Today, software development has become a complex process due to the need for compatibility of a software across devices, operating environments, browsers, and networks. Add security compliance to the list and the task becomes even more challenging. To ensure the software runs seamlessly across digital environments as mentioned above, it should undergo a rigorous testing exercise. This is important to achieve customer satisfaction – the key determinant to stay competitive. So, how do you choose a testing methodology that delivers excellence in all the areas of a software including, performance, security, functionality, and usability, among others? The answer can be found in following a mix of manual and test automation practices with the latter forming the mainstay.
The traditional form of testing software aka manual testing does not quite match up to the evolving requirements of testing. Since the software applications of today combine cutting-edge technologies like AI & ML, IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, and others, the testing requirements have grown manifold. These require checking the performance of the software on multiple channels involving scores of users. This is where manual testing can be time-consuming, error-prone, and tedious thereby putting considerable strain on the human resources. The automation testing approach, on the other hand, can address the shortcomings of manual testing and relieve the human resources to focus on other areas.
With enterprises aiming to deliver software faster to the market, they often take risks with its quality. This involves downplaying or bypassing the testing requirements. Moreover, testers too suffer from fatigue when executing repetitive tests involving huge data. This often leads to situations where enterprises are unable to manage the expenses incurred towards service delays and performance issues. Let us find out how automated software testing has changed the testing landscape for the better.
QA involves executing a series of tests involving data and comparing the expected outcomes against the actual ones. Here, test automation can guarantee software quality without much human intervention. The best thing about executing automated testing services is its increased frequency of implementation with minimal effort. And if such implementation leads to better results, then achieving customer satisfaction can only be a matter of time.
High test coverage: Since any software with an omnichannel interface encompasses plenty of features and functionalities, it ought to be tested for the latter. A QA automation testing process helps to validate the quality of all features and functionalities thereby increasing the scope of testing. An automated suite can conduct repeat testing with plenty of variables and data thereby enhancing the quality of the software application. It is important to note that manual testing is fairly limited in its scope vis-a-vis testing the features of an application.
Meeting DevOps goals: DevOps has emerged as the latest methodology to develop and deliver superior quality software. It focuses on shift-left testing where testing is conducted alongside development in sprints. Since DevOps is all about achieving continuous integration and testing throughout the SDLC, the role of software test automation assumes salience. It ensures each code is tested thoroughly during the development process before being integrated into a suite. Also, any updation of software based on market demand and/or customer feedback is put through regression testing using automated tools.
Quick detection of glitches: As the SDLC follows the shift-left process, codes are validated using an automated test suite. During the process, glitches get identified at the development stage and fixed. This ensures faster delivery of quality software and saves a considerable amount in time and cost. The latter would have been incurred if the glitches were identified later, either during testing at a later stage or through customer feedback.
The testing landscape encompasses a number of testing viz., unit testing, functional testing, integration testing, load testing, and regression testing, among others. Automation has helped the above-mentioned areas of testing to be accelerated. Let us find out how.
Unit testing: This type of testing ensures how each piece of code shall behave once it forms a part of the overall software suite. It is usually created by developers and provides feedback on the specific performance of the code. It tells developers whether the code is performing the tasks as expected and can arguably provide the best ROI for automation.
Integration testing: It involves the testing of multiple components of a software suite. Here, even though the components may exist independently, they are interconnected in the larger software suite. By following a [test automation strategy(https://www.cigniti.com/blog/key-elements-for-an-effective-test-automation-strategy/), the integration of various components of software such as email services, analytics, third-party components, databases, deployment infrastructure, etc., are tested to ensure the seamless performance of the software.
Load testing: Any software should undergo proper load testing to ensure its components can handle peak load situations. By measuring both normal and peak load thresholds, the software can be scaled up when the crunch time comes. Here, automated load testing tools can come in handy to perform load testing on demand and involves simulating traffic at high speed. This helps to identify the non-functional issues and ensure the scalability and performance of the software.
Functional testing: It checks if the software is doing what it is expected to do instead of how it does. Here, the functionality of the interface or sundry end-to-end components is verified without getting into the nitty-gritty of coding that drives it. By automation, functional testing can be conducted umpteen number of times without any human intervention. However, the test suites should be maintained properly to prevent any false positives.
Regression testing: It checks the functioning of the original features of software when a new one is added. Conducting it manually in-house can be tedious and ideally requires engaging automated testing services. Automated testing can carry out comprehensive regression testing involving unit testing, integration testing, and functional testing. However, conducting UI level testing may not yield the desired results as the UI can be volatile and cause test failures.
Mobile testing: This type of testing can be challenging, for it involves compatibility, functional, performance, security, and UI/UX testing. Mostly the testing is done on real or simulated devices by automating some of the tasks. However, the results can often be sketchy given that they are executed on emulators. Also, the results of such a testing would depend on the reliability of the device platform.
Test automation has brought about a significant improvement in the testing landscape. It has been able to address some of the lacunae of manual testing thereby enhancing the quality of software. Enterprises should incorporate automation in their SDLC to ensure the software ticks all the checkboxes for quality. However, as mentioned at the beginning, automation in testing is not the be-all and end-all of everything and should be executed in consonance with manual testing.