To borrow a phrase from the modern philosopher Homer Simpson, “Test automation is the cause of and solution to all of QA’s problems.” It is a difficult process to set up and adopt, but doing so properly will help improve your continuous testing across the board.

As the process of using software tools to automate test case execution, test automation is meant to verify the functionality of web and mobile applications. Automating complex, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks takes a great deal of pressure off testing teams that used to have to carry out these tasks manually.

You can automate almost any type of testing like functional, performance, and accessibility scenarios. The process starts by creating scripts that simulate user interactions with the application under test. Scripts are then executed by automation tools that can automatically run the tests and generate result reports.

Using Tools to Enable Automation

As mentioned above, many of these processes are driven by automation testing tools. These software applications are designed specifically to automate software testing processes. They are designed to execute test scripts (most often written by developers or testers) that verify application functionality.

Automation testing tools are primarily used to test web and mobile applications through desktop apps and APIS can be included as well. The tests performed by these tools include functional, performance, regression, accessibility, and load testing.

The Importance of Automation Testing Tools

Everyone in the software testing world wants to save time and increase efficiency. That is the first benefit enterprises will see when they automate the repetitive and time-consuming tasks usually reserved for manual testers. By performing tests with precision and consistency, these tools will also improve the accuracy and reliability of test results. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of these tools is the ability to identify defects early in the development process which saves both time and money. The outcome overall is better quality software and faster release velocity.

There are more scenarios where automation testing tools are essential. Let’s drill down.

  • Continuous Delivery: The importance here is that automation testing tools enable you to test software changes with speed and reliability. This helps organizations deploy their updates more rapidly. If you did not have automated testing, the manual labor of testing would become a huge bottleneck that slows down your delivery pipeline and increases the risk of defects making it into production. With automation as part of your continuous delivery, you are making sure that teams quickly verify that software changes do not negatively affect a release which makes the process smoother. In fact, this immediate feedback on code quality helps developers adjust and iterate with speed.
  • Software Development: Another common process that is aided by the introduction of test automation tools, because they help improve software quality while minimizing testing’s time and cost. It might seem obvious that automation testing tools can execute tests faster and with more consistency than manual processes, but it helps teams shift their testing left in the development cycle. The outcome of that is to help keep defects from production, which will eliminate downtime, and improve the organization’s reputation. These tools ensure that all aspects of the software are tested, increasing coverage dramatically.
  • App Development & Security: The importance of automation testing tools here is to help ensure that web and mobile apps are developed with high quality and of course free of security vulnerabilities. As we mentioned above the ability to shift left and address defects before production is essential across the board. With security testing, this shift also extends to vulnerabilities and potential breaches, as developers are able to mitigate them before a bad actor gets their hands on the application. Improving app security is a surefire way to improve user trust and satisfaction.

Types of Automation Testing Tools

Depending on the scope and context of your testing, you might find yourself using one or more of these types of tools.

DESCRIPTION ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Functional Testing  

Used to automate the functional testing of web and mobile apps. Functional testing involves checking to make sure that an application performs as expected based on its requirements.

  • Ensures that the software works as expected and meets end-user requirements
  • Helps identify defects early in the development and testing process
  • Improves software quality
  • Improves the end-user experience
  • Only tests functionality and does not test performance, accessibility, or security
Performance Testing  

 

 

For simulating and automating load, and stress, while monitoring device vitals, and evaluating performance based on these load and stress levels.

  • Identifies performance bottlenecks
  • Ensures handling of expected user load
  • Improves the user experience by testing speed and responsiveness
  • Helps determine the necessary resources needed to support the expected load
  • Requires special tools and hardware making performance testing time-consuming and costly
  • Experts are needed to use performance testing tools and methodologies
  • Limited performance issue identification as it is not possible to simulate all real-world scenarios
  • Load and usage patterns are simulated and may not reflect real system usage
API Testing  

 

 

 

 

Automate API testing to ensure they perform as expected.

  • Enables defect detection early in the SDLC, allowing fixes before production
  • Increases test coverage by enabling web and mobile app testing at a lower level that UI testing
  • Enables testing different scenarios that are not easily testable via the UI
  • Requires less manual testing and enables automation for a reduction in time and cost
  • Requires coding knowledge as well as experience with programming languages and frameworks
  • Requires additional tools and software to run tests
  • APIs have different types of requests and responses leading to API testing complexity
  • Not applicable to all types of applications
Mobile Testing Tools  

 

 

 

 

 

Automate mobile app testing on different devices platforms and OSs.

  • These tools will help ensure web and mobile app functionality
  • Minimizes the cost of mitigating defects while accelerating time to market
  • End-user functionality will drive an increase in customer loyalty
  • Gain insights into the UI and UX of your apps to make it user friendly
  • Reduces testing times during the SDLC
  • Automated testing reduces the cost of app development
  • Increases app deployment velocity
  • Initially requires bulk efforts in test execution and design which takes time and resources
  • Not all testing can be automated to 100%
  • Not all types of testing can be performed with these tools
  • Hard to identify defects located within the test script itself
  • Programming knowledge is necessary as each tool uses one or more coding languages
  • Not all tools can execute tests on both web and mobile
Code Analysis Tools  

 

 

 

 

Used to automate source code analysis to detect defects and vulnerabilities.

  • Increases code quality by evaluating all code in a web and mobile application
  • Automated code analysis increases testing speeds
  • Allows for more depth in debugging when paired with normal testing methods
  • Automated tools are less likely to be affected by human error
  • Increases security by finding vulnerabilities in the code
  • Can be done in an offline environment
  • Sometimes detects false positives
  • Defects can be hard to discover
  • Hard to follow all of the rules of coding
  • Cannot detect how functions are executed
  • Hard to analyze the system and third-party libraries
CI/CD  

 

 

 

Continuous Integration/Delivery tools are used to automate the build, test, and deployment of software to enable faster development cycles.

  • Smaller code chunks are easier to analyze and free of defects
  • Faster mean time to resolution
  • Smaller specific changes improve test reliability
  • Increased velocity helps detect and mitigate defects faster
  • Helps organizations get better customer and employee feedback
  • Automated CI/CD tools reduce errors in the pipeline
  • Organizations have to be cautious when developing processes and need to be iterative
  • Once a result is successful the code must be pushed to production the immediacy of which is hard for some companies
  • Dashboards are highly technical and cannot be used by every team member
  • CI and CD must be coordinated and requires a lot of human attention to get going

How to Use All of These Test Methods and Tools in 2023

Digital.ai Continuous Testing is an automated testing solution with functional, performance, and accessibility testing capabilities. All testing scenarios are executed as functional tests, and the entire solution is effortlessly scalable.

The solution accelerates test cycle automation with large-scale parallel web and mobile test execution. Debugging tools make defect detection and mitigation simple, and where many of the tools above require tremendous technical knowledge Digital.ai Continuous Testing has simple test creation, editing, recording, and management tools available for non-coding team members.

The solution is aided by its increased interoperability with existing development and testing tools, IDEs, frameworks, and CI environments. It provides a more collaborative testing process for development, QA teams, and stakeholders.

The main benefits include:

  • Higher dev and testing team productivity
  • Effortlessly scalable projects
  • Lower cost, time, and effort are needed to discover and eliminate defects
  • Testing cycle speeds will increase
  • Time to market will shorten

The result is that using Digital.ai Continuous Testing as your testing solution or integrated with your favorite tools will help improve the overall CS of your web and mobile apps while lowering churn.

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