What is Automation testing?

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Automation testing is a technique in which software tools are used to execute test scripts on an application. It is used to test the application from the load and performance point of view. Manual involvement is not required during the execution of the test suite. Automation testing is done to increase the test efficiency.

History of Automation Testing
The most primitive form of testing is code debugging. Earlier, a debugger was used to check the code line by line in order to find out the defects. The bugs were then fixed.

Let’s have a look at how automation testing has evolved over the years:

Alt tag – record playback testing
It was the first generation automation testing. A test automation tool was used to record the user’s manual actions and inputs while interacting with the application. Then it was played automatically while testing. It can be possible for small projects but not feasible for large projects.

Use and reuse of functions
The second generation of automation testing involved a script-based approach. Testers could now use a number of APIs to simplify the common tasks. Developers were forced to create new test processes and scripts which made it a time-consuming process.

Data and scripts separation
The first two generations failed to provide scope for broad test coverage and maintainability. Data-driven approach can help to separate automation scripts from the data of the application. Programmers can widen their coverage by using the test scripts with various data sets. But it required various lengthy codes that involved a lot of time and effort.

Action keyword scripts
The fourth generation automation framework tries to overcome all the limitations of the previous generations. The test is now driven by the keyword and not the script. During the testing period, the tool will go through the scripts specified by keywords. However, it requires custom coding.

Advanced codeless test automation:
This is a more advanced automation which does not require program scripts for each and every test case. Testers can simply create the test cases by choosing options from drop-down menu. It is a more advanced method which is gaining popularity these days.

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Manual Vs Automation Testing

Alt tag – manual testing
During manual testing, test cases are executed manually without any help of tools or scripts. It involves test planning, test deployment, result analysis, test execution, bug tracking and reporting tools. It provides low accuracy as compared to the automation testing. It is difficult to conduct regression testing in manual testing. The chances of errors or defects are higher in case of manual testing and it is a time-consuming process. Thus, manual testing is a favourable option for only small projects.

However, manual testing can be used in:

Ad hoc testing
It is a kind of testing which is executed without preparation and test cases. In this kind of testing, the professionals randomly test the functionality of the system.

Exploratory testing
In this kind of testing, the product is tested like an explorer, based on the personal experience of the tester. The test cases are designed to further test the product.

User-interface testing
The properties and states of interface elements are validated. The tester makes sure the design elements in the interface match the elements in the final layout.

Automation testing
During an automation testing, there are pre-scripted tests that run automatically. Their main function is to compare actual results with the expected results. Automation testing can help to execute repetitive task and regression tests to make sure the performance of the application is not affected even after the changes have been made.

Automation testing is a favourable option for:

Unit testing
The tester tests discrete parts (units) of the software product.

Functional testing
This is done to test the actual performance of the application. Accuracy, compliance and security are the important factors to be considered while functional testing.

Regression testing
The tester checks whether the application performs efficiently once it gets modified or integrated with other software.

Graphical user testing
The tester checks the software interfaces so that GUI meets all requirements.

Significance of Automation Testing
Let’s have a look at the significance of automation testing:

Saves time
Automation testing is a faster technique and helps in identifying the errors more accurately. It will help you in saving your time. Another advantage of automated testing is that it helps in improving cycle time improvements. It will help in enhancing the productivity of the work; thereby improving the return on investment.

Repetitive tasks
Repetitive tasks can be handled in an efficient manner with the help of automation testing. In case you need to add the same features or execute the same operations in the project, automation testing can help to save your time.

Fewer defects
Automation testing is a more secure way of testing. You will find a lesser number of bugs and defects as the automated tests are powered by tools and scripts. This makes automated testing more reliable and efficient. It decreases the chances of human errors.

Test load and performance
Automation testing can help to test load and performance. It can be done on different machines with different Operating system combination, making it a more convenient option.

Automation Testing Tools
Special tools or software are used to execute tests and compare the actual results with the expected results. These are known as automation tools. With the advancement of technology, more advanced tools have been launched. They not only help to save time but also improve the performance of the application.

There are some open source test automation tools and paid automation tools. Let’s take a look at some of the popular open source automation testing tools:

Selenium
Selenium is the most popular open source automation tool used these days. It was originated in 2000s and has evolved over the years. It is the best option for web automation tester, particularly for the ones who possess advanced programming and scripting skills. Selenium can be used in multiple platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux etc. The scripts can be written in various programming languages such as Java, Python, PHP, Ruby etc.

Katalon studio
This open- source automation tool can be used in web application, mobile and web services. Katalon studio can be used along with popular tools such as qTest, JIRA, Jenkins, Git etc. This tool can also be used for analytics to provide a complete view of the test execution reports including metrics, charts and graphs.

Watir
This open-source tool is used for web automation testing based on Ruby libraries. This tool allows cross browser testing such as Firefox, Opera and IE. Watir supports data-driven testing.

Appium
Appium automation tool is used mainly for mobile apps. It can be easily installed and can automate the applications that are created for iOS and Android.

Here is a list of paid automation tools:

UFT
Unified Functional Testing is a renowned commercial tool which can be used for functional testing. It can be used for API, web services and GUI testing. The most important feature of this tool is that it has image-based object recognition feature. It also contains reusable test components.

TestComplete
It is a commercial testing tool which is used for functional testing. It offers solutions for desktop, web and mobile applications. This automation tool supports JavaScript, Python, VBScript, Jscript, C++script etc.

Ranorex
This commercial automation tool can be used for web, mobile and desktop testing. Codeless test creation is one of the best features of this tool. This tool also provides some other features such as GUI recognition, bug detection, reusable test scripts and record/playback.

RIDE
RIDE (Robot Framework IDE) is a generic test automation framework that runs on regular Python. It is used for acceptance testing

Alt tag – Robot Framework IDE
As you can see, automation testing has gained a lot of importance these days because of a number of benefits it offers. It enhances the depth and scope of testing to improve the quality of software. It improves the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing.

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