Test Automation – A Beginner’s Guide

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Test automation can be defined as being a part of software testing. It is the process during which some sort of software is used to separate from the software that is being tested by a software development company. This is done to control the execution of the tests and compare the actual outcomes with predicted outcomes.

Test automation can help in reducing the feedback cycle. This helps in bringing faster validation for phases in the development of your product. This process can also help in detecting problems and buys during the early developmental phase. This increases the overall efficiency of the team.

In these two brief paragraphs, we have only given you a small introduction to test automation. This concept is much bigger. And if you want to learn more about it, then you are in luck. Today, in this article, we will provide you with a beginner’s introduction to test automation and various aspects related to it.

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What is Test Automation?

Test automation is also known as automation testing. It can be defined as a software testing technique. This technique is performed by using a special automated testing software tool. The tool executes a test case suite.

Test automation is different from manual testing. Manual testing is performed by a human who sits in front of a computer and follows the steps for executing the test. It is important for an individual to remember that the automation testing can also enter test data into the system that is under the test. This helps in comparing the expected and actual results. It also allows for the generation of detailed test reports.

From all of this information, it should be quite clear that test automation requires a considerable investment in terms of money and other finite resources. Continuing on the same line, successive development cycles for the software will also require the execution of the same test suite. This would be done in a repeated fashion.

Another important thing to note is that while using a test automation tool, it is possible for one to record the test suite and re-play it as and when required. After the test suite is automated, no further human intervention would be necessary.

At the end of the day, it is vital to remember that the goal of automation is to reduce the number of test cases that have to be run manually. This does not mean that manual testing has to be eliminated altogether.

Which Test Cases Can You Automate?

If one wishes to increase test coverage, effectiveness, and speed of execution in software testing, then all of that can be achieved through test automation. But before an individual can employ this technique, he or she must also know about the test cases in which this technique can be used.

The techniques in which test automation can be used are mentioned below.

  • High Risk: These refer to critical business test cases
  • Test cases that need to be executed repeatedly
  • Test cases that are very time-consuming
  • Test cases that are very difficult or tedious to perform in a manual manner

There are also some test cases for which test automation is not suitable. Those test cases are:

  • Test cases that have not been executed manually even once
  • Test cases that have been designed recently
  • Test cases which have an ever-changing list of requirements
  • Test cases that are executed on an ad-hoc basis

The Process for Test Automation

Test automation follows several steps. We have compiled all of those steps in a list. And the list is mentioned below.

Selecting the Test Tool
This step of test automation primarily depends on the technology that has been used to build the original test. For example, informatica is not supported by QTP. This means that if one wishes to test informatic applications, then QTP cannot be used for that. Hence, it is always a good idea to conduct a Proof of Concept of the tool on AUT.

Defining the Scope of Automation
In the simplest terms, the scope of automation can be described as the area of your application that you want to test and automate. If you are not sure regarding how to determine the scope, then there are some points that you can rely on. Some of those points are:

❖ Think about the features that are important for the business in question
❖ Ponder over scenarios that have a large amount of data
❖ View common functionalities across applications
❖ The technical feasibility
❖ Consider the extent to which various business components can be reused
❖ The complexity of the test cases
❖ Try to understand the ability to use the same test cases for cross-browser testing

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Planning, Designing, and Developing
During this phase, it is important for an individual to come up with an automation strategy and plan. This strategy or plan should contain the details that are mentioned below.
❖ Tools selected for automation
❖ Framework design that has been chosen and its features
❖ In-scope and out-of-scope items for automation
❖ Preparation for automation testbed
❖ A schedule or timeline for scripting and execution
❖ Deliverables of test automation

Executing the Test
During this phase, the main task is to execute automation scripts. The script requires somebody to input test data before the set up can run. After this is executed, detailed test reports are provided.

This step can be performed by using either the automation tool directly or by using some sort of test management tool. Both of these options will invoke the automation tool.

The Task of Maintenance
This is the final step in which the test is carried out to check whether the new functionalities that were added to the software are working properly or not. This is done after new automation scripts are added. All of this needs to be reviewed and maintained. This would enhance the overall effectiveness of the process with every successive release cycle.

Conclusion

In this article, we have explained what test automation is, where test automation can be used, and the steps followed during this process. But before signing off, we would like to end with some advice.

It is vital to remember that you can do everything to the best of your abilities. But test automation can still fail. Hence, one sure shot way to achieve successful test automation is to ensure that all team players are working effectively. You must never forget that for any successful testing, manual and automation testing goes hand-in-hand.

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About the Author

Nitin

Nitin Gupta is a voracious reader and an even passionate writer. Having worked with numerous GST software companies and MNCs across the world, he is very to the point with lots of insights about the industry and the people working in them. Nitin writes about technology and how it impacts the various industries such as pharma, hospitality, travel, and many others as well.
Find out more about @nitingupta2817

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