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Software testing automation implies using the special test software for executing the test case. This is its main difference from manual testing that is performed by a human operating the computer and executing each step of the testing scenario.
There are many phases in the software development process, and test automation is used in advanced ones. Using the automation tools, it’s possible to re-launch the test cases as many times as you need. This improves the efficiency and ROI of test automation by reducing the number of manual work.
With many types of automation testing, and you can create your own automation strategy by choosing the ones that suit you best. In this article, we will tell you about different types of tests so that you could see how different testing practices are.
What is test automation?
Test automation is the execution of automated test cases and comparing the actual results with expected ones. It is used to automate repetitive tasks and other ones that are impossible to execute by manual testing. While the manual tests are fully executed by the QA engineers, the automated ones are run by tools and scripts written by QA automation engineers.
While automation testing is more efficient than manual one, it doesn’t mean that you need to automate each and every test case. There are some specific criteria according to which test automation will be a better choice.
Which tests to automate?
While creating the automation strategy, you need to decide which tests you will be automating.
You may base on the following criteria:
- Complexity of business logic
You need to analyze the complexity of the business process in order to understand if it is fit for automation. The complexity depends on the number of decisions to be taken, the number of screens and inputs, and the type of application.
- Amount of data required
In case the process requires a great number of data, or processing several data sets at a time, it is also better to consider its automation.
- Number of environments
If the process is handled in different environments simultaneously, it’s nearly impossible to execute the test manually, so it’s recommended to develop the automation scenario.
- Number of users
If the application is designed to handle a great number of active users at a time, or you are going to conduct performance testing, you’d better consider the automation scripts.
Different types of testing
Unit testing is a type of automated testing where separate modules and components of the software are assessed. Its goal is to make sure that each separate item of programming code works as expected. It’s performed by developers at the stage of writing the code of the app. Unit tests isolate a code item (function, method, procedure, module or object) and check if it works well.
Covering the code with unit tests helps to minimize the number of defects during the other stages of development and further testing.
Well-performed unit testing saves the team a lot of time and money:
- It allows to fix the mistakes at the earliest stages of development and cut the costs
- It helps the developers to better understand the project’s code base and to easier make changes in the product
- Unit tests can serve as a base for project documentation
- They help with code migration — just transfer the code and tests to the new project before the tests launch again.
Advantages of unit tests:
- The developers can get a general understanding of the app API and its functional capabilities by checking the documentation of unit tests
- Unit testing allows the developer to make code refactoring at the stage of regression testing and to make sure the module works correctly. It is done by writing the test cases for all functions and methods to quickly spot and fix the bug if the code changes caused any
- It’s possible to test different parts of the project without waiting for completing the other ones.
Disadvantages of unit testing
- It won’t spot all mistakes even in simple programs
- Unit testing is oriented at the code unit and can’t spot integration or system mistakes. To avoid missing them, use unit testing in combination with other testing types.
Integration testing is a type of testing where the programming modules are united logically and are tested as a group. Usually, a software product consists of several programming modules written by different developers. The goal of our testing is to spot the bugs in the interaction of different modules and to check the data exchange between them.
Although each programming module goes through unit testing, defects can still be in the product for a number of reasons:
- Usually, the modules are developed by different specialists, their programming logic may differ as well. Integration testing is necessary for checking how the different modules interact with one another
- During the development of the module, the customer can change the requirements. If your deadlines are tight, you might not have time to run unit tests and system integration may have some glitches
- There might be issues with database interfaces, external hardware interfaces and wrong processing of exceptions
Integration testing best practices:
- First, you need to define an integration testing strategy that will not contradict your development principles, prepare the test scenarios and check the data
- Study the app architecture and define the critical modules, check their priority
- Get interface projects from the development team and create the test cases for checking them in detail
- Always have prepared data sets before executing the tests, since they have a critical role. Don’t select the data during executing the test cases.
Functional testing is oriented on checking if the actual characteristics of the software correspond to the customer’s requirements. Depending on its goal, functional testing is handled in the following ways:
- Based on functional requirements in the specification. You create test cases taking into account the priority of the software features that need to be covered with tests. Here we can make sure that all the features of the product work correctly with different types of data input, their combinations, quantity etc.
- Based on business processes the app will maintain. In this case, we pay attention not to the separate features, but to the correct execution of the operations, from the point of system use cases.
Functional testing includes basic app features testing, usability testing, accessibility testing, checking of error messages.
This is a process of testing where user environment is emulated: mouse clicks, button strokes, filling the forms, browsing the pages etc. The goal of E2E testing is to check if the problem interacts with the end-user as expected. This is the final point of testing, the most labour-consuming and expensive one.
Here is how end-to-end testing is handled:
1) Black-box method
Here testing is handled only with the user interface: the tester checks the feature performance, different types of errors. The tester doesn’t know how the application itself is working and how the code executes the functionality. This testing type is the most wide-spread
2) White-box method
Here the tester knows how the software works and how it is expected to respond to the user’s actions. The QA team analyzes if the expected result corresponds to the actual one and understands where it’s necessary to correct the program.
Test automation best practices
In order to get the most value from test automation, you have to be able to use it effectively. Now, we’ll cover our top test automation best practices, and dive into tips on how to use automated test cases
1. Define test case objectives
When designing your automated tests, it is important to have a clear objective in mind. Establishing test case objectives will help you prioritize your tests. For example, if you are trying to detect whether a specific function of your product is functioning as expected, you can test for that specific case.
Keep in mind that the goals you set should be based on your company’s business and departmental objectives. If you want to test the performance of your software, you can use your company experience to establish your test objectives.
For instance, if you are developing software for your company’s website, you can set your test objective to perform load testing: to check the performance of your software in various scenarios, such as during peak hours, in different countries, in different browsers, in different operating systems, and in different device types.
2. Prioritize the tests
As the size of the software grows, the test suite also grows bigger. When creating a test plan, it is necessary to prioritize the tests that will be used in the long term.
One way is by prioritizing the tests based on the priority of the defect. This means that the tests that are the most important should be executed first. Another way would be by prioritizing the tests based on the amount of time it would take to execute the tests. For example, the test cases that take up less time than others should be executed first.
3. Make sure the software is compatible with different environments
When you are developing software, you should think about how the software will be running in different environments. It’s important to make sure the software is compatible with different environments. You can do this by ensuring that the software works on mobile platforms like smartphones, tablets, foldable smartphones, and desktop browsers.
4. Pay attention to the coverage area
One of the main reasons for implementing automated testing is to increase the coverage that your team is able to achieve. You may log the coverage you have and monitor the coverage levels.
5. Have a test reporting system
To help you find out where your tests are failing, you want to use some form of test reporting. You may track the test results in an issue tracking system or use the test reporting one in order to generate structured reports with diagrams and visualization.
We hope you enjoyed this article on types of automated tests. Since there are many types of tests, it’s important for you to choose the type that suits your needs. If you need help with developing a test automation strategy and executing different types of tests, please contact our team. We will give you an extensive consultation and help to develop an automation strategy that will suit your needs.