Making a decision to start automation is easy but choosing an appropriate tool for automation is not. There are teams that are spending a lot on hiring new manual testing resources but find it hard to invest in automation. The reasons could be many.
Sometimes, teams spend a lot of time exploring tools and get so overwhelmed with the information out there that they give up on the idea of automation altogether. Other times, choose a generic tool, start with automation but then, never get past the first few test cases.
In this article, we have put together some points that will help such teams navigate their search for the right tool:
1. Project Requirements: There is no point in looking for a solution when you don’t know the problem.
So, before you start exploring the various tools and technologies available in the market for test automation, you need to list down your project requirements and the problems you are looking to solve.
The list, in general, should answer the below questions:
- Type of application that needs to be tested: It could be web, mobile, API or a desktop application.
- Platforms that need to be tested: If yours is a desktop application, list down the operating systems that should be tested. If yours is a mobile application, then list down the supported mobile operating systems. If yours is a web application, then list down the supported browsers.
- Language your application is built in: This can help if you are planning to use a programming language for automation.
- Need for cross-browser testing/cross-device testing: If yours is a web application or a mobile application then you will, most probably, need this.
In addition, you could also add requirements that you deem important.
2. Team skills / Learning curve: When selecting a tool for automation there could be 2 types of tools:
- A codeless test automation tool
- An automation tool that requires coding
If yours is a team that already has people that are skilled in some programming language then you can think of using an automation tool in that programming language. Or, if you plan to hire skilled people for automation then you don’t need to consider this point.
But, if you are planning to have an automation tool that will not need you to look for people with the required skillset, going for codeless automation tools will be a good idea. These tools allow the automation of test cases without the need for knowing a programming language.
Check this guide to know about Codeless Testing in detail.
3. Budget: This is a very important aspect of choosing the correct automation tool. You might easily say that you will want a free tool because you don’t want to spend on automation if you can avoid it.
But, you also need to consider that the amount of time being spent on automation, the number of people working on the tool and the machines being used for automation also constitute the amount you spend on automation. So, consider below points before deciding the budget:
- Cost of human resources being used for automation: If there is a tool that does not need you to hire new resources especially for automation, consider it a saving.
- Time spent on learning the tool: If there is a tool that has a low learning curve, that is an indirect saving in the cost you might have spent in terms of the time the resources spend on learning the tool. Or hiring resources that are skilled in that particular tool.
- Time being spent on automation: If there is a tool that makes it easy to create and maintain test cases, thereby saving time, consider it a saving in cost.
- Cost of infrastructure: If there is a tool that allows hosting on cloud, you won’t need to invest in state-of-the-art infrastructure. Consider it a saving.
4. Ease of test case creation and Maintenance: Not every tool is made to handle all kinds of scenarios. So, to make sure that your chosen tool meets your needs, try automating a few test cases of your application to know if the tool suits your needs. That could be done with the trial version of a tool if your search has narrowed down to premium tools.
Also, to avoid spending more time in test case maintenance as compared to test case creation, make sure to choose a tool that fits your budget including the maintenance costs. There are tools that have the ability to self-heal the test cases in case of minor changes in the application.
Such tools help to reduce the cost of test case maintenance. Also, it helps if the tool supports pause and resume of test case execution for a better debugging experience.
5. Reusability: To avoid writing the same code multiple times in multiple test cases and to avoid duplication of efforts, look for tools that allow the reuse of already created test steps in different test cases and projects.
6. Data-driven Testing: If yours is an application that needs testing for a variety of data at multiple interfaces, it is important to choose a tool that supports data-driven testing.
7. Reporting: Test case creation and test case execution would be useless if the reports were not useful so do go through all the features in the reporting supported by a tool. Few of them would be:
- Screenshots for failed steps
- Video for test execution
- Stack trace for the error
- A clear indication of failed test cases/steps
- Time taken for execution of test steps and test cases is reported
8. Support for collaboration: If you are doing automation of a project for a client, the client will want to review the quality of automated test cases.
It will also be beneficial if other non-technical members of the team are able to automate/review the test cases. So, in such scenarios, look for tools that make collaboration with the management and clients easy.
9. Support for tools for integration: If there are some process improvement or CI/CD tools that you already use or plan on using, make sure that you chose a tool that integrates with them.
10. Training and 24×7 support: Consider a scenario – you started using a tool for automation, and after automating about 10 test cases successfully, you got stuck on the 11th test case; you don’t know how to resolve the problem. You have looked at all possible forums but you don’t have a solution in sight. If you want to save the time, use a tool that has 24×7 support to resolve any problems you encounter.
Sometimes, teams decide to create their own test automation frameworks because they cannot find a tool that fit their testing requirements.
At the moment, there really are multiple types of test automation frameworks and tools available in the market that support automation on a varied variety of applications and are still being improved.
So, do go through the above points and spend some time looking at available test automation tools before thinking of implementing a framework on your own.