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Top Automated Testing Practices to follow

The benefits of automated testing are enormous and ROI increases exponentially if we follow the automated testing practices with proper planning.
However, it does not mean that we should completely depend on automated testing and ignore manual testing. Overall software testing procedures will always include both the manual and automation test cases to achieve high quality, better speed with optimum use of resources.

So, let’s discuss in detail some of the top automated testing practices we can follow while executing the test cases with automation tools.

Automation testing

To move on to automation testing one of the first steps is to make sure that a stable and well-designed manual testing process is in place with the right test cases. We should consider implementing the automated testing in the project only when the environment, development code and manual test processes gain stability. Hence, with the help of manual testers, the test cases which are ideal for automated testing can be selected and can be put in an automated testing process. Hence it will save the time of manual test engineers which requires their attention to specific tasks, such as usability testing, exploratory testing, and ad-hoc testing.
Now the question arises, how to find which test cases to be used for the automation process.

Finding the ideal test cases for automated testing

All the test cases present in any project can be automated, but that does not mean that they all should be automated. We should plan with care while selecting the test cases for the automation process. Otherwise, we can lose money and time on creating test scripts for the cases which are not run often.

The following test cases could be selected for automation because of their repetitive nature:

  1. Regression Tests
    Every time new code changes are introduced we need to make sure that it has not introduced any new defect in the code. For a QA Engineer manual execution of the regression test cases would be a time-consuming process. That is why the regression test cases are most likely to be chosen for automated testing. The QA test engineer can use this time for other important tasks that require manual testing.
  2. Smoke Tests
    Smoke testing is performed whenever a new build is released for testing to make sure that the critical functionalities of the product are intact and working fine. That’s why it is also called the ‘Build Verification’ testing. This testing verifies that the build is stable. As smoke tests are run after each build, so they qualify for the automated testing process.
  3. Data-Driven Tests
    Data-driven testing involves running data stored in several file formats like CSV, Excel, DB tables, JSON files through the same code multiple times.

    • Reducing the testing time
      Data-driven testing is a time-consuming process when it’s done manually. With automated testing, the testing time is considerably reduced. Whenever there is a change in the test scenario, only the file where data is stored needs to be changed.
    • High-quality test data
      The test data should be of high quality for the data-driven testing and should be easily maintainable. Otherwise, if we are just using the data to fill or the data which is difficult to maintain on a later stage due to requirement changes, then there will be no use of automating the tests.
  4. Difficult manual test cases
    The test cases which involve the numeric calculations are difficult to execute manually, so these type of test cases are ideal to qualify for automation testing. Because they consume a lot of time. It’s better, that in such cases of calculations the automated testing process is followed using automated automation scripts and make better use of the time saved. In short, the test cases which are repetitive in nature are the ideal choice for automated testing procedures.

Stability of environment and application under test(AUT)

The environment and application should be stable so that the automation scripts provide consistent results when they are run.

  1. Stable AUT – If the AUT is not stable and keeps on changing, then in every release, the QA team will have to rework on automation scripts. This will harm the purpose of automated testing. Hence, before starting with the automated testing, make sure that the application is stable.
  2. Stable Environment – The actual result will always vary from the expected result on every run of the automated test if the environment is unstable. In this case, it will be really difficult to verify the correctness of the test run and then eventually debug it.

Choosing the right automated testing tool

There are many automated testing tools, and it is very important to analyze the below points before selecting the automated testing tool.

  1. Application technology
    To choose the correct automation tool, it’s very important to know whether the application is web-based, desktop or mobile-based. On the basis of these factors, it would be easy to choose automation tools.
  2. Platforms and OS
    The platforms and Operating Systems on which the application will run will help in choosing the right automation tool. Does your automated testing tool support Android and iOS or both? These requirements and the features are to be kept in mind before choosing the automated testing tool.
  3. Skillset available
    Today, the boundary between manual tester and automation test engineer has diminished. QA test engineer needs to be well versed in manual and automated testing both. It is required that for Automated testing, QA engineer must have the knowledge of at least one scripting/programming language like Java, Python, Ruby, Perl, etc. A test engineer may be well versed in one language and unaware of the other. Hence, it is important to discuss with the QA team if they are comfortable with the language and the automated testing tool.
  4. The following options can be considered if there is a mismatch between the skill set available and the skill set required:
    • Training for QA team – To enhance the Automated testing skills the QA team can be trained with the required scripting language.
    • Hire external resources – To equip the QA team with the latest development in Automation testing, new resources can be hired with the knowledge of the automated testing tool and related scripting language.
    • Scriptless automated testing tools – To remove the dependency on coding for testers the QA Team should rely on the Scriptless automation tools. These tools can be NLP (Natural Language Processing) based, AI-based, Model-based, etc.
  5. Cost of the tool
    Are you using some licensed tools or open-source tools? It is better to calculate the cost of the tool and your budget before the selection of any automated testing tool. Mostly, for different applications like mobile, web-based and desktop, there are different open-source tools available. So, if the company does not want to buy the licensed tools, the QA team must be aware of all the different tools if the application runs on different platforms.
    Mostly a single licensed tool will give the solutions for all the platforms and technologies. Hence, the QA team should consider its requirements and should finalize a single tool so that the tool can be a good choice if the application runs on diverse platforms. Moreover, the licensed tool provides services and support for the tool which is an extra advantage over the open-source tools.

In the end, the QA Team should consider and follow these practices before starting the Automation Testing process for any project in the organization.

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