Getting Started with Website Test Automation
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - May 29, 2020
In order to reach out to a broader audience, businesses must have their digital presence felt in the form of web-apps. Naturally, this results in a competitive scenario wherein new web-apps are hitting the market with increasing frequency.
Existing web-apps must also roll out new features at regular intervals to enhance the customer experience. For QA engineers, this translates to repeated cycles of comprehensive testing within tight deadlines.
As per a report from MarketandMarkets, the global automation testing market is predicted to grow significantly from $12.6 in 2019 to $28.8 in 2024.
This article discusses the basics of website test automation (also sometimes referred to as Web Automation), as well as the fundamental steps for getting started with Selenium testing for web automation.
What is Website Test Automation?
Automation testing helps to relieve the bulk of tedious and repetitive human tasks. These days the majority of the software made available on the internet is introduced in the form of web-apps. Users use browsers like Chrome, Firefox, etc. to use these web-apps. Most users think of browsers as just a way to surf the web pages and display information. However, those with knowledge of web-app development know-how capable browsers are and how an ideal cross browser testing tool plays a vital role in developing browser-friendly web-apps.
Must Read: How to test on older browser versions
With the right test automation framework or tool, QAs can automate repetitive browser actions like interacting with web elements or filling out long HTML forms. Automating tests help teams save time and effort, get faster and accurate results, increase software efficiency, and focus on innovation.
Incorporating web test automation doesn’t eliminate the need for planning test cycles. As a matter of fact, planning becomes even more crucial when automating test cases. One needs to have clarity on which tests are critical and need to be prioritized. Also, all automated test results must be closely analyzed by human eyes to derive maximum benefit.
It’s also important to bear in mind that automated testing doesn’t eliminate manual testing completely. In every testing pipeline, the latter has an important role to play. Refer to this Manual Testing tutorial to understand why manual testing can’t be avoided altogether.
Recommended read on – Manual vs Automated Testing
Benefits of Website Test Automation
- Faster feedback
Automated testing is extremely beneficial for validation in various phases of development. This helps teams uncover potential bugs faster, save time, and enhance communication among the developers, testers, and designers.
- Improved test efficiency
Although it may take more time to set up the test automation framework, the time is made up because test coverage rates are much wider, That means each test validates a greater number of features and functions. Since automation moves faster, the entire test suite takes less time to execute. Once automated tests are initiated, testers can focus on other tasks and evaluate test results once all the test cases are executed.
- Reduced expenses
Automated tests help achieve excellent test coverage in shorter timelines. This helps deliver a quality product, thereby reducing the probability of bugs appearing post-release. This helps to save project costs.
- Reusability of test cases
The repetitive nature of automation helps reuse test scripts. This is extremely useful when new patches are developed, and the software needs to be tested as a whole again.
- Faster time to market
As discussed above, automation helps boost test coverage in restricted timelines. This helps QAs test newly developed features within tighter deadlines and release robust applications faster.
Selenium is indisputably the most popular framework used for automated website testing across multiple browsers. Having said this, let’s go through seven fundamental steps to get started with test automation.
Prerequisites for setup:
- Eclipse IDE (Users can use other IDEs too)
- Selenium Client and language WebDiver bindings
- Configuring Selenium WebDriver with Eclipse
1. Creating WebDriver instance
Initializing the WebDriver interface is the first step in writing a Selenium test script. One needs to create the instance of WebDriver interface using the constructor of a specific web browser. This instance then helps to invoke other methods.
WebDriver driver = new ChromeDriver();
2. Navigating to a specific web page
The next step is to navigate to a specific web page that needs to be tested. This is performed by invoking the get method of the WebDriver interface.
3. Locating specific Web Elements on the Web page
To interact with a web-page, one needs to locate specific HTML elements first. Only then one can perform the desired operations. Refer to this article on locators in Selenium to understand different locator strategies like Xpath, id, name, etc. The findElement method of the WebDriver interface is used to locate elements.
4. Performing actions on HTML Elements
Once the desired element is identified, the next step is to interact with them using interaction methods. Interactions include entering text, clicking buttons, clearing text fields, etc.
5. Anticipating browser response
Once an operation is performed, for example, if a click operation is performed on the submit button, then one needs to wait for a second or two to get the server response.
To test server response, one needs to program the waiting time in the test scripts. WebDriver API supports two techniques for anticipating wait response: Implicit and Explicit Wait. Read this detailed article on Wait commands in Selenium to learn their implementation.
6. Terminating the test
Once all the test cases are executed, the test can be concluded by invoking the quit method. The quit method closes all active pages, terminates the browser, and ends the connection with the server that interacts with the browser.
The steps outlined above form the fundamental structure of any test case to be automated.
Automating test cycles has become a basic necessity for teams operating in an agile ecosystem. However, all automated tests must be run on real devices and browsers, because there is no other legitimate way to monitor website behavior in real user conditions.
If teams do not have access to an in-house lab, they can leverage platforms that offer a real device cloud for automated website testing.
BrowserStack offers a cloud Selenium grid of 2000+ browsers and real devices for comprehensive testing. Additionally, testers can also access multiple features designed to make testing faster and more convenient – integration with popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Travis, Circle CI to ensure a robust automation pipeline.
Without moving to an automation setup, comprehensive testing becomes difficult.