The debate about whether manual testing has fallen behind automation testing in popularity and demand is common among young QA engineers. However, instead of delving deeper into this topic, it is important to focus on the significance of test automation in today’s era. Undeniably, “Quality at Speed” has become the new mantra for companies and customers alike. The demand for higher quality products to reach end-users in a shorter time span is an important cog in the wheels for reducing time to market. This has fueled the impressive growth of test automation across the world.
Automation has become a game-changer, allowing QA teams to execute faster and more accurate test cases. Regression testing or tests that repeat themselves every sprint are the best candidates that must be automated the most. Frequent updates in the code will significantly increase the total cost in terms of time and human resources used to execute the tests manually. Therefore, creating automated tests is the wiser and more efficient choice in such cases.
Despite the benefits of test automation, the question remains: which tool is correct for your application? Choosing the right automation testing tool requires considering many factors, such as project scope and requirements, in addition to its reputation. The best tool available does not necessarily mean the best testing result. It must be the right one. In this blog, I will provide my views to help you choose between a plethora of automation tools available in the market.
Should I pick the “best” or “right” automated testing tool?
When it comes to selecting an automation testing tool, the question that often arises is whether to opt for the “right” one or the “best” one. While it may seem like these two criteria are interchangeable, important distinctions between them can impact the effectiveness of your testing efforts.
Choosing the “best” automation testing tool typically involves selecting a widely recognized tool for its performance, features, and overall capabilities. However, just because a tool is considered the “best” does not necessarily mean it fits your specific testing needs.
On the other hand, selecting the “right” automation testing tool involves finding a tool tailored to your specific project requirements, including factors such as project scope, team expertise, and budget. While this approach may not necessarily lead to selecting the most widely recognized or popular tool, it can result in a more efficient and effective testing process overall.
Ultimately, choosing the “right” or “best” automation testing tool should be based on carefully evaluating your project requirements and priorities. By assessing your needs and exploring available options, you can make an informed decision that will lead to the most successful testing outcomes for your team and organization.
Types of Automation Tools
Choosing the right automation tool is crucial to ensure the success of a software project. The points below provide a framework to determine whether automation is needed and, if so, what type of automation tool is most suitable based on the software development lifecycle and project requirements:
- Test automation is needed if the project has a high level of complexity, frequent changes, and requires regression testing.
- If the project is in the initial development stage, then manual testing is recommended, and automation can be introduced in subsequent stages.
- The type of automation tool needed depends on the project requirements, budget, and technical expertise. Commercial tools provide more advanced features and support but come at a cost, while open-source tools are customizable and free but require technical expertise and community support.
By analyzing the project requirements and selecting the appropriate automation tool, companies can avoid wasting time, effort, and resources and achieve successful project outcomes.
Open Source Automation tools
Open-source automation tools allow users to create and modify code to suit their needs. This customization ability and zero cost make them highly sought after in the automation testing community.
Commercial Automation tools
Each commercial automation tool is sold through subscriptions and licensing, with more advanced features and support systems than free tools. However, cost remains a significant factor to consider.
Developing automation tools from scratch requires technical expertise, which can be a challenge for companies. However, it provides the advantage of tailor-made solutions that meet specific business requirements.
Define your needs and testing demands
It is essential always to remember that test automation is not always necessary for every project. Therefore, it is crucial to identify your specific testing needs before automating your website’s testing. You should ask yourself questions to determine whether automation is necessary. The more “yes” answers you have, the more likely automation will benefit your project.
Some important questions to consider include:
- Are there any repetitive test cases that need to be performed?
- Is frequent regression testing required?
- Is it necessary to simulate a large number of users for performance testing?
- Is the user interface (UI) stable?
- Are there critical functionalities in your application that cannot be tested solely through manual testing?
These criteria can be quite challenging for test automation tools, and QA professionals must understand their projects to assess whether automation is necessary accurately.
Criteria for choosing an automation testing tool
Do you have technical experts who can get ahold of the tools quickly?
Automation testing requires coding and technical expertise, particularly in open-source tools where testers must have a solid foundation in programming languages and OOPs concepts. The industry is moving towards codeless tools, but they also require some effort to understand.
Which features does the tool offer?
It is crucial for any testing tool to offer essential features such as multi-platform support, application testing, multi-programming language support, CI/CD integration capabilities, and diverse reporting functionality, regardless of its intended use.
What about code maintenance and reusability?
As with any other programming language, maintaining and reusing code in automation testing can significantly impact the overall cost. Pre-written scripts in automation testing can be fragile, and it’s crucial to choose tools that have features that help reduce this fragility, such as reducing object locator flakiness. Reusable scripts can help save time and effort for similar test cases, making it an essential feature to consider when choosing an automation tool.
Does it offer CI/CD capabilities?
For seamless testing, it is crucial that the automation tool can integrate with CI/CD pipelines and external platforms. This ensures continuous testing and promotes better test management and team collaboration culture.
Do you have the necessary budget?
It’s important to note that test automation can come with a high cost, as it requires tools, coding efforts, and resources. Deciding between open-source or commercial tools depends on budget considerations.
Which kind of support is available?
When choosing an automation testing tool, it is important to consider the available support for the tool. Open-source and free tools often rely on community support, while commercial tools should offer prompt customer support for technical issues.
When selecting an automation tool, it can be a challenging but ultimately rewarding process. Test automation can yield excellent results with minimal effort with the right tool. The criteria discussed above, such as multi-platform support, code maintenance, and CI/CD integration, are essential factors to consider. Some popular tools include Selenium, Appium, Rest Assured, WebdriverIO, Cypress, Playwrite, SpUI, JMeter, and many more. Still, it’s essential to compare offerings from new players in the market before making a final decision.
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