Key Test Optimization Techniques
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - January 15, 2021
What is Test Optimization?
At its core, test optimization refers to making the test process more time and cost-efficient without compromising the accuracy of results. When implemented the right way, test optimization helps QA teams get the best out of their testing efforts. It also helps teams streamline processes to deliver consistent results in the long run.
Test optimizations involve focusing on the following activities:
- Reducing the size of test suites
- Create a minimal subset of test suites sufficient for achieving given requirements
- Eliminating redundant test cases
- Evaluating the ideal test coverage criteria
- Increasing the maintainability of test cases
Optimizing test suites right from the initial stages is integral to ensuring software quality. There are several useful strategies to optimize test suites for providing efficient results. Listed below are a few proven test optimization techniques teams can adopt to streamline the pipeline.
Key Test Optimization Techniques
1. Incorporate testing from the early stages of development
The test process must be performed simultaneously with development from the initial stages. One must consider testing as a continuous process rather than a phase to be executed and completed only after a particular point.
As the code base is considerably smaller in the initial phase, identifying and resolving critical bugs becomes much easier as compared to fixing them in the latter stages. Naturally, this approach proves to be cost-effective and helps both developers and testers deliver better software.
2. Creating precise and valuable test suites
QA engineers must focus on creating test scenarios that evaluate the critical functionalities of an application. Grouping the most essential tests in small suites and executing them helps qualify the application for further testing. For example, if it’s an e-commerce app, the key tests would include testing product categories, selecting any product, adding multiple products to the cart, making payments, and checking out.
Naturally, if the products are not visible in the cart, it won’t make sense to proceed with further tests. Such tests are termed as build verification or build acceptance tests. Teams must create these test suites, and if test suites are already formed, one needs to ensure that they run quickly and successfully.
3. Select the right tools or frameworks
Although one might think of this step as too obvious, it plays a significant role in the long run. It’s very critical for teams to understand their test goals and accordingly choose the right tool or framework for automation testing. Teams must consider the following parameters before choosing an automation tool:
- Nature of Application Under Test:
- Is the application under test mobile-based or web-based?
- Which platforms or browsers does it need to be tested for?
- Programming skillset: Teams must choose tools that support the programming languages QAs are comfortable with, while also meeting the needs of the software being tested.
4. Conduct reviews at regular intervals
Reviews can be conducted either formally or informally among team members in both development and QA teams. Formal reviews include meetings for code reviews, walkthroughs, and inspections. Reviews at regular intervals help monitor overall progress. They also allow teams to evaluate whether the product is meeting the predetermined requirements and ensure that code quality standards are maintained.
Regular reviews are also necessary to track the project’s progress as well as keep team members aligned with their goals.
5. Prioritize the use of Wait commands
Conventionally, testers use Sleep commands to deal with the delay in server response or to wait for a resource (a web element, for example) to load. However, it makes test scripts inefficient as it didn’t guarantee successful test execution. This is because sleep commands pause the execution of test scripts for a specified amount of time. The back end response time or the time taken to load an element can be less than or greater than the time specified in the script. Naturally, this makes tests flakier.
In order to tackle this issue, replace all sleep commands with wait commands. Proper application of implicit and explicit wait commands enables QAs to handle certain elements that take more time to load. As soon as Selenium WebDriver locates the element, the test will continue its execution. Additionally, it also eliminates unnecessary delays in execution as in the case of the Sleep command. Thus, wait commands optimize the overall test scripts and make execution more reliable.
6. Opt for parallel testing on real devices
An ideal way to speed up the execution of automated test scripts is to execute tests simultaneously across multiple device-browser-OS combinations. This will help complete the execution of the entire test suite in much less time.
For example, if there are twenty tests to be run, execute each test on different unique devices in parallel. If each test takes five seconds to run, the entire test suite will be completed in five seconds. On the other hand, if the test were executed on a single device, it would have taken a hundred seconds.
Teams can opt for cloud-based platforms like BrowserStack that offer automated parallel testing in real environments. Its real device cloud empowers teams to choose from 2000+ real devices and browsers for running automated and manual tests for both websites and mobile apps.
Optimizing test scripts increases the reliability and speed of test execution. It enhances stability and helps eliminate flaky tests. Incorporating the test optimization techniques mentioned above will enable teams to speed up test execution and get the best out of their efforts.