Everything you need to know about Test Automation
What is Test Automation?
Test Automation is the process of using test scripts to automatically interrogate various software and system functions to ensure they work as expected. While Test Automation has many benefits over Manual (or Functional) Testing, it is best used in conjunction with Manual and Exploratory Testing for the most comprehensive Quality Assurance possible.
Why is Test Automation important?
There are many benefits to automating your system and Software Testing, the two most obvious being time and cost savings.
This is particularly true for Regression Testing, which tests for issues whenever new functions are added to software. Test scripts written for existing functions can be run every time new functions are added, ensuring the changes don’t negatively impact other parts of the system. For larger, complex systems this process is often time and labour intensive, so Automated Regression Testing reduces that time and cost penalty.
How is Test Automation done?
There are numerous tools available to testers wanting to automate their test scripts. We use the most appropriate tool based on the scope and requirements of the test system, which includes but is not limited to one or more industry-standard tools like Selenium, Ranorex and JMeter.
It is more important to understand where and when Test Automation is appropriate than prescribe a Test Automation tool. In some cases, Test Automation is not the most practical approach, whereas in others a combination of the various tools is the best way forward.
When should you do Test Automation?
In general, we recommend testing – and Test Automation in particular – to be done as early in the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) as possible. The Test Automation Pyramid best describes when and how often Test Automation should be done:
- Unit Testing: this is the first and easiest part of the process to automate, and gets developers involved in testing their own software units before they progress upward to the API level.
- API Testing: more complex and more expensive, testing at the API level should focus on the integrations between backend systems for your application.
- UI Testing: this is the largest and most expensive tier to test, but is typically where many companies are exposed to testing in general and Test Automation in particular.
We work on the principle of ‘pushing down’ Test Automation to the next lowest level. In that way, the most expensive and time-consuming automation is reduced to testing only what hasn’t been tested at the Unit or Integration layers of your application.
What are the benefits of Test Automation?
Aside from the obvious time and cost savings, particularly for Automated Regression Testing, Test Automation has several important benefits:
- Faster feedback – get quicker results and address any issued without delay.
- Fewer resources – take up less time and free up manual testers to focus on projects.
- Wider coverage – test more software and devices more often.
- Reuse your tests – script once, test many, especially on similar systems.
- Time to market – with testing done, get your software in front of users faster.