What is Test Automation: Benefits, Limitations, Tools, and Best Practices
By Shormistha Chatterjee, Community Contributor - April 19, 2023
Test Automation has increasingly become a buzzword in today’s IT world. The automated testing market size is valued at USD 20 billion in the year 2022 and is projected to exhibit over 15% CAGR between 2023 and 2032.
Growing demand for flexible and cost-effective software apps has enhanced the use of test automation in delivering high quality software applications in shorter time duration. It is due to the competitive market and the need to have faster release cycles with a great user experience that has led to the use of AI and ML in Automation Testing.
Test Automation in software testing has replaced 50% or more of the manual testing efforts in 46% of the cases
In fact, as per Marketsandmarket research amongst the hottest trends, the global market for Quality Assurance automation tools will be worth $52.7 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 16.4 percent.
What is Test Automation?
Automation testing is the process of using software scripts and tools to execute and validate tests automatically. It involves using automation software to control the implementation of tests, compare actual results with anticipated results, and report the results of the tests.
Test automation can be used for a series of testing activities, counting regression testing, functional testing, performance testing, and load testing. It is generally used in software development to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of testing, as well as to reduce the cost and time of testing. Test automation can be done using a series of frameworks and tools, including commercial and open-source tools.
Types of Frameworks:
Typically, there are four test automation suites or frameworks that are widely accepted while automating the apps:
- Keyword Driven Automation Framework
- Data-Driven Automation Framework
- Hybrid Automation Framework
- Modular Automation Framework
Why is Test Automation important?
Test automation is significant for several reasons:
- Enhanced Efficiency: Test automation can save a huge amount of time and effort by automating monotonous tasks and freeing up QA testers to focus on complicated and critical testing deeds.
- Quality Assurance: Test automation in software engineering can assist to ensure that software products meet essential quality standards by providing accurate and fast feedback on issues and defects, allowing test automation development teams to address them efficiently and rapidly.
- Improved Scalability – Automating your tests transforms the scale at which your test QA team operates as PCs can run tests 24 hours a day. This lets you run a lot more tests with similar resources.
- Increased Test Coverage: Automated tests can execute many test cases rapidly and accurately, allowing QA testers to cover an extensive range of scenarios and edge cases that might be hard to test manually.
- Reduced Time-to-Market: By automating testing, development teams can accelerate their launch/ release cycles and rapidly deliver top-quality products to market.
- Consistency and Cost-effective: Automated tests are implemented the same way every time, ensuring consistency. It can also be a lucrative way to test software products, as it lessens the related costs of maintaining a large testing team.
Why is Automation Testing core to DevOps?
Automation testing is core to DevOps for multiple reasons:
- Continuous Testing: In DevOps, testing is incorporated into every stage of the SDLC (software development lifecycle), from code development to deployment. Automated testing allows QA teams to test iteratively and constantly throughout the test automation development process, guaranteeing that software is of top quality at every stage.
- Collaboration: DevOps is all about collaboration between operations, development, and testing teams. Automated testing frameworks and tools can help enable this teamwork by providing a common language and series of tools that all teams can use.
- Scalability: As DevOps teams scale and the complexity of the software being developed raises, automated testing becomes vital to ensure that software is comprehensively tested and of high quality.
- Continuous Delivery: In DevOps, the goal is to deliver software reliably and quickly. Automated testing is essential to achieving this objective by ensuring that software is thoroughly tested before it is released, minimizing the risk of defects and issues in production.
- Detect bugs and Save time-Unlike manual testing. Automatic test cases easily detect bugs and make testing faster which means you can deploy products to market more rapidly.
- Security: Move quickly without compromising compliance and security by leveraging automated compliance policies, configuration management techniques, and fine-grained controls.
Benefits and Limitations of Test Automation
Test automation proffers numerous benefits and limitations, which are discussed below:
Benefits of Test Automation:
- Speedy Tests: Automated testing is much quicker than manual testing, letting QA experts or testers test more scenarios in a shorter time.
- Increased Test Coverage: Automated testing can cover an immense number of test cases and scenarios, counting edge cases and negative tests that are tough to manually test.
- Consistency: Automated testing offers consistent and repeatable test outcomes, enhancing the reliability and accuracy of the test outcomes.
- Cost-Efficient: Although there is an initial cost involved in setting up automated testing, in the long run, it is highly cost-efficient.
- Reusability: Automated test cases can be reused across multiple releases, guaranteeing that they are consistently and frequently tested over time.
Limitations of Test Automation:
- Initial Cost: The initial cost of setting up test automation can be high, including the licenses, cost of tools, hardware, and personnel training.
- Maintenance Cost: Maintaining automated test cases necessitates ongoing efforts, such as updating scripts and fixing glitches, which can be costly.
- Complex Scenarios: Complicated scenarios and edge cases may be challenging to automate, requiring manual testing to guarantee complete coverage.
- False Positives & Negatives: Automated tests may produce false positives as well as negatives, requiring human intervention to confirm and validate the test outcomes.
- Limited Insight: Automated tests may provide restricted insight into the root cause of issues and may not detect defects related to usability.
Must Read: Overcoming Key Challenges in Test Automation
DevOps Automation Testing Tools
- Selenium: Selenium is an open-source automation testing tool widely used for web application testing. It supports various programming languages, including Java, Python, and C#. It can be integrated with many DevOps tools such as Jenkins, Docker, and Git.
- Appium: Appium is an open-source automation testing tool designed for mobile applications. Appium supports multiple mobile platforms, including Android and iOS, and allows the automation of both native and hybrid mobile applications.
- Jenkins: Jenkins is a popular open-source continuous integration and delivery tool. It can be used to automate testing, build, and deployment processes, making it an essential tool for DevOps.
- JUnit: JUnit is a popular open-source unit testing framework used for Java applications. JUnit supports automated testing of Java code, including unit tests and integration tests.
- TestNG: TestNG is a testing framework used for Java applications. It supports various types of tests, including unit, integration, and functional tests, and is widely used in DevOps.
- SoapUI: SoapUI is an open-source testing tool used for testing SOAP and REST web services. It allows testers to automate the testing of APIs and web services and supports various protocols, including HTTP, JMS, and JDBC.
No matter which framework you choose based on your project requirements, it is important to test on real devices and browsers so as to take real user conditions into account. This helps in getting more accurate test results. BrowserStack allows you to test on 3000+ real browsers over desktop and mobile devices for a comprehensive testing experience.
These are just a few examples of popular automation testing tools used in DevOps.
Requirements for DevOps in Automation Testing
To implement DevOps in test automation, various requirements must be met:
- Infrastructure as Code: To allow continuous testing, the infrastructure should be treated as code, and automated tools must be used to configure, provision, and manage the infrastructure.
- Automated Testing Framework: A scalable and robust test automation framework must be in place to automate the entire testing process.
- CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Delivery): CI/CD pipelines must be in place to automate the software delivery process, and counting testing.
- Collaboration and Communication: The DevOps testing team must work closely with the development & operations teams to detect and address issues quickly.
- Quality Assurance: Quality assurance must be integrated into the test automation process to guarantee that the software is of better quality and meets the requirements.
- Metrics and Monitoring: Metrics and monitoring must be in place to track the effectiveness of the testing process and detect areas for improvement.
How to Implement DevOps in Automation Testing?
- Plan the automation testing strategy: The first stage in implementing DevOps in automation testing is to plan the testing strategy by identifying the testing necessities, choosing the appropriate tools, defining the test scenarios, and generating the automation test scripts.
- Build the CI/CD pipeline: The next step is to build a continuous integration and delivery pipeline that automates the testing, build, and deployment processes.
- Develop a test automation framework: Create a test automation framework that allows for easy scalability and maintenance. The framework must be based on the principles of reusability, modularity, and maintainability.
- Implement version control: Use a version control test automation system, such as Git, to manage the automated scripts and other testing artifacts. This allows the QA team to track modifications, collaborate, and maintain version control for the test scripts.
- Automate test data management: Test data management is vital in automation testing to guarantee that the test data is reliable, consistent, and up-to-date.
- Analyze the results: Use the reporting tools to analyze the results of the automated tests.
- Continuously improve the testing process: Continuously review and improve the testing process to identify areas for improvement.
Best Practices of Test Automation
Here are some best practices for test automation that can help to ensure success and efficiency:
- Test automation should be planned and designed with a clear objective.
- Automating the right test cases can save time
- Use a modular and scalable automation framework
- Ensure effective version control.
- Perform continuous testing throughout the development process.
- Integrate automation testing with other DevOps tools and processes
- Monitor and analyze test results
- Regularly review and update automation scripts
- Involve the entire team in automation testing
Read More: 10 Test Automation Best Practices to follow
Using Real Device Cloud for Test Automation
BrowserStack offers Automate and App Automate for automated web testing and mobile app testing. Here’s how each product aligns with test automation:
Run Automation Test on Real Devices for Free
- BrowserStack Automate is a web testing product that enables teams to run automated Selenium, Cypress, Puppeteer, and Playwright tests on a cloud-based infrastructure. It supports testing on over 3000 real mobile and desktop browsers and devices, providing a comprehensive testing environment for web applications.
- BrowserStack App Automate is a mobile testing product that enables teams to run automated Appium, XCUITest, and Espresso tests on a cloud-based infrastructure. It supports testing on over 3,000 real mobile devices and simulators, providing a comprehensive testing environment for mobile applications.
In terms of product alignment in test automation, both BrowserStack Automate and App Automate align with the principles of continuous testing and continuous delivery. They enable teams to test early and often, providing quick feedback on the quality of their web and mobile applications.