Automated and Manual Tests: What Are the Differences and When Should You Use Each?
To program or not to program? User experience or cost efficiency? These are among the questions you must consider when testing your software.
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What Is the Difference and When Should You Use It?
Automated testing and manual testing are two primary methods of software testing and both of them are crucial for software development. For manual testing, the tester has to sit in front of screens and go through the code; in contrast, automated testing is much more effective for testers as test cases are executed automatically using tools and software. Each of them have its own benefits and disadvantages, which depends on many factors such as budget, timeline, and the number of testers.
Automated testing is a process that makes use of automation testing tools to execute pre-scripted tests on applications, then compares the test results to the expected behavior and reports it to the testers. In addition, automation testing tools also have record and playback features which help you to record all your testing activities. Basically, automation testing tools repeat the predefined actions then compare the results to the predicted behavior. If the outcome and the expected results align, your product is working as it’s supposed to.
Manual testing is a process of finding out the defects or bugs in a software program. In this way, tester will simulate the role of end user to go through all the features throughout the application to make sure that they are working as they are supposed to work. All of this is done manually, making it time-comsuming and laborious.
Some of the advantages of manual testing method include:
- The tester oversight of the application during testing, making the user-friendliness better.
- Less financial impact in the short-term.
- Programming is not required.
However, they are generally outweighed by its disadvantages:
- Manual testing is time-consuming due to running test cases as everything is done manually.
- Low accuracy result.
- Less reliable.
- Regression testing is time-consuming and laborious.
While automated testing certain also has its drawbacks, such as less UI feedback and necessitating programming, it is clearly the more overall advantageous of the two:
- Automated testing is much faster than manual testing due to using software.
- It could be costly initially, but in the long-term, it will reduce the cost.
- Automation produces more consistently accurate and reliable results
- Regression testing is easy due to using tools.
- Once the test suites are made, it requires fewer testers to execute test cases.
When to Use Manual Testing
- Exploratory Testing: This type of testing requires the tester’s knowledge, experience, analytical/logical skills, creativity, and intuition. The test is characterized here by poorly-written specification documentation, and/or a short time for execution. We need the human skills to execute the testing process in this scenario.
- Usability Testing: This is an area in which you need to measure how user-friendly, efficient, or convenient the software or product is for the end users. Here, human observation is the most important factor, so a manual approach is preferable.
- Ad-hoc Testing: In this scenario, there is no specific approach. It is a totally unplanned method of testing where the understanding and insight of the tester is the only important factor.
When to Use Automated Testing?
- Data Driven Testing: For testing application functions where the same functions need to be validated with lots of different inputs & large data sets (i.e. login, search).
- Load & Performance Testing: No viable manual alternative exists.
- Regression Testing: Here, automated testing is suitable because of frequent code changes and the ability to run the regressions in a timely manner.
- Load Testing: Automated testing is also the best way to complete the testing efficiently when it comes to load testing.
- Repeated Execution: Testing which requires the repeated execution of a task is best automated.
- Performance Testing: Similarly, testing which requires the simulation of thousands of concurrent users requires automation.
Equipped with knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of testing, you will know when to use manual testing and when to use automated testing. Using the right method for each testing situation will save your time and give you the best results.
Published at DZone with permission of Alex Jones. See the original article here.
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