In this fast-paced world, people need convenience, innovation, safety, design and much more from their products and services. This pushes companies to develop and test software at a rapid pace in order to thrive in this competitive marketplace. To meet these demands in a quick time, firms leverage automation technology.
As we all know that manual testing is tedious, time-consuming and requires a high investment in human resources, and hence to avoid all these issues, automation testing is preferred by the organizations. So let’s explore test automation frameworks, when to use it over manual testing and how to choose the right one.
An automation framework is a comprehensive set of guidelines that provides an execution environment for automation test scripts to produce beneficial results of the automated testing activity. The guidelines may include coding standards, test libraries, test tools, common practices and assumptions of the desired outcome. But, it is important to know when an organization should choose an automation framework over manual testing. When a team of developers is working on different modules of the same application, using a mix of various approaches can create confusion and hence the likelihood of errors gets increased. Hence it is important for the organizations to choose the ideal framework for their specific requirements and apply it to each module.
Some of the key benefits or objectives of using test automation frameworks include:
- Reusable Tests: Efficiently designed test automation frameworks are easier to maintain and are usable.
- Low-Cost Maintenance: Reusable automated tests results in low-cost maintenance.
- No Manual Intervention: Ability to run automated tests without any manual intervention.
- Easy and Transparent Reporting: It gives clear, unambiguous and targeted reporting and fits the requirement of different type of reporting with different information or detail level.
Here are the standard types of test automation framework which are generally used:
Depending on the need and requirement of the tester, there are certain widely used test automation frameworks with different functionalities which are preferred by the QAs including:
- Linear Scripting Framework: This framework involves recording and replaying of test scripts in a linear fashion with no or little modification. This is the first generation testing method for automated software testing and has the simplest framework approach. Linear scripting framework is mainly used to test a web application’s user interface wherein the testers record their step-by-step actions and playback the record tests.
- Data-driven Framework: This framework allows the tester to segregate both the test script logic and data by storing it in an external database such as XML, CSV, Excel spreadsheet, text etc. The best feature of this type of framework is that it reduces the number of scripts required to cover all the test cases and it has the ability to modify test scenarios with code based on the data used. The data-driven framework comes with a drawback that a combination of external data sources may crash software tools and complicate manual testing.
- Keyword-driven Framework: In this type of framework, tables on a spreadsheet determine the action of a test script based on the assigned keywords. This framework offers the same benefits as of Data-driven framework with an added advantage that in this, the user doesn’t need to have extensive coding knowledge. The framework is also application independent, i.e. it is not dependent on the application, programming languages or automation tools. The main disadvantage of Keyword-driven framework is that the initial investment of time and money is high.
- Modular Testing Framework: This type of framework divides the application under test into isolated modules that can be combined to make larger test scripts. The modular testing framework breaks down a user’s interaction with the application into smaller tests and then recombines them to achieve specific goals. It is scalable and comes with a high level of modularization which results in easier and cheaper maintenance.
- Hybrid Testing Framework: This framework is the combination of more than one of the above-mentioned frameworks to leverage the strengths of each. Hence it combines benefits from all its associated frameworks and avoids weaknesses. Most of the test automation frameworks that are developed for modern software development cycles are of hybrid nature.
In order to be effective, these automation frameworks should possess some key elements such as:
- Should be easy to maintain and reusable
- Should be scalable to future needs
- Have reliability and consistency
- Have high efficiency
- Should have maximum test coverage
How to determine which framework is right for your organization?
Every team and every project has its own requirements for test data management, test behaviour specification, error handling, reporting etc. Before finalizing the ideal framework for your organization, you should ask these questions to yourself:
- Does the application have a complex flow? Have a look at the testing requirements.
- What is the user experience like and consider the technology used in the application?
- Determine the costs associated with each framework.
- Can your team easily plug into one of the frameworks? Evaluate the skill set of your team within the organization.
- What guidelines will give the desired results of the automated tests?
- Which tools would be ideal for your organization before designing an approach that fulfils all the requirements?
- What is the technical proficiency of the people who are going to maintain test automation?
- What types of reporting is expected from the automation?
It is best to create a scorecard to assess several parameters including scripting, integration, reports generated, usage etc. while evaluating multiple tools. Test automation frameworks will establish the guidelines to achieve the desired goals of automated tests. But a qualified and proficient test automation professional should be involved in consideration of design and implementation of automation frameworks or selection of software tools.
In today’s modern software development methods, test automation frameworks have an important role to play. Even the small/medium enterprises are looking forward to reaping the benefits of automation frameworks to meet the demand for their products & services and are very much prepared for its need in the future.
Shifting from Manual Testing to Test Automation is not easy for a team of developers due to lack of knowledge of how and where to start. If your company wants to implement test automation and are looking for a Unified Test Automated solution, you can try Testsigma. It can help the Agile and DevOps teams to easily switch from Manual Testing to Test Automation without making the hands dirty on coding. The AI-driven cloud-based automation testing tool offers all the elements required for continuous testing.
If you want to build a good and mature test automation framework from scratch, check out this article.
Testsigma is built to help Agile and DevOps teams to shift from Manual Testing to Test Automation quite easily. Testsigma has all the essential elements required for continuous testing.
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