Alan Page is an author with more than two decades of experience in software testing roles, the majority spent in various roles at Microsoft. He offers another perspective on the importance of distinguishing automated and manual testing. In “The A Word,” an ebook compilation of his blog posts on automation, Page mentions that most of his commentary on automation focuses on the “abuse and misuse” of automation in software testing and development. He is skeptical of replacing manual testing activity with test automation, as you can see from the his Twitter feed:
Realizing the benefits of software automation testing first requires understanding that automation isn’t automatic. If you understand the basics — what it is, what it is not, who uses it and why they do so — you will start to see why automation testing is fundamental to modern software development. The efficiency gains associated with successful test automation require the use of automation frameworks and proper automation software tools.
Automated testing expanded with Agile principles because testing in a repeatable manner that is secure, reliable, and keeps pace with the rapid deployment of software is required for this environment. In their book Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, authors Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory claim Agile development depends on test automation to succeed. They emphasize the team effort required for test automation and recommend automating tests early in the development process. Also, the development of automation code is as important as the development of the actual production code for software. The “test-first" approach to development is known as Test-Driven Development.
Here’s a disarming stat: only 2.5% of companies finish every project they start. A Gartner report reveals that only 5% of companies use just one project management tool. This indicates a need for an “all-in-one” solution that helps employees reduce the amount of time they spend switching between apps. Here are three great solutions to get you started.
If your business still doesn't have a blog--one of the best ways around to provide up-to-date company and product news--you're only about three years behind the curve. Hey, it's not too late to catch up: WordPress installs in minutes (it even offers a free, hosted option on, and the platform is dazzlingly easy to use (the site's home page carries an ad for WordPress for Dummies, but we doubt you'll need to crack that volume). WordPress so simple, your team will be begging to contribute to the blog instead of whining that it's too laborious. (free)
Intuit QuickBooks Online offers a range of features for all types of small businesses. This includes freelancers, consultants, online merchants, store and restaurant owners, service providers and more. Whether you're just starting out, expanding or have an established business, QuickBooks Online is packed with basic and advanced features to meet your accounting needs. [Go here for a full review of QuickBooks Online accounting software.]
We are running a local gardening service business, and weren’t exactly lucky picking up a standalone billing service. We looked mostly at tools with multiple levels of service, but we couldn’t find an SMB-friendly plan that automates accounts payable. Pay-as-you-go was not an option either, as we’re working more or less with the same clients. Which system would you suggest?
With the growing number of web-based applications this is changing, however, as verifying and testing web-based interfaces is easier and there are various tools that help with this, including free open source projects. Please see below for a list of popular and useful tools, projects, books and resources to get started with automated software testing.
Many of the systems we’ve reviewed are just cut for freelancers, with configurable billing & invoicing, automated tax calculations, integration with all major banks, and of course – reports and metrics that comply with your needs. A large portion of them are also extremely affordable, but so that you stay on the safe side, we recommend you to look exclusively at online and cloud-hosted technology. Pick natively integrated systems instead of hiring a developer to build software connections from scratch, and pay attention to scalability so that your prospective system can handle sudden workload spikes.
While automated testing has been considered essential for organizations, both large and small, to implement in order to deliver outstanding software and stay competitive in the industry, it can be tough to get started. Outlining an effective roadmap, building robust frameworks, choosing the right tools, and measuring the potential monetary impact that automation could have on your delivery lifecycle are all critical components of any successful automated testing strategy, but each step presents its own challenges and costs.
There's plenty of failure in that combination. First of all, the feedback loop from development to test is delayed. It is likely that the code doesn't have the hooks and affordances you need to test it. Element IDs might not be predictable, or might be tied to the database, for example. With one recent customer, we couldn't delete orders, and the system added a new order as a row at the bottom. Once we had 20 test runs, the new orders appeared on page two! That created a layer of back and forth where the code didn't do what it needed to do on the first pass. John Seddon, the British occupational psychologist, calls this "failure demand," which creates extra work (demand) on a system that only exists because the system failed the first time around.
Automatically testing your web application is a good way to ensure that new versions of your application don't introduce bugs and regressions. Automation of your web application testing also allows your development team to make changes and refactor code with more confident, as they can quickly verify the functionality of the application after every change.
But if test automation is so limited, why do we do it in the first place? Because we have to, there is simply no other way. Because development adds up, testing doesn’t. Each iteration and release adds new features to the software (or so it should). And they need to be tested, manually. But new features also usually cause changes in the software that can break existing functionality. So existing functionality has to be tested, too. Ideally, you even want existing functionality to be tested continuously, so you recognise fast if changes break existing functionality and need some rework. But even if you only test before releases, in a team with a fixed number of developers and testers, over time, the testers are bound to fall behind. This is why at some point, testing has to be automated.
This table-based example doesn't include if statements or for loops, and the %% sign indicates a variable that can be passed in or assigned. In the past, I have created accounts and users with a standard name, followed by a time stamp, to ensure that the users were unique for each test run. Individual functions, like search_for, followed by what to search and what to expect in the results, consist of code. Those might have if statements or loops in them, but what we expose to the customer is a straight flow.
Business applications are built based on the requirements from the business users. Also, these business applications are built to use certain kind of Business transactions or data items. These business applications run flawlessly until there are no new business requirements or there is no change in underlying Business transactions. Also, the business applications run flawlessly if there are no issues with computer hardware, computer networks (Intenet/intranet), computer disks, power supplies, and various software components (middleware, database, computer programs, etc.).
To do more with less, developers reused test scripts during development and integration stages to work more efficiently. The demand for new software built, and the constant change to software under development opened the door for automation testing practices to serve as a reliable control mechanism for testing the code (Automated Software Testing, 1999).
The medium size, or small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), has a broader range of software applications, ranging from accounting, groupware, customer relationship management, human resource management systems, outsourcing relationship management, loan origination software, shopping cart software, field service software, and other productivity enhancing applications.

The platform can likewise capture expenses from credit card transactions, a very useful feature. It can be accessed at any given time and place as it runs on any device. Problems arising from spending limits and expenditures that are permissible are minimized, resulting in compliance and enforcement of companies’ spending policies. Popular integrations include Zoho Books and Zoho CRM, which allow users to utilize a single account for all tools.
Sage 50cloud is an online accounting solution designed to help small and medium-sized businesses manage their financials and stay compliant with taxes and reporting requirements. It comes with all essential features expected of a best-in-class accounting platform such as taxes, inventory, budgeting, cash flow, and invoicing. In addition, you get a wide range of add-ons including credit card processing, HR/payroll, POS, e-commerce, data management and more.  With its mobile capability, you can make payments on-the-go and bill customers, and provide your accountants real-time access to accounting books. You can easily sign up for a Sage 50cloud free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.
Collaborate around tasks with your team, with projects, comments, and assignments. MeisterTask is visually similar to Trello, but supports a native integration to MindMeister for fast and easy mind mapping. Its integrations with Dropbox, GitHub, Zendesk, Box, Bitbucket, and Google Drive allow you to map tasks to one another and keep you from entering data in the same place twice.
Robust GUI test automation begins with the reliable object identification provided by Ranorex Spy. This tool can be used alone or from within the Ranorex Studio environment to deliver industry-leading recognition of GUI objects and controls, and ensure that each user interface element is uniquely identified using the powerful RanoreXPath syntax. Information on identified objects can be shared with team members through snapshot files, or stored in the Ranorex object repository for use in automated tests. The object repository in Ranorex Studio manages identified UI objects, so that they are editable and re-usable across testing projects. Features of the repository include the ability to assign meaningful names to repository objects to make them more maintainable, set default values, or link objects to parameter values. Ranorex Studio tools support best practices in automated test case design, including separation of test data from procedures, use of local and global parameters to pass values, and easily reusable code modules that can be shared by the entire team.