Updated: Mar 22
Automation testing is the process of automatization of the test cycle using appropriate tools and software. All software testing stages can be automated, from the preparation of test data to execution of tests and even analyzing test outcomes.
Automation Testing is useful to test the repeated functional flow, which does not have new functional updates, with the help of the automated scripts. The Automation testing types can be chosen depending on the testing type required for the given module and the software development phase where the automation testing is to be implemented.
Read - Automation Testing Tools
Types of Automation Testing
Software tests which are suitable for automation can be classified into the following types:
1. Smoke Testing
It is also known as build verification testing (BVT) or build acceptance testing (BAT). Smoke tests ensure that the most important and vital functions of an application run smoothly. It is the primary testing method used for finding out errors that have the potential to reject a software release. Smoke tests cover important features and functionalities, which are used to assess if the software runs properly or not. These preliminary tests are used to evaluate whether further tests are required, as well as the test worthiness of the product before its release to the testing team. It is the most cost-effective method, it runs quickly and gives quick feedback when running the test suites. Smoke testing can be done by manual testers or through an automation tool.
2. Unit Testing
This is a type of software automation testing in which individual processes or components of an application/software is individually tested. This type of testing checks and validates whether each unit of the application performs according to its design. The smallest testable part of a software application is called a unit. Automated unit tests check individual units of the source code, it separates each part of the program and individually checks whether it works as intended or not. It is considered as the first step of web app testing. Unit tests are usually automated.
3. Functional Testing
It is a type of software testing, in which all the functional requirements and specifications are tested using an input into the system and examining the output to check whether the application meets all the requirements. Functional testing involves tests carried out for checking the UI’s, APIs, client/server applications, security features, databases and overall features and functionalities of the software application, to determine if they are properly working according to all the important specifications. Functional testing can be automated through the use of automation tools; it was traditionally implemented by manual testers. However, automation tools are now used for functional testing as well, it can speed up the overall testing process.
4. Integration Testing
It is a form of software testing in which individual components of the software application are combined in a group and tested. The function of integration testing is to expose errors and check the performance of the application based on the interaction of individual units together as a single integrated unit. The purpose of this form of testing is to determine how individual units of the application perform together when integrated into a single unit. This type of testing helps in improving test coverage and complete test gaps. Integration tests find system-level faults such as faulty catch integration, database schema, etc. It can also be automated.
5. Regression Testing
It is a type of software testing which is used to determine whether a recent code for program change has adversely affected any existing features of the application or not. In this case, a partial or fully successful executed test case is then again re-executed to check for or any errors in existing functionalities of the software. This type of testing is used to ensure that recent code changes do not adversely affect the application once any new changes are done. This type of testing ensures that the code can be modified with regards to changes in requirements, new additions and features to the software can be made and errors and performance issues can easily be fixed. Regression Testing can also be done using an automated testing tool.
6. Keyword-Driven Testing
It is also known as action word driven testing. It is a type of software testing which can also be automated using an automation tool. It is a scripting method that uses data files that contain the keywords relating to the software application which is being tested. These keywords are then used to describe a set of actions that perform a specific process. Keyword-driven tests contain high and low-level keywords. A list of keywords is then identified and then they are associated with a specific function that is related to do these keywords. In this form of testing, actions such as mouse-clicking, opening the browser, keystrokes, etc. are assigned by a keyword such as a click, open browser, type text, etc.
7. Data-Driven Testing
It is a type of test execution and design strategy which can also be automated, where the test script reads the testing data (databases or files) from different sources such as ODBC sources, ADO objects, CSV files, etc., instead of using hardcoded values, every time during the test run. In data-driven testing, test scripts are created which run together with their corresponding data sets in a framework. This framework uses reusable test logic to improve test coverage and reduced maintenance. In automation environments, the test data is harvested from an already running system using custom-built automation tools. The automated tests use a set of recorded or programed sequences of user actions that cover certain portions of the application being tested.
Automation Testing Process
Step 1: Defining the Scope of Automation
The scope of automation means the area of your Application Under Test that will be automated. Make sure you have walked through and know precisely your team’s test state, the amount of test data, also the environment where tests take place. Below are additional clues helping you to determine the scope:
The complexity of test cases
The features or functions that are important for the business
The extent to which business components are reused
The ability to use the same test cases for cross-browser testing
Step 2: Selecting a Testing Tool
After determining your scope, it is now time for you to pick up a tool for automation testing. Of course, you can select it from a wide range of automation tools available in the market. Yet, it solely depends on the technology on which the application tests are built. Each type of tool or framework may serve different demands, therefore having a thorough understanding of multiple tool types is also a prominent factor in choosing your best tool.
Step 3: Planning, Designing, and Development
At this stage, you will create an automation strategy and plan. This plan can include the following items:
Your selected automation testing tool
Framework design and its features
A detailed timeline for scripting and executing test cases
In-scope and Out-of-scope items of automation
Goals and deliverables of automation testing process
Step 4: Executing Test Cases and Build your reports
Once finishing all of the preceding steps, it is time to take action! You can write the scripts, run the test automatically, either by running the code directly or by calling an application’s API or user interface. After your execution, the test report provides a consolidated summary of the testing performed so far for the project.
Step 5: Maintaining previous test cases
No matter how well you manage the automation testing, test maintenance is unavoidable if you want to expand your collection of reusable test scripts. Once your automated tests have been scripted and running, they still need updating if the application changes the next time.
Read - Automation Testing Tools
When to Opt for Automation Testing?
Take the below criteria into account before making your own decision
High Risk – Business Critical test cases Some test cases may contain severe risks, which will have a negative impact on the business. The negative impact includes costs, customer dissatisfaction, poor user experience. In case the whole testing process is run by a manual tester, even by the most experienced one, there is always a higher possibility of error-prone codes. Running an automated test is considered as a better way under risk-based testing, where higher priority should be put to prevent these unexpected errors.
Repetitive test cases There is no sense in applying automation testing tools for tests that can only be run one time. Under these circumstances, repeatable tests can be run on-demand, resulting in a reduction of the cost per test run and the time to complete a development cycle.
Functional test cases Functional testing is also an excellent time to take advantage of automated testing. You can quickly and seamlessly detect the real-time performance of the functional requirements. This approach allows you to achieve accuracy, interoperability, and compliance at ease.
Benefits of Automation Testing
1. Catching Bugs Faster
Automated testing is multiple times faster than manual testing, especially when your application has many features to test. You can get the results of an automated test suite in a concise amount of time and make sure your application works the way you want.
2. Faster Deployment
In the agile methodology, it is necessary that you have shorter deployment cycles. To deploy with confidence, your application needs frequent regression tests. With automation, you can use parallel testing for your application and substantially reduce testing time.
3. Cost and Time Efficiency
It takes less effort and time to test an application using automated testing. Even though the initial investment in Automated Testing is higher than manual testing, the return on investment is high, and it is easier to scale large volumes of tests in a test suite.
4. Continuous Quality
Once you automate the tests, no one needs to be on-site when running them. You can schedule and run your tests 24/7. Then you can analyze test results when available using screenshots and videos recorded during testing.
5. Better Insight
Automated testing allows testers to analyze reports thoroughly. You can analyze automated test logs, runtime, and pass rate information along with screenshots and videos. All this information makes sure testers know everything they need about test results.
6. Better Accuracy
As the number of test cases grows, testers tend to forget/overlook some edge cases. When using automation, QAs know which tests to run and when. So, they eliminate human error.
7. Higher Volume of Tests
Suppose you want to test an application on all the devices in the market. It is practically impossible to do so with manual testing. The number of test cases increases proportionally to the number of test devices. Automated tests can take advantage of device farms and enable you to do a quality check on hundreds of devices in a short amount of time.
8. Stress Testing
Automated testing allows you to test applications in unusual conditions using thousands of simulated users. It is impossible to mimic these behaviors with manual testing.
9. Faster Time to Market
The software industry is thriving fast, and companies try to bring new features to customers as fast as possible. Automated testing allows companies to test faster, deploy faster. You can bring new features to your customers fast and bug- free.
10. More Efficient Workflow
When bugs are found and reported in the development phase, it takes less time to fix them. It is also easier for developers to get on what is wrong when the bug is caught.
Though the automation testing has many advantages, it has its own disadvantages too. Some of the disadvantages are:
Proficiency is required to write the automation test scripts.
Debugging the test script is major issue. If any error is present in the test script, sometimes it may lead to deadly consequences.
Test maintenance is costly in case of playback methods. Even though a minor change occurs in the GUI, the test script has to be re-recorded or replaced by a new test script.
Maintenance of test data files is difficult, if the test script tests more screens.
Read - Automation Testing Tools
The Tech Platform