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Tips from SMEs to help you pick automation testing tools

Lead Marketing Strategist

An INFJ personality wielding brevity in speech and writing.

The software development world is inundated with constant changes. This applies to test automation tools that play a significant role in creating high-quality digital products. When you see a new tool hitting the market every six months, how do you choose the right one for your business? Having plenty of options is a nightmare, especially when choosing the right tool can make or break the software you are building.

This blog aims to provide you with a step-by-step approach to selecting a test automation tool that fits perfectly with your business requirements.

Zuci has established itself as a successful test automation partner for numerous enterprises and Fortune 500 clients across several industries. Our automation testing SMEs have played a vital role in helping clients choose an automated testing tool that aligns with their specific requirements and budgetary constraints.

Your testing activities require a sophisticated automation tool to build high-quality digital products. Success in test automation depends on finding the right test automation tool.

Our approach normally starts by looking at the tools’:

  • Internal architecture and components:

Understanding the internal architecture and components is pivotal when selecting a test automation tool.

Let’s look at some of the crucial internal components that you must look for in a test automation tool:

  • Test framework: It provides the structure for creating and executing automated tests. The test framework components include test suites, test cases, and test data.
  • Test scripting engine: This component executes test scripts written in the selected programming language.
  • Object repository: The object repository component stores information pertaining to the user interface (UI) elements of the application under test (AUT).
  • Test data management: This component is tasked with generating, maintaining, storing, and retrieving test data. It provides access to test data for test scripts.
  • Test reporting and analysis: This component generates test result reports. It includes text execution time, pass/fail status, and other relevant data.
  • Integration: The test automation tools integrate with other tools, such as version control systems, test management tools, and continuous integration/ continuous delivery (CI/CD) systems.

An understanding of the internal architecture and components of the test automation tool helps you choose the right tool for your automation testing needs.

  • Infrastructure:

For a successful test automation project, the operating system(OS), databases, browsers, test management system, mobile devices, CI/CD tools, and other technology stack components are essential. These make up a part of the test automation tool’s infrastructure, and they are pivotal to supporting the automation framework and running the automated tests.

  • Testing scope:

Once you identify the application architecture, components, and infrastructure, the next step is to Find the areas and tests that can be automated. It is all about understanding what your business needs are and how you can automate them using the right set of tools.

The complexity of the tests, the criticality of the features, and the number of regression cycles to be run should be used to define the testing scope. Automating every test isn’t the right approach, as it can be a nightmare to deal with the reporting and analysis.

The testing scope can be defined based on the following qualities:

  • Tests that are prone to human error.
  • Tests that have multiple data sets.
  • Tests that require repetitive action.
  • Tests that extend across multiple builds.
  • Tests running on different platforms.
  • Tests that focus on frequently used functions.
  • Supported testing types:

It is entirely up to the organization on the testing types. Don’t forget that choosing the right testing approach is one of the most important steps toward successfully automating your testing process. It should be able to perform the following tests without fail:

Functional testing: It ensures that each feature in the application works according to the software requirements. The function is compared to see if the output is in accordance with the requirements.

Regression testing: They are the most commonly automated test suites in the business. Regression tests are done right after changes are made to the code. It is immediately performed after changes to ensure the application performs as it should.

Performance testing: It evaluates the speed, responsiveness, and stability under a given workload. Performance testing aims to identify bottlenecks, measure performance under various loads, and ensure that the system can handle an incredible number of transactions.

Security testing: It is a critical part of software testing since it helps to test the risks, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities in the application. Its objective is to make sure the system is protected against unauthorized access and other security-related issues.

software testing types

7 Common Types Of Software Testing

  • Integration and support across the ALM:

The success of test automation depends on how the tool is integrated and supported across the entire application lifecycle management (ALM). Ensure that the tool seamlessly integrates with the other processes and systems.

While selecting a test tool, you must check whether it can work with already existing platforms. Most testing tools have ready-made plugins for oft-used bug reporting and project management tools like Jira, Bugzilla, BugHost, Mantis, Redmine, Fogbugz, etc. The users should be able to work with the entire team to work on a single issue simultaneously.

  • The learning curve for the team:

Since most automation tools are code-based, they tend to have a steep learning curve. You could also end up finding a codeless test automation tool. If your testing team has skilled programmers, choose a code-based tool. Otherwise, it is best to stick with codeless ones. The time taken to learn the new test automation tool should be acceptable.

Here are a few considerations related to your team’s learning curve:

  • Ensure that the tool you choose is easy to use and intuitive. It should align with the skills of your team members.
  • Make sure the testing automation tool offers various materials for self-learning. It could be in the form of how-to videos, tutorials, documentation, etc.
  • Another aspect that significantly affects the team’s learning curve is the level of customization. The more customization options, the more complex it is to use.
  • Make sure that the tool fits seamlessly into your testing workflows.
  • Easy maintenance:

If the test automation tool is difficult to maintain, it will increase costs and reduce efficiency. You must check how the end users will perceive the tool. Make sure you choose a tool that fits your budget, including the maintenance costs. Otherwise, you might have to spend more time on test case maintenance instead of test case creation. There are tools that self-heal the test cases when there are changes in the application. Tools like these reduce maintenance costs by a significant margin.

Easy maintenance helps you with sustainable, successful automation. The right test automation tool simplifies maintenance by generating modular test cases. Therefore, test cases can be easily modified and reused, making automated test management a seamless affair.

  • Reporting:

Reporting is another critical factor when choosing a test automation tool. If you already have an existing reporting system, check if the new reporting tool has all the necessary features that your existing one has. The best test automation tool for your organization is one that gives you comprehensive reports on failures, as it will help you understand the overall execution status.

Below are some of the reporting abilities you must consider when selecting the test automation tools:

  • It should offer a variety of reports, such as summary reports, trend reports, detailed reports, customized reports, etc.
  • It must have the option to customize the reports according to your specific needs.
  • The reports should be comprehensive and must be able to pull in information from multiple sources.
  • It should be able to export reports in formats such as CSV, HTML, PDF, etc. Make sure you can also access the reports remotely.
  • The ability to offer real-time reporting is pivotal since it helps monitor the testing progress and receive immediate feedback.
  • You must be able to generate historical reports that help you identify how the testing process has fared over time.
  • Training & documentation and 24*7 support:

Test automation tools are undoubtedly complex, and you need the right set of resources to use them effectively. Ensure the tool you choose comes with a knowledge base repository. Without it, getting started and using the tool to its full potential, for most people, will be difficult. Technical issues are bound to pop up, making 24*7 support a must-have.

Different levels and types of support are available based on the various packages you can choose from, for most commercial tools. There would be additional costs for consultation, in-house training, and other support services. If you don’t have highly technical personnel, opting for the package offering hands-on support is best.

Here are a few considerations related to training, documentation, and 24*7 support:

  • The documentation available should be up-to-date and comprehensive. It has to be available in different formats– text, video, FAQs, interactive tutorials, demos, etc.
  • The training must be provided by those who are experts in using the tool and should cover every aspect of it.
  • Support should be available 24*7, and the service level agreement (SLA) should set the right expectations in terms of problem resolution.
  • Look for tools that allow non-technical members to automate and review test cases.

Here’s a snapshots of tools evaluation for an international financing and partnership organization that wanted our help in picking a tool for their data testing.

We looked at broadly the four aspects of data landscape – Processing, Analytics, Visualization and Integrations/Support for the assessment

  • Integrations/Support:

CI/CD Support, Internal Architecture, Technology Support, Cross Platform/Browser Support.

  • Testing types:

Ability to perform Functional, Regression, Performance and Security Testing.

  • Data Visualization & Reporting:

Testing Data visualization and Reporting. Layout/design, data validation, customization, grouping

  • ETL:

Testing the source data, data transformation, data loading

Tips and anecdotes from SMEs on picking automation testing tools

We reached out to testing/QA SMEs for this and here’s a quick Q&A that may help you:

  • What was the first test automation tool you used, when and what did you like about it?

I worked with the QTP tool from 2010 to 2014. What I liked about this tool was its user-friendliness and ease of learning in terms of coding. The language used for this tool is VB Script. It supports all types of applications and provides good results reporting as well. One interesting feature of this tool is the ability to record and play back actions performed in an application. This makes it easy for non-technical personnel to understand the coding.

  • What attributes should one rely on to make a reasonable evaluation of a new test automation tool?

Below are the key points to consider when evaluating a new test automation tool:

  • It should support the platforms and technology you use.
  • It should be flexible enough for testers of all skill levels.
  • It should be feature-rich, but also easy to create automated tests.
  • It should allow for the creation of reusable automated tests that are easy to maintain.
  • It should integrate with your existing ecosystem.
  • It should have the ability to test enterprise applications.
  • It should have good reporting capabilities.
  • What do you wish you knew when you first got started using testing tools?

That you should only learn tools on a need-to-know basis.

  • What tools would you recommend to someone new to testing/ projects transitioning from manual to automated testing and why?

When recommending any automation tools for a project, we can divide them into two parts: licensed and freeware. Based on the project budget and requirements, we can decide which one to choose.

When a project is transitioning from manual to automation testing, we must consider the following points:

  • Test reusability
  • Higher test coverage
  • Earlier feedback and bug detection
  • Going beyond manual testing
  • Starting small and scaling with confidence
  • Integration with CI/CD tools
  • Flexible test reporting
  • ROI
  • How do you identify if a tool is no longer fit for purpose?

When it becomes to expensive, or when the ROI isn’t worth it anymore. Also, if a tool is causing more issues than it resolves, such as using abandoned Open Source software that requires significant hacking to function properly, then it may be time to explore other options.

  • Any automated testing tools that top your list and why?

Selenium is an open-source framework for testing web applications across different browsers and platforms. It’s widely used and has been modified by developers and testers worldwide, so you can get support easily through its official website and forums. Many other testing tools have been built on top of Selenium, making it the standard framework for web testing.

  • What techniques or methods have you tried that led you to convince others of the importance of tooling?

We can showcase the ROI, which can explain the following areas:

  • Effort savings
  • Ease of use, even for functional testers to automate
  • Reduced coding and easy maintenance
  • Reporting
  • How can the team know they’ve found “the one” tool?

Quiz yourself on these and you have your answer.

  • Does the tool meet your testing requirements?
  • Is it compatible with your project’s environment and technology stack?
  • Does it support all the tools and objects used in your code?

Wrapping up:

To achieve an effective and efficient testing process, selecting the right test automation tool is of paramount importance. We have outlined some of the major aspects to consider before making the final decision. Every parameter, such as testing environment, ease of use, support quality, costs, internal architecture, etc., is crucial for the success of your testing process.

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