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27 July 2022

Automation Testing 101: Benefits, Types & Tools

What is automation testing?

If you are familiar with software testing, you already know that there are two main types: manual and automation testing. Both aim to execute a test case and compare the expected results and actual results. 

The difference between the two is that manual testing is performed by a human who checks the software to determine if it is working as expected. In contrast, automation testing requires using a software tool or framework to execute test cases. 

Software development cycles require repeated testing, often running the same test over and over. Doing this manually requires a lot of time, making it inefficient for the software testing process. 

Automation testing enables efficiency by automating the repeated cycles of time-consuming manual testing. While it does not replace manual testing, it eases some tedious factors of manual testing, like in the following scenarios: comparing two images pixel by pixel, testing an application under the load of 100,000 users, or comparing two spreadsheets containing thousands of rows and columns.

Advantages of automation testing

Using automation testing on a project not only increases efficiency by automating repetitive tests but also improves test coverage. Automating repetitive and time-consuming tests save you time and allow you to create more test cases and test scenarios. 

Other advantages include: 

  • Mitigating risks and discovering defects earlier
  • Improving accuracy

With reduced human intervention, generated test cases are more precise than human testers. 

  • Speed of delivery 

Automating your regression testing can significantly speed up your testing process. 

  • Re-usable test scrips

In automation, you can re-use test scripts as often as you need. Therefore it can reduce the cost and resource requirements of the project. 

Types of Automated Testing

  • Smoke Testing - a quick set of tests that verify the core functionality of your application.
  • Unit Testing - tests made by developers whose purpose is to check each function in your application is working properly.
  • Integration Testing - checking whether the modules of your application work as expected.
  • Functional testing - verifying that your system functions as expected.
  • Regression Testing - checking that the new code has not broken the existing application. 

How to get started with automation testing

  1. Define the scope of automation

Defining the scope of automation means finding the right test cases for automation. 

  1. Select the testing tool

Selecting the testing tool is based on your project’s needs and requirements. 

  1. Planning, Design, and Development

At this point, you will have to create the automation strategy and plan. Such a plan should include your selected testing tool, a framework design, and its features, a detailed timeline for scripting and executing tests, in-scope and out-of-scope items of automation, and the goals and deliverables of the automation testing process. One of the popular test automation design patterns is Page Object Pattern. It is one of the primary design patterns, making tests maintainable and reusable and pushing us to think about how to structure our automation code better.

  1. Test execution

You can write test scripts and run the tests automatically. After your execution, the test will provide a summary of the testing performed. 

  1. Maintenance

Maintenance is unavoidable, so after scripting and running your tests, it is recommended to update them if the application changes. 

  1. Parameterizing your tests

Parameterized tests save time spent on writing the same tests repetitively by utilizing test methods to collect data.

How to choose an automation tool 

When choosing a tool for automation, you should take into consideration a few criteria. First of all, you should understand your project’s requirements and goals. 

Next, you should look for a tool that is easy to use and create tests; many tools have a challenging learning curve. For example, Selenium requires learning a new scripting language to create a script. It’s important to analyze the learning curve of a tool to see if it matches your project requirements. 

Other criteria you should take into account are:

  • support for cross-platform or cross-browsing testing 
  • analysis reports 
  • flexibility 

To ease the searching, we’ve compiled a list of the ten most popular testing tools for automation. 

  1. Selenium
  2. Appium
  3. Cypress.io
  4. Katalon Studio
  5. Testcomplete
  6. Protractor
  7. Apache JMeter
  8. SoapUI
  9. Postman
  10. LambdaTest

Since there is no one-size fits all approach, the tool selection goes down to your project’s specific needs and requirements. Also, keep in mind that automation does not replace manual testing, but it certainly reduces its time-consuming factors.