To create a successful product, you must ensure it has no critical errors and bugs prior to public release. This is obviously the competence of quality assurance specialists, who usually have a few approaches to make the testing process effective and thorough.
The first approach is Manual testing, when each QA specialist performs various actions to compare the results with the expected behavior. Naturally, such an approach should be repeated every time a new version is released to be sure that the modifications have not affected the functionality and performance of the project in general. Although it allows us to be more precise in analyzing the software performance and to provide deeper feedback on bugs and issues, it’s also pretty time- and resource-consuming.
Automated testing is the alternate route. Instead of doing the same things after each minor update, the QA team can create or take advantage of existing automation tools that help to automate the tests and compare their results with the expected behavior.
It may seem like automation testing is a panacea for all kinds of projects, as it saves time and resources, and is more reliable at a run. But you need to consider the initial cost of automation before switching to it, as usually you are required to set up the automation tools and write scripts, which in turn require competent people and time. Also, automated testing is not a solution for early development stages when the product can be changed so dramatically that you will spend too many resources on the automation script maintenance.
Other than that, automated testing has only positive reasons to switch to and sometimes it’s the only adequate option available (like in continuous-integration projects with frequent build verification tests).
Here we perform automated tests for each online product or service that we launch and maintain. We have considered several significant reasons to make such a decision:
Manual work is appreciated in almost any project. However, in software testing automation means avoiding 100% human mistakes. This is especially true in the case of repeated execution of tests that require almost no skills from a person yet are a significant challenge for his/her attention.
Extended Test Coverage
In the case of online products, it is important to check the performance of a site under critical circumstances like the extreme number of users interacting with it. Automated testing tools allow us to simulate such tests and collect results quickly and efficiently.
Suitable for agile development
Remember we said automated testing is bad for early development stages? It’s true unless you take advantage of agile development, where continuous testing practices apply throughout the whole development process. More and more companies are switching to Agile nowadays, which makes automated testing more and more popular among dev teams.
Every project usually has time constraints, and you often need to decide which tests are less prioritized and should be performed only after the deadline. Tests performed by automation tools are done much faster than manual ones, thus more bugs and issues can be found and fixed prior to the product release (or the next product development stage).
Test automation is more profitable in the long run and brings a higher ROI (return on investment) than manual testing. Created once, automation scripts and tests can be reused and rerun for an infinite number of times and maintaining them usually requires almost no time and resources.