AUTOMATED TESTING: WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Being IT professionals we all are well aware of the terms Manual Testing and Automation Testing. Manual testing is when an individual carefully tests and inspects all the test suits physically sitting in front of the computer screen and automation testing is when we use special testing tools to test the test suit. The only similarity between the two is the aim to produce the desired results.

Yet, there are many small little things that we tend to forget or neglect in the aspect of automation testing. In this article, we will be discussing those things and would study automation testing from scratch. We are going to focus on –

  • What is meant by Automation Testing
  • Why do we use Automation Testing
  • What is the difference between Automation and Manual Testing
  • Process of Automation Testing (working)
  • Approaches to Automation Testing
  • Tools used for Automation Testing

So, let’s get started without wasting any further time!

What is meant by Automation Testing?

The process of testing a website using some sort of tool, software, or script, is known as Automation Testing. Automation testing is a method to check whether the designed website is meeting the end user’s requirement and is performing in the same manner in which it was supposed to but using automation. Through automation, we let the system do its job by instructing our intentions through code and scripts.

With automation testing, we can also increase our test coverage. To perform automation testing we use a testing tool and because of the tool, the amount of time consumed in exploratory testing is decreased.

In a non-technical manner, to understand the automation testing process, we can take an example of car servicing. Earlier, all the equipment and parts of the car were tested manually, many people used to do that work and sometimes take the car on a short ride once the service was complete. That was a time-consuming process. But now, as the technology has grown, many new techniques and tools have been developed to inspect and test the car without moving it anywhere. We know even though a human can commit mistakes, our system won’t.

Why do we use Automation Testing?

Assume that there are ten similar types of test cases. Now, let us take two scenarios. The first one is we are executing those test cases one by one manually and analyzing the results. And the second one is, we executed one of them manually, and based on our result we design a test script and executed the remaining test cases automatically. What do you think which approach is easier, time-saving, and effortless?

Without any doubt, the answer would be the later situation. Thus we can say that automation simplifies test execution by reducing test scripts.

This is only one reason why we need automation testing. A few more can be noted as below:

  • We can reuse test cases and automation of the test script can be performed without the involvement of any human any time and any number of times we want.
  • Automation testing is faster than manual testing.
  • With automation testing, we can increase the test execution and test coverage.
  • We can perform tests in parallel on different browsers.
  • Either you are from India or Australia, you can perform automation testing from any part of the world, anytime. You can perform it remotely sitting at your place.


Source: 0*wUJwTzvlMDK5i4Pk.png (875×609) (medium.com)

What is the difference between Automation and Manual Testing?

So far we have seen all the main points regarding automation testing. Now, let us compare automation testing and manual testing on different parameters.

Parameters Automation Testing Manual Testing
Reusability We can reuse the test suits. Reusability is not possible.
Test Coverage Test coverage is increased due to an increase in test execution. Test Coverage cannot be increased.
Time Requirement The time required to test a large number of test cases is less. We will require more time to execute a large number of test cases.
Human intervention No human intervention is required. We always need a human to keep a record of the test.
Accuracy and Reliability Because of the usage of tools and scripts, accuracy is high. As manual testing is more prone to errors so accuracy is low.
Return of Investment (ROI) The Return of Investment is high. The Return of Investment is low.

Process of Automation Testing (Working)

The successful execution of automation testing depends on the careful designing, planning, and processing of the test cases. The process of automation testing involves 5 major steps. They are:

  1.     Selection of Test Tools
  2.     Defining the scope of the automation
  3.     Planning, Designing, and Development
  4.     Executing the test cases
  5.     Maintaining the previous test cases

Now, let us discuss all these processes in detail.

  1. Selection of Test Tools

Once the goal of the test has been decided. We then need to check the testing tool which can be used for automating the test case.

The selection of the testing tool entirely depends on the technology on which the application under test is built. There are many testing tools available in the market but you should select the one that supports the technology of your application. You also need to have a thorough understanding of all the tools so that you can decide the perfect tool without any hassle. For example, if you have a website to test, the first thing to finalise is a good cross-browser testing tool which has a huge browser matrix, LambdaTest, for example.

  1. Defining the scope of the automation

The scope of the automation is the area of the application under test that is going to be automated. Before selecting the scope, it is important to go through the application thoroughly, and then you should select the area under test. Apart from this, you should also keep in mind the following points before selecting the scope. They are:

  1.     Scope depends on the complexity of the test cases. If the test case is not complex then we need not test it automatically, manual testing would work.
  2.     Select the scenarios that have a large amount of data.
  3.     Same test cases are used for cross-browser testing. Select the test case that possesses this feature.
  4.     Determine the scope based on the function that is more important to the business group.
  5.     Always keep in mind the technical feasibility of the application.

 

  1. Planning, Designing, and Development

So far you have now selected the scope of the automation and the tool on which you’ll be working. The next step is to plan and design your automation test cases. The following should be included in the planning and designing of your test case :

  1.     The automation tool that you selected for the process.
  2.     The framework that you designed and its features.
  3.     The In-scope and Out-Scope of the automation
  4.     Preparing the test scripts
  1. Executing the test cases

Now it is time to execute the test scripts that we prepared. We can execute the scripts using the selected automation tool like we gave an example of LambdaTest. We need to provide input test data to the scripts and then they can run automatically and give us the results.

One way is, you can execute the scripts using the automation tool directly and the other way is you can execute the scripts using a test management tool that will invoke the automation tool.

  1. Maintaining the previous test cases

We have executed the scripts and now comes the maintenance part. When new functions are released, we need to check that those functions are gelling well with the application. We need to add, review, and maintain new test scripts based on those functionalities. This will ensure the effectiveness of the automation.

Sourc: testautomationprocess.png (648×257) (guru99.com)

Approaches to Automation Testing

There are many approaches available to perform automation testing. We need to pick the right tool so that we can minimize the development cost, ensure correct testing, and deliver the right product in the market.

The following approaches can be followed for automation testing :

  1. Data-Driven Framework

Source: duperrin.com

As the name suggests, this approach focuses on the data sets within a framework. To implement this approach we need skilled coders and people. Though we need skilled people for the implementation, the environment and setup of this approach are not hardcoded.

The most effective use of this approach can be seen on large data sets and the workflow is repetitive.

  1. Record and Playback

Source: testing-whiz.com

Record and Playback is the most basic and flexible automation approach. We record all the activities of the user and then re-play them. We can playback the recorded user action and activity any number of times and then the actual results of the performed action are compared to the expected once. One such example of a tool equipped with record and playback is Selenium.

We can use this approach for projects of short duration such as exploratory testing. We do not need hard coders for this approach, it can also be used by non-coders. This approach is easy on the pocket and the design is relatively simple.

  1. Code Driven

Source: Picture1-1-180×180.jpg (180×180) (d1jnx9ba8s6j9r.cloudfront.net)

Code driven approach is a very popular approach in agile software development as it mainly focuses on the code of the application. Test cases are executed to find out whether the code is performing as per the user’s expectation or not and the code is producing the desired results or not.

As it is code-driven, large test cases can be easily executed. Specially skilled coders are required to implement this approach.

  1. GUI Testing

Source code: GUI-Testing.png (799×442) (educba.com)

We all know that GUI stands for Graphical User Interface. Using the GUI testing approach we can test the application that has GUI’s. Because of this GUI approach, the testers can also record and replay the action any number of times and we can write the test cases in a number of other programming languages like C#, Python, etc.

The main advantage of this approach is that the coders can work on their favourite language as it supports multiple languages.

  1. Keyword Driven Framework

Source: keyword-Driven-Framework-Introduction.jpg (1200×627) (toolsqa.com)

Keyword Driven Framework is also known as Table Driven or action word testing. It is an advanced form of automation testing. It divides the development test cycle into two stages:

  1.     Design and development stage
  2.     Execution stage

We can run a batch test using the Keyword Driven Framework. It is also ideal for different platforms and environments and large data sets. We will need coding skills and tools so that we can maximize the results.

Tools used for Automation Testing

Here comes the most essential part of automation testing – The Tools. From the starting, we are discussing them. There are an endless number of tools available in the market but the selection of the tool depends on the application or the framework that you are working on. Here are a few tools that are everyone’s favorite. Let us discuss them.

  1. LambdaTest

LambdaTest is a cloud-based cross-browsing testing tool. With this tool, you can easily perform automated cross browsing testing on 2000+ real browsers and operating systems. Also, you can easily run your selenium test scripts using LambdaTest and even work on Selenium grids using LambdaTest’s infrastructure.

You can also execute parallel tests and Selenium automation testing on mobile browsers. LambdaTest also provides you the feature of geolocation testing. Now you can perform the test by sitting in any part of the world.

There are many more reasons to love LambdaTest like it gives Third-Party Integration, Step-by-step documentation for various tests, has 24*7  supports, integration debugging and you can test your locally hosted pages as well.

LambdaTest supports many different languages and frameworks such as

Python (PyTest, Robot),

Java (Junit, TestNG),

JavaScript (AngularJS, Protractor),

C# (NUnit, MSTest),

Ruby (RSpec, Capybara), and

PHP (Behat, PHPUnit)

  1. Selenium

Selenium is a very popular open-source web automation tool. There are many tools available in the market and many more are emerging but Selenium is still standing at the peak of everyone.

It was originated by Jason Huggins back in the early 2000s. Selenium has a complete suite of tools that the testers can explore. The other components of Selenium are – 

  •       Selenium IDE: It is also known as Selenium Recorder. It provides an integrated development environment where we can record and playback our test scripts. It is an add-on to Mozilla Firefox and a plugin for Google Chrome.
  •       Selenium RC: It is also known as Selenium 1 because it was the first instance of Selenium. It was introduced in the year 2005. Selenium RC was configured in Java and worked on the Client-Server model. Selenium RC uses to be the server and the browsers were the client and the commands would be received by the server with the help of HTTP Protocol.
  •       Selenium Webdriver: The most popular and still in use tool is Selenium Webdriver. It directly connects with the browser through an automation test script. Selenium Webdriver is also known as Selenium 2 and it supports languages like PHP, C#, Python, Ruby, and more. With the launch of Selenium Webdriver, Selenium RC started vanishing.
  •       Selenium Grid: With Selenium grid, you can perform parallel automation testing using various Operating Systems and browsers. It is also based on the client-server model. Here, a Hub acts as a server with interacts with multiple clients.
  1. Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio is a new competitor of Selenium. It allows desktop automation testing and REST API testing functionalities with a smooth learning curve. It includes features that help in overcoming common challenges in web UI testing.  It is quick and easy to set up and provides faster and better results.

We can integrate Katalon with Lambdatest with just a few clicks. Click here to see how!

We hope this article helped you in polishing all your knowledge. Learning is a lifetime experience so Keep learning, keep testing and be safe!

Conclusion

There is no doubt in pondering over the option of manual testing and automation testing. There are a lot of instances where manual testing is a must but a lot of the area is now covered by automation testing. We are also moving towards increasing this percentage. As a tester, automation testing has become a necessary skill and a good control over it is necessary. This post explored the areas from the ground about what automation testing is and how can we use it using different tools and approaches. It is also important to know that there is no “god” tool in automation testing. You need to know your domain, the project and start learning accordingly. As an example, if you want to apply automation testing on a website, you should have a control over Selenium and a tool which can facilitate Selenium scripts in an efficient way. LambdaTest has proved to be very efficient with a lot of integrations to be used along with Selenium. Therefore, whenever you are about to start, learn, observe, write some scripts and execute them to see the wonders.

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