Every software development group tests its products, yet delivered software always has defects. Test engineers strive to catch them before the product is released but they always creep in and they often reappear, even with the best manual testing processes. Test Automation software is the best way to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of your software testing.
Manual software testing is performed by a human sitting in front of a computer carefully going through application screens, trying various usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording their observations. Manual tests are repeated often during development cycles for source code changes and other situations like multiple operating environments and hardware configurations. An automated testing tool is able to playback pre-recorded and predefined actions, compare the results to the expected behavior and report the success or failure of these manual tests to a test engineer. Once automated tests are created they can easily be repeated and they can be extended to perform tasks impossible with manual testing. Because of this, savvy managers have found that automated software testing is an essential component of successful development projects.
Automated software testing has long been considered critical for big software development organizations but is often thought to be too expensive or difficult for smaller companies to implement. SmartBear’s Tools are affordable enough for single developer shops and yet powerful enough that our customer list includes some of the largest and most respected companies in the world.
Software tests have to be repeated often during development cycles to ensure quality. Every time source code is modified software tests should be repeated. For each release of the software it may be tested on all supported operating systems and hardware configurations. Manually repeating these tests is costly and time consuming. Once created, automated tests can be run over and over again at no additional cost and they are much faster than manual tests. Automated software testing can reduce the time to run repetitive tests from days to hours. A time savings that translates directly into cost savings.
Automated software testing can increase the depth and scope of tests to help improve software quality. Lengthy tests that are often avoided during manual testing can be run unattended. They can even be run on multiple computers with different configurations. Automated software testing can look inside an application and see memory contents, data tables, file contents, and internal program states to determine if the product is behaving as expected. Test automation can easily execute thousands of different complex test cases during every test run providing coverage that is impossible with manual tests.
Even the most conscientious tester will make mistakes during monotonous manual testing. Automated tests perform the same steps precisely every time they are executed and never forget to record detailed results. Testers freed from repetitive manual tests have more time to create new automated software tests and deal with complex features
Even the largest software and QA departments cannot perform a controlled web application test with thousands of users. Automated testing can simulate tens, hundreds or thousands of virtual users interacting with a network, software and web applications.
Shared automated tests can be used by developers to catch problems quickly before sending to QA. Tests can run automatically whenever source code changes are checked in and notify the team or the developer if they fail. Features like these save developers time and increase their confidence.
This is hard to measure but we’ve experienced it first hand. Executing repetitive tasks with automated software testing gives your team time to spend on more challenging and rewarding projects. Team members improve their skill sets and confidence and, in turn, pass those gains on to their organization.