What to Look for in Automation Testing Tools
Companies are speeding toward faster delivery of software with Agile and DevOps processes. However, while developers may be drafting masterpieces at a breakneck pace, the major bottleneck often comes from the always-important process of testing.
Luckily, testing isn’t the 100% manual process it used to be. Automation testing tools are flooding the market, promising to help software companies churn out high-quality releases faster than before. From managing tasks, building test cases and environments, and offering integrations with tons of other tools, it’s no wonder they’re so popular.
With so many tools out there, however, it can be difficult to choose the right one — or even know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this simple and straightforward guide for choosing an automation testing tool.
Why Cloud-Based Testing?
One of the core features of all automation testing tools is that they provide access to a testing cloud.
This allows tests to be run across dozens of different browsers, operating systems, and hardware combinations. Test automation tools give developers direct access to these environments whenever they need.
The trend in testing is moving toward the cloud because onsite testing is often too costly and time-consuming. Besides purchasing devices and hardware, there is usually a ton of work hours needed to keep each of them running and up to date.
Cloud-based testing services aim to take the headache out of maintaining the dizzying number of environments that most modern software companies require.
Choosing Which Tests to Automate
To start adding candidates to your automation testing tools list, you’ll first want to consider the types of tests you want to automate.
Tests that are worthy of automation are highly repeatable, high-volume tests with predictable and determinant outcomes.
Think about the type of testing you do every day. Are there tests you need to do across dozens of device/OS/browser combinations and across every release? Make a list of all the tests you want to automate — even ones you wish you could.
Open Source or All-In-One Tool
Once you’ve got a list of the tests you want to automate, start thinking about whether all of your tests are centered around one particular type of testing.
Maybe what you need is a specialty tool that focuses primarily on performance testing or headless testing. If your focus is on device testing, you may need a tool for simulated, emulated, or real devices.
Another consideration is whether your apps are mobile or web-based. Do you need to do any back-end database testing? What about the flexibility to do manual, on-demand functional testing?
Answering these questions can help you determine whether you need an open-source testing tool with more specific, but limited, functionality or an all-in-one tool that can handle everything along the delivery pipeline.
Determine Your Must-Have Features
After you’ve decided on the types of tests you want to automate and whether you’re looking for an open-source or all-in-one tool, the next thing to do is focus on the featuresyou want in an automation testing tool.
To help, we’ve put together a list of fivefeatures to look for and questions that can help you narrow down the best choice for you.
1. Task Management
Automation testing tools should do more than just run tests automatically — they’re designed to help make taskseasier to manage as well.
While searching for a tool, make sure it can help you with test-driven development (TDD) processes — suggesting test cases that need to be created and run before you start coding. Tasks and results from test cases should also be easy to share among team members and categorizable by feature, component, and sprint.
Ask yourself what detailed feedback you really want in a tool. What reporting and insights are crucial for you and your team?
Your test automation tool should give you a centralized place for analyzing test results and individual reports. It should also track progress across all types of test cases — including manual, exploratory, and automated tests.
2. Integration Options
Choosing a testing tool with the flexibility to integrate with your existing workflows will make the transition to automation much easier.
If you’ve already got a solid task management or CI/CD platform, determine whether it can be integrated into an automation testing tool you’re interested in. Developing, organizing, and reviewing tests from within your existing CI server could really speed up your regression and Agile cycles.
The same applies to any other fan-favorite collaboration or case management platform you’re sure you want to continue using. Make sure you thoroughly check the list of integrations available so you can continue using tools you’ve already come to love and trust.
3. Testing Environments
Be specific about the number and types of technology combinations you’ll need — including the specific hardware/OS/browser combinations that are vital for your testing.
Check whether the automation testing tool offers support for both desktop and mobile application testing. Do you have any need for testing local, onsite devices? Do test environments also support manual testing, and how easy is it to configure them according to different projects, releases, and sprints?
Answering these questions will help you determine the next biggest factor in narrowing down your automation testing tools list: price.
Most automation testing tools set their prices according to the number of tests you need to run, the environments you need, and the amount of time you’ll use them. Prices are sometimes adjusted based on the types of integrations you want.
Determining this information ahead of time will help you get a more accurate quote. Most companies are more than happy, however, to help you determine the right testing package for your team.
5. Support & Resources
Take a look at your current testing resources, and then determine how an automation tool can assist you and your team. Do you want a product capable of codeless testing, or do you have enough language-savvy testing staff and resources already?
Now think about what type of support you want when you run into problems. Is the help desk open 24/7? Determine whether tickets are created via phone call, mobile apps, live chat, or email. Having a real-life human available to help can boost morale and keep testing running smoothly. And it can accelerate your release delivery.
Check the company website and see if there are helpful, easy-to-navigate resources for handling issues independently. If so, it’s a good sign they take support seriously.
Test Drive Automation Tools
Now that you’ve got some worthy candidates on your automation testing tools list, take them for a test drive and see which of them can maintain the speed you need for your delivery pipeline.
Most tools offer free trial versions, or at the very least an in-depth demonstration. Run some realistic test cases and think about the integrations you need or wish you still had.
Pay close attention to how the automation tool handles tasks, reporting results, and analytics. Look at whether it’s easy and intuitive to share test cases across projects, releases, and sprints.
Where does the tool score high and low points for your particular team and their needs? Is it a total ace at distributed execution but a major flop when it comes to support?
Ultimately, the automation testing tool you choose should help simplify the entire testing process — from test case and tasks to release — and give your team all the power you need to test more efficiently and accurately at the speed of DevOps.
If you’re evaluating automation testing tools, consider Perfecto. It’s the world’s only continuous testing platform with end-to-end support. Create, execute, and analyze tests all from an enterprise-grade, cloud-based lab. Try it today.