In today's digital-first world, software test automation has become a business-critical asset as organizations aim to deliver top-notch user experiences at the speed of DevOps. This ups the ante for buyers trying to find the right test automation solutions for their companies.
Although the software testing tools currently on the market are good, they just don’t go far enough. Developers and professional testers want to spend their time testing software, not waste time struggling to use the tools.
Automated testing technology continues to improve every year and implementing the right test solution can boost the effectiveness, efficiency, accuracy, and coverage of your software testing.
Test automation can free your testing team from monotonous manual testing procedures, enabling them to focus on other key aspects of their projects. However, it's important to evaluate the features and strengths of each test automation tool before making a selection.
To that end, here are five things to consider when you're looking to buy a test automation solution in 2022:
Many organizations today rely on agile development, requiring software to be released frequently. Manual testing creates a huge bottleneck and slows down releases. The solution to this problem is test automation; however, this requires a significant time investment by dedicated test automation engineers.
Test engineers are very much in demand, so it’s expensive and challenging to staff your testing team with 100% automated test engineers. In many cases, you will want to involve business experts in the testing process, but most business experts can only test manually. For these reasons, most organizations still rely heavily on manual testing and are not able to increase their levels of automation to significantly speed up releases.
The answer is to start using codeless testing to empower your entire team. Codeless testing lets individuals create automated tests without having to write a single line of code, and allows teams to automate the process of writing tests regardless of skill set.
With automated testing, you can run tests 24/7 without human intervention, which is great for testing at scale. However, to create traditional automated test scripts you need skilled test engineers. Each script is a mini software project, and only people used to reading code can understand it.
With codeless testing, on the other hand, you can create tests simply by recording how you interact with the website. Additionally, anyone in your organization who understands the system can create the tests and help analyze the results. This is a significant game changer in creating even more automated tests, decreasing the amount of time to find bugs, and ultimately speeding up release cycles.
Functionize uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a codeless testing solution, enabling anyone to create automated tests in minutes without the need to write any code. This tool enables you to:
- Automatically generate test data, such as emails, passwords, or text strings.
- Test two-factor authentication flows using emails and text messages.
- Launch tests from anywhere, enabling you to run tests in different geographies so you can mimic real users.
Cloud-based Automated Software Testing
Increasingly, more organizations are opting to conduct software testing in the cloud to benefit from the availability of resources, flexible architecture, and a remote testing environment. In addition, cloud-based automated software testing is easily scalable because of its on-demand service model.
There are a number of benefits to using cloud-based automated testing, including:
Low total cost of ownership: Cloud-based automation tools cost much less than conventional test automation solutions. For one thing, with cloud-based automation tools, testing teams don't have to manage their own cloud infrastructure. Setting up your own testing servers is not only time-consuming, but also expensive, if you think about the extra server costs. Renting cloud infrastructure from an infrastructure-as-a-service provider is less expensive than relying on your own servers of course, but you’ll still need help from IT or DevOps engineers to provision and deprovision your machines.
Continuous access to shared resources: Cloud-based testing tools let users access resources around the clock, no matter where they’re located. Having 24/7 access helps global teams work together without having to sit in rooms next to each other. Traditional testing tools require desktop apps to be installed on local machines, which can be restrictive from a licensing perspective. Cloud-based tools help testers work in a collaborative way, so that multiple people can create, edit, and run tests at once. This also helps to identify bugs and errors earlier in the software development lifecycle.
Scalable: Test automation tools that provide a built-in test cloud allow customers to infinitely scale their tests without having to worry about de-provisioning machines when they’re not used. With the Functionize test cloud, you can run tens of thousands of tests at once so that you can get fast, reliable results without the expensive price tag.
Parallel testing: Testers typically perform their tests one at a time, following a scheduled progression. That means they can't start the next test until the preceding test is complete, which wastes a lot of time, effort, and resources. In the cloud, testers can perform parallel tests in different environments, including various browsers, saving testing time.
Enables DevOps: The cloud helps the entire testing team get up and running on DevOps almost immediately, offering a number of DevOps advantages, including:
- Easy and quick experimentation: interact with a live running test and use breakpoints to see how your application behaves at critical points in your test
- Remote monitoring: test your application in production to find issues before your customers do and alert your developers with Slack or PagerDuty integration
- Automation of testing and reporting: share results from your testing activities through scheduled or ad-hoc reports. Anyone can access your tests in view-only mode through a shareable link for maximum visibility
- Configuration of a similar test in production and development infrastructure: reuse tests in different environments so that you can continuously test throughout the software development lifecycle
Solves Test Debt
Test automation is key to fast releases and digital transformation. However, most testing teams struggle to keep up with business demands because of test debt. The most significant form of test debt is the result of the ongoing maintenance of automated tests. Each time you update your user interface (UI) application, some of your automated tests break and you have to fix them before you can run them.
If you have just a few test scripts, you can probably deal with this repetitive cycle; however, most teams will end up drowning in test debt before they know it. There will soon come a point where there’s just too much maintenance debt to pay off and your testing teams won't be able to keep up with new development. And eventually, teams won't be able to rely on the results of the automated tests and they'll end up totally scrapping their automation. This is the main reason many testing teams still depend heavily on manual testing.
Although automation is supposed to speed up software releases and increase software quality, test debt forces organizations to make painful choices. Either their software quality suffers, their release speed slows down, or they're forced to cut costs. Whichever trade-off your company makes, it’s still a losing game.
Test debt kills the productivity of your team, but Functionize applies machine learning (ML) and other AI approaches to solve the problems with test debt by:
- Reducing test maintenance: Functionize cuts test maintenance by 80%. You also speed up test analysis, which means you significantly increase the number of tests you can automate before capacity becomes an issue.
- Speeding up test creation: The other way to increase test coverage is to cut the time it takes to create each test. This means your team can create many more Functionize tests in the time required to create one traditional test script. Functionize lets you create AI-powered tests in just minutes without the need for code. These tests automatically work on any browser and any platform. This is possible because we combine different AI approaches, including deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision.
- Simplifying test analysis: Functionize's AI allows you to apply techniques, such as computer vision to simplify test analysis through our visual testing approach. We record screenshots for every test step and every single test run, and then we use these to highlight parts of your UI that have changed more than you expected since the last run. You can also do an in-depth visual verification of the entire UI. This streamlines test analysis, making it accessible to everyone so that you can find issues faster.
Extensible testing lets technical experts, such as quality engineers and developers, extend their tools with code. Proprietary testing tools are extremely valuable because you don’t have to build something from the ground up, but without extensibility the functionality can be restrictive. Extensible testing offers numerous ways for you to use your own code to power-up your tooling.
Although Functionize is a low-code platform developed to make testing easy for everyone, you can power-up Functionize tests with features designed for technical experts who want to apply code.
Extensions are perfect for complex end-to-end testing and workflows that may not exist out of the box with Functionize. For example, if you need to generate a random phone number with a certain format that we don’t support natively, you can create a reusable extension that your entire team can use. And if you want to trigger a workflow to happen in the database or backend, you can create an extension to help complete an end-to-end scenario.
Internal extensions can be implemented in just a few lines of code. You can create extensions that Functionize hosts in the following languages: Node.js, Python, or Go.
Once these extensions are saved in Functionize, they can be easily shared with teammates and reused across tests. You can also deploy external extensions on your own infrastructure, using any programming languages or tools to implement the code.
Before you select a test automation tool, you should investigate the quality of support that the vendor provides for its customers.
You should expect a customer support team that is dedicated to helping their customers in every way possible. The problem with many providers is that they focus more on creating slick ads and websites to attract more clients. But, to retain customers they have to focus on delivering quality support to help customers be successful with their products. At a minimum, look for vendors that offer live chat and telephone support, a help desk ticket system, online user guides and FAQs, product documentation information, and a knowledge base to help customers.
Many providers also enable live video conferences with tool experts to offer training and solve customer issues. If vendors are unable to offer live video conferences, then they should provide demos or recorded videos related to their test automation tools on their websites that customers can access around the clock. If the tool provides API or custom integration support, the provider should provide a demo script and detailed documentation for developers.
Though not all vendors will offer all these support channels for their tools, you should select a tool that provides your preferred support channel.
Commercial tool vendors should provide you with prompt customer support for all technical issues. So for commercial tools, it's important to check out the vendors' websites and official documentation to see what types of support they offer. This is where proprietary software vendors will excel especially compared to the lack of support that is offered by open-source software.
Since implementing test automation without the necessary skills presents a major danger for many DevOps projects, a vendor's support specialists should be available 24/7/365. Check out the vendor's service level agreement to ensure support personnel can respond in a timely manner. You should also determine whether the provider will handle updates through the cloud or if you have to take some action.
Before you sign a contract, make sure to ask providers for references. This is a great way to talk to their current customers about their experience and be confident that vendors live up to their support agreements.
Functionize receives positive feedback on the level of support we provide our customers. This level of quality goes beyond the initial evaluation period and extends through the entirety of the customer lifecycle. Functionize is built on customer success.
Test automation can improve your team's productivity and motivation as well as the quality of your product, but only if you choose the right tool for your organization. So before you buy a test automation tool, consider the information we've provided so you can select the appropriate technology for your automation testing needs.