Considerations to Automate Software Testing Processes

Published: 16th May 2011
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Among the list of important factors in the software development life cycle (SDLC) is assuring that the finished service or product accommodates customers expectations and is clear of any bugs that could very well have an effect on the overall performance of the application. Accordingly, quality assurance by means of software testing is utterly imperative.

As the development methodology moves through several variations, more features can be added. Quality Assurance, of which software testing is the largest component, ensures that the current iteration meets the release requirements defined by QA at the beginning of the project. To prevent the reoccurrence of defects identified in specific phases of the software development process, a large number of regression test passes are often needed.

Automating a large part of the regression testing process can add a great deal of leverage to the testing process. The specific quantity of code coverage and integration tests, coupled with specific functionality test procedures and end-to-end test, can be dramatically increased. By automating the regression testing process, software testing employees will have additional time to run tests in other parts of the components being tested.

Automated software testing processes can be assembled via tools already available in the market, and in fact the most used is the computer language C# in conjunction with the UI Automation Tools found in the top-selling development suite, Microsoft Visual Studio Test Edition Professional.

These tools are both powerful and flexible; C# can essentially be used to build out everything required for a complete automated testing solution. From the test harness, which manages the individually-coded test cases, to the test cases themselves, to logging solutions which can be integrated with a web front end and a SQL database, everything can be managed with the test platform that this software provides.

With the Microsoft Test Manager, you have the ability to develop, coordinate, and schedule a complete testing suite, including the creation of pass-fail reports at the click of a mouse. With the UI automation tools, you can easily record UI automation tests performed manually, and then re-execute those tests on a regular basis indefinitely. With this tool in your arsenal, even black box UI testers with zero programming skillsets can define a complete automation pass for the user interface in question.

Creating API level tests for each individual method ensures an additional layer of quality for the final released product. By verifying the outputs and inputs of the API that is being tested, it is possible to methodically define the amount of code encompassing the software that has been validated.

If, for example, either the client or the internal release requirements specify a 90% code coverage rate, that level of coverage can be achieved by ensuring that all of the APIs of the product, as well as their workflows from API to API, have an automated test that is hooked into a harness that can generate code coverage reports.

Putting all of these test methodologies into a cohesive test automation strategy should be part of any good test plan. This will guarantee that the ultimate product or service has been adequately tested for regressions as well as functions, and will enjoy a top notch level of quality. This in turn will make not only the customers happy, but ultimately, the shareholders and investors as well.

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