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Blog: The Need for Automation

04/08/16

Every company that develops, or uses, bespoke software applications, will test its software; yet delivered software will often carry defects. Test engineers strive to catch them before the release but errors can still be made and defects be missed, even with the best manual testing processes. Automation of the test scripts is the best way to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of your software testing.

Manual testing is performed by a skilled human being, sitting in front of a PC and going through the various application screens, using various combinations and inputs so that they can compare the results returned against expected results. As manual tests are repeated often during the development lifecycle where there are source code and application changes, this can become tedious and in turn, could lead to the danger of missed defects.

By the use of an automation tool, the automated test scripts created can easily be repeated and run against new builds of the application under test. They can be developed to run difficult and complex tasks that could be impossible or time consuming for manual testing. That’s why automated testing is becoming more and more important to the development phase of a project.

We have compiled a list of the top 10 benefits for those of you that are still unsure whether to take the plunge.

Top 10 reasons why automation testing is beneficial for your company

1.  More Effectiveness and Speed of Test Runs

While the initial setup of automated test cases may take time, once the automation of the test scripts is complete, they can be run time and time again. This has the advantage of not having to manually enter the same information to forms and scripts to run as they are completely reusable.

2. Cost Effectiveness

In the short term, automation tools can be expensive however they can help make savings in the long term. The test scripts, once automated, can be run in a fraction of the time taken by a manual tester, so defects are detected quicker saving both time and money.

3. Test Suite Maintenance

When running a manual test suite, it can become outdated when a new functionality has been introduced or existing features have been changed in such a way that the test cases are no longer correct, or the test cases have not been updated from previous runs. With automation should changes occur the tests will fail the test run and force the tester to update the scripts ensuring that the scripts are being kept up to date and the application quality maintained.

4. Repeatability

The same tests can be run in exactly the same manner which eliminates the risk of human error such as testers missing steps or intentionally omitting them to speed up the test rate. This can have the effect of missing or reporting invalid defects. When defects are discovered then it is easy to reproduce the steps that caused the problem.

5. Re-Usable


The automated test scripts can be used on various versions of the application even if the interface changes so no need for different test packs.

6. Data Driven Testing

Automated testing is ideal to test application functions where the same function needs to be validated with lots of different inputs, large amounts of data and differing data sets (i.e. login, search)

7. Accuracy

During manual testing even the most dedicated tester will make mistakes. Automation testing can perform the same steps precisely every time that the tests are run and will always record detailed results. This has the added bonus of freeing up testers from repetitive manual testing creating more time to develop new automated test scripts.

8. Increase in Test Coverage

Automated test scripts can increase both the depth and scope, helping to improve the software quality. Lengthy manual tests can be, and are, avoided during test runs as time is pinched. With automation, the scripts can look inside the memory, data tables, file contents and the internal state of the application to determine if the product is behaving as expected. Automated test scripts can easily execute thousands of different/complex test cases during a test run; this has the advantage of providing the sort of coverage that is impossible with manual testing.

9. Overnight Running

Well written automated tests do not need human interaction so the tests can be run overnight to coincide with build production. No matter where you are in the world. This means that the tests can be started at the end of the day and on return the next day the results can be viewed and other tests can then be run.

10. Cloud Based

Through the use of cloud hosting, automation tools can be run on any target system, meaning that you can effectively run tests on accessible systems located anywhere around the globe. This allows you to access the tool from anywhere and run the tests on end systems that can be located in any location, saving on the cost of licenses and resources.

Conclusion

Automation testing has at least two main benefits over manual testing: efficiency and accuracy. As discussed here, when efficiency increases, cost go down, and better return of investment is guaranteed.

Automated testing is more efficient, accurate and cost effective over the manual testing. It has been documented that test automation will give up to a 70% higher level of accuracy over manual testing.

Manual testing can be error prone compared to automated testing. Mistakes committed during the manual testing process are minimized as the testers skill of the application develops, but it can never reach the precision of automation.

 

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