Integrating an automation testing framework and strategies into your software delivery pipeline is the natural evolution for many organizations aiming to improve the quality of their products.
Being successful requires careful planning and execution, but most importantly—efficiently working teams that collaborate on the same stack of tests and own every step of the process.
So, read on to discover valuable lessons learned and collected through their many years of experience in software development and testing.
How to effectively design automation testing framework strategies
An automation testing framework strategy is similar to a test strategy, except that it is aimed at the automation side of things.
Many of the techniques you follow to create an overall test strategy will be the same for an automation strategy.
A test automation strategy lives inside your larger testing strategy.
It uses the same processes and tools to determine who you're testing for, what the users do, what the testers do, what the developers are doing and all associated metrics.
A test automation strategy is essential for the following reasons:
- It informs you of the risk, capabilities, and functionality and arrives at a reliable, repeatable process of informing you on those things
- It helps communicate team goals and plans for automation.
It also works as a discussion starter for a new proof-of-concept or a new technology to bring into your company.
- It serves as an auditing tool that allows you to go back and look at what you planned to do and compare it with what was actually done.
Therefore, to have an effective automation strategy be sure to do the following:
- Define the high business/cost value tests
- Identify the risks
- Understand the technology and tools available to you
- Understand the quality of your data
- Define your DevOps/ CI/CD process
- Has a plan in place to create environments for automated testing
- Tag your tests
- Aim for test efficiencies
- Make use of Agile tools
You should take all this into consideration before embarking on developing or choosing an automation test tool.
First, an unpopular opinion.
Creating a new automation testing framework is not always the best option
You will face many challenges when creating automation frameworks from scratch.
Using Selenium WebDriver is a fine choice, but it's just an API and requires you to create and code up everything yourself.
For instance, here are some benefits of using an existing test automation framework:
- It saves time
- Able to get more code coverage
- Easy to maintain
- Code Readability
- Existing reusable function libraries or common functions
- Integrations to help with continuous testing
- Support for testing practices like test-driven development, behavior-driven development
- Makes it easier to debug tests
- Helps codify automation coding standards
Since many of these points were taken from my interview with the folks at Telerik you might be asking what is the Test Studio framework?
What is Telerik Automation Testing Framework?
I often get asked by automation engineers what are some of the best. NET-based automation tools for testing?
One product I highly recommend is Test Studio.
It's not open source, BUT, it has many benefits that I think justify its cost.
The Telerik Testing Framework is a .NET-based system of rules and libraries that helps you create automated tests from scratch. So it has an abstraction layer that .net developers and testers will be familiar with.
It's a proprietary technology that receives consistent commercial support and regular updates to support the creation of test cases based on the latest industry standards.
Also, Telerik Test Studio is a Windows-based software testing tool for web and desktop functional testing, software performance testing, load testing, and mobile application testing developed by Telerik.
You can create automation scripts to automate a wide range of manual testing use cases that aren't just browser-based tests. So if you need something more than a browser testing framework this makes it a great solution.
This tool also ships with a plugin for Visual Studio and a standalone apps that use the same repositories and file formats.
When I interviewed Ramiro Millan from Test Studio he said,
“in my humble opinion, there is no better testing framework for the C# developer that need to write automation test scripts than the Telerik testing framework. It's very complete. Its API is very similar to Microsoft, so it’s easy for developers to pick up.”
Besides not having the right automation testing tool for your team, there are many other possible issues need to be aware of.
How to Avoid Common Automation Failures
Some key areas that can also cause your automation testing framework efforts to fail are:
- Flakiness in tests
- Script maintenance
- Your team not being up to date with the best test automation practices
- Building up technical debt can cause your overall automation testing efforts to fail, as this would keep growing in your backlogs.
What can you do to avoid the above?
You can do a lot of things, including:
- Build the right coverage you need (focus on risk); too many automated tests sometimes are red flags that something is wrong with your automation approach.
- Avoid duplication and low-value tests
- Test workflows and not the features
- Know what developers already test on the unit and integration level
Something more you can do to enhance your automation to avoid flakiness and technical debts, according to Ramiro, is:
- It's a good practice to automate in-sprint so that you can automate tests together with the dev team.
- Run tests during code check-in instead of pre-release
- Get testing into your team's DOD (definition of done)
Another unpopular opinion:
Some teams can benefit from a “codeless” testing approach.
Another issue I see many teams encounter is choosing a framework just because it is “popular”
Many testers turn their nose up at low-code solutions.
But different frameworks will work better for different types of teams depending on what you are automating, the skill level of your engineers, etc.
Choose the tool that works for you and your needs.
Always make sure to run a proper proof of concept on any framework before adopting it.
I've spoken with many automation engineers on my test automation podcast that tell me using a low-code solution was the perfect fit for them.
So, If you are into codeless automation, Ramiro also mentioned that Telerik supports this as well:
“We do have a low code solution and almost no code, which allows us, non-technical folks, to be able to record, and work off their test case management system and create the test out.”
Automation is also needed in your CI/CD Pipelines
Are you using continuous integration or continuous delivery? If so, automation needs to be baked into your pipeline.
For example, automation helps with:
- It helps to plan as opposed to running ad hoc tests
- Only run smoke tests that are key to deployment
- Containerized in-sprint testing or as part of nightly runs
- Run scheduled headless tests remotely
- Run as part of the Azure pipelines or on Microsoft-hosted agents
Be sure to avoid the following practices:
- Releasing unknowns
- Seeing testing as a bottleneck
- Seeing testers as quality gatekeepers instead of information brokers
- Not understanding priorities
- Testing late in sprint + too long regression cycles
- Focusing too much on writing test cases
Managing the Automation Testing Process
Having a complete automation strategy and suite planning, design and management are also crucial.
This is another area where vendor tools can shine.
For example, Telerik offers support for tools like Team Foundation Server (Microsoft TFS) and Jira.
So, Test Studio has full support for TFS for the planning piece of automation.
In my experience, most teams that work in the Microsoft ecosystem are using some version of TFS.
Another bonus is that you also can submit bugs into Jira, another popular tool that many teams use.
Additionally, there is also a management dashboard that can show certain KPIs that management will love, like:
- Showcasing what's happening
- Displays success rates
- Shows what tests have passed and failed
Which capabilities are a must for your automated testing suite?
It is vital to have the correct type of capabilities in your team and tools and frameworks that you will utilize to automate tests.
If you are into C# and .NET Test Studio should be an option you check out. It is a blend of codeless and code-based test automation capabilities in an intuitive UI that enables testing anyone can perform, regardless of expertise, and delivers outstanding results for QAs, developers, and managers.
Automated software testing tools continue to evolve, systematically adding artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities that help tools autonomously create suitable test cases.
Remember that automation requires skills, long-term commitment, and investment.
Telerik’s Test Studio is a . NET-based test automation platform that can help you with any web or desktop-based functional testing.
Telerik's Ramiro says, “Our framework will help guide you. It provides you with all the steps, and it walks you through the process of designing those tests as well, from our perspective. It is for sure a robust and complete test framework if you're non-technical and using just the no code, low code.”