Software testing can either be manual or automated, depending on the nature of the test case. What you need to understand is that only certain types of test cases can be automated. Before you start the testing process, you need to review all available test cases and identify which processes need to be automated.
There are very major differences between automated and manual testing. In terms of test coverage, you can cover more test cases with automated testing than when using the manual testing approach. For manual testing, scripts are written manually by testers, for automated testing, on the other hand, different automation testing tools are used to create and automate test scripts and test cases. This means that the number of errors you can encounter in automated testing is less than when using the manual approach. You can achieve a faster release of software updates with automated testing than when using the manual approach. This is because detecting and correcting defects with a manual approach takes time.
There are several types of test cases that can be automated, and they include.
Tests with several combinations
In every software testing, there are test cases that involve several configurations or combinations. The best way to avoid wasting time and human errors is to use automation tools created specifically for carrying out these test cases.
For instance, imagine you are dealing with an application that connects to different hardware and has to verify the hardware and software configurations that are connected to it!
In this case, you will have to store the expected parameters either on an XML file or the database and then connect the device to compare the stored parameters with the actual values stored on the device.
Data-driven tests cases
There are software with multiple data sets that require several data entries, like the username and password. Others will require you to fill up forms with multiple data variations. It can be very challenging to carry out these processes manually, and if you do, you will commit many costly errors.
In addition, it’s very tiresome to carry out data-driven test cases. That is why it’s advisable to automate data-driven test cases. Maybe, you are testing different roles with disparate permissions, and each role you are testing has a different set of permissions. It will take a lot of time to log in and test the permissions manually. This could be running test cases as part of the smoke testing, which happens frequently.
In other cases, you may be testing an application that monitors different parameters based on threshold and raises an alert if something is wrong. Imagine if something is wrong and the alarm is raised! You will be forced to test alerts for each parameter, which can take time.
Test cases with many database updates
If the test cases you are to work on have multiple data entries, then it’s better to use automation tools. For instance, imagine dealing with a test case where you only have one credential to log in, but you want to test disparate permissions!
For this case, it’s better to change permissions for the role and log in with the same credentials. And this can take a lot of time and resources if you do it manually. Using automation tools, you will easily test the different roles with many database updates. You only need to write an automation script to change the permissions first, log in and then execute the test cases.
Complex test cases and critical tests
There are test cases that require a very high level of preparation. These test cases can be done effectively with the use of automation tools. For instance, you must first set up authentication when testing a CRM application if you want to hit the CRM API.
You may also need to hit other APIs before you test the particular CRM API. It takes a lot of time as the human ability to test different test cases simultaneously for long hours is limited.
Sometimes, you may need to perform critical tests for the features and functionalities used in the automation processes. Automation tools ensure that the test environment is always set up and running to achieve great results whenever you need them.
How to decide which test case to automate
As stated in the first part, not all tests can be automated. Then, how do you decide which type of test cases to automate? Too often, testers rush to automate most test cases in their software development life cycle. And this comes back to haunt them when they face many problems.
You need to consider several factors when you are about to automate the testing process. Repetitive test cases should be automated to save time and speed up the software release cycle. You should also check the requirements of the test cases and assess the risk associated with carrying out the testing manually. If the risk is too high, then you can opt to automate the testing. You can consider automating the whole process when the test is subject to human error and has significant downtime between steps.