Your Complete Guide to Test Automation Frameworks

Gone are the days when enterprises relied solely on manual testing. Even though manual testing is an integral part of the testing process, there’s no denying its disadvantages. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and calls for hefty investment in human resources.  The debate about manual vs. automated testing has been going on for a long time. And […]

Your Complete Guide to Test Automation Frameworks
By testimio, Oct 2, 2019

Gone are the days when enterprises relied solely on manual testing. Even though manual testing is an integral part of the testing process, there’s no denying its disadvantages. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and calls for hefty investment in human resources. 

The debate about manual vs. automated testing has been going on for a long time. And many people are still ignorant about what automation means in testing.

This post provides a complete guide to test automation frameworks. Here, you will gain an insight into test automation frameworks and their components. You will also learn the importance of test automation frameworks and how to choose the best fit. Let’s dive into the details.

What Is Test Automation?

The term automation refers to the automatic handling of various industrial processes. It indicates that there is little to no human intervention. 

When we define test automation in the IT sector, it means performing tests on applications via different automation tools. The tools can be both open-source and licensed. 

What Is a Test Automation Framework?

Before we go on to discuss test automation frameworks, let’s first understand what a framework is. 

To avail the benefits of any concept, there has a be a set of protocols and guidelines to abide by. In general, a framework is a combination of standards and rules which, when followed, can be used by an enterprise to make the best bang for their buck. 

Similarly, a test automation framework is a structure. It provides an environment where you can execute automated test scripts. In short, a test automation framework is a set of components facilitate executing and comprehensive report of test results. The major components that implement a test automation framework successful are equipment, testing tools, scripts, procedures, and most importantly, test automation engineers.

Components of Test Automation Frameworks

Test data management and testing libraries are some of the major components of test automation frameworks. Let’s take a look at each in detail.

Test Data Management

Harnessing data and extracting useful information is the biggest hassle during software testing automation. The availability of data to carry out tests is usually a major problem. To ensure the success of automation efforts, it’s necessary to have a strategic test data management approach.

Thus, a software company should equip their framework with resources like libraries or plugins for scavenging through test data and finding what can be used for positive testing. Your framework should also have a simulation tool to make the data more digestible and lucid. If the data is simplified, test data management becomes a lot easier. 

Testing Libraries

The core of an application’s testing process comprises of managing and running the test cases. It’s ideal to get your test cases well-defined and organized so you can perform testing efficiently and effectively. A testing library is where you create and store the test cases. Testing libraries include unit testing, integration, and end-to-end testing, and behavior-driven development. Let’s see what each of them means.

Unit Testing

Unit testing libraries are a must-have for shaping up a vital part of any test automation framework. This is something which is done not only by the testers but the developers as well. Testers use them to define test methods through specified formal annotations. Unit testing is also used for running simplified and straightforward tests. Unit testing libraries support most of the programming languages. If you’re a developer, it’s a good practice to unit test your code as soon as you develop each module. This reduces the defect count during the later phases of testing.

Integration and End-to-End Testing

So unit testing is where you test each module or functionality of an application. But what happens when the application is completely developed? Integration or end-to-end testing is carried out. There are popular libraries like JUnit or TestNG for integration testing. This makes sure that a perfectly working functionality doesn’t impact any other module or functionality.

Behavior-Driven Development

As important as they are to your testing library, unit and end-to-end testing have a problem. They rely a lot on the implementation of the functionality which is tested. So if you change the code, you’ll need to change the test case. 

How do we address this issue? Behavior-driven development (BDD) is key. Don’t get confused by the name. BDD is not related to development. It’s a collection of best practices. When those practices are applied to automation testing, BDD enables you to write great test cases.

It’s written in a language that’s understandable for the team. You can convert scenarios and features of expected behavior into code. BDD enables the alignment of code with the intent and scope of automated tests.

Types of Test Automation Frameworks

Now that you understand what a test automation framework is and its components, let’s look at the different types of frameworks out there. Automated testing covers a range of test frameworks. Here, I’ll go over the most common types.

Linear Automation Test Framework

A linear automation test framework involves introductory level testing. Testers sequentially create test scripts and individually run them. There is no need to write custom code. So testers don’t have to be automation experts. Also, a speedy workflow is the biggest perk of linear automation framework.

Modular-Based Test Framework

Modular-based test frameworks break down test cases into small modules. Then, it follows a non-incremental and incremental approach. There, the modules are independently tested first and then the application is tested as a whole. This makes each test independent. 

Moreover, once a tester is done writing a function library, you can also store a script in it. Since you can easily make changes in a single script, adjusting the entire application is not necessary. Thus, testing requires less time and efforts.

Library Architecture Test Framework

With a library architecture test framework, the framework identifies tasks holding similarities within the test script. After that, testers carry out the grouping of similar tasks by function. Then, a library stores all the sorted functions. Hence, it facilitates reusability of code across different test scripts.

Keyword-Driven Test Framework

A keyword-driven test framework separates script logic from test data. Then, it stores the data externally. After that, it stores the keywords in a different location. The keywords associated with actions testing GUI are a part of the test script. A keyword associates itself with an object or an action. Since testers can use the same keyword across different test scripts, it promotes reusability.

Data-Driven Test Framework

A data-driven test framework segregates test script logic and test data. After that, it stores the data externally. Here, the aim is to create reusable test scripts for testing different data sets. Testers can vary the data to change testing scenarios. This ensures reusability of code.

Hybrid Test Framework

A hybrid test framework mitigates the weaknesses of different test frameworks. It provides flexibility by combining parts of different frameworks to harness the advantages. Hence, the efficiency of testing also improves.

Popular test automation frameworks include:

  1. Selenium
  2. Appium
  3. UFT

Benefits of Test Automation Frameworks

In the modern era, the entire world is moving toward automation. With this, the need for test automation is rising. Proper planning and execution of test automation frameworks have a lot of perks to offer.

1. Optimization of Resources

A test framework helps in the optimization of resources. It does this by facilitating the use of different resources according to organizational needs. 

For instance, to achieve established goals, test automation frameworks provide a set of processes. These processes have to match resources to requirements. The higher the flexibility of adoption, the better your resource optimization will be. 

2. Increased Volume of Testing

Test automation frameworks increase the volume of testing. For instance, new mobile devices emerge every other day. It’s impossible to perform manual testing on all. Even if a firm managed to do so, it would take forever. But automated testing enables testers to run tests on thousands of mobile devices at the same time. 

3. Simultaneous Testing

Test automation frameworks enable simultaneous testing of different types of devices. When the test scripts are automated, all testers need to do is run them on different devices. Since the parameters are same, testers can quickly generate comparative test reports.

4. Enhanced Speed And Reliability

Writing and running tests can be time-consuming for any software company. Test automation frameworks reduce the time to carry out these activities. How? Suppose you’re testing the logout functionality of a website. If there are multiple testing scenarios, for each scenario you have to manually test whether the log out feature is working properly. But if you’re using a framework, you can simultaneously run all the scenarios and get the test results in very little time. Moreover, automated testing is more reliable due to the use of automated tools. This reduces the chances of making mistakes.

6. More Output in Less Time

Test automation reduces challenges in synchronization, local configuration, error management, and report generation. An automation script minimizes the time taken to prepare and run tests. With increased efficiency and speed, a firm can gain more output in less time. 

7. Fixing Bugs at an Early Stage

A test automation framework helps in fixing bugs at an early stage. You don’t need much manpower to carry it out for you, which means the working hours and expenses involved are also reduced. A test automation engineer can write scripts and automate tests. 

8. Remote Testing

With a test automation framework, it’s not necessary to stay at the office premises 24/7. For instance, you can start running a test before leaving. When you come back after a few hours, the test results will be ready. Moreover, you don’t need to buy a lot of devices since you can test remotely.

9. Reusable Automation Code

You can reuse test automation scripts in a different application. Suppose the testers of your organization wrote some scripts for testing the login functionality. You can use the same script for another application that has a login functionality.

10. Increased ROI

The initial investment involved in test automation frameworks is off-putting for many. But the long-term return on investment is high. 

As discussed earlier, a test automation framework saves time and facilitates speedy delivery. It also reduces the need for more staff. 

For instance, a company doesn’t have to hire multiple testers if the testing framework is automated. A test automation engineer can carry out most of the tasks like configuring the framework or running the scripts.

How to Choose a Testing Framework

Now that you know the benefits of test automation frameworks, it’s time to choose one.

With a plethora of different testing frameworks, it can become overwhelming to know which one is right for you. You must seek one that supports different languages and applications. You can also start with a tool offering out-of-the-box solutions. Use our five step process to learn how to identify the best automation platform for your organization. Above all, you need to do what it takes to improve the testing process. 

Summing It Up

Boosting a testing team’s velocity is no child’s play. Enterprises keep struggling to find a way to maximize efficiency. Automation test frameworks are the way to go to increase test precision. 

At the same time, it ensures an optimum testing speed. In addition to these perks, they offer high ROI. Test automation frameworks are something every software company should deploy for skyrocketing revenue.

Author bio: This post was written by Arnab Roy Chowdhury. Arnab is a UI developer by profession and a blogging enthusiast. He has strong expertise in the latest UI/UX trends, project methodologies, testing, and scripting.

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