Automation Testing: Pros & Cons

Have you ever thought of leveraging automation testing? Our QA Engineer, Dmitry Reginevich, shares the advantages and pitfalls of this type of software testing.

Today web applications account for a significant percentage of all software solutions developed by modern information technology companies.

The efficiency of this kind of software testing varies considerably in different companies. This may be related to the size of a company, as well as the specific features of a product. For most organizations that use Agile methodologies in software development, having test automation is indispensable for creating a top-notch software product.

The main purposes automation testing serves are the following:

  • test automation;
  • test data generation;
  • analysis of results;
  • reports;
  • analysis of logs and other detailed info about an app;
  • test environment preparation;
  • test environment deployment with the application under test;
  • running tests;
  • test suite management;
  • test supporting tools.

Thus, automation covers almost the whole range of activities aimed at software product testing.

Implementation of automated testing is justified due to the large number of advantages over manual testing. Most benefits relate to the higher speed of automated tests compared to the manual ones and their reusability.

Agile software development allows to issue software updates within a short time frame, which means that a QA department should fully test all product functionality before each release.

Advantages of Automation Testing

Short timeframes, as well as the large number of monotonous and routine tasks, like, for example, regression testing, lead to introduction of automation. Automation contributes to more effective software product development, as it allows to:

  • reduce the time required to regression;
  • conduct regression testing more often;
  • after fixing all bugs or when new functionality is added, report on product status as quickly as possible;
  • get an infinite number of test runs when using continuous software development mechanisms;
  • support Agile methodologies;
  • provide test documentation, as ¬†well as compile it on demand;
  • detect errors overlooked during manual testing;
  • reduce the number of manual tests;
  • automate complex test cases.

However, keep in mind that automation is not always the best choice. In some cases, it is better to use manual testing. Automation sometimes is not capable of finding problems with graphical interface, and if the interface is changed in the future, most automated test will need to be rewritten. Additionally, if you need to launch an app as soon as possible, you may have no time for writing automated tests.

Nothing is perfect, so here are the shortcomings of automation testing:

  • high cost of implementation;
  • unstable outcomes and false test alarms due to their poor design and implementation;
  • recruitment of employees with knowledge of programming languages and testing technologies;
  • due to strict algorithms, automated tests can find only part of mistakes;
  • much time is needed to support automation;
  • mistakes in automated tests lead to errors and omissions.

Pitfalls of Automation Testing

What you should pay attention to:

  • Not all test cases need to be automated.
  • Time needed for automation testing is comparable to the time spent on software development.
  • Before writing automated tests you need to work on test system architecture. Otherwise apart from manual testing you will need to support automated tests.
  • When implementing automation, it is impossible to foresee all the risks and challenges you might face in the future.
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