15 Nov 2007

About Test Automation - By Vishal Sharma


Not many of us are aware of the wonderful world of Software Quality Engineering. Over the time, I've got many email queries from CEans about Software Test Automation.

We are glad to have our own CEan Vishal Sharma who has worked in the field of software quality engineering & automation for over 5 years. I requested Vishal to enlighten us about Software Test Automation and he agreed. Below is the article composed by Vishal in the form of questions/answers for all of us who are interested in knowing about Test Automation -

===== Test Automation ====== By Vishal Sharma =====

Q: What is Test Automation?
Ans: Test Automation may be defined as the process of creating a simulation model, which feeds the software with a set of predefined inputs in order to check for the required output.

Q: What are the different types of automated testing tools?
Ans: Automated testing tools are broadly classified as:
a.Unit Testing Tools.
b.Performance Testing Tools.
c.Functional/GUI Testing tools.

Q: Why should one opt for GUI/ Functional testing tool?
Ans: The main use of the automation tool is to bring down the regression testing time to One fourth of the normal regression cycle time. “Time saved is money earned” test automation ensures that the Quality Engineers invest their valuable time in testing the important areas of the application other than retesting the existing features. Thus test automation tools takes over the task of performing redundant and equally important activities required during every regression cycle in accurate manner.

“Test Automation is not a replacement for Quality Engineers but if implemented properly, it can drastically reduce the no of resources required for application testing.”
The Following factors decide the need of GUI/Functional automation tool:
  • If the application has huge product line and the regression test cycle is time consuming.
  • If there are frequent enhancements done on the designed application that calls for frequent releases.
  • If the application supports localization.
Note: We have successfully reduced the regression time for Ascentive - Performance Center application, which is available in multiple languages. Here the same sets of automated scripts are used to perform regression test for different languages.

Q: When should one look for GUI/ Functional automation possibilities?
Ans: One should look for test automation possibilities once the application testing has gained a certain level of maturity. The Input to test automation activity is the test case document. Thus one can start with the automation activity once the test case documents are in place for the targeted module. The effectiveness of the test automation activity is solely dependant on the effectiveness of the test cases designed by the Quality Assurance team. As the test script is the automated version of the test case. There is an one-to-one mapping between a test script and a test case.

Q: How to evaluate an automation tool?
Ans: The following points should be strictly followed while evaluating a test tool:
  • Check if the test tool is easy to understand, it should be simple enough so that less effort is required for test script creation.
  • Check if the test tool can easily identify the application objects. (It has been observed that most of the test tools fail to identify user defined controls.)
  • Check if the result log generated by the test tool after script execution can be easily interpreted by the test team.
  • Check if the test tool supports different development platforms. Its an heavy investment done while purchasing an testing tool, so ensure that the test tool supports different platforms so that it can be reused for other applications.
Q: How much should we automate?
Ans: This solely depends upon the application under test and the test tool selected for automation. It also depends on how the application is developed. It has been observed that while developing an application the developers do not assign a certain unique set of properties for an object so that the test tool fails to identify the object hence blocks the automation possibilities for the certain feature. If these things are taken into consideration we can automate around 85 to 90% of the manual test cases.


Feel free to ask questions in this thread, if you have any.

-The Big K-

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