What is Automation Testing? Process, Benefits, and Tools

The gist of automated testing

In the digitalized age of today, technology permits users with the opportunity to avoid ominous errors before they are concurred, rather than incurring massive, time-consuming disappointments post-completion of software. 

One such software testing means which provides such a service is automation testing, a new-age method of test automation tools that draw comparatives between the possible test results and the actual end tests. 

Primarily engaged with mechanizing cyclic tasks (which are otherwise time-consuming and inefficient when software tester does manual testing), test automation software achieves the desired result by creating test scripts or producing alternative testing tools within the automated testing spectrum.

The importance of automated testing over manual testing is profoundly highlighted where it concerns myriad tasks in the development cycles without much human intervention. 

There are undoubtedly numerous situations where manual testing is futile for the application under test, displays a blatant disregard for the time passing by, and is mainly cost-ineffective. 

Amongst the multitude of manual testing examples in software testing such as:

  • the comparison of two databases with hundreds of thousands of columns and rows,
  • the evaluation of images gliding through every single pixel in the application under test,
  • Manual testing is done with continuous delivery on alternative browsers, and 
  • drawing performance benchmarks for the system under test spring to mind. 

Thus, carrying forth this article with these through the utilization and benefits of automated tests, we can conclude that automated testing is preferable, relatively quicker, and a better selection overall than manual testing. 

Gliding through the automated software testing process

Primarily, automated testing involves four principal elements: 

  • awareness regarding the spectrum of test automation involvement,
  • drawing a preference for a particular testing tool, 
  • the organizing and developing of a test automation syllabus to abide by, and lastly, 
  • the execution of test suite, test data, and test cases. Having established the basis of what automation testing is, the actual process is further elaborated upon below while considering each element. 

Determining the spectrum of Automation Testing Involvement

This refers to identifying which parts of the software development require testing automation. Typically, a conclusion is drawn upon by considering diverse subjects, some of which include: 

  • highlighting features that are vital to the business
  • intricacy and scale of complexity concerning the test cases
  • ability to use parallel examples when conducting tests across different browsers with continuous delivery
  • similar functionalities ranging from pole to pole across the software development
  • technical viability of the form. 

Moreover, additional factors can be considered; however, this is determined respectively to the user implementing test automation testing based on their specific requirements. 

Once these factors have been thoroughly considered, the condition of automated testing can be concluded upon and proceeded with accordingly.

Selection of a testing tool

Drawing a preference for a testing tool is dictated by the technology utilized for building the software tests (the types of automated tests will be enlisted and detailed below). Therefore, it varies accordingly based on the several utilization of automated testing tests. 

Yet, it is mostly recommended to follow through with a ‘proof of concept’ when making an allowance for tests by various testing tools; this can be done on AUT and is of utter importance. It provides users with clarity regarding their purchases while also ensuring the investment is accountable.

Organizing and developing a test automation syllabus

The third phase of automated testing calls upon creating a curriculum to outline what needs to be done throughout the test automation process. 

Besides, this is widely necessary to build a distinctive automation strategy to abide by, ensuring the actual automated testing tests are conducted in a well-timed, cost-effective, and smooth manner. 

Features that need to be definite inclusions in the plan are: careful selection of a testing tool, creating a schedule and assigning periods for the execution of test cases coupled with scripting (enlisted in the following content), the framework and its nuances ( also elaborated upon below), alongside the deliverables lastly. 

Moreover, flanking this list, considering out-of-scope elements, laced with in-scope elements, is an integral component of the automated testing process.

Execution of test cases

Before running test scripts, users must supply the input data (for the tests) only, after which thorough test reports can be acquired. The test cases can be performed directly with the assistance of a test automation tool, or the option of availing of a test management tool is also viable. Test management tools are chiefly made usage of since they invoke a test automation tool themselves.

The integration of automation testing within any project  

Before beginning to integrate this form of technological test within any project, several vital considerations spring to mind. 

Amongst these contemplations, the following must be heavily deliberated: the actual parts which need to be automated must be reflected upon, mainly if the software does not yet possess a UI. 

When deciding the tests, users must first ensure the tests are concrete and laced with clarity. Secondly, the software should be able to evolve without complications with the addition of new tests. The scripts themselves must be relatively simple to debug, thus, keeping the entirety of the integration sophisticated yet simple for tests. 

Furthermore, users are recommended not to exploit UI test automation during the initial phases of test integration since UI is often prone to recurrent changes- this inevitably leads to the failure of the test scripts. 

Therefore, Non-UI level test automation, or API test automation, is highly suggested until the stabilization of the product is underway. This is mainly because API test automation is far easier to debug and maintain.

Test Automation framework: what they are, when to utilize them, and the different types 

Automation Frameworks within the automated spectrum are regarded as a set of widely useful guidelines in various scenarios and are meant to enrich the tests of overall end software. These automation frameworks provide users with test assistance when they may be striving to improve their test’s uniformity or improve the structure of their automated software testing. 

Moreover, the testing framework also permits testers unfamiliar with automated tests to be involved in the test process. In addition to these benefits of automated tests, frameworks are essential to curtailing the amount of test code generated while allowing the cycling of existing codes.  

There are primarily four kinds of automated software testing frameworks that are utilized in automated tests. These include

  • Keyword-driven automation framework: this consists of a table format that defines action words concerning each function, which it tests
  • Data-driven automation framework: encompasses test data in a spreadsheet format where input data is contained within diverse sources
  • Modular automation framework: data is planted into test scripts, which eventually leads to the construction of a much larger script possessing the ability to test the overall scenario
  • Hybrid testing automation framework: a combination of the data-driven framework coupled with the keyword-driven framework

Excluding these, the linear scripting framework and the behavior-driven development framework are also used, though perhaps not in such a comprehensive manner.

Automated tests: what they are, generic uses, and crucial types

Once users have familiarized themselves with the concept of testing automation frameworks, they may then consider exploring the various types of automated software testing and their numerous usages. Particular tests are allocated based on the kind of software being run and the desired outcome. Elaborated upon below are the primary forms of automated testing.

  1. Unit Testing: This type of automation test is utilized when singular components of a website are being tested in web application testing. Developers generically provide the unit tests; however, those familiar with automated testing may also compose them. Regarding web software, unit testing is integrated within the phase of development and is deemed the initial stage of assessing web apps.
  2. Functional Testing: Automated testing of this form is utilized to ensure the web app’s various functions are running smoothly and delivering the expected outcome. Some of the integral aspects of this testing are client and server software, security, the entirety of the functionality, APIs, graphical user interface, and several others.
  3. Integration Testing: Continuous Integration is when the software modules are tested together after they have been integrated within the app. Continuous integration confirms the adequate and required data communication amongst the diverse modules of the software.
  4. Regression Testing: Regression testing is a vital part of automated testing since regression testing confirms that no adverse changes have alternated the existing code or the features of the application created. Regression testing further ensures the previous code functions, in the same manner, earlier, even after the integration of newer changes.
  5. Smoke Testing: Automated testing in this way is conducted to inspect whether the functionality of the primary features is adequate so that automation testers may move on with other aspects of the automated software testing process.

Excluding these prevalent automated testing types, many other automated tests aren’t as widely utilized yet essential to some processes. These include black-box testing, data-driven testing, keyword testing, and myriad others. 

Tips to abide by while exploring automation testing 

The following pointers are meant to assist users in their software explorations while ensuring the process is carried out with the end goal of achieving the maximum ROI (return on investment) possible.

1. Choose Test case carefully

Firstly, the decision of what test case to apply automated testing to should be carefully considered. Typically, once this decision is arrived at, users must ensure they pay attention to tests that may require a hefty amount of data sets and analyses, which are exceedingly prone to errors caused by humans. Moreover, automated testing is necessary for specific tests that cannot be performed by manual testers when testing software by manual testing. 

Manual testers must recognize this and directly begin integrating automated testing while testing software, rather than biding (and wasting) time by attempting to do manual testing. In addition to these cases, the test suite, test scripts, and test cases repetitively utilized across diverse builds must also be automated, alongside functionalities that impose hazardous conditions towards the project.

 2. Frequent tests

Secondly, tests must unquestionably be conducted quite frequently and certainly within the earlier stages of development. The inclusion of testing early on in the project cycle ensures better results, while the higher frequency of testing guarantees bug discovery (which otherwise jeopardizes the project). 

3. Prefer test automation over manual

The flaws discovered during the earlier stages of any project are far cheaper to resolve than those in advanced deployment stages; thus, testing often and testing earlier proves to be relatively cost-effective. Therefore, automated testing should be preferred over manual testing by manual testers and implemented from the first day itself of software development. It should be further developed and customized gradually.

4. Choose tools wisely

Users must also identify the testing tools, which would prove most lucrative and advantageous to their respective projects. This can be done by familiarizing oneself with the current data being dealt with, visualizing the end software, and achieving that result. As part of this decision, it is essential to recognize factors such as the operating system being dealt with, whether outside support or consultation should be brought in, whether it is web software that is being tested, amongst several notable dilemmas.

5.  Team of testers should be flexible

It is further fundamental to possess a team of testers who are flexible with their knowledge and ability to integrate various forms of automated testing. They must certainly be aware of how to write their test scripts or access and make use of keyword testing otherwise.

6.Retain data externally

Moreover, the data fed to the input field during the testing stage must inevitably be retained in an additional external file. The usage of external data allows for easier maintenance while also permitting the reuse of the same. 

Furthermore, it is also relatively simpler to add newer data to the external files without editing the automated test itself.

Indulging in the latter may result in the accidental erasing of central data or loss within accidental power cuts. This is mainly directed towards data-driven testing since quality data is exceedingly useful for this form of automated testing. 

An excellent testing tool’s defining factors are its ability to comprehend the content of a multitude of data files while iterating the data in the automated test.

How to best select the right automation testing tools for you:

Today’s technological age is fast, replacing software testing with programs utilizing automated test tools. 

The latter is highly yielded due to its efficiency, enhanced test coverage, and unquestionable effectiveness. 

However, adopting best practices for selecting the adequate testing tool that caters to your test coverage needs requires a few essential steps to be followed. 

These best practices are elaborated upon below.

  • Please familiarize yourself with your project requirements: Users must undoubtedly hold themselves accountable for advancements within their projects while ensuring they are knowledgeable of emerging needs. 
  • Among these requirements, those in charge must be particularly aware of their coding team’s strengths and weaknesses- a matter which has been explored earlier.
  • Regarding your existing test automation tool as the prerequisite: Understanding the benefits of automation tools and their drawbacks enables users to better search for a secondary testing tool.
  • Recognizing vital criteria of any project: The support being given to software (mobile, desktop, or web ones), the effort of maintaining a script after development, test reports, technical assistance, and language support in the development environment are considered necessary during projects. Thus, these, amongst others, must be focused upon when choosing automation testing tools.

Best Test Automation Software or Tools

Since there are various automation tools in the market for test automation, and in this article, we have catalogued five of the best tools. 

Non-technical testers and advanced testers can use these tools to make sure that various tests, such as regression tests, can be automated.

With these tools’ help, any testing team can avoid human intervention as much as possible, especially in regression tests before the software releases in the market.

1. UFT One

UFT Automation Testing Tool

UFT One is a widely used tool to implement automation as it simplifies the creation and maintenance of tests with keywords.

The UTF One tool can be easily used by a team of non-technical testers to fix, document, and replicate defects for developers.

As compared to WinRunner, the UTF One parameterization is easy, and it provides a better object identification mechanism and an active screen.

2. TestComplete

TestComplete Automation Testing Tool

TestComplete tool provides the testing team with an easy-to-use and automated platform to test their applications across various devices such as mobile, desktop, and web.

It includes new features such as record-and-replay, with which the testing team can generate automated scripts without coding. 

Various languages such as VBScript, Python, Java, and many others are supported.

3. Selenium

Selenium Automation Testing Tool

Selenium is an open-source tool used for regression testing that includes various features such as playback and recording to facilitate the testing team to test their platform.

However, Chrome and Safari users will be a little disappointed because Selenium IDE is supported only on the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

Selenium tool supports scripts in various languages such as Ruby, Python, Java, C#, RSpec, etc., and can be used by multiple frameworks such as JUnit and TestNG.

This tool provides walkthrough tests, autocomplete commands, and the option to insert page titles.

You can also execute multiple tests and store them as HTML, Ruby Script, or other formats.

4. SoapUI

SoapUI Automation Testing Tool

Simple Access Object Protocol (SOAP) UI is a leading open-source API testing tool that allows users to execute compliance, load, automated, functional, and regression testing on various web APIs.

Unlike other functional API testing tools, SoapUI allows technical and non-technical users to perform both functional and non-functional testing seamlessly.

This tool supports all the standard technologies and protocols to test various kinds of APIs.

5. Katalon Studio

Katalon Automation Testing Tool

This open-source test automation tool for mobile and web applications comes with powerful features in all new releases and helps the testers overcome the UI test hassles easily.

It supports image-based testing and provides support for scripting languages such as Groovy, java, etc.

Automation ToolUFT OneTestCompleteSeleniumSoapUIKatalon Studio
Released Date19981999200420052015
Supported TechnologyWeb/Desktop/MobileWeb/Desktop/MobileWebAPI/Web ServicesWeb/Desktop/Mobile/API
PlatformsWindowsWindowsWindows
macOS
Linux
Solaris
Windows
Linux
OS X
Windows
Linux
OS X
LanguagesVB ScriptJava Script
Python
VB Script
C++
C#
Java
Python
C#
Perl
Ruby
PHP
Groovy
Java Script
Java
Groovy
Programming SkillsNot Required for basic but recommended for advanced scripts/scenariosNot Required for basic but recommended for advanced scripts/scenariosSelenium requires advanced skills for integrating with other toolsNot Required for basic but recommended for advanced scripts/scenariosNot Required for basic but recommended for advanced scripts/scenarios
Ease of UseThe installation process is complexEasy to set upAdvance skills needed by SeleniumEasy to set upEasy to set up
LicenseFrom $3200From $4,836Open SourceFree – $644/yrFree – $759 /license/year
Tools Comparison

Conclusion

Automation is undoubtedly the future of assessing the software however many businesses and organizations still are cautious of using it. 

But with the right combination of automation tools, test team, and with proper planning of processes, automation can be the next big thing.

As the demand for quality products is increasing in the marketplace, the need to automate the quality assurance process is also increasing.

Automated tests might not replace manual processes completely; it is undoubtedly a useful additive to it.

Businesses today must embrace this shift from manual to automation to enjoy its incredible benefits such as faster releases, automated repetitive tasks, reduced time for regression tests, enhanced test coverage, and 24×7 availability.

It is important to note that manual and automation testing go hand-in-hand and are not alternatives of each other.

Automation Testing Frequently Asked Questions

What is Automation testing?

Automation is a type of software testing performed by test tools as a better alternative to the manual process. It provides improved efficiency, better speed, and quality results. Only the test execution is automated while other processes are performed manually. Automation tests increase the chances of finding defects and thus are better at resolving them.

What are the types of Automation testing?

There are mainly five types of Test Automation:
Unit Testing: This type of automation test is utilized when singular components of a website are being tested in a web application.
Smoke Testing: Test automation in this way is conducted to inspect whether the functionality of the primary features is adequate so that automation testers may move on with other aspects of the automated test process.
Functional Testing: Test automation of this form is utilized to ensure the web app’s various functions are running smoothly and delivering the expected outcome.
Integration Testing: Continuous Integration is when the software modules are tested together after they have been integrated within the app.
Regression Testing: Regression testing is a vital part of automated testing since regression testing confirms that no adverse changes have alternated the existing code or the features of the application created.

What is automation testing, and why use it?

When the testing process of any software is automated, i.e., it is done using little human intervention tools, it is called automation testing. Repetitive tasks and other automated testing tasks that are difficult to be tested manually are automated.

What are the examples of automation?

There are various examples of automated testing such as hardware, software, performance, security, vulnerability, cyber, and compatibility testing.

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