The concept of automating software testing to simplify quality assurance (QA) first appeared in the 1980s. But it was not until 2019 that organizations started leveraging test automation to transform manual software testing and QA processes. Today, test automation has become the new industry norm and is enabling organizations to accelerate time to market, reduce costs and strengthen release quality. Functional testing is a vital aspect of the QA process, and its automation allows organizations to increase productivity and attain a competitive advantage.
What is functional testing?
As the name implies, functional testing refers to verification that the software or application is working in accordance with functional requirements or specifications shared by the clients. Each and every function is tested against a particular set of inputs and the output is verified against functional requirements. The testing tools and platforms used in functional test automation automate user interface (UI), UI form submission, database queries, API calls, client/server communication, and more.
Black box testing methods are incorporated to validate the functionality of an application. Those methods confirm the application is easy to navigate and doesn’t contain any bugs.
Benefits of automating functional testing
Functional testing automation offers many benefits to different organizations. One benefit is the shorter development release cycle, which can give businesses a competitive edge. The process also ensures that the application is bug-free and ready to be released.
Here are a few additional benefits for organizations when they automate functional testing:
- Eliminates monotonous tasks: Manual users must perform all steps of various functional tests themselves, which can be a time-intensive and error-prone affair. However, when automated correctly, the functions of an application can be tested faster and much more reliably.
- Injects speed: It’s not feasible for testers to manually check the complete software again every time someone makes a small change. Automated functional testing reduces the test cycle time for delivery of a quality product at the end.
- Improves accuracy: Various test scripts are developed within functional test automation to validate several use cases. Those scripts automatically run every function as desired according to a certain set of inputs. The results are then analyzed to understand whether the application is performing as expected or not. That optimizes application performance and meets the end user’s requirements.
- Expands test coverage via data-driven functional tests: Automating functional testing allows testers to distribute test data (input, expected output, etc.) across a range of operating systems and platform combinations and test the functions at a faster rate.
- Reduces the possibility of human errors: Automation largely mitigates the chances of errors and bugs passing undetected into production.
Functional test automation increases overall software quality and development efficiency. Teams can develop more robust, reliable, scalable, and adaptable applications as a result.
Best practices for functional test automation
It is important to incorporate a few standard practices to get the most out of functional test automation, attain the highest test coverage and decrease testing time.
- Isolate test environment: Keep the testing environment separate from other applications to avoid unnecessary load time and get accurate test results.
- Use compatible test automation tools: Get the best results from a test automation strategy by choosing an automation tool that matches your requirements and integrates with the existing applications and tools an organization is using.
- Update test tools: Occasionally test scripts that were created on an older version of a testing tool will not be compatible with a new version. Make sure that both the script and the latest version of the testing tool are compatible.
- Back up the present configuration: Running an automated test tool can be tricky at first. Create a backup before running the test automation tool to secure the present configuration of an existing system.
- Uninstall non-essential software: It is always advised that the testing environment be kept as clean as possible. Remove all non-essential software installations inside the test environment so the test automation tool functions properly and offers “quality at speed.”
- Don’t opt for automation of every use case: Testers need to understand that not every test case can be automated. Attempt automation in parts and do feasibility testing before automating the complete testing process.
- Automate testing of recurring functions: Some functions are more important to test than others but are repetitive too. Functional test automation is the best way to test those tasks. One such example is the login process. It can be tough to perform manually every time. But it can be easily automated.
- Define key performance indicators: Measure the performance of your test automation against the intended goals. Measure metrics such as response time for each request, throughput, requests answered per second, and efficiency of resources. Establish that the results are acceptable to the end-users.
- Perform smoke and sanity tests: Perform smoke and sanity tests to identify high-risk areas before moving to functional testing. Smoke testing is done once the build is provided by the developers to verify if it is testable or not. The test is performed by both the developers and the testers.
- Start small: Double-check that functional test automation works perfectly for limited users before you start testing the functionality of an application for multiple users.
Get started with best practices for functional test automation
Organizations seeking to deliver quality products on time are increasingly opting for functional test automation. There is no doubt that functional test automation helps enhance customer satisfaction results. It achieves greater ROI and gains a better market standing with higher-quality products. Implementing such tried and tested practices for functional test automation can help you increase productivity and ensure timely deliveries.
About the author: Ajay Kaul is a visionary leader and trendsetter. As managing partner of AgreeYa Solutions, he has been instrumental in leading the company through solid growth and international expansion for the past 20 years. Kaul has three decades of experience building powerful and innovative solutions for businesses across various industries and verticals. His expertise and knowledge span enterprise sales management, marketing and strategy, global delivery, and mergers and acquisitions. Follow AgreeYa on social media @agreeyasolutions.