Automated software testing has long been considered critical for only big software development projects and is often thought to be too expensive or difficult for smaller companies to implement. To be honest, this was not entirely incorrect, at least a couple of years ago. However, with so many intuitive test automation tools readily available and don’t require high-end scripting skills, it should be a top priority for any software development team that wants to speed up their product’s time to market. In this post, I am going to discuss why you should opt for automation testing and what tools are available in the marketplace for you to try.
For anyone new to testing, software testing is an activity used to check whether the actual results match the expected results and to ensure that the application is defect free. It involves execution of software components or system components to evaluate one or more properties of interest. It helps to identify errors, gaps, or missing requirements as compared to the actual requirements documented before the development started. Based on who does the testing, it is broadly categorized as manual and automation testing.
Manual testing is performed by a human who sits in front of a computer and carefully goes through an application, tries various usage and input combinations, compares the results to the expected behavior, and generates a report based on the results. This is repeated often throughout the software development cycle for any source code changes and other situations like testing for multiple operating environments and hardware configurations. While this is good for small and simple test executions, it becomes a problem as the scope and number of test scenarios increases. It consumes a lot of time and effort and is often prone to human errors especially when there is a repetitive task.
On the other hand, automated testing or test automation is a method in the software testing process that makes use of special software tools to control the execution of tests and then compares actual test results with predicted or expected results. All of this is done automatically with little or no intervention from the test engineer. It is one step ahead of manual testing. Once ready, automated tests can be run any number of times to test the same application thus minimizing redundant manual work. As software companies have now started focusing more on releasing new products to the market faster or fixing a recently identified bug in the application, software automation testing provides them the necessary speed, scale, and reliability that is not available with manual testing. Below is a list of some of the benefits of using automation testing:
- It saves tons of time and money
- Frees human resources to do other important work
- It can be reused with minimum modification
- Removes the chances of human error
- Can run 24/7 even from a remote location
- Improves productivity and reliability
- Can handle a huge volume of testing
Here is a comprehensive list of the best test automation tools that are currently dominating the market. This list includes both commercial and free (usually an open source) test automation tools. However, almost all licensed tools have a free trial version available which allows you to work on the tools before deciding which one suits your requirements.
Selenium is unarguably the most popular and most used web automation testing tool available in the marketplace. It supports multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) and browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Headless browsers). Test Scripts can be developed in various languages such as Java, Groovy, Python, C#, PHP, Ruby, and Perl. This wide range of script provides new users with an opportunity to get started with whatever programming language they have been using previously. With selenium, you can create very powerful browser-centered automation test scripts which are scalable across different environments.
However, Selenium itself is not sufficient for all testing requirements. It needs to be integrated with lots of tools that serve distinct purposes. Also, Selenium demands advanced programming skills and dedicated time and effort to build the automation framework to meet specific needs.
Unified Functional Testing
Unified Functional Testing (UFT), earlier known as HP QuickTest Professional, is a leading cross-platform automation testing tool originally from Mercury Interactive which was acquired by Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2006 and later sold to Micro Focus in 2016. UFT is primarily used for functional, regression and service testing. It can automate Web, Desktop, SAP, Delphi, Net, ActiveX, Flex, Java, Oracle, Mobile, PeopleSoft, PowerBuilder, Siebel, Stingray, Visual Basic amongst other application. It uses VBScript as the scripting language. It works well with other testing products of its family such as HP ALM (Test Management Tool) and HP LoadRunner (Performance Testing Tool). It has mature and comprehensive automated testing features including Business Process Testing, keyword driven framework, XML support, robust checkpoints, test results.
Some of the limitations of UFT are its limited support of scripting language, browser versions and a license fee that users have to pay every year.
Ranorex is one of the simplest and most adaptable automation tools available on the market. If you’re not from a programming background or you’ve never done automation software testing before, Ranorex lets you run your test without a script. Ranorex offers full cross-device testing so you can try out websites and desktop applications as well as mobile apps, and it provides cross-browser testing functionality for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge amongst others.
Ranorex integrates easily with most of the leading software application development solutions like Git, TFS, Jenkins, Bamboo, Bugzilla, SpecFlow, NeoLoad, TestRail and more for a complete testing toolchain. However, unlike many rival testing tools, it does not have a device viewer when recording, so you’ll need access to the mobile device to actually keep an eye on the testing process.
Cypress is a front-end automated testing application created for modern web interfaces. It is built on new architecture and runs in the run-loop as the application is being tested. This helps cypress to provide better, faster and more reliable testing for anything that runs in a browser. The best part is that it works on almost all front-end frameworks or websites.
If you are not happy with your current front-end testing tools’ capabilities and want something more powerful, you should definitely try Cypress.io’s end to end testing framework.
QMetry Automation Studio
QMetry Automation Studio (QAS) is a leading software automation tool built on Eclipse IDE and open source frameworks such as Selenium and Appium. It brings structure, efficiency, and reusability to automation efforts. It supports advanced automation strategy with coded automation and enables manual teams to transition into automation seamlessly with scriptless automation methods. QAS provides a unified solution for an Omnichannel, multi-device, and multi-locale scenario by supporting the web, mobile native, mobile web, web services, and micro-services components.
IBM Rational Functional Tester
Rational Functional Tester (RFT) is an object-oriented automated functional testing tool from IBM that is capable of performing automated functional, regression, GUI, and data-driven testing. RFT supports a wide range of applications and protocols, such as HTML, Java, .NET, Windows, Eclipse, SAP, Siebel, Flex, Silverlight, Visual Basic, Dojo, GET, and PowerBuilder applications. It allows users to create tests that mimic the actions and assessments of a human tester. It is primarily used by Software Quality Assurance teams to perform automated regression testing. With the advanced ScriptAssure technology, this tool allows you to accommodate frequent user interface changes and avoid increases in maintenance overhead.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that test automation is the need of the hour and as soon you start using it more you will start to see the benefit. Having said that, choosing a perfect automation tool is not an easy task but the time and effort spent on scientifically choosing a test automation tool and framework can go a long way in ensuring reliable and cost-effective test execution.Do you use test automation in your app development? Which tool do you use? If you have not started yet and want to know which tool will be best for you, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.