This article covers the basics of automated software testing and provides a basic introduction to the vast, technical topic: what it is, why it’s necessary for the Agile IT industry, and how to make sense of the technology behind it. Along the way, you’ll find input from professionals in the test community that will help you determine what you need to explore further.

Test automation is a fundamental part of Agile. Various core practices of Agile, such as Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery, Test-Driven Development (TDD), and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) rely on the efficiency and reliability of test automation. For teams using Agile methods, test automation impacts more than just the software being developed: successful test automation practices also highlight the culture change and importance of teamwork associated with Agile.
Accounting Manage core financial data for general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and bank reconciliation. Likely includes billing and invoicing and financial reports such as profit and loss, cash flow statement and balance sheet. Connect with modules for purchase orders, inventory etc. May also include additional, industry-specific features, such as fund accounting (for nonprofits).
Simple, familiar language. The principles of double-entry accounting are several centuries old. You can't get away from some of the terms and phrases that wouldn't normally come up in casual conversation, like debits and credits, general ledger, and chart of accounts. But the developers who have produced today's best-of-breed accounting sites only subject you to arcane language when it's absolutely necessary. You can't get around the fact that double-entry accounting is a complex process that must follow the rules, but these wizard-based services hide as much of the complexity as they can.
Email marketing is still a force to be reckoned with, even though it was one of the first forms of digital marketing to take off. In an age of social media, blogging and text messaging, email marketing is going strong because of the powerful results and conversion rates it gets for businesses of all types. Two email marketing services in particular are helpful to small businesses:
If the latter is the type of business management software you’re interested in, inquire about the integration capabilities with the vendor. It’s important that any stand-alone applications or other software currently in use at your company will integrate with your business management platform. This way, you can ensure seamless data transfer between systems, offering you greater oversight and control over operations.

Accounting Manage core financial data for general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and bank reconciliation. Likely includes billing and invoicing and financial reports such as profit and loss, cash flow statement and balance sheet. Connect with modules for purchase orders, inventory etc. May also include additional, industry-specific features, such as fund accounting (for nonprofits).
Building a successful automated testing strategy is tough and the approach will vary on a team-by-team basis. No team is completely identical to another. Some may consist of more manual testers than automation engineers, while some may have shifted left and depend on developers to do the heavy lifting. Budget, deadlines, application type, and development model are all factors that impact how an automated testing strategy should outlined be implemented.
As it relates to testing software, Hazen looks at Agile and non-Agile methods of development as being risk-based decisions. According to Hazen, the question of how test automation impacts Agile or other development methods comes down to how much automation “tooling” is used, where it is implemented in testing, and how much it is relied on for the project’s goal.  
Gauge is produced by the same company that developed Selenium. With Gauge, developers can use C#, Ruby, or Java to create automated tests Gauge itself is an extensible program that has plug-in support, but it is still in beta; use this only if you want to adopt cutting-edge technology now. Gauge is a promising product and when it is complete will likely become a standard, both for developers and testers, as it has quite a lot of technology behind it.
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.
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.]
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.
You already know the value of software testing. But fast-paced software development environments can create time and cost constraints that make it difficult to thoroughly test an application prior to release. If defects slip undetected into the production environment, the result can be customer dissatisfaction and increased maintenance costs. Test automation allows your team to execute more tests in less time, increasing coverage and freeing human testers to do more high-level, exploratory testing. Automation is especially beneficial for test cases that are executed repeatedly, such as those for cross-browser and cross-device compatibility, and those that are part of a full or partial regression suite.
Many test automation tools provide record and playback features that allow users to interactively record user actions and replay them back any number of times, comparing actual results to those expected. The advantage of this approach is that it requires little or no software development. This approach can be applied to any application that has a graphical user interface. However, reliance on these features poses major reliability and maintainability problems. Relabelling a button or moving it to another part of the window may require the test to be re-recorded. Record and playback also often adds irrelevant activities or incorrectly records some activities.[citation needed]
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:
QuickBooks offers literally hundreds of templates for almost any report you could conceivably need.  Invoicing? You got it. Accounts payable? Not a problem. Inventory? Check. Time tracking? Yes. QuickBooks will manage your contacts and handle tax issues, forms and returns. It will create a budget for you and do your payroll — although the payroll feature is an add-on that costs a little extra. QuickBooks does pretty much everything except drive you to work.

Though you can still read reviews of them here, three of the small business accounting applications we covered do not appear in the features matrix because they're not quite as mature as the ones that are posted here. Sage One Accounting was developed by Sage, a global software company that sells a diverse family of accounting solutions, both desktop and cloud-based. WorkingPoint is still missing some functionality offered by its competitors, such as mobile access and integration with related apps. ZipBooks is the newest; it had the thinnest feature set when we reviewed it, but it's growing rapidly.

The increased demand for automation is trending in our software testing industry, as well. If you check out any software or application testing communities (i.e., uTest, Quora, etc.), you will find software testers urging for various tools that can be helpful in their day to day testing activities, whether it is for desktop testing, web testing, browser testing, regression testing, web services and API testing, and many more.

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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.

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