Test Automation Best Practices for effective Test Automation projects

Automation testing is critical for regression testing in software development lifecycle. It ensures that no feature breaks from one build to the next. It makes the software development lifecycle fast and overall more reliable for bigger projects. Automation Architects need to plan and execute their Test Automation strategies properly to be benefitted from Test Automation. Consider adopting the following Best Practices in order to make the Test Automation process fast and effective.

Test Automation Best Practices

1. Know your Product and Decide which Test Cases to Automate

Know your product inside out before starting the automation. Once you know your product and its functionalities, then only you can write strong test cases.

Then you should decide which test cases to be automated and what tools to use.

Here are a few cases you should consider automating

  • Tests that tend to cause human error
  • Tests that take a lot of effort and time when manual testing.
  • Such as Load Testing scenarios
  • Performance Benchmarks
  • Repetitive tests that require multiple data sets.
  • Tests that run on several different hardware or software platforms and configurations.

Remember, you cannot automate everything. That takes me to the next point.

2. Don’t Rely Solely on Automation

Automation is not here to replace manual testers. It can take repetitive tasks away from manual testers so that they can fully focus on exploring new testing scenarios and bugs.

Several times a change in the software should fail a test; If all tests are passing that means the defect is missed and because there was no call to action, the defect went unnoticed.

Some tests are very complex in nature and require many downstream system checking and can be inconsistent. In these cases, it is best to leave these checks for manual testing.

It requires time and effort to create an automated script, automating every test will require a lot of resource and time, which is unnecessary for many test cases.

Also, a high number of automated tests adds maintenance cost and difficult to maintain.

It is always best to automate a feature once it has been stabilized. When a new feature or functionality is being developed, many things are subjected to change and many things can go wrong. If you started automating tests as the feature was being developed, the tests need to be updated many times as the feature evolves and can be quite daunting trying to keep up with all the changes.

To get the most value out of automation, only automate few tests that are valuable and time savers or difficult to do for manual testers.

3. Choose the Right Test Automation Tool

Selecting the right tool makes the automation process easier. There are a lot of automated testing tools on the market, you need to choose the tool that is compatible with the technology used by your application.

If it is a web application, know the browsers the app and the testing tool will support, If it is a desktop application, know which language is built upon. Know if the tool is capable of handling the technologies being used.

Also consider choosing a tool that is familiar to your team, which does not incur a lot of time in learning the technology.

The tool should allow creating automated tests that are reusable and maintainable.

4. Best practices for writing quality test scripts

Automation is basically software development. So all best practices you follow when you develop a software should be followed during automation.

So, like Software Development it needs code reviews to write quality code, it needs a framework or design pattern to be followed and constant maintenance.

Here are Best Practices I found in this article for writing better test scripts, and it will make your life easy working in a team.

  1. Test Class Name
    All Test classes should have the same name as the class that will be checked followed by the “test” word.
    Such as this: ClassNameToBeCheckedTest;
  2. Test Folder and Source Folder
    All Test classes should be saved inside a folder called “test” and it MUST be a kind of mirror of the source folder, meaning it will follow the same structure of the main project folder, but it will only contain tests; For example:
    Main source folder = Project A > Sanity > src > main > java
    Main test folder = Project A > Sanity > src > test > java
  3. Setup Information
    Any kind of setup should be done by the @Before method, or some similar annotations. So the framework being used will know these actions need to be executed before performing the automated tests.Information examples: type of browser, which URL should be opened, which timeout should be respected, should the browser be maximized or not and so on.
  4. Test Data Builder Implementation
    With Test Data Builder, all of the data you will need to create and manage during your tests, can be created in a separated class to be reused in the future.
    For example: product’s creation with size, price, market etc.

5. Aim for Fast Feedback

Quick feedback is one of the objectives of automated tests because once developers make any change in the app’s code, immediately they need to know if it has broken current functionality.

6. Create Effective Test Data

Well-structured test data makes it easier to create and execute automation scripts, also makes it simpler to maintain and reuse high-quality test data. The automation framework should be data-driven. By using data-driven tests, you can use only one test and one array of data, which we are going to use in order to run all the different data combinations. This saves up time for the execution of data-driven tests. It also makes it easier to write automation scripts as the product matures.

7. Avoid GUI Automation when there is an alternate present

GUI automation is always tougher than other types of automated tests, mostly because the UI of an application is prone to changes during different stages of development; further, relying on UI makes automated tests slow and increases the risk of errors. So if there is a situation when you can achieve your target by not automating the GUI, but by some other methods like command line inputs, then the best strategy is to avoid GUI automation. Further, to ensure that your scripts work on future versions of the applications, make your automated tests resistant to UI changes.

 

Automation plays a crucial role in the success of a software development life-cycle. With the right automation testing strategy in place, testers can focus on exploring new test scenarios, developers can focus on innovation, and companies can confidently release high-quality software products faster.

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