Pic-Time leverages Testim’s fast and flexible authoring to rapidly scale test automation

Company overview

Pic-Time is an online photo gallery platform for professional photographers and their clients. Since most photographers don’t have the time or knowledge to elevate their photography into a successful business, Pic-Times provides them with the tools to simplify photo delivery, amplify the visual experience, and maximize their business potential. Pic-Time’s innovative product suite includes online galleries, a smart store, marketing automation tools, and partnerships with select print labs worldwide.

Pic-Time is available on desktop, mobile, and tablet, with many customizable configurations available to its users, such as multilingual online photo galleries supported in 16 languages to fit a photographer’s needs.

New Pic-Time features are deployed weekly to production, with larger releases deployed monthly. It is common practice for Pic-Time to receive a platform suggestion from a customer and roll it out within a few weeks. This practice makes customers feel their input matters, but it requires rapid development and testing cycles to meet tight time constraints.

Amid rapid customer and product growth, Pic-Time’s front-end testing team struggled to keep up with a corresponding increase in required testing, which at the time was carried out entirely manually. Company leaders liked the idea of scaling with test automation, but past automation experiences at other companies had proven to be a resource drain.

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    Industry: Technology
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    Organization size: 100 employees
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    Location: Israel
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Seeking a testing solution to keep pace with frequent releases

Shai Schcolnik, Pic-Time’s QA Lead-turned-QA Automation Lead since 2016, had been working to gain internal support to switch to automated testing. The turning point came when a critical bug slipped into production that made critical features unavailable. Schcolnik pointed out that the gap in test coverage could have been filled – and the error caught – if the team had a way to scale testing through automation. With a new understanding of the risks of insufficient testing, leadership gave Schcolnik the go-ahead to seek an automation solution.

“I considered a few testing alternatives, like building a testing infrastructure from zero or using Selenium or Python,” Schcolnik said. But because these frameworks require significant coding skills to both build and maintain the automation, “it would have taken me too long to get something working.”

He demonstrated this with a proof of concept using Selenium and Python to build one test case. It worked for three days, and then a change in the application’s underlying code broke the test script. It took Schcolnik another two days to update the script. With the understanding that scripted solutions wouldn’t solve Pic-Time’s testing scalability problem, Schcolnik sought a low code alternative.

Schcolnik noticed people in Facebook testing groups recommending Tricentis Testim, so he downloaded the free trial and used it to automate the same test. “The same test case took less than a day to do on Testim,” he says. “After a few tweaks, it has been working for a year now. Most of the tweaks aren’t test failures but minimal updates to reflect UI or text changes.”

A eureka moment

Pic-Time’s development group includes both dedicated testers and a large customer support team that act as alpha testers.

With Testim’s low-code test authoring capabilities, Schcolnik has automated Pic-Time’s regression test suite and freed up his manual testers’ time to do more meaningful work, such as testing new features and working with the customer support team on acceptance tests. With increased automation, the team has cut testing time for each release cycle down by two thirds: What previously took about three hours for a team of manual testers now takes about an hour with Testim.

The first time the positive return of automation became clear to Pic-Time’s leadership was when the team used an already proven automated test suite built with Testim in order to validate a big infrastructure update to the system.

“We ran the entire automation suite and discovered a huge number of issues and bugs that we hadn’t found yet. It was like a eureka moment for our management team,” who couldn’t believe how much faster and more effective it was than manual testing alone, he said. “Our development team got their answers two days earlier than they would have without automated testing.”

“With Testim, not only are we finding bugs faster, but we are also finding them sooner in the testing flow, saving our team a lot of work,” Schcolnik says. By catching bugs faster, Pic-Time’s developers are able to address bugs earlier in the development lifecycle, when they are easier and cheaper to fix.

A few of Pic-Time’s front end developers have already started using Testim to reproduce bugs and debug quicker. The developers report that complex bugs are much easier to deal with when they have a Testim test scenario attached.

Low-code authoring comes to life

The Pic-Time team has been using Testim for about a year, and in that time has dramatically minimized time spent on test creation and kept maintenance needs to a minimum, despite frequent UI changes to the Pic-Time application. The team allocates only about 10-20% of its QA time to maintenance, thanks to Testim’s auto-improving smart locators, which identify application changes and keep the tests stable.

The team also uses Testim’s recording capabilities to quickly record user flows to create automated test cases. “They feel the recording function saves them a huge amount of time on examining their user flows and finding ways to optimize their test run design. They just click play, it runs, provides reports, and everything is effortless,” said Schcolnik.

His team saw a rapid learning curve in onboarding new team members with Testim. “We recently recruited a new member to the automated testing team. He had experience with Cypress and full code test automation. The learning curve was very quick, and he was up and running with Testim very quickly. Using his coding experience only where actually needed to develop custom logic and not wasting time coding all the simple clicks, waits and validations,” Schcolnik recounts.

The Pic-Time team appreciates the simplicity of authoring and automated tests in Testim and feels they can solve most test design issues with just a few clicks. “Because of Testim, I spend much more time thinking about the testing logic, flows, and approach than solving test development challenges,” Schcolnik says.