August 15, 2015
Every software company defines some sort of quality benchmark to make sure their software never fails. These benchmarks can be in terms of usability, performance, integration, functionality, etc., which testers try to achieve with best manual testing processes. However, manual testing does not guarantee the desired effectiveness and coverage, especially when there are frequent rollouts and complex architecture in the application. This is where software test automation is required as the key to enhancing and accelerate the testing of inherent qualities of software by playing automated scripts on a Test Automation tool
Although test automation is the most advanced testing methodology which reduces the human efforts and promises quick turnaround, we see a lot of software testers disregard test automation practices considering it renders their job redundant and closes their career opportunities. Most of the testers refrain from adopting test automation tools even when the application has a complex architecture which is difficult to test manually and raises overall quality costs in terms of poor test coverage, underestimated test case generation, and delayed testing.
In this regards, experts suggest that it is important to understand the key requirements before perceiving whether it is advisable to use test automation tools or rely on manual testing practices. In their opinion, under various circumstances, manual testing may not provide the expected quality outcome and render the entire effort a costly affair and time-consuming affair.
According to John Overbaugh - a senior SDET lead at Microsoft,"It makes sense to use automated testing tools when the costs of acquiring the tool and building and maintaining the tests are less than the efficiency gained from the effort." He says test automation tools generally pays off in two forms; one occurs when " executing the test manually is very difficult or complex cases where setting up information is tedious or time-consuming." And second occurs "when tests need to be run many, many times.”
It is right to adopt test automation tools to achieve the desired testing goals in scenarios where the application has complex database architecture, multiple business logic, continuous integration and regression testing cycles, etc. since it reduces the pain of manual testers and drives more productivity in the entire testing process.
Apart from these, there are several other reasons why adopting test automation tool makes sense for testers.
Test automation tools remove the subjective and preconceived notion that humans often make. While calculating or making some reports, humans tend to omit something or interpret data incorrectly, which is not the case with automation tools. Automation tools ensure accurate execution and results in assessing the performance of software even in complexities and offer objective result which is consistent, unbiased and foolproof.
Manual testing is a dull and tedious process since a tester does repetitive execution to check the application functioning every time a source code is changed or before every new release. The continuous laborious activity often leaves the testing process monotonous which increases the chances of errors. On the other hand, the automation tool for automating regression testing, reduces the repetitive efforts, optimizing the entire testing process.
Kevlin Henney, an independent consultant, and trainer says "When testing requires a methodical and repeated execution, that is better offered by machine than human. Humans are good explorers but compared to computers they are incredibly poor at executing loops. If a testing activity appears to have become deskilled, use a machine to its best capabilities rather than making a monkey of human testers."
With automation tools, testers can expand the depth and scope of testing which increases the coverage. The aspects which often go unattended in manual testing are covered completely with test automation tools. Automated testing not only tests the basic functional codes but also drills down to the business layer/logic and database layer to test the core of the application in the shortest possible time-frame, which is hardly possible with manual testing. Thus, test automation tools increase the test coverage and provide accurate quality results.
Automated testing tools, in contrasts to human efforts render the testing process much faster and enforce
According to Mike Kelly, a software development manager for a Fortune 100 company "Sometimes the only way a test can be executed is via some sort of automation. Some things just can't practically be done manually”. He also believes that regression testing is a good candidate for automation; "I'll look to automation for functional regression when I know that there's a relatively low cost to script maintenance and likely a high value on the return when a regression issue is encountered."
Test automation tools impart better management of test cases and libraries providing more room for testers to reuse them. Moreover, the infrastructure of most of the tools supports multiple environment, systems and data structure which provides more chances of integrating different types of test cases to perform different types of testing.
Using test automation tools help testers to set up an independent test environment which does not affect the routine software development and enhancement tasks. Certain tools also come with a predefined test execution methodology and scheduler engine that helps execute the entire testing cycles without human intervention, providing fair and unbiased results.
Considering all the above perks of test automation tools, test engineers can really boost their testing endeavor and enhance their overall efforts. Moreover, it can provide fantastic ways to test a multitude of test scenarios and volumes of data in a fraction of minutes which is never achievable by human hand. Thus, adopting test automation tool can be an icing on the cake for testers since it advances their skills and career opportunities independent of the technical strength and years of experience.
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