A Test Automation Framework furnishes an environment where all the automated test scripts are executed. The framework assists its users to build, carry out tasks, procedures, and reports of their test automation scripts coherently.
Organizations find the Test Automation Framework as a cornerstone that helps them to integrate - Coding standards, guidelines, process & practices, modularity & reusability, reporting. Most of the frameworks are easy to follow, scalable, provides easy scripting, low maintenance, and so on. Sometimes implementing multiple Test Automation Frameworks can also improve an existing automation test strategy to a considerable level.
This article maps out the Test Automation Framework – development, types, frameworks, components, and benefits. By the end of this article, you would have an idea of a Test Automation Framework and its development process.
Table of Contents:
- Steps to Develop a Test Automation Framework.
- Benefits of Test Automation Framework:
- Test Automation Framework Components:
- How to opt for a Test Automation Framework?
Steps to Develop a Test Automation Framework:
For preferable results, Test Automation Framework and associated tools are usually selected based on - extensible code coverage, reusability, business goals alignment, easy maintenance and usage, and project cost.
Planning, development, and implementation phases are the key Test Automation Framework building steps.
This phase acts as a foundation for your testing strategies. For an optimized result, the planning phase must be sketched with utmost care.
This phase covers:
- Understanding which Test Automation Framework would work.
- Knowing how a framework would address the pain points.
- Selecting a suitable Test Automation Framework tool. For that you need to focus on Tools’:
- Market standard and popularity.
- Customizable property.
- Strong community support.
- Integration flexibility and compatibility.
- Understand if the team’s work aligns with the selected Test Automation Framework tool. The following questions can help you with that:
- Which team would have read-write, read-only, or write-only access to the tool?
- What is the tool’s flexibility to append new test cases?
- How are the team members going to access the tool?
- The planning phase will help you grasp a good understanding of selecting the right Test Automation Framework. To calculate the framework’s efficiency - Measure the framework’s ROI as it is one of the commonly used selection factors.
For measuring an ROI note down the things you would want to execute the test cases and then measure if the Test Automation Framework would provide a higher ROI. A high ROI would indicate that the chosen framework is beneficial for the project.
This phase deals with how the Test Automation Framework would be designed as per your project environment.
Before designing a Test Automation Framework, it is essential to take mental notes on its potential challenges and benefits. It is recommended to brainstorm - How, and what customer’s pain points would be solved by the framework. Hence, an experienced set of engineers, preferably Automation Architects must get involved early in the design process.
Designing would also means choosing a framework as per your needs. Let us visit some of the popular Test Automation Frameworks:
- Record & Playback:
- It is one of the simplest frameworks. Here at first a tester manually records every project input step with validations. After the record is over then the tester plays back the recorded script for subsequent steps.
- Library Architecture:
- In this framework, all similar test cases are grouped as Functions. These functions are driven by the main test script called Driver. Multiple test cases can be created based on how the Driver calls a function.
- Data-Driven Framework:
- Here the test cases have all the test logic. Test data are stored in external files and they could be loaded in a test script variable. The test script variables can be used for project input and validations. These test cases are usually prepared by record & playback framework. This framework might take a longer set up time and might be difficult to troubleshoot.
- This framework usually needs keywords and table data for execution.
- Modular-Based Test Framework:
- This test automation framework divides an application into smaller modules. These modules are independently tested and then the whole application gets tested. It helps in reducing testing time and effort by allowing testers to store a script in it. However, it can get complex to manage overtime and often requires good technical knowledge.
- This is a reusable Test Automation Framework. Here keywords are linked with test cases and the test data are stored externally. Thus, test script logic is differentiated from test data. They often take a longer time for their implementation and requires higher technical knowledge for implementation.
- In this Test Automation Framework, the test cases are created sequentially, and they are individually run. This is an easy-to-use testing framework. However, if not implemented properly, the framework becomes redundant, and thus it can be a high-maintenance framework.
- This framework is designed to take advantage of other test automation framework’s and come up with an optimized testing framework solution.
If Test Automation Frameworks are not implemented properly, they would not provide any valuable result. A testing framework should be implemented and used as part of your product lifecycle. It is recommended to always do a two-step code review and continuously following business-standard.
Some of the useful implementation steps are:
- Detecting an accurate yet fast test execution solution.
- Regularly debugging and testing important test environments.
- (Recommended) To store test data separately.
- Properly documenting the testing steps.
Benefits of Test Automation Framework:
It helps with:
- Reducing project resource cost.
- Code reuse.
- Code maintenance.
- Enhances application functionality.
- Increases test efficiency with proper test automation.
Test Automation Framework Components:
Whether choosing an open-source or commercial Test Automation Framework (TAF) tool or implementing a superior test framework, everything comes down to having a strong test framework core. A TAF Component is the core of a test framework. It is recommended to include relevant or even multiple TAF Components for achieving an ideal TAF.
Some of the popular Test Automation Framework Components are:
It is one of the simplest ways to run test cases. This is used to test the individual units of source code to ensure each unit performs as expected. Unit test libraries are used by testers and developers for better code production. These libraries can be used by standardized parameters. It is recommended for developers to unit test each module for risk minimization.
A software product is usually divided into multiple units which are worked on by multiple developers. Integration testing helps aggregate all those units logically and test them accordingly. This detects the strength of interactivity between the units. That decides how a product will work as an overall unit.
Quite similar yet different from integration testing is end-to-end testing. Where a user flow is tested right from the beginning to an end. It also replicates real-world situations while testing the overall software user flow. It might also help with external application integration.
Behavior-Driven Development (BDD):
One of the problems with the unit/endpoint testing is that it needs to be updated with any change in the code. In the case of a lot of code changes unit and endpoint, testing becomes cumbersome. Thus, BDD practices come to the rescue by easily handling subsequent code changes and helps in writing great test cases. In Agile software development, BDD encourages collaboration among Devs, QA and business stakeholders.
Test cases need to be properly created and well maintained for the best test results. The test cases need to be well-organized for efficient testing. Test Libraries does the same by creating and storing test cases. They are lightweight libraries that can be used without implementation with unit, integration, behavior-driven development testing.
Test Data Management:
Often extracting information from data can become one of the toughest challenges. Test libraries and plugins usually help with data scavenging. An appropriate test data defines the success of your test automation. Test Data Management produce non-production data that are very close to the real environment so that system testing can happen close to the real environment.
How to opt for a Test Automation Framework?
An appropriate Test Automation Framework is selected based on:
- Your team’s usage of code or no code test cases. Going through and comparing a wide variety of Test Automation Framework can provide a better idea about choosing a relevant framework.
- Your operating system.
- Your testing budgets. Always try to go for an optimized solution under-allocated resource.
An appropriate Test Automation Framework tool would save a lot of the team’s time and effort. Organizations must choose a relevant tool based on their need, training resources, and project budget. They must then focus on test framework development steps. While selecting a Test Automation Framework and its implementation one must check if automation is the need of the hour. As in some cases, automation might not be a good solution. Thus, test automation can only do its magic when implemented for the right process.
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