In this article, I'll discuss some of the best practices I discovered through on my own journey toward automation. These are practices you should consider when automating your testing cycles to make sure you build a suite of tests that work well and can be maintained throughout the life of your application. (This article is based on a presentation that can be viewed in full here.)


Manage relationships with contacts, leads, customers, and vendors with Capsule. This online CRM pulls everything you know about a company or contact into one place, and gives easy access to everyone who needs it. Sales, marketing and customer success teams can easily see what their team has been doing, centralizing data and avoiding double-emailing or manual checks.
Paying bills isn't as much fun as sending out invoices, but it has to be done. You may already be managing this task through your bank's website, which may or may not excel at this service. There are few other options online for standalone bill-pay, and the ones that exist have restrictions. Bill.com rules when it comes to supporting both invoices and bills; you'll be charged $29 per user per month for payables automation only. If that's more than you want to pay, you could subscribe to Wave, which is free, and just use its bill-paying tools.
See below for a list of popular unit testing frameworks and tools for major platforms and programming languages. These frameworks can be used by programmers to test specific functionality in libraries and applications. Unit tests can then be used to automatically test new versions and builds as part of an automated build system or deployment process.

Ranorex GUI automation projects are easy to integrate with other automation tools that your team may already be using, such as continuous integration solutions like Bamboo, issue tracking solutions like JIRA and Bugzilla, source code management tools such as Git, SVN and Microsoft Team Foundation Server, test management solutions like Jira, and load testing tools such as NeoLoad.
As an established solution, UFT enables enterprise mobility teams to buy into the MicroFocus ecosystem, or the HPE ecosystem, for improved support and timely releases. Although an expensive solution, there are a lot of content and guides available to help testers get up to speed testing and writing mobile test scripts with this more mature, established framework. To use UFT with Mobile Labs’ deviceConnect™, Mobile Labs recommends the use of Mobile Labs Trust™ to connect to mobile.

With so many options, it can be challenging for enterprise mobility teams to choose the right solution. Whether open-source or commercial, the top mobile testing tools each have their own strengths and overall benefits. But, depending on the size of the enterprise mobility team, overall skill set and available resources, some solutions may not be the right fit for all mobile developers, testers and quality assurance professionals.
Built for small businesses to enterprises, EasyForm Expense Management provides users with an easy way to control, track, and manage their expenditures to enhance their bottom line. This online expense tracking and management solution paints a clear picture on all expenses through complete visibility on expense records and various reporting tools, such as category and split reports.
Billy is attractive, basic accounting software for small service-oriented businesses. With it, you can create quotes, estimates and invoices, record expenses and generate reports. It connects to your business bank and credit card accounts to automatically download transaction data and has a proactive reconciliation process that predicts matches. It has an iPhone app and a Chrome extension for capturing receipts. billyapp.com
Accounting has always been an integral part of any business organization as it provides businesses with a view of their profitability or in some cases, losses. The process is likewise necessary for sound financial management, enabling businesses to keep expenditure and income records, which can be utilized in coming up with sound financial decisions.
AccountEdge Pro does more than accounting. It features DIY or outsourced payroll services so you can link accounting to payroll, pay your employees (including direct deposit), track time and prepare payroll taxes. Retailers will also enjoy its inventory-management suite, which integrates with the popular ecommerce platform Shopify. AccountEdge Pro is available on Mac and Windows. Mobile and cloud companion apps are also available. accountedge.com/pro
The principles of software development are just as valid when writing tests. Just like you don't want monolithic code with many interconnected parts, you don't want monolithic tests in which each step depends on many others. Break your flows down into small, manageable, and independent test cases. That way, if one test fails, it won't make the whole test suite grind to a halt, and you can effectively increase your test coverage at each execution of your automation suite.
Once the software passes automated tests, it may be released into production (depending on the preferred rate of deployment). This process is called Continuous Delivery. The preferred frequency is the difference between Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment. You achieve Continuous Delivery with the steps required for CI. The emphasis on automated testing (and automated builds) for quality assurance capitalizes on the efficiency of successful test automation and is essential to this practice.
Ok, you may be wondering why small businesses would need an enterprise resource planning tool (ERP)–especially because these tools have enterprise right in the name, so they should be too bulky for any small business, right? Fortunately, the technology that connects huge multinational corporations has become advanced enough that it can provide the same interconnected resources to businesses on a budget. These are the best ERP solutions for small businesses.
Work[etc] is an ERP for small businesses that’s based around CRM and project management software. Connect sales, marketing, projects, operations, support, and financial teams in one software where different departments can collaborate easier. Work[etc] replaces the separate software for project management, CRM, email marketing, help desk, and contract management. Integrate directly with your accounting software for real-time updates and financial reports.
Hubspot calls themselves an inbound marketing and sales software, but the software modules come as stand alone or integrated marketing, CRM, and sales tools. The CRM is always free, and sales and marketing tools start at $0 and scale from there. From website building tools to lead generation and tracking modules and drip campaigns, Hubspot covers all the bases.

A growing trend in software development is the use of unit testing frameworks such as the xUnit frameworks (for example, JUnit and NUnit) that allow the execution of unit tests to determine whether various sections of the code are acting as expected under various circumstances. Test cases describe tests that need to be run on the program to verify that the program runs as expected.
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).
Intacct is advanced, cloud-based accounting software that automates processes and helps you manage business finances so your business can grow. It generates a wide range of reports, giving you the ability to evaluate your business's performance from any financial angle, including profit margins, losses, income and revenue segments like total revenue, revenue by product and revenue per square foot. intacct.com
If you rely on G Suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office, Drive is the smart choice beacuse it seamlessly integrates with these other products. Everything both uploaded from an external source and created with G Suite is indexed and searchable from the same toolbar, making it easy to always find what you need. For free users, Google Drive offers 10GB of space.
The recently released World Quality Report 2017–2018 by Capgemini, Sogeti, and Micro Focus points out several interesting trends in software quality and testing. Two of three key trends are increasing test automation and widespread adoption of agile and DevOps methodologies. As the report shows, organizations need intelligent automation and smart analytics to speed up decision making and validation and to better address the challenges of testing smarter devices and products that are highly integrated and continuously changing. The report also suggests the need of smart test platforms that are self-aware and self-adaptive to support the complete application lifecycle.
Crispin and Gregory define Test-Driven Development (TDD) as the process of writing and automating small unit tests before writing the piece of code that will make the test pass. TDD is used for continuous integration testing to ensure small units of code work together first. A unit test verifies the behavior of a small part of the code in the overall system. These tests are the primary candidate for the majority of automated tests. Even teams that are not practicing Agile development use TDD to prevent defects and design software (Agile Testing, 2008).
Worst case, your testers spend all day maintaining the automation false failures, adjusting the test code to match the current system, and rerunning them. This might have some marginal value, but it is incredibly expensive, and valuable only when the programmers are making changes that routinely cause real failure. But that's a problem you need to fix, not cover up with the Band-Aid of testing tools.
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.
If you rely on G Suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office, Drive is the smart choice beacuse it seamlessly integrates with these other products. Everything both uploaded from an external source and created with G Suite is indexed and searchable from the same toolbar, making it easy to always find what you need. For free users, Google Drive offers 10GB of space.
A subscription to Xero runs varies depending on the plan you choose. Xero will handle five invoices for you, pay five bills and reconcile up to 20 transactions a month with the starter version. You get unlimited reconciliations, invoices and bills with the Standard or Premium plans, and the Premium plan will also handle payroll for you. You’re not locked into the plan you choose — you can change at any time.
TestCraft is a codeless Selenium test automation platform. The revolutionary AI technology and unique visual modeling allows for faster test creation and execution while eliminating test maintenance overhead. Testers create fully automated test scenarios without coding. Customers find bugs faster, release more frequently, integrate with CI/CD and improve overall quality of their digital products.
A second common type of test data is the export-to-zip/import-from-zip combination. Teams that do this create a common sample test data set, with known expected results to search, and known users. The deploy pipeline creates a sample environment with a clean database, then imports the zip file. Some of my customers who have a multitenant system, where many users share the same database, think this option isn't a realistic simulation. In that case I suggest finding a way to export, delete, and re-import by account.
Test automation on the other hand is the automated execution of predefined tests. A test in that context is a sequence of predefined actions interspersed with evaluations, that James Bach calls checks. These checks are manually defined algorithmic decision rules that are evaluated on specific and predefined observation points of a software product. And herein lies the problem. If, for instance, you define an automated test of a website, you might define a check that ascertains a specific text (e.g. the headline) is shown on that website. When executing that test, this is exactly what is checked—and only this. So if your website looks like shown in the picture, your test still passes, making you think everything is ok.
Another reason our QA specialists love Appium automated testing is its versatility. The software works with any testing system and supports a number of dialects, including Ruby, Java, PHP, Node and Python. It’s also pretty low-maintenance: standard robotisation APIs mean there’s no need to recompile your application in any way. The Appium android testing tool doesn’t expect anything to be introduced on the gadget, and it can be set up on an alternate stage easily.
A report cited in the book found that software developers in the 1990s routinely missed ship dates and deadlines. The pressure to reduce costs and keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing market is now dependent on faster software development. With growth and competition in commercial software development came new technology that changed software forever. The new graphical user interface (GUI), networked personal computers, and the client-server architecture demanded new development and testing tools.
Angie Jones is a Consulting Automation Engineer who advises several Scrum teams on automation strategies and has developed automation frameworks for many software products. Angie speaks and teaches internationally at software conferences, serving as an Adjunct College Professor of Computer Programming, and also teaches tech workshops to young girls through TechGirlz and Black Girls Code. Find out more on LinkedIn and at angiejones.tech
The takeaway is that testing is a process requiring human intervention. Bas Dijkstra, an experienced test automation consultant, describes how even the term “test automation” is flawed unless you understand what is and isn’t automated. The actual “learning, exploring, and experimenting” involved in manual, human-performed testing cannot be automated, according to Dijkstra. He writes:
API testing is also being widely used by software testers due to the difficulty of creating and maintaining GUI-based automation testing. It involves directly testing APIs as part of integration testing, to determine if they meet expectations for functionality, reliability, performance, and security.[10] Since APIs lack a GUI, API testing is performed at the message layer.[11] API testing is considered critical when an API serves as the primary interface to application logic since GUI tests can be difficult to maintain with the short release cycles and frequent changes commonly used with agile software development and DevOps.[12][13]
GnuCash is free, Linux-based accounting software that has all the features small businesses need to manage their finances: income and expense tracking, double-entry accounting, financial reports and calculations, scheduled transactions, statement reconciliation, and more. It can also track bank accounts, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In addition to Linux, GnuCash is also available for Windows, Mac and Android devices. gnucash.org
Testim.io leverages machine learning for the authoring, execution, and maintenance of automated test cases. We use dynamic locators and learn with every execution. The outcome is super fast authoring and stable tests that learn, thus eliminating the need to continually maintain tests with every code change. Netapp, Verizon Wireless, Wix.com and others run over 300,000 tests using Testim.io every month.

As a freelance accountant I’d say it is not as easy to take advantage of SMB tools as their vendors like to put it. As a matter of fact, I’ve tried several of those myself, but still had to work around them to make sense of my data, and they didn’t get much further than spreadsheets, to be honest. Does any of these systems actually fit sole accountants?


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
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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