Test Automation

11 min readJan 20, 2021


Hi,everyone.Today I would like to share some informations about Test Automation.

What is software test automation?

Test automation is a method in software testing that makes use of special software tools to control the execution of tests and then compares actual test results with predicted or expected results. All of this is done automatically with little or no intervention from the test engineer. Automation is used to to add additional testing that may be too difficult to perform manually.

Why is test automation desirable?

Testing is a very important phase in the development process. It ensures that all the bugs are ironed out and that the product, software or hardware, is functioning as expected or as close to the target performance as possible. Even so, some tasks are too laborious to be done manually even though they are easy enough to do. This is where automated testing comes in.

Test automation increases the overall software efficiency and ensures robust software quality. There are specific tools that can effectively execute automated test cases and help in comparing actual and expected results. In this manner, test automation can guarantee software proficiency without involving repeated and manual intervention. One of the biggest business perks of test automation is that it can be implemented time and again with minimal effort and maximum accuracy.

Advantages of test automation

  1. Testing efficiency improvement: Testing takes up a significant portion of the overall application development lifecycle. This goes to show that even the slightest improvement of the overall efficiency can make an enormous difference to the entire timeframe of the project. Although the setup time takes longer initially, automated tests eventually take up significantly lesser amount of time. They can be run virtually unattended, leaving the results to be monitored toward the end of the process.
  2. Accelerated results: Owing to the quick implementation of automated testing, plenty of time is saved even for intricate and enormous systems. This allows for the testing to be carried out repeatedly, delivering faster results each time with lesser effort and time.
  3. Information security: The effectiveness of testing will be largely dependent on the quality of the test data you use. Manually creating quality test data takes time and as a result, testing is often performed on copies of live databases. Automation solutions can help with creating, manipulating, and protecting your test database, allowing you to re-use your data time and again. The time and cost savings in this area are potentially huge.
  4. Higher overall test coverage: Through the implementation of test automation, higher number of tests can be executed pertaining to an application. This leads to a higher coverage, which in a manual testing approach would imply a massive team, limited heavily with their amount of time. An increased test coverage leads to testing more features and a higher quality of application.
  5. Reusability of automated tests: Due to the repetitive nature of test cases in test automation, software developers have the opportunity to assess program reaction, in addition to the relatively easy configuration of their setup. Automated test cases are reusable and therefore, can be utilized through different approaches.
  6. Earlier detection of defects: The documentation of software defects becomes considerably easier for the testing teams. This helps increase the overall development speed while ensuring correct functionality across areas. The earlier a defect is identified, the more cost-effective it is to fix the glitch.
  7. Thoroughness in testing: Testers tend to have different testing approaches, and their focus areas could vary due to their exposure and expertise. With the inclusion of automation, there is a guaranteed focus on all areas of testing, thereby assuring best possible quality.
  8. Faster time-to-market: Test Automation greatly helps reduce the time-to-market of an application by allowing constant execution of test cases. Once automated, the test library execution is faster and runs longer than manual testing.
  9. Reduced business expenses: It is of no surprise that, while the initial investment may be on the higher side, automated testing saves companies many a penny. This is predominantly due to the sharp drop in the amount of time required to run tests. It contributes to a higher quality of work, thereby decreasing the necessity for fixing glitches after release, thereby reducing project costs.

Disadvantages of test automation

  1. False confidence in quality: Automated tests only check what they have been programmed for. The test can pass successfully, and the defect go unnoticed, and all because the test was not programmed to catch this bug. Before automating the test, make sure that the script for it is compiled correctly.
  2. Unreliability: Automated tests can fail due to many factors. Such a factor could be a slight change in the UI — interface, a drop in service, problems with the network, and the workload of the test machine. If possible, try to minimize the number of such factors.
  3. Automation is not a test: Automated tests are just programmed steps for executing a script. Many who are faced with automation for the first time want to automate all test cases to get rid of manual testers. In fact, this is impossible. There are features in testing with which auto tests will not cope.
  4. Maintenance tests: Writing automated tests takes time. Time will also be taken away and kept up to date. If you do not update the tests, then in regression, with a sufficient number of them, there will be a lot of falls and all their advantages will come to naught. You will have to sort out the flew tests from not updated, which takes a lot of time.
  5. Slow feedback: Sometimes, after the first build with the new functionality, writing autotests takes more time than a manual run. Here we must proceed from the situation and priorities. If possible, try to start writing tests at the same time as the developers are writing a new functional. You can make some kind of blank / skeleton, and then add the necessary checks or locators after the build.

Manual testing

Manual testing refers to a type of software testing where all the tests are executed manually by Quality Assurance (QA) engineers. The idea is discovering bugs in the software which has been developed.In manual testing, testers check all of the essential app features by executing test cases and generating test reports. They do it without any help from automation testing tools. Manual testing is a classical method of testing types that allows detecting bugs in software systems and is usually carried out by experienced testers.

Manual testing is usually part of a comprehensive software testing process and is performed prior to software release. Software testers use and review the developed software the way an end user would use it. The testing process can be a systematic process that uses formal test plans and action cases or can informally be performed by a user domain expert. Software can be tested for multiple user roles such as for software admin and software user -both using software but in a different way. Some of the steps within a manual testing approach include:

  • Unit testing
  • User acceptance testing (UAT)
  • Integration testing
  • System testing

Although manual testing primarily reviews and tests a website from an end-user perspective, manual testing may also be performed by software developers/testers using their knowledge and experience to identify defects within software.

comparison of manual and Automated testing

  1. The prior difference between manual testing and automated is that manual testing is carried out by human whereas automated testing is the testing performed by the software in an automated way.
  2. Automated testing provides high accuracy and reliability as compared to manual testing.
  3. Manual testing consumes more time with respect to automated testing.
  4. The cost of manual testing is less than automated, but when performed for a small amount of period. However, it gives the opposite result when the testing is carried out for a long run. Hence, automated testing is cost-effective because there are no factors of a number of tester involved, tiredness, etcetera.
  5. Automated testing does not need human actions much but manual testing cannot even possibly be done without human action.

Manual testing requires continuous human intervention throughout the testing process. On the contrary, automated testing needs human intervention in the initial stage of testing where the test cases are supplied.

Automated Test Life-Cycle Methodology (ATLM)

While implementing automated testing, software professionals usually do not know what’s involved in introducing an automated test tool to a software project. They are in many cases unfamiliar with the breadth of application that latest automated test tools have. The Automated Testing Life-cycle Methodology (ATLM) depicted in the figure, provides guidance in these areas.The Automated Test Life-cycle Methodology is comprised of six primary processes or components. These are,

Decision to automate

This represents the first phase of the ATLM. During this phase it is important for the test team to manage automated testing expectations and to outline the potential benefits of automated testing when implemented correctly. A test tool proposal needs to be outlined, which will be helpful in acquiring management support.

Test tool Acquisition

Test Tool Acquisition represents the 2nd phase of the ATLM. This phase guides the test engineer through the entire test tool evaluation and selection process, starting with confirmation of management support. Since a tool should support most of the organizations’ testing requirements, whenever feasible, the test engineer will need to review the systems engineering environment and other organizational needs and come up with a list of tool evaluation criteria. Basing on these criteria the most suitable tool is selected.

Automated Testing Introduction process

The Process of Introducing Automated Testing to a new project team represents the 3rd phase of the ATLM. This phase outlines the steps necessary to successfully introduce automated testing to a new project.

Test Planning, design and development

The Test Planning phase represents the need to review long lead-time test planning activities. During this phase, the test team identifies test procedure creation standards and guidelines.

Test Design component addresses the need to define the number of tests to be performed, the ways that test will be approached (paths, functions), and the test conditions which need to be exercised. Test design standards need to be defined and followed strictly.

After performing test analysis and design the test team needs to perform test development. In order for automated tests to be reusable, repeatable and maintainable, test development standards need to be defined and followed.

Execution and management of tests

With the test plan in hand and the test environment now operational, it is time to execute the tests defined for the test program. When executing test procedures, the test team needs to comply with a test procedure execution schedule. The test procedure execution schedule implements the strategy defined within the test plan. Plans for unit, integration, system and user acceptance testing are executed. Together, these testing phases make up the steps that are required to test the system as a whole.

Test Program Review and Assessment

Test Program review and assessment activities need to be conducted throughout the testing life cycle, in order to allow for continuous improvement activities. Throughout the testing life cycle and following test execution activities, metrics need to be evaluated and final review and assessment activities need to be conducted to allow for process improvement.

The systematic approach outlined within the ATLM helps the organizations to organize and execute test activities in such a way as to minimize test coverage within the limits of testing resources. This structured test methodology involves a multi-stage process, supporting the detailed, and inter-related activities that are required to introduce and utilize an automated test tool; develop test design; develop and execute test cases; develop and manage test data and the test environment; as well as document, track and obtain closure on issue/trouble reports.

Automation Tools

A test automation tool is a piece of software that enables people to define software testing tasks, that are afterwards run with as little human interaction as possible.

Again, it’s important to understand that there are a plethora of different types of test automation tools available. They might differ in the types of application they test (web, desktop, mobile), in the way the test cases are set up (by writing code using a scripting language, writing code in a full programming language, recording steps performed using a GUI) in their licenses and many other factors.

Meet Some of the Test Automation Tools at Your Disposal,t’s time for us to start showing you some of the test automation tools available for you. As we’ve said, there are many different types of tools. We’ll try to give you as broad a sample as possible, so you can experiment with the variety of tools available. Let’s get started.

Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio is a test automation tool that enables you to test your web and mobile apps, as well as APIs. This solution makes use of Selenium and Appium engines, offering users an integrated environment for testers to integrate different frameworks and tools.


UFT is a commercial tool that originally allowed its users to test desktop, web, and mobile apps. Currently, it also offers features for API testing.


Selenium is a very well-known tool when it comes to testing automation. It allows its users to write scripts in a lot of different languages, including Java, C#, Python, Perl, and Ruby. This tool also runs in several operating systems and browsers.

The disadvantage of this tool is that to use it effectively, you must spend a non-trivial amount of time building frameworks, libraries and other tools necessary for the actual automation you’re trying to accomplish.


TestComplete also enables Web, mobile, and desktop testing. It offers its users the choice between JavaScript, VBScript, Python, or C++Script to write scripts.The tool features an object recognition engine that is able to accurately detect dynamic user interface elements, which makes it particularly useful to test apps whose user interfaces change very often.


Testim is a test automation tool that employs machine learning to help developers with the authoring, execution, and maintenance of automated tests. This tool allows developers to quickly create test cases and execute them on many web and mobile platforms. The tool learns from data with every execution.

Testim then uses all that learning to improve itself, making test cases more stable. The result of that is a robust test suite, that doesn’t break on every code change.

How to Pick the Right Test Automation Tool

As you can see, there are plenty of options for test automation tools for you to choose from. The tools you’ve just learned about are only but a few of the available tools at your disposal. So, how can you choose?

Giving a definitive, one-size-fits-all answer is hard. So what we’re doing instead is to suggest that you choose based on three main factors: target platform, learning curve, and pricing. The first factor should be easy to understand. If your product is a desktop application, then every automation tool that works only for mobile and web are automatically declassified.

The second factor you have to analyze is the learning curve. A given tool might be widely known and used, but if its learning curve is too steep, that might be a bad sign. How much of a problem is a steep learning curve? It depends on how quickly you want your team to be up and running. Maybe it makes sense for your team to take their time learning the tool because of its benefits. I wouldn’t bet on it, usually. But your mileage may vary.

Last, but not least, we have pricing. Again, it doesn’t matter how popular or sophisticated a tool is if its price is way beyond your team/department/division budget for tooling. Many of the tools presented are free or have a free tier, which allows you to at least try them before making a final decision.

So, based on these three factors-platform, learning curve, and pricing-you should be able to choose a tool that is right for your scenario. Weigh every candidate against the three factors and see how many points they score in each area.

-Thank You-




BSc.(Hons) Software Engineering Undergraduate -University of kelaniya-