Every business is automating its processes, and software developers are at the forefront of this revolution. In his book Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule the World, Christopher Steiner takes a close look at this phenomena. Algorithms and software can do a lot better job than humans in most traditional businesses. As a consequence, the demand for all kinds of software is at its peak.
Testing ensures that the code does what it is supposed to do. Manual testing can be a highly time consuming process, and when you have a lot of code to check, automated testing is a far superior alternative. There are all kinds of tools out there that simplify and speed up the process of software testing.
Automated testing is a blessing, but it can quickly turn into a curse if your process is not geared to identify and negate automation testing errors. An effective test automation process is capable of detecting all bugs and errors. In order to get the best results out of automated testing, you need to find the right tool, run the right test cases, test frequently, develop reusable components and create quality test data.
By following the right steps, you can increase the effectiveness of your automated testing process, while reducing the time and effort spent on testing. Here are some best practices that will enable you to make your automated testing process more productive and efficient.
1. Decide what Test Cases to Automate
There are certain areas of a software than can be tested automatically, and then there are others that need manual testing. Using automated testing for processes that require the human touch can create problems. First, you must identify the test cases than can benefit from automated testing. Test cases that need to be performed just a few times are best tested manually. But test cases that need to be tested repeatedly can benefit immensely from automated testing.
2. Identify the Right Testing Tool
There are all kinds of automated testing tools available in the market. Investing some time in finding the one that best suits your testing requirements is a good idea. Choose the right tool and your work becomes easy; choose the wrong one and you may end up spending too much time and effort on testing without getting desired results. Investigate pricing, manner of managing the tools, bug detection technology, and ROI while making the choice.
3. Test in Advance and Test Often
Proper planning is the cornerstone of perfect automation testing. In order to get the most out of automation, you must plan your test as early as possible. The earlier you detect a bug, the easier and cheaper it is to fix. And remember – the best part of automating the testing process is that you do not need to worry about the frequency of testing – you can run the test case as often as needed.
4. Generate Quality Test Data
Data-driven testing relies on good test data. Any well-conceptualized testing tool understands the importance of data files and uses the stored data in an external file in automated tests. The testing tool imports data source to text, XML or Excel sheets. By generating quality test data, you improve the effectiveness of the testing tool. This makes the testing process faster, easier and more reliable.
5. Develop Re-Usable Components
The best test automation tools allow testers to record user actions, play them back, and compare actual results to expected results. Record and Playback features can be used for object recognition and you can record important web controls for easy and quick access. Automating regression testing can also be quite helpful in re-running existing test case and checking that code changes didn’t break any already working modules.
The best practices mentioned in this article will start you walking on the path to successful test automation implementation. By adhering to the best practices, you can speed up and streamline your software development process. Remember, a test automation tool is just a tool – you need to know how to make the best use of it. The final outcome will depend on how well you understand the tool, the testing process and purpose of the code.