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Limitations of Automation Software

· DevOps Zone

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Automation testing software are applications which allow the automated testing of a software application eliminating the need for manual labor of a tester and improving the testing time of an application Automation testing tools often contains GUI which allows a layman to perform testing. Companies are now taking advantage of automation testing tools to increase their efficiency and productivity. Apart from several advantages and benefits of automation software testing there are certain limitations of these tools as well. This article focuses on the limitations which automated software testing encounters and solutions to these limitations. These limitations have been elaborated in the coming sections.

Need for scripting and programming skills

Automation testing often involves scripts of codes which are executed to test an application. Manual testing can be less technical task in this perspective. In case of automation testing, owing to the requirement of coding skills the technical skill level of human resource should be high enough to write robust testing code. This is a very major limitation of automation testing which provokes companies to hire testers with substantial coding skills. This problem can be solved by designing such automation software which allow a tester to drag and drop contents on the automation software window which are behind the scene converted into code as is the case with many GUI based IDEs. This will not only make the software easy to use for layman but it will also help increase the testing efficiency.

Need for maintenance of automated test code

Another major limitation of software testing is that, as code is written which when executes test the application. We have two types of codes executing simultaneously in case of automated testing. One is the testing code which is written by a tester to test the application and the other is the developers code which is the actual application code being testing and is written by the developer. Application code is consistently being updated by the developer whenever a feature is updated or needs to be modified. Whenever application code is updated or modified, the code for automated test case which is testing this piece of application needs to be tested accordingly failing which results in faulty output of the test case. 

For example a developer has modified a functionality which is now functioning differently but the code is not updated accordingly, executing non-updated test code might pass the test case which should be failed. Hence a synchronization issue has arisen in this case. The best solution for such synchronization problem is that testing application keeps track of the developer code and whenever a change occurs in the code the software automatically prompts the tester that the piece of code which you want to test has been modified and you should verify that testing code is updated accordingly or not. This will avoid any test case to give faulty result.

Not suitable for Legacy Code

Another disadvantage of using automated testing is that in the development environment a developer often comes across legacy code which was written not keeping in mind that automated testing tools can test it. Applying automated testing tool to legacy code is a very cumbersome and laborious task which entails lots of complexities. In addition to legacy codes, automated code is just like development code with only difference that it is used for testing purpose, this code needs to be maintained and updated like development code. The best approach to maintain the automated testing code is to use proper documentation for testing code as well just like the development code.

Not suitable for system and integrated testing

Automation testing is usually done at unit testing level. Automation testing requires some code to be written which when executed, automatically tests certain unit of code which a tester has to test manually otherwise. However, in case of system and integration testing, automation testing tools usually don’t have the ability to integrate test cases and output the result of complete system testing and they are limited to unit testing only. 

Tester has to perform unit testing through automated tools and then manually integrate the test result to obtain complete picture of system or integration tests. A general solution for this problem is that instead of writing unit test code for individual unit of code; write an automated test case code which tests the whole GUI of the system which is virtually equivalent to system testing. Several automated testing tools have this capability to test the GUI of an application as a whole.

Knowledge of Interfacing between components required

It often happens that different developers are working on their individual code. This code ownership creates difficulties for automation testing engineers. To run automation tests in such scenarios, the tester first needs to understand the interface between the codes of different developers and write the automation tests accordingly. This limitation can be removed by using such an automated testing tools which is integrated into development IDE and is placed at some central repository where it can track the code of each individual developer and can automatically intimates the tester about the relationship between the codes of different developers like relationship diagram. This way a tester will not have to manually track the interfacing between different pieces of codes in his application.

Require Additional tools and hardware

Last but not the least, robust and reliable automated testing tools are not available freely in the market. Most of the free tools available in the market at the moment are not efficient enough to provide the latest automated testing features. Another limitation of automation testing is that automated test cases are not run on single machine of a developer or tester. To obtain correct results test case needs to be executed on some central repository where it can access all the parts of application developed by different developers. This requires additional hardware to run these tests. RoutineBot software is not an exception, but above mentioned problems are minimized there, so the tool has its niche in software automation and worth trying out.

I wish you best of luck in all your testing and development endeavors!

Download “The DevOps Journey - From Waterfall to Continuous Delivery” to learn learn about the importance of integrating automated testing into the DevOps workflow, brought to you in partnership with Sauce Labs.


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