Every business must develop new tools and technologies to stay ahead of competitors and create streamlined processes. However, new technology naturally has issues that need to be resolved by testing the software to ensure that it performs as planned and to remove any issues with the code.
Testing automation uses code to check that technology or software meets business requirements. It is used to find bugs, defects and any other issues that could arise within software development before the final product is launched.
The process runs from test scripts written by automation developers and thus has a significant advantage of minimising the amount of manual labour typically involved in testing software. The overall automated process aims to increase product development's productivity, speed and accuracy.
What are the benefits of automation testing?
At its most basic level, automated testing compares the expected outcome of a piece of software with the actual outcome of the test to identify issues within it. It is beneficial to choose the most repetitive or complex tasks to be automated to save resources elsewhere within the business.
Testing automation works to provide a deep understanding of how the product is performing and creates detailed error reports. This process is incredibly accurate; the code often picks up bugs and errors that the human eye may not have found and allows a tech team to find faster solutions.
One significant benefit of automated testing is that the testing script can be run unlimited times using Virtual Machines without any human intervention. Developers can also run automated regression testing on code before a manual test takes place: testing software to ensure performance is up to standard after a change.
These advantages ultimately mean that the business saves money; product testing takes place faster, reduces human intervention and is much more accurate. With this in mind, even if a business is outsourcing to a software development company like Propel Tech, it will be maximising its Return On Investment (ROI).
How does automated testing fit in with agile development?
Agile development is an umbrella term which refers to best practices from the Agile Manifesto; effectively responding to change, carrying out early and frequent testing and using data-driven tests to find accurate solutions.¹
Automated testing fits into agile development as tests can be written early in small chunks and built up as development continues. Consequently, they can respond to any changes in the project. Testing automation can also be repeated regularly at each stage of the development cycle, ensuring that the final product is as effective as possible.
Additionally, you can amend testing scripts faster than creating a suite at the end of development: the testing process is more streamlined to respond to any challenges or amendments which need to be made.
When should businesses use testing automation?
Testing automation is essential at the start of a project when development is still in the early stages, following the agile methodology. When implemented at the start, errors can be solved while the product is being developed, increasing the development team's accuracy and productivity.
For an existing product, businesses should implement automated testing after software developments, just before manual testing. As a general rule, the testing should take place as early as possible to start spotting bugs and errors as soon as possible and speed up the development process.
For example, Propel Tech worked with a client recently to define an automated test process which can be carried out on a regular basis. The team created a regression suite to be used whenever a change is implemented. This ran on a virtual server, testing field validation, drop-downs, error responses and user processes.
What are the best testing automation tools?
There are different tools for various aspects of automated testing. Whether unit testing, integration testing or regression and data-driven testing, every business has unique requirements.
Common tools include Selenium WebDriver for regression automation, Appium for mobile app testing automation, and HPE Unified Functional Testing (UFT) for fast, automated testing. Businesses should look at their budget, the scope of testing needed and the complexity of their software when deciding on the best tools to use.
Businesses can also consult a software development expert to find the most suitable tool and help set up the testing code. Along with the automation tool, external support provides essential third-party quality control, which reduces bias and is much more reliable than traditional manual testing.
What are the challenges faced in automation testing?
One of the challenges with testing automation is that the initial investment for a business is higher than traditional human resources. However, you can mitigate these costs if testing automation is set up and started early, following agile practices.
Although, if a business wants to develop testing on finished products, there will be a large initial set-up process and fee to create the automation suites.
Another challenge of automated testing is how tools and browser updates can change throughout the testing process. Therefore, plug-ins can become obsolete, so frameworks need to be constantly updated to ensure that the programme is tested to high standards.
It is also important to note that testing automation should be performed in addition to manual testing by a professional team, as automated testing cannot be the only form of quality assurance. Having multiple avenues of testing increases the chance of a bug-free final product.
How can Propel Tech help with testing automation?
At Propel Tech, we are a team of experienced problem solvers across many industries with experience in both existing and new technologies. We can work with you to find the most suitable testing software for your project needs.
1 - https://www.agilealliance.org/agile101/