Software testing is an essential part of software delivery that ensures that the product is completed and delivered with the best industry standards and by meeting the highest quality standards. A strong quality assurance factor enhances the credibility of the product or service offered in the market. Software technology as a whole is growing by leaps and bounds due to technological innovations. Automation has permeated every aspect of modern life, and the software development lifecycle is no slouch. With increasing agility in software development, time to market is accelerated. Therefore, even software testing is automated to keep pace with the market.
Growing importance and application of test automation
According to the State of Quality 2016 study by Wipro Limited, there was a 85% leap in test automation over the past two years. Agile software development is growing as a practice to address cost optimization, accelerated development, and changing customer needs. Organizations as a whole want to undergo a digital transformation because the old ways of production are no longer efficient, regardless of the industry. Test automation can help companies reduce time and costs while maintaining agility.
Automation tests and its types:
Tests are classified into functional and non-functional categories and can be categorized as API tests, unit tests, regression tests, visual tests, crowdsourced tests, GUI tests to name a few. Automation as an aspect is about reducing manual effort and replacing repetitive manual effort. Some of the commonly used tools in the industry are Selenium, QTP, JMeter, Appium to name a few.
At the forefront of automation testing:
Figure 1: Top 5 inventor countries in automation testing
Industry leaders like IBM, Siemens, Abbot, Microsoft and Teradyne has made efforts and witnessed new patented techniques to take automated testing to the next level. (Refer to Figure 1) Patents such as “Method and Apparatus for Testing the Security of Application Flows that Cannot be Automated via HTTP Replay (US10614221B2)”, “Accelerating Human Understanding of Medical Images through Dynamic Image Editing (US10600511B2)’, ‘Random feature transformation forests for automatic feature engineering (US2020090010A1)’, by IBMproven advances in automation testing in nearly every industry sector. A sudden growth in the amount of open-source automation tools made available has been enough to spur automation companies to discover new automation testing techniques, making it easier and cost-effective for companies to apply automation tactics. Patents such as “Automated Resonance Testing on Multi-Component Components Using Pattern Recognition (WO2020030364A1)’ by Siemens“Systems and methods for automated testing of capture threshold and stimulation of its associated beam (US2020094058A1)’ by Abbe‘Assurance of software tests thanks to the detection of inconsistent processing (WO2020068222A1)’ by
Microsoft, highlight technical advances in the industry. This has opened up a valley of opportunities for software development companies to speed up deployment and ensure they are delivering top quality products to market.
Automation testing offers many cost advantages because one can increase the volume of testing and reduce the time it takes to complete the tests. There are innovations that enable machine learning from test cases and develop more intrusive test cases. Automation testing is capable of simulating the equivalent of the work of hundreds of engineers and at the same time registering minute deviations without fail. Automation testing offers precision. Automation Testing offers fine-scale, machine-oriented work that uses Test-Driven Development (TDD) and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) framework practices to improve coding quality and design . Test automation can be integrated into a continuous delivery pipeline by continuous integration methods. Test automation enables continuous testing in the organization’s DevOps strategy. There is a constant need for more accurate test results and this has triggered the need to innovate new techniques in this area. It should be understood that automation tests by themselves cannot be 100% reliable and that manual intervention is essential.
Figure 2: Legal Status of Automation Testing Patents
So far 25,061 patents have received
subsidies and 12,314 applied patents have expiredThere is always
10,324 patent applications in the running for grant. This analysis proves that current advances in automation test practices are changing the dynamics of industrial processes. Such an abundance of patents filed in the quality assurance aspect of the industry alone underscores that there are many process areas that can be improved. Some of them reduce delivery time by ensuring better quality, continuous delivery of results, and faster code commits. These are critical aspects of reliable software delivery and therefore large companies invest in the research and development of new test automation techniques to keep pace with the market and gain a leadership position.
Figure 3: Industrial distribution of patents under Automation Testing
Automation of tests and market segmentation
Automation testing has found application in all segments of industry, from manufacturing, computer peripherals, medical and dental supplies to communications equipment. Most of these segments have their share in the total number of patents filed for testing. Over the past two years, the demand for open source tools has increased by 116% over commercial tools due to the scalability of testing software. The computer and peripheral equipment sector leads with 15,494 patents. Growing awareness of technology like cloud, mobility and analytics, market size and apparent problems in the industry have led to a good amount of patent applications. To sustain this enthusiasm of organizations and individuals, there must be more accessibility to patent knowledge and a simplification of patent management processes.
With the increasing penetration of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Selenium, Katalon, studio, UFT One, TestComplete have gained significant advantage and market share. Upcoming platforms like Webomates offer diversity of testing and bring more intelligence. The year 2020 will begin a new race to establish a dominant position in the software testing tools and services industry. There is huge room for innovation as there is still a reliance on manual testing.
Originally published May 27, 2020
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