ABSTRACT

In this supersonic age, when IT products and solutions are churned around at breakneck speed, quality sometimes is sacrificed at the altar of time. But, the consumer is more aware and more demanding, and any flaws or bugs can cost the company its reputation and business. Quality assurance needs to keep pace and automation has helped speed up time to market. A QA automation framework ensures speed while also providing for customisation to suit each product being tested with minimum time to set up test cases. An IP-driven testing framework is not just a product but an approach that is flexible, agile and evolving, keeping pace with and anticipating technological developments.© Indium Software | www.indiumsoft.com

TEST AUTOMATION – MARKET OVERVIEW

Software solutions are becoming a critical and integral part of businesses on the one hand, and sometimes, the key driver too, as in the case of e-commerce and banking. Therefore, developers are under tremendous pressure to design and execute solutions and products that operate smoothly, cover all critical aspects of doing business, ensure security and are scalable.This has boosted the testing industry, which works hand in hand with software development, ensuring the solution achieves its goal and assuring quality. The demand is further fuelled by the spurt in mobile applications and cloud technology. Over the years, testing has evolved from being manual to integrating test automation for speed and accuracy. A Transparency Market Research report, “Test Automation Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016 – 2024,” indicates that the global test automation market, valued at US$ 12.91 Bn in 2015, will grow at a CAGR of 23.6 percent between 2016 and 2024, when it will reach US$ 85.84 Bn. Test automation includes functional testing, configuration testing, web services testing, acceptance testing, compatibility testing, integration testing, load testing, security testing, mobile testing, migration testing, platform testing, usability testing, network testing, and QA process design. Functional testing contributed the highest at 23.2 percent, and is expected to maintain its lead, while security testing is expected to be the fastest-growing.

TEST AUTOMATION TOOLS – EVOLUTION

Testing as a process requires several steps to be repeated. So, it was natural that these repetitive actions were automated to reduce the burden on the testers themselves, who could then focus on unique aspects that require test cases to be written afresh every time. The market started seeing tools that helped testers automate the process.

From Rigid Ones…
The first generation test automation tools were primarily record and playback, especially useful for regression testing and could run unattended for a few hours. Every test case was recorded as a series of actions with test data hard-coded into it and any small change in the application required the test case to be re-recorded, thereby making it complex to maintain the automated scripts.

Needless to say, this had severe limitations as it needed manual intervention for every change and required tools to catch up to the quick developments in software development technology. Testers realised that the tools were limiting instead of becoming true enablers and required coding skills. Every time they had to modify or write new scripts and dump the old ones, thus putting in double the effort to achieve the same result.

Limited Impact
Earlier, products had a lifecycle, and each version would be an upgrade till the old one was eased out to be replaced by a new one. But with time, products take completely new avatars and testing also needs to be able to cope with these changes. The test automation tools could only be modified after the changes in applications were introduced, and became irrelevant quickly after the next – unproductive like running a marathon standing in one place; and a drain on resources and investments. And to top it, such tools enable only 30-40 per cent automation of testing due to the need for constant manual monitoring and intervention.

Being Flexible
Indium, realising the limitation of test automation tools, opted to develop a framework, culled from its vast experience in testing products catering to a cross section of industries. Most applications have fundamentally the same structure and only features are added. Thus, there are many reusable features that do not require new scripts to be written every time, and reusable test cases are stored in a library that can recalled as and when needed. It is key/action driven, and does not need testers to know coding, making it easy for them to write scripts only for new features. It also has in-built intelligence and helps testers understand how much automation is needed for an app.
The application upgradation frequency is also increasing and as against a new build every two to three months, today sometimes testers have to handle 7-8 builds per day. Each build has to be compared and the differenced capture for comprehensive testing. Indium’s i-Accelerate IP-driven framework is intuitive and flexible, thus ensuring setting up of automated testing quickly and for accurate results.