As the modern world gets increasingly digitized, fast-paced and competitive, the rendition of high-performance digital applications creates a make-or-break situation for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The industry of software development in Sri Lanka has long since been a major provider of superior technology solutions to both local and international markets. But this competency is now being tested in many ways, especially when it comes to on-demand consumer services and a faster time to market new ones.
A number of procedures/methodologies/systems/concepts have been created to circumvent the many challenges that are brought on by time, quality and budget constraints. Agile project management, Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and continuous software delivery are just some out of many such systems. While such procedures enable effective communication between teams and remove significant hurdles surrounding deployment, there is still a level of dependency involved in due course of strategy and development.
No matter which project management methodology you choose, or how basic your preliminary software version is, all these management systems require a means of facilitation in the mission to deliver quality. Irrespective of what your constraints are as a business, quality is a factor that cannot be compromised – especially in an age of limitless consumer options and aggressive business competition. This is where software testing comes in, as every step undertaken during this phase determines the overall outcome pertaining to your digital application.
Conventionally, software testing is regarded as a phase during the software development lifecycle which takes place after design and development phases have been completed. As project lifecycles have grown to become more dynamic over the years in order to accommodate growing business needs and diversity in terms of competition, software testing has moved away from simply being a phase in the entire lifecycle. In turn, it has spread itself across all the other phases – all the way from design to post-implementation and maintenance.
To maintain unparalleled software quality while not breaking the bank, conducting comprehensive testing has become an essential for even the smallest, one-off software projects. This still isn’t foolproof, however. From initial setup costs to repetitive testing procedures, many projects even require large teams to conduct preliminary testing. These factors can really accumulate over time, causing the average business to lapse in terms of software development and especially maintenance for long-term projects. So what is the solution?
As its name suggests, software testing automation focuses on conducting software testing via automated means. This could be with a third-party testing automation tool, or through proprietary code that has exclusively been built to serve testing automation. In turn, test automation enables an otherwise rigid software testing phase to fluidify across the project lifecycle, achieving the objective that competent software developers and businesses alike are focused on – consistent testing, and as early as possible.
Whether it’s a SaaS-based test automation tool or a proprietary system, efficient testing automation software consists of some key features in order to conduct thorough and accurate testing.
Recording an entire testing process and then being able to deconstruct each step is one of the most valuable features of test automation tools by far. Whether it’s for recording runtime or for recording the journey a user takes, test recording tools are sophisticated enough to even capture other elements such as comments made by voice. These recordings can then be reviewed by QA specialists and developers to investigate where problems lie. This way, both functional and non-functional testing can be automated to produce accurate results on existing bugs, while also looping these same testing scripts to repeat the testing at regular intervals.
Modern testing automation tools are versatile enough to produce scripts precisely as required, even if you aren’t fluent in programming. A simple drag and drop of features/steps into the testing editor can create seamless test pathways which can then be run as often as needed for comprehensive analysis.
Similar to how programming frameworks enable developers to create a community for sharing codes that have been tried, tested and assured, testing code libraries also facilitate the same, for testing purposes. This makes testing automation even more streamlined, as codes that have been previously created and successfully used can simply be incorporated into your own testing procedures, further saving time, effort and money.
No piece of software operates in a silo these days. Likewise, software test automation tools can also be integrated with a variety of external applications in order to facilitate smooth transitions from design and development to testing, and vice versa. In other words, there is no need to leave your current development framework/environment to test your software; simply integrate your test automation tool to conduct testing procedures all from one centralized spot.
This also applies to application development environments that have been purchased from cloud support services; retain your existing virtual machines, containers and the like, while integrating a test automation tool to amp up your software testing efforts. While most leading SaaS-based software testing automation solutions may already have inbuilt integrations for a host of other external solutions, it is possible to still integrate any applications that are not on the list, via APIs.
No software testing procedure is complete without reporting and analytics. That’s why leading test automation tools offer a variety of functionalities to also measure, track and monitor tests, depending on your unique software requirements. Data is key, and so collecting the very same to produce historical analyses for comparing between past and present testing sessions is a valuable indicator of overall quality and success. Other reporting functions include but aren’t limited to real-time reporting, data-driven reporting, keyword-based reporting, dashboards/visualizations and heat maps (for front-end, UI/UX testing).
One of the biggest advantages of test automation for software would be its quality of reducing costs as well as time. Such savings are delivered both directly and indirectly. When it comes to direct savings, this includes pay-per-use or trigger-based pricing, if you are using a SaaS-based test automation tool. Reduction in overheads to conduct manual testing is also one such direct savings advantage, as it eliminates the need to maintain large QA teams, whether it’s on a full-time or project basis.
From an indirect perspective, other savings are achieved through consistently delivering high quality. In other words, software that is below standard can incur a variety of financial losses, including a reduction in sales turnovers. On top of that, bugs that are discovered later in due course of the software development process are more expensive to fix, since more work will be involved to make sure that de-bugging the code doesn’t cause other areas to malfunction.
Many software testing procedures need to run every time a bug is fixed, no matter how small. Automating such procedures can free your team members from tasks that are otherwise monotonous, thereby empowering them to focus on areas which require strategic insight instead. Automating the mundane also speeds up such repetitive tasks, while ensuring accuracy that may otherwise be compromised in the wake of decision fatigue.
Regression testing, for instance, is a good example of repetitive testing that needs to be done in order to ascertain complete functionality of the software being developed. This is something that can conveniently be automated. In turn, developers need not worry about the frequency of bug-fixing they have to do, since every time they do so, thorough regression testing can automatically be carried out with complete accuracy.
These days, it isn’t just important to build high-quality software, it’s important to deliver it now. With business competition that grows fierce by the day, as well as users who expect speedy turnaround times, the business landscape is diverse as it is demanding. No matter how perfected your final software release is, it is only a matter of time until it needs to be revised in order to meet the constantly shifting needs of your consumers. Iterations are an ongoing process, and they’re important; it’s seldom viable to wait for a bunch of updates to be rolled out in one go, since time is always of essence. But even the smallest and lightest of iterations need to be subjected to a gamut of testing procedures (such as regression testing, once again), to ensure that what is being released is fully functional.
Automated testing perfectly suits such a scenario, as it offers the capability for significantly reducing time and effort on the part of the testing team to reveal glitch-free final versions, without compromising on quality.
As an AWS partner, we’ve been empowering our clients to add momentum to their businesses through powerful cloud services. Irrespective of what the requirements are, cloud computing providers offer a suite of services that can accommodate any business need, no matter how nuanced. This in itself is the entire premise of enabling businesses to stay on top of a highly competitive landscape. Likewise, test automation tools also support this very premise, by giving businesses absolute software quality as well as a faster time to market new concepts – even if they are released one by one.
Being on top of what’s in vogue can leverage businesses to stay on top of their customers’ minds, while establishing brand loyalty at the same time. In a business age where gaining the trust of your customers is a challenging task owing to ample competing options out there, solutions that enable smooth transitions from development to implementation and vice versa deserve top priority in the software developer’s toolkit. Software testing automation is one such tool, as it not only speeds up testing processes, but also enables greater accuracy every single time it is run. In turn, frequent software releases can be made a possibility, in order to accommodate shifting demands and trends for greater business value.
Frequent software delivery in the form of constant updates/patches require comprehensive tools to facilitate the very same. Software testing automation is one such tool which enables testing that is fast, accurate and insightful for the purpose of maintaining frequent software releases, but also maintaining optimal software quality. This proves to be valuable for catering to a constantly evolving consumer landscape, where the needs of users are continuously shifting. Therefore, incurring downtime in terms of maintaining an application that is on par with changing trends is a no-no, especially if brands are to retain their existing customers and attract new ones.
In order to release high-performance application updates, the level and pace of testing each iteration needs to be concise and reliable. With regards to the software development lifecycle, software testing is just one phase among many. But in consideration to faster turnaround times and frequent updates, it is neither feasible nor viable to confine testing into an isolated phase. Therefore, it is important to spread testing across the entire lifecycle, which can include testing sessions being carried out as early as the design phase. But it isn’t easy to conduct frequent yet thorough testing all the time either. This is where software testing automation comes in, as it facilitates more than simply automating mundane or time-consuming testing procedures.
With features such as test recording and customizable test editors, every single step of the testing process can be logged and reviewed – all while not being fluent in a programming language. Features like this and more are what contribute to a software ecosystem that is qualitative yet feasible, all while empowering businesses to impress their users and stay on top of everything that’s trending.