Ultimately, choosing the right test solution is going to mean paring down to the test results, test cases, and test scripts that you need. Automated tools make it easier to complete specific tasks. It is up to your organization to first model the data it has and identify the results that it needs before it can determine which automated testing tool will yield the best results.
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Test automation helps in reducing regression testing time and cutting down the time to market with significant cost savings on a long-term basis. However, a clear automation strategy and roadmap are key to ensuring the right return on investment on your automation initiatives. With disparate application architecture, multiple environments, third-party integrations and multiple user devices, a standardized and consistent automation approach is needed to ensure high reusability, ease of maintenance and lower upfront costs.
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.)
Sufficient test coverage typically demands significant effort. Hundreds of test cases may be needed to exercise all use scenarios, validate boundary and edge cases, and ensure that an application is compatible across browsers and devices. Data-driven automated testing separates test procedures from test data, allowing you to cover more scenarios with a minimum amount of effort. Easily repeat test cases across browsers or devices to ensure your application’s compatibility and consistent performance.
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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.
Some software testing tasks, such as extensive low-level interface regression testing, can be laborious and time-consuming to do manually. In addition, a manual approach might not always be effective in finding certain classes of defects. Test automation offers a possibility to perform these types of testing effectively. Once automated tests have been developed, they can be run quickly and repeatedly. Many times, this can be a cost-effective method for regression testing of software products that have a long maintenance life. Even minor patches over the lifetime of the application can cause existing features to break which were working at an earlier point in time.
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.
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Selenium is possibly the most popular open-source test automation framework for Web applications. Being originated in the 2000s and evolved over a decade, Selenium has been an automation framework of choice for Web automation testers, especially for those who possess advanced programming and scripting skills. Selenium has become a core framework for other open-source test automation tools such as Katalon Studio, Watir, Protractor, and Robot Framework.
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.
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What to automate, when to automate, or even whether one really needs automation are crucial decisions which the testing (or development) team must make. A multi-vocal literature review of 52 practitioner and 26 academic sources found that five main factors to consider in test automation decision are: 1) System Under Test (SUT), 2) the types and numbers of tests, 3) test-tool, 4) human and organizational topics, and 5) cross-cutting factors. The most frequent individual factors identified in the study were: need for regression testing, economic factors, and maturity of SUT.
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Ranorex is a commercial automation tool designed for desktop and mobile testing. It also works well for web-based software testing. Ranorex has the advantages of a comparatively low pricing scale and Selenium integration. When it comes to tools, it has reusable test scripts, recording and playback, and GUI recognition. It’s a sufficient all-around tool, especially for developers who are needing to test on both web and mobile apps. It boasts that it is an “all in one” solution, and there is a free trial available for teams that want to test it.
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 with predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or perform additional testing that would be difficult to do manually. Test automation is critical for continuous delivery and continuous testing.
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.
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