#BriaOnTheRoad: On-Ramps to Automation—Galway, Ireland
After touring through Eastern Europe, because one of the best perks of your company flying you out to a random part of the world is getting to do some personal vacation while you’re out there too, I returned to our European headquarters in Galway, Ireland.
Not only was my time in Ireland supplemented by listening to Galway Girl (thank you Ed Sheeran) on repeat, and hanging out with the nicest people in the world—I also got to speak at the Atlantec festival at Portershed. Portershed is the hub for all things innovation in the center of Galway for people to invest in new ideas, bring their ideas to life, and talk all things tech. It seemed like the perfect place for me to spend time while in Ireland.
After reaching out to the community in Galway we had a great group turn out for some exciting conversations around all things test automation. The level of individuals ranged in the room from those just trying to get into test automation to those who are developers, scripting in their IDEs for test automation. Having spoken with many of these individuals after my talk—I got to thinking… what are the different ways in which people can automate.
There are Multiple On-Ramps to Automation
There are many “on-ramps” that are available to automation to best fit a user’s preferred way of automating. Everyone is being asked to take part in the QA process today. We see teams who are shifting left, trying to embrace an Agile methodology, or looking to adopt TDD—meaning a variety of roles are starting to take on a responsibility in QA. With the various personas and titles starting to take on a more active role in test automation, it’s important they find the best path forward with test automation that best suits their skillset.
Automation by Record & Replay
Those who are not as technical, or maybe not as comfortable scripting, and are just looking to get started with automation can do this by using tools that include a recorder. This allows you to take your manual actions that you are doing on a daily basis and record them. Then run those recorded tests automatically. With these recorded tests you can:
- Automate these tests to run on a schedule
- Run these tests across different combinations of browsers, operating systems, resolutions, etc. to maximize test coverage
- Put these recorded tests into a test suite and run these tests in parallel to speed up your testing efforts
Test Automation by Scripting
Now, there are many testers out there who are looking to take their test automation to the next level and would prefer to script; or these testers may have found that record and replay is a good gateway to automation, but to make their automation efforts more scalable, they can be more successful with scripting, or using a testing framework like Selenium. Additionally, those comfortable with scripting can take functionality of tests to the next level by:
- Creating plugins
- Creating custom record-time or design-time actions
- Creating new scripting objects
- Integrating with your continuous testing process, open-source frameworks, etc.
Test Automation by Coding in Your IDE
As discussed above, there are many different personas that are involved in QA efforts ranging from business analysts to QA engineers and developers. Now, all of these different personas come with different backgrounds and skillsets. Having diversity on a team is very important—but it’s also imperative to find tools that best fit these personas and help make teams as successful as they can be.
Teams out there that have SDETs, dev-testers, or developers involved in testing should test in an environment they are comfortable with… often involving coding in their own IDE. This means, you can continue to work in an environment like Visual Studio, Eclipse, or IntelliJ. These environments are often where developers are actively developing their application, so they should also have the opportunity to test in the same environment they’re used to working in.
This list is by no means exhaustive and only highlights a few of the different on-ramps that are available to those who want to get involved with test automation. This list does not address the many different methodologies and practices (Agile, DevOps, BDD, TDD, Shift Left, etc.) that teams are also starting to implement to be more successful. However, recognizing what on-ramp to automation will help you and your team be most successful is an important part to being successful with test automation.
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