Role of Test Automation in Functional, Unit and Performane Testing Areas

As technology becomes more embedded into business processes, testing is becoming an area of strategic importance. While manual testing cannot be completely done away with, in order to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and wider coverage of software testing, test automation is the way to go. Gartner notes that in order to be agile testing needs to be automated.
 In this blog, we take a look at three areas where test automation plays a very important role.

1) Unit Testing:-

Unit testing is a very important part of the software testing process since it is the small code fragments that are tested here. It involves checking the pieces of the program code in isolation and independently to ensure that they work correctly. Since unit tests mean checking the source code, the test suite should be a part of the build process and scheduled to run automatically every day so that testing happens early and often. Manually testing these pieces of code can be resource and time intensive and can lead to a number of errors. By automating unit tests, testers can ensure that the source code within the main repository remains healthy and error free and there is a line of defence built against bugs. While it might take 10–30% more time to complete a feature, automating Unit tests ensure that:

• Problems are found early in the development cycle
 • Ensures that the code works now and in the future
 • Helps developers become less worried about changing codes
 • Makes the development process more flexible
 • Improves the ‘truck factor’ of the project
 • Makes development easier by making it predictable and repeatable

2) Functional Testing:-

Functional Testing, a test technique to cover the functionality of the software and ensure that the output is as per the required specifications. It also has to ensure that test scenarios including boundary cases and failure paths are accounted for. While functional testing is not concerned about the internal details of the application, it tests in great detail what an application ‘does’. During functional testing, developers need to set benchmarks that are developer-independent in order to identify what they have not achieved. So, as soon as a function is developed it needs to be tested thoroughly and this process has to continue until application development has been completed.
 Since the user ultimately shall be running the application on a system along with other applications and the application has to endure different user loads, the developers also need to make sure that every function of the application is crash resistant. Testing continuity, ensuring application grade tests are as external as possible, white box testing etc. are some of the areas that functional testing has to cover. Doing all of this manually can not only be time consuming but also leave room for error. A functional testing strategy should incorporate:

• Test purpose
 • Project creation
 • Test construction
 • Test automation
 • Test execution
 • Results check

Test automation makes it easier to perform powerful and comprehensive functional tests that will help develop a robust product.

3) Performance Testing:-
 Performance testing assumes a big role in the testing and QA process as it helps in identifying and mitigating performance issues that can derail the entire application. Performance Testing can sometimes also be associated with stress testing, load or volume testing as this test aims to gauge the system’s ability to handle varying degrees of system transactions and concurrent users along with assessing its speed, stability, and scalability. Automating test process during performance testing is essential as the goals of a performance test comprise of several factors which include service level agreements and the volumetric requirements of a business. Testers need to test system transactions and user transactions concurrently, measure and reference system response time against the Non-Functional requirements, and also determine the effectiveness of a network, computer, program, device or software. During performance testing, the testers need to measure the response time or the number of MIPS (millions of instructions per second) at which a system functions. They also need to evaluate that the qualitative attributes of scalability, reliability, and interoperability to ensure the product meets with the specifications required. Understanding the content to assess problem areas, building test assets, running tests and analyzing the data to understand performance bottlenecks are some of the things that testers need to do.
 Since performance testing is intensive and exhaustive, testers should leverage test automation once the test strategy has been defined.

 Taking a strategic approach to testing automation and viewing it as a part of the development process makes sure you have a product that is flawless and delivers on all the desired metrics. This ultimately leads to higher quality software, greater customer satisfaction, and higher ROI.

Originally published at on March 3, 2016.