Test automation is the new normal in software testing. A Sauce Labs / Dimensional Research study earlier this year found that 87% of the development teams were already adopting some level of test automation. Given today’s escalated speed of development, automating testing is the only way to ensure that the final product being developed is of high quality and delivers on the performance matrix. However, Test automation comes with its own set of challenges and can be difficult to navigate without automation experts. Creating test automation suites can be challenging as test scripts need to be developed in a tool specific language. This may increase the dependency on niche skills. Test automation also demands that testers know how to code and code well so that the test scripts are robust and effective.
With time though, Scriptless Test Automation, has addressed many of these concerns. Scriptless test automation reduces the coding aspect from automation and helps users automate their tests without using any programming language. Scriptless test automation uses available code assets which are essentially user-based actions called ‘constructors’ or ‘keywords’ to create automated tests. This form of automated testing also allows actions such as web services testing, database handling, file handling, arithmetic calculations etc. to be developed as keywords, giving the users the flexibility to use them across technologies, tools, and applications.
Clearly, scriptless test automation takes a lot of the pain out of automated testing. Since scriptless test automation does not require programming knowledge and allows testers to automate tests using their functional knowledge, it must mean that automation experts are no longer required to be a part of the testing team - right? If you think the answer is ‘yes’, then you may well be very wrong! Let’s take a look at why.
“Testing = Checking + Exploring “
In the Agile 2015 conference, Elisabeth Hendrickson outlines just what testing was supposed to do. While test automation checks the functionality of the system, that alone is not enough to guarantee a thoroughly tested product. Test automation experts are those who know what kind of checks need to be run on certain scenarios, understand what to test and how much to test. Test automation experts can help the testing team build quality into the software development process by helping the testing teams decide on the testing scope and test process.
Automation experts can play a pivotal role in Automated Test Case design – deciding reusability of business/ test components and the creation of UI objects that hold the truth in dynamic situations. They also have an important role in guiding other testers in creating automation for more complex test scenarios. This reduces the number of faults and increases the scope of testing.
Script-less Does Not Mean ‘No Code’
While scriptless testing essentially means that it is script free, it does not mean that there is absolutely no coding needed. Scriptless automation is an abstraction layer between the application under test and the test automation tool. This consists of several functionalities to perform the tests which are keyword driven. While scriptless tools offer several inbuilt functionalities and actions, test automation experts are still needed to create new functions or modify or alter existing actions contained within the abstraction layer. The actions/ keywords are created under the scriptless framework using a common code that can be identified by the automation tool.
Test Case Design
Automation experts carry a wealth of knowledge that can propel automation initiatives forward. One of the areas where testing teams can leverage automation experts is in automation test suite design. Given their experience, automation experts can help testing teams decide which test cases render themselves well to automation, define critical application areas, prioritize tests on the basis of functionality or usage, assess application history of problems, identify application areas that will need frequent changes, and then help testing teams draw up and prioritize test cases. Good test case design and proper prioritization ensure that fault detection is fast, feedback processes become smoother, and that errors are corrected in a timely manner. All this ultimately ensures high product quality.
The Test Data Advantage
Since test automation experts have been in the testing system for a while, they are adept in the art of designing test data well. Test data is an essential part of test case preparation and defines the inputs needed to test a piece of software, application or functionality. Test data is leveraged to assess if the desired functionality has been achieved and is different for different type of tests. They are essential for performance, scalability, integration, load and volume testing and automation experts can lend their intelligence and knowledge to create this valuable test data for thoroughly tested systems.
Finally, while scriptless test cases can be created by manual testers, it is the automation experts who can decide when the application is ready for automation owing to their automation expertise. They can help in bringing down the maintenance costs of the application and in ensuring the maintainability and extensibility of the entire testing suite. They can ensure that all the scripts are working efficiently and that they do not fail while testing new product versions.
Scriptless test automation is a facilitator of reliable automation in the shortest possible time frame. However, the presence of automation experts is also key in fast-tracking test automation initiatives. Do you agree?