Automation Testing

How to Create a Test Automation Framework

By Test Guild
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automation framework best practices with Titus

Test automation is an essential part of modern software development. This helps improve software quality by detecting defects early in the development process.

However, building a test automation framework can be daunting, especially for those new to automation. Learning from experts who have successfully created robust automation frameworks is vital.

To simplify things, Titus Fortner has discussed in this episode the following:

  • What is a test framework
  • How to craft a test automation framework
  • Understand test automation issues that smart people disagree with

So, read on!

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What is a Test Framework?

Are you tired of the confusing jargon surrounding test frameworks? Let’s clear things up for you.

Contrary to popular usage, a test framework is much more than just the test runner. In fact, it’s a complete package of essential elements for ensuring a maintainable test suite.

Simply put, a testing framework is a structured approach to software testing. The framework typically includes various tools and libraries that are used to write and execute automated tests. This helps reduce manual effort and ensures consistent and reliable test results.

How to Use Selenium Project in Test Automation

Is there a way to automate tests for your software project? If so, then Selenium might be the perfect solution for you. This tool is a popular open-source test automation framework used by tech companies.

If you’re a manual tester looking to dive into the world of Selenium, you may wonder which of their two products is right for you.

Let’s break it down.

Selenium IDE

With the latest version of Selenium IDE (Chrome and Firefox extensions), you can now record your interactions with websites and effortlessly generate and maintain automated tests without the hassle of manually stepping through repetitive tasks. The best part? It's loaded with awesome features such as:

  • Easy recording and playing back of tests on Firefox and Chrome.
  • Simple organization of tests into suites for smooth management.
  • Quick and easy saving and loading of scripts for future playback.
  • Support for Selenium 3 to ensure top-notch functionality.

With Selenium IDE, you can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Fear not! A team is hard at work developing a new implementation supported by the Selenium Project to provide a more reliable solution. While the process may be time-consuming, getting it right for testers and developers alike is essential. 

I see this more as a prototyping exploratory testing tool used to get to know your application under test. Not really for full-blown test automation efforts.

For that, you should look to Selenium Webdriver directly.

Selenium WebDriver

Selenium WebDriver is an API l in the Selenium suite that allows you to automate web browsers for testing purposes. Unlike Selenium IDE, which is a record and playback tool, Selenium WebDriver provides a programming interface. This enables you to write tests in various programming languages like Java, Python, C#, and more.

Moreover, WebDriver supports multiple browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer. You can also simulate user interactions such as clicking links, filling out forms, scrolling, and more.

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Key Components for Developing a Successful Test Automation Framework

Factors on how to create a test automation framework include:

Code libraries

Code libraries provide ready-made code snippets, which can be reused while writing automated test scripts afterward. Here are some things to consider:

  • Wrappers and helpers are code libraries for writing tests in a higher-level interface. These libraries are also for grouping actions and handling pre and post-conditions.
  • In Ruby, open-source add-on libraries like Watir and Capybara improve interactions with elements within the application code.
  • Watir provides higher-level handling for frames and interacting with windows by URL, title, or index.
  • Elements are lazily loaded and initialized by a specific element type to ensure their attributes and actions are encapsulated.
  • Unique elements can be found without hard-to-read CSS or Xpath.
  • With abstractions, users are not required to understand the mechanics of Selenium commands directly. These abstractions make it easier for experienced developers to write tests faster.

Since these libraries are often open source, developers don’t have to worry about copyright issues. This makes it easy for teams to integrate new features without rewriting existing code or reinventing the wheel.

Data modeling

Test data is critical in ensuring comprehensive test coverage and accurate test results. Data modeling is handling the data that represent objects in the UI. By incorporating data modeling into your own testing test automation frameworks and efforts, you can create a more efficient and effective testing process.

There are three approaches for using a data-driven framework which include:

  • Grab and Hope. It can be frustrating to rely on existing reservations and hope they’re in a state suitable for your testing frameworks. While there are always unknowns in testing, we recommend grabbing that first reservation and giving it your best shot.
  • Fixtures. When it comes to software testing, Fixtures are a convenient option at first. But beware – relying on pre-populated data can lead to major headaches down the line. Tests that change the state of something else can easily result in false failures that are difficult to reproduce.
  • Just in Time. It’s a game-changer when it comes to data creation. Simply put, it’s about creating the data you need precisely when and for your specific purposes. Rather than wasting time on maintenance, initially invest a little extra time to create the perfect user, reservation, or address object.

By using testing scenarios and effectively modeling data, you can create realistic test scenarios representative of the actual usage of the application. This helps to identify defects and issues earlier in the development cycle.

Configuration data

Are you familiar with configuration data? It’s a special subset of data that requires a unique approach. If you use the Watir model, then you’ll know that configuration data should be kept together. However, unlike other models, it often needs to be configured through an environment variable in your CI.

This is where the magic happens – with a config model class, you can easily overwrite the default data with environment variables—wondering why this is useful. Your defaults can be adjusted depending on your CI setup or even if you’re working on your local desktop.

And that’s not all – this model can even delve into gamble files to provide more context. Platforms like Initialization and Cleanup, and Cucumber can be helpful.

Initialization and Cleanup are crucial steps in the testing process, where configurations are loaded, and sessions are initialized and closed. With MUnit, JUnit, RSpec, TestNG, and Karma tools, there are various ways to get this done. 

On a side note, Cucumber is not a testing tool but rather a tool for facilitating a collaboration process. It can also be useful when companies are going through a process overhaul. However, adopting this tool will only solve some problems with working with developers or managers.

Page objects

When it comes to coding, one aspect always causes disagreements: combining. While some people like combining objects and methods, this can make things more confusing.

For example, initializing a login page, going to a new address, and submitting a form all in one line may seem like a good idea. But it can actually cause a loss of insight into what page you’re on. Instead, splitting these tasks into new lines and initializing the next object separately is just as descriptive.

Remember, clarity is key in coding!

Additionally, by establishing a go-to method for reaching a page, you can save yourself loads of time when it comes to leveraging alternate logins or inputs. Plus, updating the code in one place means you can adjust the behavior of multiple tests in one go.

API usage

Have you ever struggled with complicated UI testing code?

With the new UI to API Gem, testing your user interface through APIs has never been easier. By setting up a base URL and defining endpoints, this Gem simplifies the entire process.

In such a way, it offers flexibility in terms of setting headers and adding methods. Also, it saves you time by avoiding the need to load the browser to initialize and verify your tests. 

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Common Issues Occur in Test Automation

Most test automation engineers cited these certain issues that occur while creating an automation framework. 


When it comes to retries, opinions can get heated. But let’s give it to you straight: it’s usually not the best idea.

Sure, there are situations where you have no choice but to give continuous testing another go. But relying on retries can lead to all sorts of real bugs that are difficult to track down. Plus, even if you do need to retry, there’s always the risk of getting a different result each time. 

So while there may be exceptions, minimizing false failures should always be a top priority.

When it comes to retries in your test suite, it all depends on your current situation. Are you constantly experiencing unreliable results in a test script? If so, it might be good to consider retrying.

But don’t let this become your go-to solution to develop automated testing. Consider logging your failures and identifying consistently flaky tests so you can prioritize fixing them instead of relying on retries. You’ll create a more reliable and efficient testing process in the long run.

Choosing the type of test

When creating a test, you have two options: imperative and declarative. The first one involves specifying every little detail, while the second one focuses on the bigger picture and context. It’s all about what versus how.

Let’s take an example: imperative code often uses the browser directly and lists every action and piece of data. However, declarative statements create the exact data with meaningful context. This approach is crucial to make sure your data is understood and valid. So next time you create a test, consider using a declarative approach for clearer and more meaningful results.

When you create data and submit it via a form, there’s often an expectation of what the error response will be. To make sure that expectations are being met, page objects can help to abstract away coding specifics from business requirements.

Perceive testing as a series of user flows

To truly understand what an end-to-end test entails, it’s important to differentiate between a user flow test and a dome-to-database test. 

Automation isn’t just a tool for speed and efficiency – it’s a gateway to innovation. By freeing up your team from the monotonous tasks of manual testing, automation opens up a new way to approach testing.

Here are ways you can do this:

  • Use a process of 19 actions to test a basic address book site.
  • Break tests into smaller pieces to make them autonomous and faster to execute.
  • Unit tests may suffice for testing links. HTTP clients can get link information without a browser.

Wrap up

Taking the time to develop test automation frameworks are vital. Following this guide creates a robust, well-structured, and reliable test execution framework.

Moving towards test automation equates to improved software product releases. Of course, putting in the time takes patience and research, but the rewards will certainly pay off in the end!

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