How to Get Started with Functional Test Automation?

By: answerout


The process of the software development life cycle includes the critical step of QA testing. Consequently, having the best and most potent automation product on the market is crucial. The most fantastic option is an automation solution that enables you to completely automate not just the creation of automated tests but also the whole QA testing process. In this situation, the automation tool serves as the QA tester's helper. Such tools can carry out almost all QA testing tasks, that includes reviewing the findings, running scheduled automated tests, sending reports to various issue-tracking systems, and much more. In such a process, such tools can do functional automation testing. This type of testing involves examining how the program interacts with the rest of the system, users, and other components. 

Well, to know more about functional testing, keep reading this blog. 

Functional testing: What Is It?

A vital, crucial, or pivotal, whatever you want to call it, functional testing is that phase of the software development process that evaluates the performance of software builds, mobile applications, and other online applications. It entails testing every feature of a program to ensure that, at a fundamental level, they perform as intended.

Let's be honest, even the best programs sometimes fail. Functional testing thus also verifies that the correct error message appears in response to the problem in question when anything does go wrong. This guarantees the usability of the program.

The user interface, security features application database, all APIs (application programming interfaces), client-server connections, and any other crucial parts of the application are a few examples of functions that are often evaluated. Functional testing focuses on ensuring that each component of a piece of software functions adequately. Investing in thorough functional testing might be the difference between generating a profit and a loss since it is far less expensive to address bugs before release than after.

Functional Testing Types

Each type of functional testing has a unique purpose, yet they are also all related in some way. That is because they're all interdependent; for instance, you can't start alpha testing without first doing smoke tests. However, a smoke test by itself won't identify the same flaws as alpha testing would.

A build or piece of software must first pass each of the six different kinds of tests before it can be said to be completely functioning. The six forms of functional testing are as follows.

  • Smoke testing

The testing procedure often starts with a smoke test. It entails testing the system, app, or build to determine whether it can function without abruptly crashing in order to verify for fundamental stability and usability. Smoke testing verifies the authenticity of the build at the most fundamental level. The phrase "smoke testing" was first used in the construction sector to refer to tests carried out on water pipelines to look for leaks. In essence, smoke is introduced into the pipes to check whether it escapes anywhere, revealing leaks. The main concept behind software smoke testing is to examine a fresh build for defects that would render it useless.

As a consequence, smoke tests serve as a prerequisite for other kinds of testing. They ensure that your build can execute in the first place, making it easy to search for lesser errors. Smoke testing is often continuous since it's a good idea to verify fundamental functioning with each new release. Smoke tests may be automated to save even more time, and they are, fortunately, fast and simple to do.

  • Regression Testing

Regression testing's primary objective is to identify and draw attention to flaws. Such flaws or bugs as you may call in tech language, are unintentionally incorporated into the build. Regression testing thus entails searching for faults that were not at all expected in the initial design. This type of testing is also used to ensure that any issues fixed in earlier builds of the build don't reappear once fresh improvements are made. This testing ensures that issues that were resolved in earlier versions of the software remain fixed whenever an upgrade to the current product is performed.

Regression testing also seeks to prevent new code alterations from adversely impacting an app's operational features. The term comes from the fact that it prevents the app's functionality from degrading. The primary goal of this kind of testing is to reduce the possibility that serious flaws will take control and make the product challenging to use.

The earliest that you can detect bugs is "immediately after smoke testing." Regression testing will be included here in the test cycle, guaranteeing that your teams may begin finding defects as soon as your program is usable.

  • Integration Testing

Integration testing is intended to ensure that every module inside a program is operating as it should. Additionally, each module (APIs, web services, databases, etc.) should be able to be seamlessly incorporated into the software program as a whole without introducing any new issues. When placed together with a number of other components, a component may not integrate smoothly even if it may function properly on its own. This is exactly what integration testing attempts to avoid.

As you would expect, this step of testing addresses the program as a complete system rather than focusing just on its component parts. Ensuring that software functions as a cohesive whole rather than as a haphazard collection of functionality is a wonderful method to assure its quality.

Problems with UI operations, API calls (which must subsequently undergo further API testing), operational time, data formats, and system database access are often discovered during this stage of testing.

  • Unit Testing

When all of your integration testing is finished, it is time to go to the next phase. Instead of adopting the holistic approach of the previous stage, this is known as unit testing, and its goal is to test for functionality in each unit inside an app. Even though it is often the last stage in the testing process, developers generally do unit testing themselves. The developers will flag elements that can create issues at this level. Therefore, unit testing complements and supports many kinds of functional tests. Automating testing at this point is very simple. Only the test scripts and the amount of test cases need to be written by developers; the rest will be handled by the software.

  • Beta and Alpha Testing

Sequentially speaking, alpha and beta testing come after other types of functional testing. Although they are sometimes combined, alpha and beta testing are truly different in a few significant ways. We are going to examine exactly how each of them functions. Alpha testing will be the first step. It is a sort of acceptability testing that includes employing internal team members as testers and occurs prior to any beta tests.

Because developers are not permitted to beta test their own software, alpha testers are not engaged in the development of the product. Alpha testers are familiar with the fundamentals of the project they are helping to test, nevertheless.

Developers may avoid serious flaws from being discovered by external end users by conducting alpha testing on internal team members from the same development organization. Additionally, they may find and resolve such issues before future clients encounter them, saving them the hassle of submitting bug reports and making it simpler for developers to resolve the issues.

Beta testing, on the other hand, uses a limited number of outside people to test the product and provide their input. Beta testers may comment on the app's functionality, point out errors and defects, and/or provide suggestions for enhancements. An app goes through beta testing before being officially released to the public. The beta testers are a trustworthy source for confirming if the software's user interface (UI) is intuitive since, prior to utilizing the product, they have no internal knowledge of it. Additionally, they may come from just about any particular population, allowing beta testing to help engineers diversify software testing.

  • User Acceptance Testing

Finally, we come to the last phase of functional testing, and that is user acceptability testing. This kind of testing aims to determine if the product can withstand frequent usage and user activity in actual circumstances. User acceptability testing must come at the conclusion of the testing framework and can only take place after the successful completion of all the other tests. This is so that the software may be made available to a large, outside group of testers at this round. This kind of testing demonstrates to developers if their software is functioning in ways that are appropriate for the targeted user base or target audience – in a realistic setting.

It is an excellent technique to determine if the UI is simple for big audiences as well as whether the chosen consumers are pleased with the goods they receive. This stage of testing doesn't only concentrate on looking for bugs because of that. The occasional, elusive problem that wouldn't surface in any other testing stages would nonetheless eventually be found by some consumers, notwithstanding the above. This indicates that even if automated systems won't be able to reproduce customer-experienced errors, this phase is still a valuable point of bug discovery (albeit not as a primary goal).

Continuous quality cloud like LambdaTest offers cloud-based Selenium Grid to help you in automating functional testing of your web application across 3000+ real browsers and OS. Moreover, it offers you a wide range of capabilities, including live interactive testing, video recording, and screenshot.

How can functional test automation succeed in the world of agile development?

The test automation tool plays a grave role in the success of functional test automation. Therefore, this instrument or tool, as you may call, should be adopted only after carefully considering the demands in both the short and long terms. The following details should help you plan your approach:

  • Choose whether to create a framework from scratch or utilize an existing test automation framework

Given the variety of solutions available for software test automation in the market, it is always advisable that you explore them first and decide to design your tool from scratch in the event that you are certain your application requires such an internal framework.

  • It can be necessary to create an automation framework from scratch 

The application being tested makes use of a technology for which none of the tools on the market are capable of supporting testing. It will be more advantageous to create a framework from scratch than to purchase an already made tool.

  • The ease with which new test cases may be created

In today's environment, when deployments and software development go at rapid pace, time is also an investment. Selecting a framework that can be quickly and readily learned is a wise investment.

  • It should be simple to generate, amend, and manage the automated test cases

The application will undergo a number of modifications while it is being built in an Agile environment in response to customer input. It is necessary to have an automation framework or tool that makes it simple to create, amend, and maintain tests if you want to stay up with all the changes. The technology in use should also allow for the reuse and regrouping of previously prepared test steps. Since the development of AI, there are technologies that can automatically maintain test cases that fail as a result of modifications to the program.

  • The test cases developed using the framework for test automation should be simple to understand.

Make sure that whichever framework you use, the tests developed are simple to comprehend since it is uncertain if the same tester will stay with you throughout the product's lifecycle and is quite improbable. Since they will eventually need to be revised by someone who did not write them, the tests need to be simple. The market now offers a variety of solutions that automate test cases using plain English test steps, flowcharts, or screenshots. Choose the one that best satisfies your needs.

  • Simple to debug

The tool should have sufficient functionality to allow testers to troubleshoot and identify the root cause of failure if any of the automated test cases fail. Finding out why the test case failed might take a lot of time if the tool does not make debugging simple. 

  • Support for various test data types

Various Test Data Types may be required for various Test Case Types. Hardcoded, JSON, CSV, XML, or any other format may be used sometimes. Make that the application you are using can pass test data in the necessary format.

  • Support for API testing

Many products now rely on APIs for the development of their capabilities. The automation testing framework or the functional testing tool you want to employ should enable the automation of these if your product also leverages APIs.

  • Support for visual testing

There may sometimes be a requirement to visually test an application, such as for the presence or absence of text or components. The tool should be capable of supporting either carrying out such testing or integrating with another tool that enables testing the application visually.

Today, apps are being launched on a variety of platforms, including laptops, desktops, and mobile devices. The ability to conduct tests against all necessary settings is essential. Before selecting an automation tool, it is necessary to confirm that the tool supports testing on all required environments for all supported devices and screen sizes.

  • Parallel execution of the test cases.

When there are fewer test cases to execute, it does not take long, and parallel execution support is insignificant. Though, when more automated test cases are added, which will ultimately happen, it becomes more imperative. Automated test case execution may become rather laborious without parallel execution, which might lead to unnecessarily long delays in feedback.

  • Ability to host test cases in the cloud

Nowadays, the majority of organizations spend little in on-premise infrastructure and leverage cloud infrastructure for all of their development and testing requirements. Therefore, a technology that allows enables testers to save their test cases in the cloud and execute them there directly may be quite useful.

  • Support.

Regardless of the tool or framework you use, there will always be instances when you require outside assistance. To ensure that your functional test automation progress continues unhindered in such circumstances, specific tool support becomes crucial.

Conclusion

Testers prefer to utilize an automated functional testing tool to carry out testing fast, while it may also be done manually. It might be difficult to choose one instrument among the many that are offered on the market.

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