There was once a time when manual testing was the only option available to remove visual bugs. It was probably a good idea in older times, but developers nowadays create pages keeping in mind countless combinations of browsers and operating systems. This means that if the QA team has to test websites and applications for each combination manually, their test scripts will blow out of proportion due to checkpoint bloat. Even after running countless combinations of assertion codes without test automation, plenty of rendering issues would still remain undetected. Test Automation Strategy-
In this era of Agile and DevOps software development, where QA and test teams are constantly under a renewed level of a time crunch to live up to expectations and make high-quality releases, manual tests are, therefore, a no-go. To meet the challenge, QA companies are deploying tools for test automation for CD (continuous delivery). A recent survey has disclosed that 80-85 percent of testing companies have introduced a test automation framework to replace manual testing in their respective organizations.
They are turning to easy-to-use cross browser testing tools on cloud and automated testing tools such as Selenium and integrating them into CI/CD pipeline servers such as Teamcity, CircleCI, and Jenkins. Then they implement the procedure for automating their regression, performance, integration, and functional tests to speed up operations and improve code coverage.
One of the current World Quality Report found that nearly half (48%) of QA specialists are having issues provisioning testing data for their automated test environment. This deeply has restricted deployment. This report found that for 2017 and 2018, no QA company has automated more than 18 percent of their testing cases successfully, and just 4% had attained full deployment of the automated tests (90% or more of tests).
Why go for Automated Testing?
Test automation is all about maximizing test coverage. The ultimate agenda of automated testing is to reduce manual tests as much as possible. Manual tests are still just as significant and relevant, but it is important to understand an ever-expanding number of functionalities that applications today are equipped with. Moreover, the diverse range of browsers and operating systems further increases the possibility of visual bugs.
To avoid such a scenario, it was imperative to adopt a robust test automation framework. It is by far a much speedier and better alternative. Opting for test automation enables:
- increased test coverage
- enhanced accuracy
- reusability of test cases
- early detection of bugs
- reduction in overhead charges
- a noticeable increase in ROI
Every time the software developers create a new build, the testing is automatically triggered. Once the testing cycle is complete and verified, the QA team can manually stop validating the errors (bugs).
17 Effective Ways to Optimize Your Automated Test
Having discussed the importance of test automation and test automation framework in the 21st century, given below is a comprehensive checklist where we have mentioned seventeen optimizations to make test automation less-flaky, faster, and overall extra efficient.
- Strategize for Effective Automation
Each QA procedure should start with a transparent and clear definition of the product objectives and the main components that deliver them. Optimizing the automated test coverage begins with the basic know-how of which components can be automated and managed by manual tests. Whilst automation is possible in several cases, manual tests are significant to simulate the UX efficiently and to authenticate the look & feel of the application under test. Therefore it is essential to build up a test automation strategy.
The cost-effective automated test strategy with a result-oriented approach is anyhow a key to success in test automation. Having a perfect strategy will assist businesses to keep pace with the new trends in the market and avoid any sort of technology failures. However, in order to build a successful automated test strategy, you need to be familiar with the automation testing life cycle. Let’s explore the same:
Automation test life cycle has the following phases:
- Feasibility Analysis of Automation – Here, you verify the feasibility of automation. It comprises shortlisting the appropriate automated test cases and choosing the right test tool that suits your needs.
- Test Strategy– In this step, you choose the suitable automated test framework. You have manifold choices to select from here. For instance, key-word driven framework, data-driven framework, linear test automation framework, etc.
- Environment support- In this step, you set up the automated test environment and obtain the required software and hardware to implement the automated test cases.
- Test Script Development- Here, you start forming the test automation scripts. Make certain that the automated scripts that you have written are well documented, well-structured, and reusable.
- Test Case Implementation– In this phase, you implement the test cases that you have well-drafted and written previously.
- Reports Generation and Scrutiny– In this final step of the automation testing life cycle, you examine the outcome of test cases and share the results with stakeholders.
After recognizing which testing can be automated, you must hierarchize test cases that are:
- Steady enough to be executed
- Repetitively implemented
- Time-consuming and complicated to carry out manually
Your test automation strategy’s objective must be to strike a stability between the time taken to run tests and the number of tests required to attain maximum test coverage.
Selecting the accurate automated testing tool
You have to pick one out of the various automated testing tools existing in the market. That can be an arduous task. To choose the perfect tool that fits better for your project, firstly, you have to understand your project necessities thoroughly. Determine your budget. Choose the automation testing tools that fit your needs plus within your budget. Afterward you can shorten based on several other parameters like maintenance cost of the tool, licensing cost, tools extensibility, training and support, stability, and performance.
Core Benefits of Effective Automated Test Strategy
The successful test framework and strategy can impact positively your organization and business in several ways like:
- Minimizes maintenance costs- You can effortlessly modify and update your test methodology. Persons in your team can easily adopt these alterations rapidly and easily.
- Provides more comprehensive tests- Yet complicated test automation jobs are done without difficulty and your products become robust accordingly.
- Creates the test standard for your company- Your test automation strategy will become the standard that is utilized across the enterprise because it is robust and complete.
- Supports the re-use of crucial components- This enhances employee productivity because they can spend their extra time on other significant parts of their work and business.
- If your test automation strategy is derived from a result-oriented approach it will give great confidence about newly introduced software to stakeholders.
- Start with a Robust Framework and Tools
A very integral segment of your test automation strategy is deciding on the right tools and framework. Every product is distinct; you have to pick out a great combination of test automation framework and test automation tools to best suit your precise objectives. Optimizing this amalgamation accelerates not only the test process but also controls complexity and maintenance costs. Be aware that your automated testing framework needs to be flexible enough for accommodating changes within your testing suites.
You will require designing your test to provide you the complete information about what needs to be altered within your product before its release. It is also significant to consider some aspects while selecting a tool for automated tests, specifically the platform, market, devices, security, performance, and OS.
Purpose of an Automated Testing Framework
- Provides a well-structured development method to make certain uniformity of design across numerous test scripts to minimize dependency on particular test-cases
- Allows reliable bug and error finding and delivers appropriate root-cause examination with minimal human involvement for the system under testing
- Boosts efficiency during the development and design of automation test scripts by allowing the reuse of code or components
- Minimizes dependence on teams by automatically choosing the test to perform as per the test scenarios
- Refines remarkably testing scope as per modifications in the test strategy or the system’s conditions under testing
- Confirms an uninterrupted test automation process with small man-power intervention
- Enhances the utilization of several resources and allows the highest returns on efforts
Types of Framework used in Test Automation
- Modular Testing Framework
Abstraction is the notion on which this type of framework is built. Testers use such a framework to divide an app into various modules and generate test scripts individually. For every single module, testers create an independent and separate test script. These modules are divided by an abstraction layer in a way that the modifications made in the sections of the app have no effects on this module.
- Linear Scripting Framework
It is based on the notion of playback & record mode that is achieved linearly. Normally, in this scripting-driven test framework, the formation and implementation of test scripts are carried out individually and this testing framework is an effectual way to get started for companies.
- Data-Driven Framework
In this type of Framework for automation testing users mainly segregate the test data and the test script logic from each other. An individual file in a tabular format is used for collecting both the input and the anticipated outcomes. Here, the single driver script can run all the test cases with various series of data. It allows the user to accumulate the data into an external database (can be CSV files, property files, excel files, XML files, ODBC repositories, text files, etc.).
- Hybrid Testing Framework
This kind of testing framework is the blend of more than one frameworks such as keyword, data-driven, and modular automated testing frameworks. Chiefly, it has been based on the combination of several forms of E2E (end-to-end) tests approaches.
- Keyword Driven Testing Framework
It is an app independent framework and uses keywords as well as data tables to describe the activities to be carried out on the app under test. This is further referred to as a keyword-driven framework for web-based apps and can be considered as an extension of a data-driven framework.
- Behavior Driven Development Framework (BDD)
BDD framework doesn’t essentially require the user to be familiar with the programming language. In this approach, the QA engineers can create test cases in the common English language. It is mainly derived from the Test Driven Development approach and in this technique; tests are focussed mainly on the system behavior. There are varied tools accessible for BDD such as Jbehave, cucumber, etc.
- Test-Driven Development framework (TDD)
The key benefit of using the TDD technique is that it allows you to take small moves when writing software. Previously, with traditional test successful testing could discover one or more defects, but using this framework, it maximizes the test’s speed and improves the confidence of testers.
What Is Selenium Automated Test Framework?
Selenium is a premier automated testing framework that is portable and is used to test web apps. This is a specialized tool that gives a record and playback trait for authoring functional testing. Some of the other automated testing frameworks effectively used by QA Engineers are UI testing framework, integration testing framework, and the commonest one is the keyword-driven frameworks. Based on the app under testing, these test frameworks must be selected to get the full benefits of using these robust test frameworks.
- Target Suitable Execution Times for Distinct Test Suites
Try to optimize the test number as well as their execution time for various checkpoints in the pipeline. Some of the well-known QA companies had already followed this step to split up their test suite to distribute tests right through the pipeline and release daily, with confidence and conviction. It is beneficial to target an acceptable and manageable execution time for better insight and transparency and a more methodical approach towards testing.
- Try to Set-up your Continuous Integration for effectiveness
Appropriately configure your Continuous Integration based on the tests’ constancy, the number of tests to be executed, and projects tested in parallel. Try to use a master-slave configuration in Continuous Integration so that the master machine can manage to dispatch and to examine jobs and report the outcomes without slowing down or overloading.
- Choose the Appropriate Test Data
Recent research has revealed that tests take around 60 percent of the development lifecycle. That time can prove to be effective if it is harnessed correctly. The testing data plays a crucial role in validating the product code; hence, excess care should be taken to choose input for automated scenarios.
Optimizing your testing data to cover even the most complicated testing scenario combinations must be a crucial part of your test automation strategy. Moreover, ensure that static and dynamic data is appropriately managed to set up high priority test cases and simplify or shorten complicated test scenarios.
- Monitoring the Design & Implementation Of Test Scripts Very Often
Test script monitoring is a part of the Quality Assurance you execute on your test automation procedure. Frequently scrutinizing the design and execution of scripts enhances effectiveness and accuracy while making it simpler to employ changes as the test suite progresses in line with the app or any product. The earlier you detect the change required; the smoother and more effortless is the procedure for execution. For that, you must make sure that you are incorporating the most modern and freshly-launched technology developments in automation and keeping them upgraded.
- Keep Your Testing Shorter
As we all know, shorter testing runs faster and is very simple to maintain at scale. First, shorter tests will result in the tester understanding, which means that they can receive and execute feedback from other teams (whether on the software test team or another department) more rapidly. Second, keeping your testing short will also help lessen time as you move into creating more intricate scenarios. Hence, it is better to improve your tests’ flakiness and implementation time by writing quick tests. You can make use of Selenium requests nominally to keep your tests shorter.
- Prefer Using Built-In Debugging Option
Try to make debugging as well as collaboration simpler by adding context to bugs effortlessly. Built-in debugging tools in your test automation framework can assist you to isolate bugs and their reasons. In its place, you can make use of the debugging features and REST API provided by your cloud platform to create test automation and make your process easier.
- Mainly tests on the accurate versions of browsers
Try to test on firstly famous browser versions, and secondly challenging. To ensure your user experience does not break from browser fragmentation, make testing on different browser metrics used by at least 75-80% of your users and your niche market a part of your test automation strategy.
For instance, if you are making use of Google Analytics, browse Audience —> Technology —-> Browser & Operating System and choose the right browsers that display the high bounce rate and/or the top sessions. Draft your test suite so that you can run test scripts on various browsers and platforms frequently, ensuring a robust end product that is in line with the market trends.
Cross-Browser Tests can be the major pain for any QA tester. Yet, thanks to all Cross-browser Test tools such as LambdaTest platform that help to reduce your test efforts. It is a cloud-based cross-browser testing platform that allows you to execute compatibility tests of your websites or web app across 2000+ browsers and operating systems.
- Test on Multiple Screen Sizes
Tests on different screen sizes, resolutions, and viewports are also significant. Distinct screen sizes affect how your site mainly appears to audiences. Make sure that your pages are user-responsive, user-friendly, and all business-critical and core functionalities render appropriately on different screen resolutions, with the help of an effective test automation framework integrated into your QA process.
- Smartly Follow Test Case Creation—Preferably Within The Same Sprint
Test case automation must directly follow test case creation—ideally within the same pace. This accelerates test coverage and controls a backlog of test automation jobs. The idea mainly comes from agile development techniques, which demands a fast iteration of development and tests toward continued product improvement and evolution. The app’s newest traits or any product are mainly tested as early as they are shaped to guard against unplanned reactions elsewhere in the product. The better method to bring the finest quality product is to stop it from being stuck along the way.
- Execute Tests In Parallel
The most effective method to speed things up is to run tests in parallel. Cloud computing services and some virtual machines are coupled with tools such as Selenium that automatically set up surroundings and deploy your code, making it much simpler and affordable to execute tests in parallel. Scrutinize the test suites that take some time to run and look out for opportunities to execute those tests in parallel.
Improving the test suites’ value and the time it takes to run them can help you optimize your current test suites to fit into a CI program.
You can use parallel tests for the subsequent circumstances:
- If there is the minimum uncertainty in the new app’s functionality, particularly when the earlier and updated version of the application is similar
- For financial apps related to the financial sector, wherein the majority of apps are the same. Parallel tests in Selenium can be used to confirm the previous and newest versions of the app
- At the same time when introducing legacy data from one system to a different, or an organization moving from an older system to a new system
- During an automation browser test, when you have to test an application across varied combinations of operating systems, devices, and browsers.
Parallel testing is an excellent approach to deliver web apps rapidly without sacrificing quality, particularly when it comes to cross-browser automated testing. By implementing Selenium automated testing in parallel, you can save on testing expenses, optimize the CI/delivery processes, execute test cases with high accuracy, and improve test scripts constantly.
- Test on Real Devices
Incompatibility with actual devices is also among the major reasons for leaks in the funnel–making compatibility tests essential to your comprehensive testing strategy. Try to test against real mobile devices for conclusive outcomes. Over 45-50% of web traffic is on mobile gadgets. To ensure that the user experience does not break on mobile, QA professionals rely on simulators and emulators for testing.
However, it would often be impossible to run the test against every single device present in the marketplace. For an extra realistic testbed and authentic outcomes, test against the famous and well-known devices within your addressable market. Try to make use of your site analytics to find out popular devices among users.
- Recreate Real World Scenarios and Test In Actual User Conditions
Recreating real-world visitors’ context and trying to test against them can give authentic results. Variables such as GPS geolocation, network connectivity, device languages, pre-existing apps can introduce bugs. Configure your testing bed to emulate real-world circumstances to reduce the ‘edge-cases.’
- Invest Carefully in Test Reports
While reporting might be just a procedure, the fact is that a detailed and good report can make or break your success. A complete report of the automated test execution outcomes can prove an enormous time saver when carrying out analysis. Investing a suitable time beforehand to execute a good framework or reporting tool is extremely useful for managerial and technical staff alike. It would support them to comprehend better and analyze QA trends and product development.
- Set Real-Time Notifications and Bug Tracking
Nearly 88% of people would abandon an application if they encountered glitches or bugs. In the year 2019, ITIC polled thousands of businesses across the globe and discover that a single hour of downtime costs 98 percent of firms at least USD 100,000. That is why bug tracking is imperative. When you incorporate real-time alert notifications with your bug-tracking your digital experiences will also enhance. Try to boost tests and debugging effectiveness with real-time notification about your build status. Using open channels of feedback or feedback software that enables for contextual and automation insights & closing the loop on bug reports to collect user insights. In this manner, you can solve their issues and create exceptional experiences centered on user necessities.
- Use a Tests Platform You are Aware of
Even though there are a plethora of differences between testing mobile apps and testing desktop and Web applications, there are also various resemblances. In various cases, the automated test platform or test automation framework you use for testing traditional apps can be leveraged for testing mobile applications. The rewards are wonderful, including leveraging your organization’s current investment in its automated tests solution and allowing your tests team to use their current expertise to additionally test mobile applications.
We hope these 17 excellent ways can help make the test automation process more efficient and effective. You can easily speed-up app testing and decrease rework to keep your product performing the way it ought to be– every single time and on different mobile platforms.
If you come across more ways to optimize your test automation strategy or find any of the solutions provided by us to be useful, don’t forget to leave a comment below and let us know!