Make a Plan for Test Automation

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Content By Devops .com

The amount of testing that we could be doing is massive. Most of us don’t look at testing across the spectrum and all-inclusively, but let’s do that for a second.

We have functional testing at the code level, which is reasonably well automated already, if your shop is using such automation. Then we have integration testing, which is a superset collection of API testing, code integration testing, usability and regression testing. Integration testing is automated, and sometimes that’s done well, but this massive space is still growing. Next up would be security testing, which covers much of the same code that other testing is interested in from a strictly security focused perspective. Then, there is actual usability testing, which is more important for some areas than others—embedded needs far less usability testing than web apps, for example—and has different levels of automation at this point in time.

Really, when you think about it, the complexity of this environment is massive. We not only need to test an array of different functionalities from an array of different perspectives, but we have to do it on an array of platforms. Testing on Windows is different than testing on Linux; testing in the cloud can use different tools than testing in-house; clients can be on any given platform, depending on the application and target market … we really do have a beast, here.

And testers have always been behind, or have not covered things well. This is not a ding on testers, this is the result of the complexity at hand and the fact that, in many instances, one line of code can go wrong in a bunch of different ways.

Enter automation, which is growing rapidly in the world of continuous integration (CI). Automated testing tools range from broad to very focused, and all help facilitate testing. The DevOps increase in development means more testing, and testing was already behind. This has been discussed pretty thoroughly in the past, but it finally feels like we’re getting to a point where we have viable solutions to the problem. If testers become test developers that review results of automated tests, and through CI those automated tests are increasingly worked into the process of development, we’ll see testers getting better coverage and quality seeing a continued increase.

But that does mean you should keep your eyes on the market as it continues to grow, and pick tools that offer the most functionality that is most useful to your test team. And get them up and running. More testing means more work setting up tests. Even no-code test solutions for UI require someone to record the actions that are necessary to complete the test, and that takes someone’s time. But the return is long-term testing that doesn’t require a person until a red flag is raised by automation.

I’m all for it. Both testing and security have the most to gain from automation, because they’ve been the most behind historically, and corner-cutting has cost organizations dearly. So, let’s get with it; check out some new test tools (there are plenty listware articles giving you a place to start), and let’s make great software better!

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