Test automation: the benefits of quality assurance in software

Getronics Editorial Team

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As digital businesses give more importance to quality in software and meeting release deadlines, test automation technologies applied to the final stages of testing and quality assurance (QA) gain relevance.

Test automation: the benefits of quality assurance in software

The tenth edition (2018-2019) of the World Quality Report, published by Capgemini and Sogeti in collaboration with Micro Focus, reveals that automation is integral to agile and DevOps practices, serving as the most effective means to enhance user performance.

The report, derived from interviews with approximately 1,700 IT executives across 32 countries (with 50 respondents in Italy), underscores the imperative of ensuring user satisfaction as the primary objective in testing and quality assurance. This goal ranked key for 42% of respondents this year, up from 27% in 2017, alongside the necessity of identifying errors before going live (42%, up from 34% in 2017). For 41% of respondents (compared to 29% in 2017), QA and testing capabilities contribute to business growth and company revenue.

Quality control and test automation are revolutionizing the development lifecycle. Following years of deployment in specific, segregated environments, these practices have expanded and are reshaping the development lifecycle.

According to the authors, the most significant trends today revolve around model-based testing (for automatic script generation and automated testing; expected availability next year for 61% of respondents), robotic process automation (RPA 54%), and cognitive automation (49%). Automated testing of APIs emerges as an upcoming trend for the next two years. The report indicates that 18% of functional tests are already conducted using scripting tools, while 16% utilize test automation tools. Automation is employed in 16% of performance tests and 16% in security tests. Moreover, 15% of respondents employ end-to-end test automation in all scenarios.

Is test scenario automation a suitable solution?

Test scenarios can be automated when critical features necessitate repetitive testing or are too complex to handle manually. For example, tests involving large volumes of data or intricate data entry procedures are adapted for automation.

The advantages of test automation tools over manual testing

Today, test automation is an essential strategy, particularly when analyzing complex products or applications with thousands or millions of lines of code, utilizing lengthy, repetitive, and tedious test routines. Through test automation tools, testers can not only expedite their work but also reduce or eliminate potential errors. Automated tests can be programmed to operate without supervision and facilitate comparison of results with expected outcomes. However, this does not imply a lack of control, as test automation tools can integrate reporting functions capable of recording the activity of each test script, monitoring progress and status at any given time.

Test automation enables you to save time and resources by enhancing test accuracy and coverage while identifying code bugs and errors more effectively and efficiently. It also empowers Quality Assurance (QA) teams to increase the reusability and adoption of test automation scripts, ensuring consistent test configuration and procedures with each new code check. Additionally, test automation enables the automation of functional tests, performance tests, and stress tests on a broad scale. For instance, it can be applied to conduct checks in multilingual infrastructures and distributed sites across various geographical areas.

Under the DevOps model, test automation assumes even greater importance

The significance of test automation tools continues to rise in the context of the DevOps model, which, in contrast to traditional methodologies based on the classic ‘cascade’ paradigm, aims to enhance agility and automation in the software development and distribution cycle. Today, Agile and DevOps development methods are widely adopted in IT departments to accelerate software releases, reduce costs, and maintain code quality and reliability. Through CI/CD (continuous integration, continuous delivery/continuous deployment) practices, DevOps fosters a fully integrated and automated code creation, distribution, and implementation pipeline.

Within this highly automated pipeline, however, the testing phase should not impede the overall process. Therefore, the DevOps model embraces continuous testing, wherein code is tested at each stage of the continuous deployment process through a recursive continuous feedback mechanism. For example, when code is modified, it undergoes immediate verification via a set of automated unit tests. If the test fails, the code is rejected; if successful, it proceeds to subsequent deployment stages, and so forth. Continuous testing is complemented by ‘shift-left testing’, a strategy that seeks to introduce software testing early in the development cycle.

A pivotal component of continuous testing

Continuous testing, as a testing methodology, cannot be achieved solely by implementing new technologies or testing tools; it necessitates a cultural shift in the mindset of testers and a transformation of development processes. However, continuous testing cannot be realized without suitable test automation tools.

In the context of continuous testing, automated testing is employed to execute multiple operations automatically. This encompasses, for instance, verification of individual components and segments of program code (unit testing), functional testing, regression testing (focused on validating software functionality post-addition of new features and functions), and integration testing (assessing system behavior holistically and the accuracy of interactions among program modules, APIs, third-party software, and other components of the application architecture).

Getronics Editorial Team

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