Test cases are dead…

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    Hey I recently read this blog post suggesting test cases are dead – would you agree with the points made by Alister in this post?




    testcases in the form of scripts that can be automated (binary, checks) are redundant.
    testcases in the form of inspirational check lists and considerations for human thinking / testing is not.

    Human interaction and thought process can never be redundant, but should if you’re not carefull


    Testcase still alive, but their languages are evolving from human languages to machine languages.

    Aleksandra Kornecka

    I’d say that all depends on the objective:
    – test cases (the ones not from automated tests) are helpful in versioning and project changes history, and for new people coming to a project
    – automated tests are for everyday use and for audits

    Maybe the automated tests will “win” the written test cases, because there’s lot of automation tools “speaking the human language” (like plain English, sentence-like instructions understandable also for non-technical business team), but it’s all about the people – in one company, country they will prefer to stay with test cases, and in another they will maintain only automated ones.

    Definitely in my view the currently growing automation tools are very exciting topic and I’m observing how it goes further


    If automating I expect the naming of the individual tests to indicate the purpose of the test and use an “arrange”, “action”, “assert” format within the tests with appropriate comments to take the place of the content of a test case. It’s all very brief but allows future testers to see what I was intending.

    For bug fixes and small alterations I usually don’t bother with test cases but will write fairly complex test cases if the feature is complex. My manual regression test scripts for legacy products are based on the assumption that the tester has a working knowledge of the software (in most cases there’s no point them testing a complicated system at that stage if they don’t have a working knowledge).

    The one thing I really miss is a detailed specification. User stories that are just key points from a discussion are fine if you were involved in the discussion but I’m finding more and more that discussions are between analysts and devs with testers only becoming involved when the story has been developed. Hard to test a new feature when the story doesn’t even indicate where in a menu structure you’re going to find it!


    Test cases are not dead ; It has taken a different form. In a crunched cycle, where the regression tests are automated for the existing features, new features have to be tested manually. For this testing, how the test case is written is the challenge.

    There are many scripting languages, evolved, english like using which a test case written is used for both manual and automated testing. So, the test case takes a new format in the changing times. These test cases which look english like, are written from user stories. Classic example of this is we use Gherkins scripts written for the new features which is used both for manual and automated testing.

    Long live test cases ❗


    So the test cases have effectively been replaced by automated scripts rather than being redundant, which leads to a separate conversation on test case generation tools and whether or not you use these.

    Have testers had to learn to write these scripts or is that something done by developers?


    @Paul RE:

    Have testers had to learn to write these scripts or is that something done by developers?

    It depends 😉 . who is to be counted as a tester when the role is SDET as at Google and Microsoft (see AngryWeasel.com/blog). When the primary activity for the tester is to write code that tests?

    The times are a’changing


    @jesper-lindholt-ottosen SDET as a role is definitely becoming more prominent. So experienced testers who haven’t had much coding experience will need to adapt I guess?


    @paul-madden Test cases have not effectively been replaced by automated scripts, nor are they redundant.
    They can be written in a Gherkin file that can be used for test automation using Cucumber.
    They can also be written in any other form of human readable language. If it is also machine readable – cool! if not – so what?
    There is still a lot of manual testing.


    I think, definitely, test cases are NOT dead! For instance, in the world of software for the oil industry, still is needed a lot of manual testing design and live analysis interaction with users with the corresponding domain knowledge. There is so many physical variables and combinations, that still doesn’t seem realistic to “kill” test cases. Again, talking from the perspective of software for the oil industry, for other kind of software and application, maybe is easier to automate everything.



    Not just the oil industry, I believe, that test cases are far from dead in most industries. Automation cannot replace manual tests completely.

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