Why Test Automation Is Necessary for Continuous Testing

Why Test Automation Is Necessary for Continuous Testing Conclusion

automation testing

When testing is performed concurrently with the development process, it is called continuous testing. Automated testing is necessary to achieve accurate continuous testing. Automated testing enables the rapid and continuous delivery of web and mobile apps while allowing for production of higher-quality code. 

Continuous testing provides a safety net for organizations during the software development life cycle (SDLC). By automating tests, you can quickly and easily verify that your code changes have not introduced any new bugs, which helps to ensure that your software releases are of high quality and meet the needs of your users.

The demand for faster release cycles is increasing, and SDLCs are becoming shorter and shorter as a result. Organizations must adopt a continuous testing strategy that includes test automation to meet these demands on time and without bugs.

What Is Test Automation?

Test automation is the procedure of performing tests automatically. Organizations can use test automation to improve the testing process's efficiency by reducing the time needed to execute test cases and providing more accurate results. 

Test automation is essential to continuous testing, and allows for rapid and frequent delivery of software updates. Continuous testing requires executing many test cases rapidly, and test automation can provide this capability.

Once automated tests are in place, they can be run repeatedly at any time with minimal effort. Automation testing is essential to continuous testing and should be used to complement manual testing efforts. Manual testing involves executing test cases one at a time, which can be time-consuming and often lead to inaccurate results. 

The benefits of automation testing include:

  • Improved accuracy of results

  • A more consistent testing environment

  • Reduced time executing test cases

  • improved software quality

Challenges of automation testing:

  • It can be costly to develop and maintain

  • It can be challenging to create accurate test cases

  • It can lead to over-reliance on automation

Quickly testing critical systems is a requirement of modern development. However, manual testing is slow, labor intensive, and pushes businesses to cut corners. This can cause delays that impact the organization's revenue. The best approach to testing complicated systems on a wide scale is to employ automation.

One example of when automation is superior to manual testing is in the act of comparing two databases with thousands of records each. Automation can check for differences in a matter of minutes, while a human tester could take days. Automated testing is also more consistent than manual testing, so fewer errors are likely.

How To Select a Test Automation Tool

Continuous testing doesn't work well when working with many older tools and processes, so automation can become essential to the development process moving forward.

When selecting an automation testing tool, it is crucial to consider the following factors:

  • The categories of tests that should be automated

  • The operating system and platform on which the organization will deploy the software

  • The budget for the project

  • The experience levels of team members

Types of Test Automation Tools

Functional testing tools test the functionality of the software. Developers can use these tools to test web applications, mobile applications, and desktop applications. 

Performance testing tools test the performance of the software. Developers can use these tools to simulate a heavy load on the system and measure the system's response time under that load. 

Test tools automate the execution of test cases. Developers can use these tools to run unit tests, regression tests, and continuous integration tests. 

Bug reporting tools track and manage bugs. Developers use these tools to create and track bug reports, assign bugs to developers, and track the status of bugs. 

There is some cost involved with purchasing tools and creating automated tests, but the reduced risk of failure and improved software quality will offset these costs over time.

DevOps Test Automation

DevOps is a set of tasks that automates software development and IT operations processes. DevOps improves communication and collaboration between developers and operations teams and automates the build, test, and deploy strategies.

Continuous testing is a critical piece of DevOps. Continuous testing is executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline. Continuous testing ensures that quality is maintained as new features are integrated with the software.

Test automation reduces the time needed for testing, and can improve the accuracy of test results. This means that organizations can release products sooner with fewer defects. Users are less likely to receive buggy products and have a bad experience.

Test automation makes continuous testing possible by speeding up the process and providing reliable feedback. Test automation enables integrated teams to work together more efficiently, rather than having teams working on separate parts of the project.

The Two Functions of Software Testing

Software testing functions in two ways: automated testing and test automation. Automated testing is when you use a tool to execute your tests instead of performing them manually. Test automation is a method for automating the tracking of your tests.

Automated testing eliminates bottlenecks that are often experienced in DevOps processes and provides valuable feedback that can be used to make smarter release decisions. Continuous testing is agile, efficient, and stable, allowing for integrated teams rather than siloed ones.

Positive Aspects of Automated Testing

Eliminating human intervention in the testing process usually leads to more consistent results. When test cases run automatically, there is no risk of individual human error affecting the outcome of the tests. This leads to more accurate and reliable results that can be used to make informed decisions about the software development process.

Another positive aspect of automated testing is that it enables parallel testing, where developers can run multiple tests at the same time (thus saving time). Manual testing requires testers to take turns with the data, which can drastically lengthen the testing process.

Automated testing also provides valuable feedback for development teams. With each new build, tests are run and employees log results in a timely manner. This feedback is essential for ensuring that the code meets the requirements and that there are no errors to avoid risk of disrupting the customer experience.

Test automation in software development is crucial for ensuring the quality of code changes and achieving continuous testing. By automating the testing process, development teams can quickly catch and fix bugs before production.

In addition, automating tests allows developers to focus on writing new code rather than manually testing every change. Automated tests can run frequently regardless of team capacity, providing comprehensive coverage.

Test Automation Elements and Frameworks

There are four main elements of automated testing:

  • Awareness of the role automated testing in product development

  • Choosing an effective testing tool

  • Creating a test plan

  • Executing test cases

Knowing the role that automated testing will play in product development is critical to success. It helps ensure that everyone on the team understands how automated testing can improve product quality and speed up delivery.

Choosing an effective testing tool is key to success. Many options are available, so selecting one that will work well for your specific project is essential.

Automated testing can save a lot of time and money if enacted correctly. It can also improve the quality of your product by detecting bugs early on in the development process. Despite these benefits, some organizations are hesitant to adopt automated testing. This is often because they don't understand how it works or believe it's too expensive.

When deciding which areas of the development process should be automated, consider the complexity of the test cases, the testing types, and the available resources. Doing so can ensure that your investment in automated testing is well worth it.

Types of Automated Testing Frameworks

There are five kinds of automated testing frameworks, each of which has pros and cons. Knowing the differences will be important in choosing the one that best suits your needs.

Keyword-driven Automation Frameworks

 Developers use this framework to assign keywords to actions needed to perform a function. Keyword examples include “login,” “email,” and “click.” Keyword-driven automation frameworks are suitable for automating simple test cases. However, they can become too complicated to maintain as test cases grow more complex.

The keyword-driven automation framework has the following benefits:

  • Test cases are reusable

  • Tests are simple and easy to understand

  • Maintenance is intuitive and does not require specialists

  • More testing can occur with less effort

  • Testing of the application happens piece by piece

Data-driven Automation Frameworks

This framework involves using a test script to run a case against various data types. These test cases tend to be highly reusable. Data-driven automation frameworks are also more flexible than keyword-driven automation frameworks, and can work for automating both simple and complex test cases. However, they require a bit more setup and configuration than keyword-driven frameworks.

Hybrid Automation Frameworks

Hybrid automation frameworks combine the best of both keyword-driven and data-driven automation frameworks. It is the most commonly used framework type because it combines the positive aspects of other frameworks and mitigates the most negative effects.

Behavior-driven Development Automation Frameworks

The behavior-driven development automation framework is a relatively new automated testing framework that focuses on the system's behavior under testing conditions. These test cases are composed in plain language so non-developers can understand what is happening with a project. As a result, this process can help improve communication between teams.

Modular Automation Framework

A modular automation framework is an automated testing framework designed to be easy to use, maintain, and extend in general. It consists of a series of small, independent modules that employees can reuse in different test cases. A test script is built for each piece and can be combined to form larger test cases.

Automation should make testing easier. Creating automated tests should be a smooth transition from manual testing. While automated testing will not fully replace manual testing, the savings of time and effort can be substantial.

Types of Automated Tests

Unit Testing

Unit testing is automated testing that is specifically used to test the functionality of individual code units. In other words, unit testing allows developers to feel confident making changes without fear of bringing the entire system down. Developers typically write unit tests as they are working on new code. These tests address tiny pieces of code that are usually only of interest to developers - and don’t threaten to shut down the entire system if there is an error.

Integration Testing

Integration testing is automated testing that tests the interaction between different code units. These tests are typically run after all unit tests have passed. QA workers typically write integration tests that run less often than other unit tests.

Regression Testing

Regression testing is automated testing that tests the software's functionality after changes have been made. These tests typically run after all units and integration tests have passed. The idea is to ensure that software updates do not break existing systems.

Functional Testing

Functional testing is automated testing used to test software functionality from the end user's perspective. Functional tests are typically run after all unit, integration, and regression tests have passed.

Load Testing

Load testing is a type of automated testing used to test the performance of the software under load. Load tests are typically run after all unit, integration, and regression tests have passed. The load gradually increases to the point of system failure.

Smoke Testing

Smoke testing is automated testing used to test the software's functionality to ensure stability. These are end-to-end tests to ensure the critical parts of a project are functioning correctly. Smoke tests are typically run after all unit, integration, and regression tests have passed. 

Sanity Testing

Sanity testing is automated testing that ensures the software's functionality works as expected. In addition, sanity tests check for bug fixes and typically are run after all unit, integration, and regression tests have passed.

Final Thoughts

Overall, automated testing is essential for achieving true continuous testing. Automated testing is necessary to create a more efficient, reliable, and consistent testing process. This will ultimately lead to higher quality code and a better user experience.

When it comes to increasing the speed and efficiency of your software development process, automated testing is a necessity and not a luxury.. By investing in the right tools and taking the time to create a comprehensive test plan, you can ensure that your product is of the highest quality and your customers are satisfied when it’s finally in their hands.

Author Bio

Daniel Jackson
Community Manager
NI | Twitter

Daniel is a community manager for NI (formerly National Instruments), where they create the tools needed for companies to Engineer Ambitiously™. His current interests are at the intersection of software engineering and DevOps. Outside of work, he is a marathon runner and is working on his first novel.

Read Our Other Interesting Computer Engineering Articles Here