Efficiency through Test Automation

Efficiency through Test Automation

Automated tests can considerably reduce project costs and speed up development when they are used correctly, particularly in large software projects. Test automation is a powerful tool that safeguards quality in the software development process. It does this by checking that the process is running correctly and by detecting errors and weak points in the program code, as well as other problems or side effects.

The alternative is manual tests, though these become very time-consuming whenever regular development is required. The aim of test automation is therefore to prevent constant repetitions for the human developers and only to inform them of genuine “hits” (or in other words, failed tests). If in doubt, development can then be stopped or deployment can be prevented. The tests can be repeated at any time and designed for maximum efficiency to ensure that the software has achieved a specific level of quality before it is delivered.

The field of test automation is vast, and a scrum development team has many quality assurance tools and frameworks at its disposal. The Testron tool developed by ETECTURE makes it easier for developers to compare sites in different application scenarios using screenshots. This tool allows developers to check for loopholes or deviations in the browser display in an efficient way and in accordance with quality requirements.

CMP_1163-1280x1024_anonSome typical application scenarios for automatically generated screenshot comparisons include testing the side effects when the range of functions is expanded to incorporate new components or elements. This is a typical situation in agile web application development. The existing components and elements need to continue functioning correctly. For example, it is possible to check that work to improve the structure of the source code (refactoring) has not caused any undesirable side effects. Screenshots of previously developed components should therefore be identical when the TARGET (reference) and the new ACTUAL are compared.

Other examples are bug fixes on existing elements or modifications that provide support for any new devices on the market (e.g. new smartphones or tablets). In this case, the old reference (before the bug fix or development) would be expected to deviate from the new ACTUAL status in the screenshot comparisons. The deviations are then plain to see for a developer or a tester with appropriate experience.

Automatically generated screenshot comparisons are only one element alongside other tests (unit tests, load tests, exploratory tests), but they are still a fascinating and helpful addition — especially in an environment where there is so much happening in terms of CSS/JavaScript, CMS with application integration and end devices.