How to choose the right test automation framework
When we talk about having an effective test automation strategy in place, one key element of it is the choosing of the right test automation framework.
A test automation framework is a set of rules and guidelines that provide the skeletal framework within which, and according to which, the test automation processes are carried out.
The primary aim of a test automation framework is to assist QA systems to become more efficient and effective.
The advantages of test automation frameworks
You might ask why to bother with a test automation framework at all. Because, used right, it offers several key advantages to businesses:
- efficiency: by facilitating reusability of codes and components, test automation makes the process of designing and developing automated tests much more efficient;
- minimal manual intervention: by automatically selecting the tests to run in different scenarios and having an uninterrupted automated testing process in place, it considerably reduces manual intervention required, allowing the team to invest its time more productively elsewhere.
- reduced cost: as a system, it helps reduce the maintenance cost of automated testing while also helping bug detection to happen early on, saving on software development costs.
- maximized utilization of resources: the structure it offers to the automated testing process ensures the system is running at its most productive, without glitches, which means the organizational resources are being optimally utilized, contributing to shorter lead times of getting the product to the market.
- reliable results: because of its efficiency and structure, a test automation framework ensures very high test coverage, which in turn, is likely to deliver the most accurate results.
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The types of test automation frameworks
There are numerous test automation frameworks, each unique in its design and the pros and cons it offers its user. Let’s take a look at the more commonly used automation frameworks in the market:
Modular-based test automation framework
The modular based automation framework involves breaking down the application into distinct units or modules and developing testing scripts for every individual element. Then each component is tested in isolation. The unit test scripts are combined to make larger testing cases.
One way to make your modular based framework easier to use and maintain is to create an abstraction layer so that whenever changes are made in individual modules, the larger system is not affected by it.
This framework is easy and cost-efficient to maintain, quite scalable, and change in an individual module doesn’t affect the rest of the modules. However, it comes with data embedded in the test script so every time a new data set needs testing the script requires manipulation.
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Library architecture test automation framework
Like the modular-based framework, the library architecture automation framework breaks down the application into smaller components.
However, it identifies tasks similar to each other within the script and groups them together, thus dividing the application on the grounds of commonality of functions. A library is created which archives all the functions and tests, which can then be called upon when required.
The library architecture framework offers easy, cost-effective maintenance and considerable scalability. Additionally, the library of archived content means this framework offers significant reusability. However, here too, this framework has data hardcoded into the test scripts.
Data-driven test automation framework
Data-driven test automation frameworks involve the creation of multiple test scripts that are run together at the same time.
The key feature of this framework is that data is external to the script tests being run which means several different data sets can be fed into the same testing script, extending the applicability of testing cases.
A data-driven test automation framework facilitates the testing of multiple scenarios and testing of several data sets. Additionally, it carries out testing faster, offering more coverage, and its script does not need manipulation for each new data set.
The data-drive test automation framework has a time-consuming setup and requires considerable expertise to be run effectively.
Keyword-driven test automation framework
Like the data-driven automation framework, this framework keeps the data sets separate from the testing script’s code.
However, true to its name, the keyword-driven framework uses keywords for different functions, which enable the automated testing system to decide which tests to run.
This framework does not require much scripting expertise, the codes are reusable, and the testing scripts can be prepared independent of the application.
The keyword-driven test automation framework is a costly framework to set up and scalability can sometimes be challenging.
Hybrid test automation framework
The hybrid framework combines the strengths of the different frameworks and minimizes their cons. This is what testing frameworks develop into over time. They grow, evolve, and integrate with one another. The result is a hybrid testing framework. It offers the strengths of the frameworks integrated together but requires considerable automation effort.
While all these frameworks come with their sets of pros and cons, there is no single universally right answer.
You need to find the framework right for you and your needs. And it is essential that you focus on that because only the right framework will help you reap the considerable rewards of test automation.