Software testing verifies that the applications you develop do what you intend them to do, and it validates whether the application meets specifications. Software testing is also crucial for application security — it can reveal vulnerabilities that will put the application and your clients’ data at risk.
Catching and fixing problems early is the most cost-effective strategy. Finding issues or experiencing a failure later in the development process — or worse yet, after the application has been deployed — can lead to expensive fixes and lost customers.
Software testing, however, takes time, and that may be time you don’t have when your customers or the market are demanding applications faster. The answer is automation.
Building a Test Automation Framework
A test automation framework is a set of processes, guidelines, tools, and protocols that you use to test the applications you develop. Software Testing Help explains that scripting for test automation follows three As:
- Arrangement: Identify objects and then arrange them so they can be reused in scripts.
- Action: Perform some action on the identified objects, whether It’s a mouse click, hover, or drag and drop.
- Assertion: Evaluate the object for the expected result.
Common types of test automation frameworks, according to 360Logica, include:
- Module-based testing: Divide the application into separate modules and create a test script for each one. Separate the modules by an abstraction layer so changes won’t impact the module.
- Library architecture testing framework: This framework builds on the concept of module-based testing, but it divides the application into functions rather than creating test scripts. This allows you to create a library with common functions for testing.
- Data-driven testing: This framework keeps data and the test script separate, allowing you to test functionality repeatedly with different sets of data.
- Keyword-driven testing: This builds on the data-driven testing concept, organizing data by specific code or keyword.
- Hybrid testing: Uses a combination of other types of testing, allowing you to build a framework that provides you with the greatest benefits and efficiency.
- Behavior-driven testing: This framework uses a format that team members without programming language expertise can understand.
The Advantages of Using a Test Automation Framework
Using test automation frameworks for software testing offers ISVs a variety of benefits:
- Greater efficiency: Manual testing is time-consuming. Automation allows you to accomplish thorough testing in less time. For larger applications, it may be virtually impossible to keep up only with manual methods.
- Consistency: Developing libraries allows you to reuse scripts, and once code has been tested, to confidently reuse code.
- Less manual work: Having an automated script not only saves your team time, but also prevents discrepancies between different people’s coding standards. Automated tests can run anytime, even when your team is out of the office.
- Comprehensive reporting: You will have all the results in one report, showing where the application failed tests, if any.
A valuable test automation framework isn’t only a single automation tool or series of tools. It takes your expertise to plan testing, the order of tests, and the tools or methods you will use. SmartBear points out, for example, that it’s usually a smart strategy for functional testing — including unit testing, integration testing, system testing and acceptance testing — to preceded non-functional testing for performance, security, usability, and compatibility. It’s also vital to recognize the limitations of certain software testing frameworks so you can compensate for them by other means.