Manual Testing vs Automated Testing
Software testing represents a vast scope, but it can be categorized into the areas of Manual Testing and Automated Testing.
Nowadays, companies work in an Agile environment and to provide Continuous Delivery of quality software. However, is hard to ensure continuous delivery without Automation Testing, but on the other hand, all cannot be covered only with Automated Testing.
Both Manual and Automated Testing has its benefits and disadvantages. Within each category, specific testing methods are available, such as black box testing, white box testing, integration testing, system testing, performance testing, and load testing.
What is Manual Testing?
Manual Testing is performed by QA Engineers without the support of any testing tool nor scripts. Manual Testing is not optional. Every application must be tested “by hand” at least once or any time during the first cycle.
Manual Testing ensures fast and accurate visual feedback. Also, if it is only for one cycle, it is less expensive and does not require that we spend budget on additional tools or training. For a good performance of Manual Testing, it is important to understand a product you are testing.
What is Automated Testing?
Automated Testing is a software testing technique which uses an automation testing tool to execute a test suite. The aim of automation testing is reducing testing efforts, delivering new features faster and more affordable. With less effort, you can release better quality software.
Test cases which should be executed in every regression process, but does not require “a human eye”, should be automated. With that, the regression process will take less time and if any bug exists, it can be found faster which is more important to be found early in the cycle and get it resolved quickly. The bugs found earlier are easier to fix and the process is less expensive than finding them at a later stage when it would be difficult to fix.
Manual Testers may have to deal with mundane repetitive tasks and it is a high chance that they miss out on something and to omit some things while testing in case that they are passing the test cases repeatedly.
In short, Manual Testing is best suited for the following areas/scenarios:
- Exploratory Testing emphasizes personal freedom and responsibility of the individual tester. In Exploratory Testing documentation is mandatory, and to assure the quality it is necessary to document testing in details. Also, Exploratory Testing always needs to be done by expert Manual Tester.
- Usability Testing is a type of software testing which is focused on the user’s ease to use the application, flexibility in handling controls and the ability of the system to meet its objectives. It is also called User Experience (UX) Testing.
- Ad-hoc Testing is an unplanned method of testing, informal testing type with an aim to break the system. Test cases are not followed by any test design techniques. Documentation is not a basic need for this type of testing. Manual Testers always attend the testing without specific documentation. Also, Ad-hoc testing is not important to be executed by an expert Manual Tester.
Automated Testing is the preferred option in the following areas/scenarios:
- Regression Testing involves repetition and is an ideal candidate for Regression Testing to ensure that no new development causes bugs or breaks techniques in testing software after it has been changed or updated. Check this link that explains a few best practises to follow for an effective Regression Testing process.
- Load Testing provides insights into how your application scales and whether it can perform under pressure.
- Repeated Execution requires the repeated execution of a task when you need to use multiple test data sets.
- Performance Testing is testing which requires the simulation of thousands of concurrent users. Performance Testing is a type of software testing which ensures software applications will perform well under their expected workload. The goal of Performance Testing is not to find bugs but to eliminate performance bottlenecks.
- Cross Browser/Cross-Device Testing has to be run on several different hardware or software platforms and configurations.
- Continuous Development Process has tools which are designed to help you keep track of bugs and issues as you go. It is also crucial that the systems, these teams use for testing, are fully integrated into their CI server.
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Benefits of Automation Testing
Before starting with automation testing, the question which should be asked is “Which test cases should be automated?”. First of all, important business test cases should be automated for sure, the ones which are executing repeatedly, time-consuming test cases and the ones that are difficult to perform manually.
The following list represents some of the main benefits of automation testing:
- Fast: As we discussed earlier, Automation Testing is significantly faster than Manual Testing. It helps you find bugs in the early stages of software development, reducing expenses and working hours to fix these problems as well.
- Reusable: The same tests can be reused on different versions of the software. Some applications can have several test cases which only differ in some parameters, and in that case, automation testing is preferred since you can set up the environment once, and then only change the required parameters.
- Reliable: The same operation can be performed each time a test is executed, thus the precision of accuracy is on the enviable level.
- Comprehensive: A set of tests can be grouped and classified as Test Suite where tests for the same feature should be included.
- Running tests 24/7: You can schedule the execution of tests, and to see the results when execution finished. when you leave the office and see the results when you get back in the morning.
- Volume: As for mobile testing, for example, Automated Testing allows running tests on thousands of mobile devices (more than 18000 devices). We would all agree that testing all of them manually would be impossible. Now that you can test all devices even without owning them on the cloud, we can fully utilize the capabilities of Automated Testing.
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Nowadays every organization faces the question of what should be chosen – Automated Testing or Manual Testing? If the application is not large, complex, does not have thousands of test scenarios and when there are not many cycles to repeat, Manual Testing fits better than Automated Testing. On the other hand, for a complex, huge applications and if there are many testing cycles for the same set of features Automated Testing should be preferred. But you cannot do only Automated Testing, Manual Testing is obligated in some part of the testing cycle.
Most organizations are now part of the Agile Development and for successfully delivering good quality software, Automated Testing is a better solution than Manual Testing.
In my next article, I am going to discuss Automation Testing tools and its benefits. The focus will be the most on Selenium, which is the most popular Automation Testing Tool nowadays. But, is it the best? Please check out in my next. It would be titled, “Selenium based Automated Testing“.
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