that includes features such as intelligent code completion, debugging functionalities, refactoring mechanisms and more. For web application testing, Selenium WebDriver is built into the Ranorex core API, making it possible to create Selenium tests entirely within Ranorex Studio, without writing Selenium-specific code. Read more about our Selenium WebDriver integration.
Spendesk equips businesses and organizations with a set of tools for efficient company expense management and monitoring. Controlling company budget is easily done by allocating a fix amount of money to an employee’s virtual card and accordingly records all transaction details in real-time, allowing for easy spend monitoring and preventing unwanted overspending.
Unique on this list, the Galen Framework is designed for those who want to automate their user experience testing. Galen is a niche, specific tool that can be used to verify that your product is going to appear as it should on most platforms. Once testing has been completed, Galen can create detailed reports, including screenshots, and can help developers and designers analyze the appearance of their application over a multitude of environments. Galen can perform additional automated tasks using JavaScript, Java, or the Galen Syntax.
Mobile versions. Because cloud-based accounting applications support anytime, anywhere access to financial data, their developers have made at least a subset of the main site's features available on smartphones and tablets. Kashoo was the first to build an iPad app, and One Up was actually developed for mobile use and only later made available through web browsers.
There’s no clean way to pigeonhole Airtable. It is technically a database, but can be used for data visualization, project management, task management, calendars, and planning. All of these tasks work better in Airtable if you store your data (customers, email subscribers, financial metrics) there, because any tasks, projects or events can be linked to assets.
Testers will approach an automated test framework best practices substantially differently from developers. While developers are more likely to program their automated tests, testers will need tools that let them create scenarios without having to develop custom scripting. Some of the best test automation frameworks are specifically designed for one audience or another, while others have features available for both.
In software testing, test automation is the use of special software (separate from the software being tested) to control the execution of tests and the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or add additional testing that would be difficult to perform manually.
Testers will approach an automated test framework best practices substantially differently from developers. While developers are more likely to program their automated tests, testers will need tools that let them create scenarios without having to develop custom scripting. Some of the best test automation frameworks are specifically designed for one audience or another, while others have features available for both.
In software testing, test automation is the use of special software (separate from the software being tested) to control the execution of tests and the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or add additional testing that would be difficult to perform manually.
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