No industry is growing as fast as software development.
However, regardless of the effort we put into creating a fully-working product, the chances are we might overlook something. Although many trends are shaping the software industry, at Net2, testing automation is one of our personal favourites. It allows us to identify these bugs and flaws early, in the development stage.
Keep on reading to learn more about the significance of this process in the industry and let us introduce you to some of the frameworks we find most useful.
What is Software Testing Automation?
Testing is a critical part of software development, with simple goals – ensuring product quality and detecting software bugs very early in the life cycle.
The cost of fixing bugs increases exponentially through the product development stages.
Despite that, many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) fail to understand the value it brings to the table and they often don’t give it too much attention. For instance, we have learned that automation testing tools bring down the costs of software, reduce the development effort, and allow the team to deliver new features and capabilities faster.
Many companies already reap the benefits of this process, as judged by the figures in the software testing industry. Namely, the software testing market was estimated to hit $40 billion in 2021, with an anticipated CAGR of 6% between 2022 and 2030.
Although the market is growing and some companies opt for testing automation, many still depend on manual tests since they lack the knowledge and skills for automation.
Why Opt for Testing Automation?
Commonly, SMEs fear investing in automated testing, due to expectations that it’s not worth the investment. But, by failing to realize its value, the costs for many of them end up being much higher.
In our opinion, here are some clear benefits of this process:
Reducing Costs and saving Time
Manual test repetition costs both time and money.
Automated tests, on the other hand, could be run again and again with no extra cost, bringing down the time needed for a test run from days to minutes.
Improving tests accuracy
Avoid inevitable human errors that will happen when routinely executing the same tests over and over.
Running tests that human can not
For example, with testing automation, we can simulate thousands of users simultaneously connected to an application. How could we do that with manual testers?
Positively impacting skills and motivation
Your QA team will spend energy on improving their skills by coding automated tests instead of executing repetitive tasks.
High return on investment
Executing tests more often, more efficiently, and faster, while saving time and money.
Different Options for Software Testing and Automation
With the proliferation of techniques to automate testing, we now have plenty at our disposal to dive into it from the very start of the development process. But let’s speak a bit about different methods we use at NET2 that have proven extremely useful.
Gherkin: Connecting Business People and Developers
Although it’s not a framework but a language, Gherkin is vital to software testing automation. By using this structured syntax, anyone can write test cases for behavior-driven development (BDD) in his human language (English, French,…) so that everyone on the team understands them.
Typically, it works with Cucumber, an open-source testing tool for BDD, and SpecFLow in the .NET world.
SpecFlow: Automate BDD Tests Generation
If you are working in a .NET framework and want to support BDD practices (Behavior Driven Development) then SpecFlow is a powerful tool. This open-source testing framework allows us to automate the creation of unit tests based on business scenarios written in English, thanks to the Gherkin programming language.
(Human readable Gherkin use cases into Visual Studio. Watch the second video below to see those tests run unattended on browser)
Specflow allows us to automatically bridge the gap between business requirements (features, use cases…) and the technical implementation of automated tests (unit tests).
Playwright: Automate Browsers UI Tests Execution
Playwright is the one we have the most fun with.
Microsoft’s Playwright can automate Firefox, WebKit, Chromium, and Microsoft Edge.
It integrates with all typical development tools (Visual Studio, Azure DevOPS), so there is nothing left, but to sit back and let the machine do its work.
Grab a coffee and watch:
Playwright will execute recorded and programmed scenarios, again and again, unattended.
Say goodbye to the long QA manual test sessions on various browsers and screens.
Azure DevOps: Automate Any Test execution
Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform offers testing automation capabilities. We can automate and run test scenarios as part of any SDLC workflow.
Compared to the legacy tools and frameworks (Teamcity, Jenkins, Octopus, Ansible…) Azure DevOps is way faster and easier to implement and use. Most testing tools are supported out of the box and can be implemented and executed with just a few clicks. As a result, no more scripting headaches.
Azure DevOps is also very powerful in handling infrastructure provisioning and configuration.
Visual Studio Testing Automation
As our name says, Microsoft .NET, and its main development tool, Visual Studio, is the main framework we use to develop different products and solutions for our clients. Apart from being a mighty development tool in our hands, Visual Studio is also important for automated testing.
Visual Studio allows developers to design, manage and run unit tests. So software defects are detected even before being introduced in the release workflow.
We can run hundreds of similar tests in the background every night and for every deployment, which acts as a safety net for us.
(sample Postman API Tests scenario automated using Azure DevOPS, with automatic html reporting)
As a result, the development process is bound to rest on a user experience foundation, everyone’s ultimate goal.
Hopefully, we have managed to stress the importance of testing automation and why it’s worth the investment. If you want to keep product quality a number one priority, once again, we strongly suggest adopting it in your development practices. If you are not sure how, our experienced team is at your disposal. Don’t hesitate to reach us.