Engineers used to handle all software testing manually. Not only did this require human intervention, but it increased the risk of error and delayed the delivery of the final product. Although manual testing is still necessary for specific tasks, the automate testing process has become popular among developers. Automated software testing only requires humans to set the desired parameters in the chosen tool. The computer handles everything from there. This allows large amounts of data to be processed at a faster rate while providing immediate and intuitive reporting. With automated testing, there is no risk of error due to human eyes missing something. Compared to manual testing, which requires human intervention and can cause bugs and errors, automated testing allows specialists to run error-prone tests that ensure unlimited reliable testing.
If you want to maximize the potential of automated software testing, you need to optimize the entire process. Let’s take a look at the best practices to follow for better software testing automation.
#1: Choose an automation tool that meets your needs.
Forget the one-size-fits-all formula. The secret is in choosing the right test automation environment for your software testing needs. This process begins with establishing specific requirements, such as:
- Platform and system compatibility: Some tools have limitations, such as only supporting Java or .NET applications. Others can only work on Windows but have performance issues on Mac. You may not mind these drawbacks, but you may need maximum cross-platform support. It ultimately depends on your needs.
- Browser compatibility: What if you need the app to run on multiple browsers? You could benefit from a single test that works the same across all browsers. This saves you time on rewriting the test.
- The simplicity of creating tests: having to learn a scripting language indicates that the learning curve for this tool is steep. You need an automated testing solution that secures effortless test creation. Powerful features such as participating in separate tests or setting custom metrics can also be important.
#2: Consider having a staff member dedicated to automated software testing.
Unless you’re a small team, it’s not a good idea to have a single staff member multi-task. If you have someone who does manual testing, consider promoting a staff member to automation engineer. Depending on the size of your business, you might have an entire team dedicated to automated software testing and related tasks. A dedicated engineer is the guarantee that there will be no room for improvisation. This ensures that you have an expert who knows how the tool works. You can count on them to create tests quickly and maximize the functionality offered by the utility.
#3: Start testing as early as possible and do it frequently.
Have you identified a unit ready for automated testing? If you’ve finished coding for a specific feature, feel free to run the test. It allows errors to be identified and corrected immediately. You’ll spend less time fixing bugs and reduce the risk of more complex issues down the road. In addition to testing as early as possible in software development, you also need an optimal test frequency. If repeating a test does not require a lot of time and effort from the engineer, do so. A high frequency of ongoing testing also ensures that the product launch proceeds with as few problems as possible.
#4: Review the tests and eliminate uncertainties.
The purpose of automated testing is to discover bugs and errors. If the test fails, this indicates a problem. Developers focus on its identification and resolution to optimize code. Although this is valid, the problem appears when there is an inconsistency or a false result. If it is a false negative (or positive), it means something is wrong with the test. That’s why you should review the automated tests and update them if necessary.
#5: Feel free to add comments.
One engineer can create the test, while another can run it. If multiple team members come into contact with the code, feel free to add comments where you deem necessary. No one reads minds and it can be hard to decipher what your goal was. Also, you might not remember why you used this approach in a certain section a month ago. Comments are here to help, so use them to your advantage.
#6: Try to create tests that are resistant to UI tweaks.
The user interface often changes during the software development process. This could affect automated testing and results, which is best avoided. Some scripts can find an object with location coordinates. But if you change them in the UI, it will fail because the script cannot locate the object. The alternative could be to use original names for the controls.
Invest in automated software testing
It is not easy to implement a test automation tool in the software development process. You will need one or more experts who will become adept at using the tool and creating tests. The tests created should meet the needs of your product and provide reports that provide useful information. Once you become familiar with test automation, you will realize how much time it will save you. It keeps you on track and releasing software as planned while discovering bugs and minimizing post-release issues. All of this ensures that investing in test automation tools and optimizing them to suit your needs will be worth it.