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Contributed Articles

Using RPA for Software Testing: a Tech Hack?

“If you already have an RPA tool in your organisation and you’re looking to get started with test automation, using RPA for software testing might seem like a logical choice,” says Wayne Ariola.  “However, it’s important to recognise that successful — and sustainable — test automation requires much more than the ability to click through application paths.”

Every so often, my news feed features an article that offers “The Top 10 Life Hacks.” These are tips and tricks about how to use ordinary household products unexpected ways to improve your life— “…and tip number 7 will blow your mind!!!”

Admittedly, I’ve been suckered into opening this click bait. To be honest, there are times that I’m pleasantly surprised. For example, who knew that you could cut through annoying plastic blister packs with a can opener, or use a toilet paper roll to keep wrapping paper from unrolling?



I tried the two “hacks” above and guess what? They “kinda” worked…for a while. The can opener cut through the seam where the plastic was fused, but it failed to cut through the length of the packaging. The toilet roll held the wrapping paper for a while, but ultimately the carboard weakened and the wrapping paper unraveled. Not surprisingly, using scissors for the plastic blister packs and small piece of tape for the wrapping paper worked much, much better.

In a very similar vein, many organizations are now considering using RPA to automate software testing: a “tech hack” for software testing, of sorts. However, just as the toilet paper roll didn’t present a sustainable solution for keeping my wrapping paper from unrolling, RPA is not a sustainable solution for software test automation…and the modifications required to make the RPA tool sustainable for the task of software test automation would be, well, a hack.

If you already have an RPA tool in your organization and you’re looking to get started with test automation, your RPA tool might seem like a logical choice. It’s usually relatively easy to automate some fundamental test scenarios (e.g., create a new user and complete a transaction), add validation, and believe that you’re on the path to test automation.

However, it’s important to recognize that successful—and sustainable— test automation requires much more than the ability to click through application paths…