Software testing is a critical part of the software development lifecycle. Manual testing is time consuming and resource intensive, which makes it less likely that your software will have been thoroughly tested by the time it’s ready to be released to users. Fortunately, there are several ways to automate software testing so you can cut back on manual processes and focus more on fixing issues before they go live. Testing software means checking its functionality against user requirements and detecting any errors or flaws in it. There are many different types of software tests that perform different checks on different aspects of the program code, but they all share one common goal: ensuring the final product meets specific standards for quality and performance. Test automation is an automated process that involves writing a set of instructions to be performed again and again. It involves creating test scripts as well as a series of computers programs that execute those scripts. These programs act as a virtual tester who can run through these tests repeatedly at lightning speed, identifying problems with your code much faster than any human could do manually.
Why is software testing so important?
It’s common to test software manually at the end of the development lifecycle, but it’s much better to do it in a more systematic way throughout the entire process. If a problem is identified during the initial development stage, it’s much easier to fix because the code is not yet finalised and the programmers still have some flexibility. If an issue is found after the product is released, it’s almost always more complicated and expensive to repair. True, some testing can be done manually, but it’s impossible to check everything. It’s also time-consuming and inefficient, which slows down the software development process. This can result in missed deadlines, higher costs and poor user experience. With automated testing, you can identify problems and issues at the source and fix them before they become more serious.
Automated Software Testing Options
There are plenty of options for automating testing in your software development lifecycle. You can choose from three main types of automated testing: Automated unit testing focuses on testing the smallest parts of your software code and is usually done manually by programmers. Automated regression testing re-runs tests that you have run manually before to ensure that your software doesn’t break or stop working as intended. Automated functional/acceptance testing executes a set of predefined tests to see how the whole system works together. This is the type of testing you can automate the most, because it’s not connected to the code.
Automated software testing tools
There are a number of tools you can use to automate software testing. Whether you use one or a combination of them will depend on your specific project needs and requirements. Automated testing tools can run on different platforms, like Windows or Mac OS. They can also be integrated with other software tools, such as development and testing environments. Some of the most popular automated testing tools are:
Calabash: This tool is used to automate functional/acceptance testing. It was designed to run on the Android and iOS operating systems.
Cucumber: This is a programming language that can be used to automate functional/acceptance testing. It is designed to work with different types of programming languages, including Java, .NET, C++ and Python.
Espresso: This software tool is used to automate functional/acceptance testing on Android devices. It is based on the same core concepts as Cucumber.
Selenium: Selenium is a web application testing tool that can be used to run automated functional/acceptance tests on browsers. It was created to work with all major browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.
Test automation tools: These testing tools come with pre-defined steps and instructions on how to run automated testing. If you are a beginner or don’t want to invest a lot of time in learning a new software, these tools can be a good option.
Test automation using scripting languages
Some programming languages are used mainly to create scripts and automate computer tasks, so they are especially good for creating test automation scripts. These include: You can use any of these languages to automate software testing in different ways. For example, Python is often used for creating test automation scripts and Ruby can be used for API testing.
Test automation with dedicated tools
If you are dealing with a specific type of software, there is a good chance you will find a dedicated tool for test automation. Such tools are usually designed with a single purpose in mind, so you can use them to automate software testing for one type of application only. Here are some example types of software for which you can find dedicated tools for test automation:
Business applications: These applications are designed to support and streamline business processes within an organisation. Business applications include customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and human resources management software.
Web applications: This is the type of application used to deliver information and services over the internet, like online shopping or online banking.
Mobile applications: These types of applications are designed to run on handheld devices, like smartphones or tablets.
Knowing all the options for automated testing, you can decide which one suits your project best. Keep in mind that automated testing does require some upfront investment, but it will save you time and effort in the long run. And when you integrate it with other software development best practices, such as test-driven development, you can create more reliable software products and deliver value to your customers faster than ever before.