What Is Automated Testing in Software Testing?
In this article, learn about automated testing, including background information, why it’s important, how it works, and the three types of automated tests.
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Software testing is a significant part of assuring software quality, which provides confidence that the product is functioning as intended before installation. It can be done manually or automatically, requiring either human effort or the use of automation tools and frameworks, respectively.
Broken software is more than just an annoyance for users. It is all about losing money. Of course, no software is completely bug-free. But for the best experience possible, bugs should be identified before they reach customers. This is where automated testing comes in handy.
What Is Automated Testing?
Automated testing is the process of testing when special software assists in test management and execution instead of leveraging human effort. Tests are scripts that run against the written code by a computer through thousands of scenarios in a matter of moments. Produced results are compared to what is expected, as well as described in each of the test cases.
In software, the automated testing definition refers to the analysis carried out without human interaction but with high confidence in whether the product is working correctly. It helps when the process repeats and functionalities start to pile up by speeding up the procedure and increasing test coverage.
How Does Automated Testing Work?
What a team intends to automate should be highlighted first and foremost. The next step is to instruct a device on running a test case with the help of the code or a certain tool with the existing user interface. It depends on the specifications and allocated budget.
The team creates the list of potentially suitable tests, finalizes it, and selects manual test cases as the basis. Test scripts are written from scratch or chosen from earlier projects. System testing is implemented through tools that execute tests across various browsers. Different types of automated testing and tests take top priority while being carried out by a computer.
Types of Automated Tests
Three common types of automated testing are:
- Unit testing
- Integration testing
- End-to-end testing
A unit is the smallest part of the system. A checkup done at this level is called unit testing. It is the fastest and most stable analysis, usually performed by a developer to check whether something is functioning properly in its standalone environment. A pile of units represents a component. The unit analysis is thus any testing conducted within a single component. A piece of software is made up of numerous components (login, registration, database, etc.) communicating with one another.
Testing more than a single component is called integration testing. Integration testing takes more time compared to unit testing. It has a wider coverage, so it is less stable but more complex.
The end-to-end analysis is performed through the user interface to verify the components interact as expected. This type of testing is the most valuable because it simulates real users and validates a large set of functionalities. It is useful for monitoring the workflow of critical features and represents the slowest and most unreliable test compared to the previous one.
The range of what you can automate is wide: functional, unit, integration, API, regression, and performance testing.
Automated Testing Misconceptions
There are some myths of applying automated testing. Here is how to address them:
- Do not get carried away with integration or end-to-end testing. Instead, go deeper into the unit analysis. Always lean heavily on it as the foundation and most important level of a system (60-70% of scripts).
- Not everything should be automated. More is not always better, so keep a balance. A large number of automated tests can bring a system down.
- There is a misconception that QA engineers do not conduct automated testing. Although coding is required, developers are not the only ones involved in testing. QAs with skills and a certain level of experience are full participants in the process.
- One more thing to clarify is the cost. While the initial investment is high, the automated method always pays off by minimizing expenses associated with code revisions and frequently repeated tasks. The development time of a product is reduced, and defects are detected earlier, resulting in lower costs.
- Automated tests cannot fully replace manual checkups. You have to utilize both techniques to stay ahead of the game and produce the most accurate test outcome.
What Kind of Tests Should Be Automated?
Consider the following to understand whether a specific test is worth being automated:
- Will your test be run for multiple builds?
- Will it be hard to run manually?
- Will it run on different browsers?
- Will it be time-consuming?
- Will it have an important business impact?
- Will it be a test that frequently generates errors if done manually?
Never automate raw or unstable functionalities, tests that have no clear pass/fail results, features with constantly changing requirements, and newly created test cases (that have not gone through manual checkups yet). Do not automate if a test will be run once or twice.
What are the pros of setting up an automated testing process for your system?
Benefits of Automated Testing
Automated testing is a huge win for a business. Here is a list of the main benefits your company might accumulate:
Covers a Large Amount of Work in Little Time
Human effort spent on verifying a system is minimized. Regression testing is sped up tremendously. As a result, the feedback can reach the team faster, allowing them to respond to the requirements immediately.
Automated Tests Are Easy to Repeat
They can be recorded and carried out later, which makes execution and maintenance easier. More can be accomplished within a defined period. Tests can be repeated in an identical way 24/7.
Breaks Are Not Needed
The validation is more objective and comprehensive, and the results are more precise. Every feature is covered. When performing the same simple operation without any automated tool over and over without taking a break, QAs are more likely to make a mistake.
Improves Efficiency and Reduces Costs
You can go into the deepest level of detail, which is impossible to achieve manually. The more complex the test, the more manpower it takes to complete. This is reduced by automating the process, which results in future cost savings. The test execution cycle can be shortened from a few weeks to a few days or hours.
Defects Are Discovered Earlier
Testers can detect bugs earlier, which helps cut down on costs. Every time a new feature is released, a quick regression test targeting a specific part of the software can be conducted. Hidden information and bugs can be easily brought out from the application.
Various Testing Conditions Available
You can test a new software build in various environments, which cannot be achieved manually. You get better quality software even with a reduced team size.
The primary reason why automated testing is important is the fact it maximizes efficiency in delivering high-quality software. When working on large projects, you contribute to the stability and functionality of the software, reducing the time required to bring a product to market. As a result, it has become a necessity for new product development and effective quality delivery for a high-performing company.
Published at DZone with permission of Anna Smith. See the original article here.
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