Gone are the days when QA teams relied solely on manual techniques for testing software products. Manual methods of software testing have always often been lengthy and cumbersome to be executed. Owing to the complexities of manual processes, QA and development teams have shifted to automated processes in order to improve the testing cycles and ensure delivering stellar user experiences.
These testing frameworks are a vital part of any entire testing process that help enterprises reduce maintenance costs while ensuring a higher ROI. This article walks through the most important types of frameworks leveraged today and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
What is a test automation framework?
A test automation framework consists of tools, guidelines, resources, and rules that are required to automate testing workflow. This provides multiple advantages that assist in the efficient development, implementation, and monitoring of the test scripts. Further, the test automation framework offers the crucial information and resources that teams require to execute the test cases in one place.
What are the various components of the test automation framework?
Following are some of the critical components in the test automation framework.
- API: An API necessarily needs to be present for the framework to work, which can be a RestAssured API, Driver API, Selenium, WinApp, or any other API.
- Efficient libraries: To ensure the success of an automation framework, it is important to compile and arrange test cases suitably. For this, one requires efficient libraries to store and manage the test cases seamlessly. It is vital to compile libraries of reusable test steps of the basic utilities that can be leveraged as the foundation of automated test scripts.
- Test data management: Test data can be efficiently stored in a separate file so that to modify it, one need not modify the script. All that is required is to access the data and modify it accordingly. Additionally, there must be a robust library that can be leveraged to search across the voluminous production data to find out the one that is suitable for testing.
- Testing tool: To run a test automation framework, teams require an array of tools for executing different functionalities. Functionalities like traffic generation, defect tracking, requirement analysis, and others require separate tools. Additionally, today there has been an exponential rise in tools for mobile automated testing in an attempt to cater to the rising number of mobile device consumers. With the increased smartphone penetration and the need to deliver seamless mobile experiences, teams must ensure adopting the right testing framework.
The primary types of test automation framework
1. Module-based testing framework
This framework is based on a prominent OOPs concept known as 'abstraction.' The whole application under test is split by the framework into several numbers of isolated and logical modules where for each module, a separate and independent test script is created. These scripts can be combined together to build a larger script constituting more than one single module.
- Easy scope of automation owing to the high degree of modularization
- Easy and cost-efficient maintenance
- Ample scalability and flexibility
- Easy accommodation of implementation changes, as in this framework, when the implementation changes are made to one part of the app, that part of the app, which is represented by the specific script, needs to be fixed.
- While the test scripts are implemented for each module separately, the test data is embedded into the scripts.
2. Library Architecture Testing Framework
The Library Architecture Testing Framework is based on the module-based framework with multiple functionality and feature-rich benefits. The application under test, in this case, is divided into scripts and segregated into different functions that can be utilized by the other parts of the apps too. Therefore, a common library is created that comprises common functions for the app. These libraries can be called from the scripts as and when required.
- Easy usability of common features by different test scripts efficiently across the framework.
- Easy reusability
- A high degree of modularization, leading to scalability and cost-efficient maintenance
- As test data is hard coded into the script, any alterations to the data require changes to the scripts.
- Requires technical expertise to write and analyze common functions within test scripts
- Substantial time consumption for developing the test scripts
- Increased complexity due to the introduction of libraries
3. Data-driven framework
The data-driven test automation framework primarily focuses on separating test scripts logic and test data from each other. When any application is tested and automated, there might be scenarios where similar functionalities are tested multiple times with different sets of input data. In these cases, one cannot integrate the test data into the script. The test data is required to be retained in specific external databases that are outside the test scripts.
The test script logic and data are delineated by the user from each other, which can be stored by the user in external databases, including ODBC repositories, text files, CSV files, excel files, and others.
- The test script code is not hindered by the changes in the data matrix
- Maintainability and flexibility are improved
- The test data values can be easily modified by executing a single scenario
- QA teams can save significant time by executing tests faster
- Requires greater programming language for creating the test scripts
- Complex processes for reading mechanisms and test data sources
Also read: Saving Test Data to Make Debugging Easier
4. Keyword-driven framework
In the case of a keyword-driven framework, every function of the app needs to be laid out in a table with an array of instructions in consecutive order for every test that is to be run. In this framework, the keywords are stored in an external data table, making these independent.
- Requires minimal scripting knowledge.
- Improved reusability of code; a single keyword can be used across multiple test scripts
- Test scripts can be developed independent of the app being tested
- High cost of setting up the framework.
- Complex and time-consuming as this framework requires the keywords to be defined and the object/repositories to be set up.
- Time-consuming processes as the keywords have to be defined, and the object repositories/libraries should be set up.
- Deployment requires good test automation skills.
- Keywords should be maintained when scaling a test operation.
5. Hybrid Testing Framework
A Hybrid Test Automation Framework is a combination of one or more test automation frameworks that aims to garner the benefits of the other frameworks and yield the best possible test results.
Importance of test automation amidst the global recession
The recent economic downturn has severely impacted enterprises across the globe with severe financial constrictions. In several scenarios, companies have laid off employees and shut down different departments to cut down costs; this, however, has led to inefficient utilization of existing frameworks and also reduced investments into required technologies. As a result, productivity rates reduce, and there prevails inefficiency in functionalities across the organization, leading to compromised software quality and consequent user experience.
This makes it even more essential to focus on popular test automation tools to guarantee the continual delivery of superior app quality.
How does HeadSpin help empower QA teams with data-driven test automation?
HeadSpin's data science-driven test automation Platform enables organizations to run end-to-end automated tests on real devices across 90+ global locations and capture critical performance and functional KPIs.
HeadSpin, further, enables companies to run automated tests for capturing different unique performance and user experience metrics like reference-free video MOS. For instance, HeadSpin offers automation API access with audio/video capture to help gauge the audio/video quality at scale and ensure good user experience.
HeadSpin allows companies to seamlessly integrate with multiple automated testing frameworks, including Appium, Selenium, and Appium Inspector.
HeadSpin is also compatible with technologies like Charles Proxy, Xcode, Android Studio, Flutter, Cucumber, Espresso Android, Jenkins, and many more, which help streamline existing test automation workflows.
HeadSpin's AI Testing and Dev-Ops Collaboration Platform also enables organizations to leverage secure real device infrastructure for performing end-to-end testing and monitoring with real devices worldwide and analyze the actual user experience while ensuring complete security and optimal performance.
While deploying an automated framework, it is essential for QA teams and developers to carefully evaluate the requirements of the project and design a suitable automation strategy. Additionally, evaluating the skill sets of the teams and required expertise is critical in order to ensure delivering the right framework and obtaining desired test outcomes.
Q1. What is a behavior-driven development framework?
Ans: A Behavior-driven development Framework helps automate functional validations that allow business analysts, developers, testers, and others to comprehend and understand easily.
Q2. What are the key advantages of a test automation framework?
Ans: The major benefits of any test automation framework are—
- Improved test efficiency
- Low levels of manual intervention
- More possibility for recovery
- Possibility of reusing the code
- Cost-effective maintenance
- Increased protection
Q3. What is the robot framework for automation testing?
Ans: The Robot Framework is considered to be one of the most efficient test automation frameworks, which is open source and leveraged for robotic process automation and test automation. This framework supports libraries written in Python or Java and simplifies writing tests with human-readable keywords.