Automated Software Testing

Automation testing is a process in which a testing tool which is also another software application is used to test the system. Test scripts are created and executed and then the results of these tests are compared with expected results. It is always wise to automate repetitive but essential testing processes as it saves a lot of time.

Automated Software Testing

Software Test Automation Overview

Automated software testing is carried out with the help of automation testing tools. Automation testing tool is a software application itself with the help of which a tester can write testing scripts and then use this software to test the actual system under testing. Automation tools are used to automate certain sections of manual testing. The biggest advantage of automation testing is that it saves a lot of time and software application can be thoroughly tested in a short span of time. Automation testing tools are available to perform regression, load and stress testing. However, automation testing cannot completely replace manual testing. Beside time, automation testing saves money and effort and helps in improving the accuracy of software.

All aspects of software cannot be covered via automation testing. However, automation testing is of great help in testing GUI aspects, database connectivity etc. It is best to go for automation testing when you are working on large and complex projects where there is a necessity to test certain areas frequently. Automation testing is also good for testing those applications which will be eventually used by several concurrent users. This form of testing helps in saving a lot of time so the team gets more time to focus on the quality of the software.

In order to perform automation testing, you need to know the following details:

  1. Which sections of the software require automation testing
  2. Which tools will be ideal for this purpose
  3. The process of writing test scripts and executing them
  4. You should be able to identify potential bug and know how to create result reports.

It is good to include automation testing to improve the quality of the software but automation testing is not the only way of achieving quality and in no way it should be considered a replacement for inspections and walkthrough procedures. Many organizations still consider that automation testing is the last way of detecting defects that may have gone unnoticed.

Software Test Automation Strategy

There is no doubt that automation testing makes life a lot more easier but just having the right tools is not sufficient to achieve success in automation testing. It is very important to develop a strategy for automation testing that would clearly define which sections of the software require testing, how this task would be carried out, how and where the scripts will be maintained, how the project would benefit from this activity and how much money would be saved in this process. The more specific you are in defining the strategy; the more successful you will be in achieving your testing goals.

While defining the strategy it is important to break down your aim into smaller goals and check if you are able to achieve what you require with the help of an automation test tool. If the project is too big and you try to test complex areas in the first go then there are chances of making mistakes. So, it is wise to start small initially and then gradually grow.

Automation testing can be carried out in unit testing, integration and system level testing. It is always better to uncover maximum defects in early stages of software development hence it is better to plan automation testing as early as it is possible.

Software Test Automation And Its Return Of Investment (ROI)

ROI for Software Test Automation is calculated to know how the company would benefit by incorporating this methodology in its testing processes. It gives a fair idea about the cost saving, scope of improvement in efficiency and software quality.

ROI = (Gain- invested amount)/invested amount
The most commonly used methods for calculation of ROI for automation testing are:

  • Simple ROI calculation to know how the company would benefit from cost saving. This calculation is of great importance when a company wants to know how it would benefit on monetary basis by incorporating automation testing. The cost of investment would include the amount spent on acquiring the license, hardware, and training for staff, development of scripts, their maintenance and analysis.
  • Efficiency ROI calculation tells about the benefits in terms of increased efficiency. Unlike simple ROI, this calculation only looks at time investment gains. When a company already has the automation testing tools and has been using it for quite some time, there is no need for it to know about Simple ROI calculations because it is not going to make any fresh monetary investment in this case.
  • Risk Reduction ROI calculation indicates reduction in risk and scope of improvement of quality. Automation testing saves time and provides team with more time to carry out analysis and carry out ad hoc and exploratory testing this leads to thorough coverage thereby reducing the chances of failure.

Test Cases to Automate

It is difficult and not wise to automate all testing. So, one must clearly determine which test cases should be automated. You must first look at those sections of the software that require repeated testing. Test cases that have to be executed repeatedly and require a lot of data for execution should be automated. Besides, repetitive tests, you should also focus on automating:

  1. Test cases that require multiple data sets for execution and are difficult to conduct manually.
  2. Load and stress tests that are difficult to conduct manually.
  3. Tests that are executed to check the performance of software on multiple platforms.
  4. GUI testing.

Test Cases Not To Automate

There are certain test cases that are not preferred to be automated. Such as:

  1. Test cases that would be executed only once or quite infrequently.
  2. Ad hoc or exploratory testing cannot be conducted with the help of automation testing.
  3. Test cases that require only manual execution or a human opinion.

How Do We Want Automate?

Automation of a test case begins with defining what you want to test. Always go for those test cases that are independent and stable. It is always better to execute smaller independent test cases rather than few big and complex ones. Large scripts are difficult to maintain and can be difficult to execute if any major changes have been made to the software. If a test script requires a change then it is always easier to make changes to a shorter script than a longer one.

Before automating a test case it is better to execute the test case manually. Since automated test cases are those that one needs to use for repetitive testing therefore before designing such a test case it is better to execute it manually and note down all the steps that you would like to record or put down in your test script. This will help you design all the conditions required for through testing of a function.

Ensure that you have taken care of all validations in your test scripts. If you are planning to test database transactions, then you need to make sure that database has the necessary data required for testing.

Before executing the test case it is important to understand how the automated software tool has been designed. This is important because once you start testing you don’t want to get interrupted by unknown issues.

Software Test Automation Tools

Automation tools have a very positive impact on the efficiency and productivity of software. It is important to use software test automation tools in order to simplify testing. Certain manual testing processes can be very time consuming. With the help of automation tools you can accomplish more in less time. However, never depend completely on automation tools. You must clearly define what needs to be tested manually and where there is a need to implement automation testing tools. Most well reputed automation testing tools come with their prices, but it is worth deploying them in projects as they are of great help.

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