What is Automated Testing

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Automation Testing is the process of using tools, scripts, and software to perform test cases by repeating pre-defined actions. Test Automation focuses on replacing manual human activity with systems or devices. Because automated testing is done through an automation tool, it consumes less time in exploratory tests and more time in maintaining test scripts while increasing overall test coverage.

The benefit of manual testing is that it allows a human mind to draw insights from a test that might otherwise be missed by an automated testing program. Automated testing is most preferable for large projects that require testing the same areas over and over. Also, projects that have already been through an initial manual testing process.

Levels of Automated Testing

Conventionally, an Application Being Tested Can Fall Into the Following Three Levels:

  • Unit Test Level
  • Functional Tests Level (known as the service layer) (Non-UI)
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  • UI Tests Level
  • To improve quality of the product, specialists recommend you to automate tests at these 3 different levels. Let us consider in detail test automation strategy which is based on the three-level model:

    UNIT TEST LAYER

    At this initial level, that is the foundation of test automation pyramid, automated unit tests or component / module tests are written by developers. At that, testers are allowed to design the tests to verify the code provided they are qualified enough to do this kind of work. If these tests are available during the early stages of the project, and also if there are always new tests added to check for the updates and bug fixes then serious problems are less likely to occur during the project development process.

    FUNCTIONAL TEST LAYER (NON-UI)

    As a rule, it is impossible to accurately test business logic layer of an application’s architecture. This may be due to the fact that business logic was implemented so as not to be exploited by the user. And it is for the reason as agreed with the developers the testing team can have access directly to the functional layer in order to test the application’s business logic without involving user interface.

    GUI TEST LAYER

    At this very level, there is the possibility to test both user interface and functionality by performing operations that stimulate business logic of the app. It is believed that such end-to-end tests are more effective than the previous automation layer because the latter just tests functionality by simulating the end user’s behavior with involvement of the UI.

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    How does automated testing works

    An organization implements test automation with a framework that includes common practices, testing tools and standards. Data-driven and keyword-driven test automation frameworks are common, as are frameworks for linear scripting and modular testing.

    The linear scripting framework suits small applications because it enables the use of a test script with little planning, but does not support reusable scripts. In modular testing frameworks, a software tester creates scripts as small, independent tests to reduce redundancy, but this process typically takes more time to set up.

    Data-driven frameworks enable software testers to create scripts that work for multiple data sets and provide wide quality coverage with fewer tests than modular options. Keyword-driven testing frameworks use table formats to define keywords for each function and execution method; software testers without extensive programming knowledge can work with the keywords to create test scripts. Hybrid-driven frameworks combine two or more practices to have the benefits of both.

    Open source test automation tools and frameworks include Selenium, Robotium and Cypress. Selenium can automate and run test parameters across multiple web browsers and in various programming languages -- such as C#, Java and Python. Robotium helps testers write automatic user acceptance, function and system tests for Android devices. Cypress covers end-to-end, integration and unit tests, all within a browser. Cypress allows access to distributed object models in the browser and provides a debugger for further tests.

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    Benefits of Automatic Testing

    Test automation increases the overall software efficiency and ensures robust software quality. There are specific tools that can effectively execute automated test cases and help in comparing actual and expected results. In this manner, test automation can guarantee software proficiency without involving repeated and manual intervention. One of the biggest business perks of test automation is that it can be implemented time and again with minimal effort and maximum accuracy.

    Faster feedback

    Automated testing comes as a relief for validation during various phases of a software project. This improves communication between coders, designers, and product owners, and allows immediate rectification of potential glitches. Automated testing assures higher efficiency of the development team by facilitating quick feedback cycles.

    Accelerated results

    Owing to the quick implementation of automated testing, plenty of time is saved even for intricate and enormous systems. This allows for the testing to be carried out repeatedly, delivering faster results each time with lesser effort and time.

    Reduced business expenses

    It is of no surprise that, while the initial investment may be on the higher side, automated testing saves companies many a penny. This is predominantly due to the sharp drop in the amount of time required to run tests. It contributes to a higher quality of work, thereby decreasing the necessity for fixing glitches after release, thereby reducing project costs.

    Testing efficiency improvement

    Testing takes up a significant portion of the overall application development lifecycle. This goes to show that even the slightest improvement of the overall efficiency can make an enormous difference to the entire timeframe of the project. Although the setup time takes longer initially, automated tests eventually take up significantly lesser amount of time. They can be run virtually unattended, leaving the results to be monitored toward the end of the process.

    Higher overall test coverage

    Through the implementation of test automation, higher number of tests can be executed pertaining to an application. This leads to a higher coverage, which in a manual testing approach would imply a massive team, limited heavily with their amount of time. An increased test coverage leads to testing more features and a higher quality of application.

    Reusability of automated tests

    Due to the repetitive nature of test cases in test automation, software developers have the opportunity to assess program reaction, in addition to the relatively easy configuration of their setup. Automated test cases are reusable and therefore, can be utilized through different approaches.

    Earlier detection of defects

    The documentation of software defects becomes considerably easier for the testing teams. This helps increase the overall development speed while ensuring correct functionality across areas. The earlier a defect is identified, the more cost-effective it is to fix the glitch.

    Thoroughness in testing

    Testers tend to have different testing approaches, and their focus areas could vary due to their exposure and expertise. With the inclusion of automation, there is a guaranteed focus on all areas of testing, thereby assuring best possible quality.

    Faster time-to-market

    Test Automation greatly helps reduce the time-to-market of an application by allowing constant execution of test cases. Once automated, the test library execution is faster and runs longer than manual testing.

    Information security

    The effectiveness of testing will be largely dependent on the quality of the test data you use. Manually creating quality test data takes time and as a result, testing is often performed on copies of live databases. Automation solutions can help with creating, manipulating, and protecting your test database, allowing you to re-use your data time and again. The time and cost savings in this area are potentially huge.

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    What is Manual Testing

    With traditional manual testing, the testers manually look out for the defects in the software by following a written test plan consisting of sets of various test cases. It requires the tester to step into the shoes of a user and analyze the behavior of the website or mobile app, whether it is functionally in sync or does it deliver a different and often an erroneous behavior than expected.

    Testers are required to point out discrepancies and inconsistencies from the expected behavior and report them as defects to developers. Developers need to replicate the same bug and then fix these bugs. All this had to be done when there was pressure from multiple teams to push the changes to production right away.

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    Difference Between Manual Testing & Automation Testing

    Accuracy

    Manual Testing shows lower accuracy due to the higher possibilities of human errors.

    Automation Testing depicts a higher accuracy due to computer-based testing eliminating the chances of errors

    Testing at Scale

    Manual Testing needs time when testing is needed at a large scale.

    Automation Testing easily performs testing at a large scale with the utmost efficiency.

    Turnaround time

    Manual Testing takes more time to complete a cycle of testing, and thus the turnaround time is higher.

    Automation Testing completes a cycle of testing within record time and thus the turnaround time is much lower.

    Cost Efficiency

    Manual Testing needs more cost as it involves the hiring of expert professionals to perform testing.

    Automation Testing saves costs incurred as once the software infrastructure is integrated, it works for a long time.

    User Experience

    Manual Testing ensures a high-end User Experience to the end user of the software, as it requires human observation and cognitive abilities.

    Automation Testing cannot guarantee a good User Experience since the machine lacks human observation and cognitive abilities.

    Areas of Specialization

    Manual Testing should be used to perform Exploratory Testing, Usability Testing and Ad-hoc Testing to exhibit the best results.

    Automation Testing should be used to perform Regression Testing, Load Testing, Performance Testing and Repeated Execution for best results.

    User Skills

    Users must have the ability to mimic user behavior and build test plans to cover all the scenarios.

    Users must be highly skilled at programming and scripting to build test cases and automate as many scenarios as possible.

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