Automated testing tools can help development, testing, and quality assurance (QA) teams to overcome the limitations of traditional testing technologies. By automating a wide range of software tests, advanced tools can process tests faster, increase overall test coverage, reduce testing costs, and improve accuracy by eliminating error-prone manual processes.
What is automated testing?
In software development, automated testing uses software tools to automate the process of reviewing and validating a software product. Automated testing contrasts with manual testing, which requires teams of quality assurance personnel to test a variety of aspects of a piece of software to ensure that they perform as expected before the software is released.
With the advent of Agile, DevOps, and continuous delivery, new applications are frequently being re-released in new iterations that constantly seek to improve functionality. This model of software delivery requires tools for continuous testing throughout the software delivery pipeline. In this environment, manual testing simply cannot keep pace.
With automated testing tools, QA teams can validate software far more rapidly, enabling testing to occur at every stage of the development lifecycle.
Types of automated tests
Organizations choose automated testing tools based on the types of testing and types of tests they want to perform.
Types of testing
Development and testing teams typically perform two types of tests: functional and non-functional.
- Functional testing verifies that the functionality of a software application conforms to the specified requirements.
- Non-functional testing checks other aspects such as performance, reliability, speed, and security of a software application.
Types of tests
- Smoke tests are often one of the first functional tests to be performed. A smoke test determines whether the basic features of an application are working and whether the software can be tested further without “catching fire.”
- Integration tests evaluate whether all the pieces and functionalities of the software can work together as a whole.
- Regression tests are conducted after each iteration of software to make sure that new features and functionality have not caused problems for existing features and functionality.
- Security tests search for any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the software that could be exploited by attackers.
- Performance tests are typically non-functional tests that measure criteria such as stability, speed, and responsiveness under different levels of load and stress.
- Acceptance tests are a form of functional testing that evaluates how well the software serves the needs of users.
- End-to-end tests simulate the experience of users completing transactions that commonly span multiple technologies (e.g., SAP, web, mainframes, mobile, etc.) and determine if that transaction achieves the appropriate results at various checkpoints.
Types of testing
- Unit tests evaluate individual components, pieces of code, or units of software (e.g., a method or function). Unit testing is typically one of the earliest tests performed on software.
- API tests are performed to ensure that software can smoothly integrate with other systems and software. API testing may happen at various stages throughout the development process.
- User interface tests, or UI tests, happen in the final stage of development and examine how end users interact with the software.
How to choose your automated testing tools
There are scores of automated testing tools on the market, each offering different features and benefits. Choosing the right tool for your testing framework is essential to achieving the cost reductions, time savings, and process improvement required for continuous testing.
Here are the most important considerations when selecting automated testing tools.
- Match automated tools to nontechnical role skills. Choose products that are suitable for business analysts, subject matter experts, and other non-programmers.
- Match testing tools to technical role skills. The right tools will also provide all the functionality required by developers and test automation experts.
- Templates and accelerators. Your automated testing tools should include template libraries and wizards that facilitate testing for specific verticals and applications (e.g., SAP S/4HANA, Salesforce).
- Change impact analysis. Automated tools should identify tests to prioritize based on code changes and risk.
- Cross-platform/browser support. You want to make sure you can test across operating systems, browser types/versions, and mobile devices.
- Intelligent automation. As testing grows more complex, you’ll need tools that incorporate intelligent automated testing with AI, machine learning, self-healing technologies, bots, and automated test generation.
- Breadth of technology support. Choose solutions that offer native support for applications and technologies from on-prem to the cloud, and mainframes to microservices.
- DevOps tool integrations. Make sure your solution includes support for DevOps, Agile planning, and ALM tools.
- Open-source support. You’ll also want support for, and extension of, open-source testing tools and frameworks.
- Dashboards and analytics. To manage your automated tests, you’ll want functionality for tracking and analysis of overall test progress, sprint-level test activities, and individual tests.
Managing tests with automated testing tools
Test automation technology is the key to successfully deploying automated testing tools. Test automation refers to automating the process of tracking and managing various manual and automated tests.
Agile, DevOps, and continuous delivery require software to be tested throughout the software delivery pipeline. Managing all these testing requirements is an enormous administrative burden. Testing teams must find ways to keep track of which environments have deployed new code, how much of the system is covered by different tests, what additional tests might be required, and more.
The benefits of automated testing tools
- Reduce cost of testing. By automating many phases of software testing, organizations can eliminate the high cost of manual testing and reduce expenses by implementing more efficient testing processes.
- Save time. Automated testing tools can run 24×7, helping to save time and accelerate the development process.
- Faster feedback cycles. Automated testing tools enable tests to happen throughout the software development pipeline, providing developers with feedback earlier in the process. And automated tests return results faster to help accelerate production.
- Greater accuracy. Automated testing tools eliminate error-prone manual testing procedures to vastly improve the accuracy of tests.
- Reduced testing burden. By automating test processes, QA teams can spend more time writing new test cases and building new tools rather than endlessly performing the same manual test.
- Increase test coverage. By completing testing with an automated test suite, teams increase test coverage for the product and ensure that more features and functionality can be properly tested.
Leading automated testing tools from Tricentis
The Tricentis Continuing Testing platform provides a fundamentally different way to manage enterprise software testing. With a suite of solutions that are totally automated, fully codeless, and driven by AI, Tricentis enables organizations to dramatically accelerate software delivery, reduce costs, and improve quality across custom and enterprise apps.
Automated testing tools from Tricentis include solutions for:
- Intelligent test automation. Tricentis Tosca offers codeless test automation powered by AI to optimize and accelerate continuous testing of your entire enterprise application landscape.
- Agile test management. Tricentis qTest delivers scalable, in-sprint Agile test management for automated testing, exploratory testing, and BDD.
- App-native test automation. Tricentis Test Automation for ServiceNow automates testing for ServiceNow applications and workflows built natively on the Now platform.
- Data integrity testing. Tricentis Data Integrity offers automated end-to-end data integrity testing across the entire data landscape to prevent costly data migration, integration, and reporting issues.
- Analytics and reporting. Tricentis Analytics unifies real-time testing data and insights from analytics and data warehouse platforms.
- Performance testing. Tricentis NeoLoad offers performance testing for enterprise applications.
- Smart impact analysis. Tricentis LiveCompare enables smart impact analysis to ensure QA teams always know exactly what to test to de-risk SAP changes.