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.
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Automation testing is much faster than its human equivalent, and yields crucial analytics. It lets us run tests 24-7, even several at once. Perhaps most crucially, it enables us, as developers, to focus on the creative stuff, freeing us up for what’s most important. Unfortunately there are a baffling number of automated mobile app testing tools to choose from, and each one comes with its own bullish marketing literature, telling you that this product is more reliable than any other. Given the baffling amount of jargon and technical-speak involved, it’s hard to separate the real from the spiel.
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
The ROI on automation tests varies depending on several factors. Some tests are difficult to develop because of technology constraints. For example, testing frameworks may not support test cases that run across several browser sessions or across different devices. Other tests may not need to be run frequently. For example, it might be more cost-effective to occasionally and manually test a use case for a rarely used feature, rather than invest the time to develop and maintain an automated test that runs after each nightly build. Each organization will make its considerations according to its own priorities, but it's always important to consider the ROI you'll get by automating your tests.
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Ranorex Studio produces straightforward and comprehensive test reports to reduce debugging time. View reports in Ranorex Studio, or formatted as a PDF and sent automatically by email. To get the fastest feedback, you can even view reports while testing is in progress. Choose whether or not to generate detailed logs, produce a JUnit-compatible report, or create a custom report template. Debug errors by jumping straight from the test report to the failed step in the test case. Use Ranorex predefined report levels to select messages by type such as “warning” or “error,” and include screenshots and snapshots in reports to aid in the debugging effort.
Test automation tools can be expensive, and are usually employed in combination with manual testing. Test automation can be made cost-effective in the long term, especially when used repeatedly in regression testing. A good candidate for test automation is a test case for common flow of an application, as it is required to be executed (regression testing) every time an enhancement is made in the application. Test automation reduces the effort associated with manual testing. Manual effort is needed to develop and maintain automated checks, as well as reviewing test results.
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The next phase in the evolution of business software is being led by the emergance of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which involves identifying and automating highly repetitive tasks and processes, with an aim to drive operational efficiency, reduce costs and limit human error. Industries that have been in the forefront of RPA adoption include the Insurance industry, Banking and Financial Services, the Legal industry and the Healthcare industry.
Automation frameworks are combined with specific automation tools to create a sound basis for your specific project goals. Automation tools are then aligned with testing goals. When the framework and tools are combined with common practices and coding standards for testing software, you have an automation framework. Jones offers an example using the most popular open source automation technology used for testing a web browser’s user interface (UI).
“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.”
We've emphasized the importance of getting everyone involved in automation. Here's how it works in my department. An integral part of each development team, the DevTester writes and executes manual test cases for the team's user stories. The tests are written using a methodology (see connect manual tests with automation using a clear methodology) that clarifies how to automate them later on. Once a feature is stable, the DevTester writes the actual automation tests. Then, there's the Developer. In addition to developing the application, the developer works with the DevTester to review both the test's design and the testing code itself. The developer's involvement in the automated tests increases his or her engagement in the automation efforts, which also means the DevTester can help with test maintenance should the need arise. The QA architect is an experienced QA professional who is instrumental in deciding which feature tests should be automated. This is the person with the higher-level view of the overall testing effort who can understand which test cases will yield the best ROI if automated. With a broader view of the application, the architect is also responsible for cross-feature and cross-team QA activities to make sure that end-to-end testing can also be automated.
I think we can all agree that automation is a critical part of any organization's software delivery pipeline, especially if you call yourself "agile." It's pretty intuitive that if you automate testing, your release cycles are going to get shorter. "So, if that's the case," you might say, "why don't we just automate everything?" There's a good reason: automation comes with a price.