What is Automated Testing?

Posted Mar 4, 2021

Multiple screens of code

This article helps you understand what automated testing is, how to implement it, and why it will assist your team in being successful.

It is no longer enough for companies to have an online presence; they need a great one. While having a great online presence seems like an obvious part of a good business strategy, many companies are still not sure where to begin with creating this kind of experience. To create a great online presence, having a great testing organization is a necessity. This typically requires companies to move from manual to automated testing. Many organizations began their application testing journeys with solely manual testing. Manual testing is exactly as it sounds- it is a human driven process of the tester walking through the tests steps manually. While this kind of testing is still utilized and can be a good place to start for newer testers, more seasoned testers and organizations have made the move to fully automated testing processes over the last ten years for a multitude of reasons. 

What is automated testing?

Automated testing is a testing technique that uses commands that control a browser automation framework to execute a test case. In terms of the different types of testing tools, there are many different options available depending on the team's needs. 

One of the most popular automated testing tools is Selenium. Selenium is one of the original testing tools that was created in 2004 and has now become an open source tool that is known across the testing community. While many testing organizations who are looking to move to automated testing for their web applications will gravitate towards Selenium because it is open source and robust, Selenium is not the only option available anymore. 

What are the kinds of automated testing?

In the last few years, different automated testing tools have entered the market. Other than Selenium, there are Javascript specific automation testing tools that have been developed. The big players in the JavaScript automated testing space are Cypress, Playwright, TestCafe, Webdriver.io, Puppeteer. Any team that  wants to move from solely manual to an automated testing framework is going to find success with any of these frameworks, it is all about picking the right option for the team's experience level and making sure their goals with moving to automation are clear.

Other than the different kinds of frameworks for automated testing, there are also options for different kinds of testing under the automation testing umbrella. Some of these main forms of automated testing are code analysis, unit tests, integration tests, and automated acceptance testing. 

  • Code Analysis: These tests are run to look for things like security flaws, check style and form, and are run when a developer checks the code. There is not much test writing to do with these automated tests.

  • Unit Tests: Unit tests are when you have automated an entire test suite. These are designed to test a single function or unit of the operation in isolation. They typically run on a build server.

  • Integration Tests: Integration tests, also known as end-to-end tests, are  tests involved with external dependencies. 

  • Automated Acceptance Testing: Similar to behavior driven development (BDD) testing, it runs to determine  if the feature delivers what’s been agreed upon

How will automated testing improve your products? 

There are many positive changes that organizations can expect when they move from manual testing to automated testing - saving both time and money. The first place companies can expect to see improvements is in the development organization. By automating their testing, developers can focus greater attention on the actual application functions rather than the manual process of testing their applications. Writing automated test scripts and using one of the previously mentioned automated testing tools, developers spend less time testing and less time finding problems with their code, so their process is more efficient and the speed to market with features and products is faster.

Other than catching defects in the code earlier and writing better quality scripts, automated testing also allows companies to scale faster and execute larger numbers of tests across different operating systems and devices. As companies grow and build more automated scripts, and even integrate them into a CI/CD tool to  kick off the tests without human involvement, time can significantly be cut down on testing, identifying bugs and releasing products with confidence.

What are the benefits of automated testing?

On top of saving time and money within the organization, finding these bugs and creating better quality code creates better applications and reduces risk. These better applications have been tested well and are providing a great digital experience for your users.Having this kind of digital confidence in the applications prior to deployment is a huge plus for companies. Digital confidence is increasingly important for companies with any kind of online presence. Whether they are web applications, mobile applications, hybrid, it is important to have an experience that is both delightful and consistent for customers. Achieving digital confidence as a company will create more consistent and lasting customers and users, which will in turn assist the company overall. 

Best practices for automated testing 

After understanding what exactly automated testing is and why it is used, it is important to take an inventory of what exactly are the best practices for automated testing. Overall there a few main things to remember when beginning to make the move to automated testing: 

  • Choose the right test automation framework for your needs: There are many options, so take the time to decide which covers your use cases.  An automated testing tool such as Cypress, Playwright, TestCafe, Webdriver.io, Puppeteer, and Selenium will enable your team to become fully automated throughout your CICD pipeline. 

  • Use manual testing when necessary: Manual testing is an important part of the testing process as well. Even if your team moves completely to automated testing, manual is still something you might need for debugging purposes. 

  • Emphasize a culture of digital confidence: When thinking about automating your testing process, a greater responsibility as a company is to think about creating a culture of digital confidence. Acknowledging the need for digital confidence as a company is important as a best practice for automated testing because it creates an end goal for the application of a great user experience. 

Now that your team understands what automated testing is, how to implement it, and why it will assist your team in being successful, there are plenty of resources to explore. Check out Sauce Labs’ content on automated testing frameworks to learn more about how to optimize your testing process and achieve digital confidence. 

Written by

Abigail Kurtzman