Codeless is the next big thing in test automation. Whether you’re already using codeless automated testing or beginning to explore it, start here. 

Consider this your guide to codeless automated testing.

Read along or jump to the section that interests you most:

What Is Codeless Test Automation?

Codeless automated testing, or codeless automation, is the process of creating automated tests without writing a single line of code. Codeless automation lets teams automate the process of writing tests scripts regardless of skill level.

Codeless platforms, like Perfecto Scriptless, relieve developers and testers from the time-intensive coding required to automate tests. To expedite their test creation and maximize testing reliability, codeless testing has become a great option to embed into their testing responsibilities.

From a continuous testing (CT) perspective, there is still a huge gap in implementing test automation that runs in a reliable, stable, and efficient way throughout the DevOps pipeline. From talking to our own customers, we found that more than 40 percent of failed automation attempts were a result of scripting issues, ultimately creating barriers for achieving CT.

By reducing the amount of time spent on coding in manual testing, codeless automation frees time for both testers and developers time to focus on product development and innovation to help accelerate testing in the SDLC.

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Low-Code vs. No-Code vs. Codeless Automation

In the world of test automation, industry leaders often refer to tools and frameworks that require little-to-no code in a variety of ways: low-code, no-code, and codeless. Scriptless automation is another popular way to describe these solutions.

No-code, codeless, and scriptless are essentially the same thing. These tools allow users to create and execute tests without any previous coding experience. They allow anyone to create a test visually based on any type of business logic that needs validation, making software testing much more accessible.

However, there are varying levels to “codeless-ness,” giving way to low-code tools. Low-code tools allow for code insertion into the text.

Typically, more popular components are built-in through visual modules so that teams can access them easily and quickly. However, coding knowledge is necessary when performing specific or more complex interactions.

Differences Between Code-Based Selenium and Codeless Automation

How does codeless Selenium test automation differ from code-based Selenium? 

Code-Based

Codeless

  • Manual test scenarios, BDD, user stories
  • Script creation in Java
  • Page-based test creation
  • ~6 hours per test
  • Strong coding skills
  • Test creation without code
  • Codeless UI tools
  • Exploratory, flow-based test scenarios
  • ~1 hour per test
  • Little code skills

Code-Based

Codeless

  • Must be proactive
  • Managed in an SCM tool (GIT, Perforce)
  • Self-healing tools
  • Auto test correction
  • Local or cloud test versioning

Code-Based

Codeless

  • Configured environment
  • Local execution via CI, cloud
  • Execution built into codeless tools
  • Done locally vid CI, cloud

Code-Based

Codeless

  • Functional, API, load, etc.
  • Mobile native (appium) and desktop web (Selenium)
  • Mostly functional and basic API
  • Support for web, mobile emerging

Test Authoring and Skillset

Developers who run Selenium automation testing must have superior coding and code development skills. These tests typically take longer to develop than standard tests — about six hours per test. And they are more complex.

Typical test authoring with Selenium includes:

  • Defining manual test scenarios and user story styles.
  • Creating scripts in Java/JS from within IDEs (IntelliJ, Eclipse).
  • Defining Objects using Object Spy tools, DOM viewers, and more.
  • Page-based test step creation.
  • Inserting visual validations and assertions.

In contrast, teams of all skill levels can perform codeless automation testing. Test reusability is simpler with codeless automation testing. This means that team members do not need to continuously write new test scripts for different scenarios.

Additionally, test scenarios are typically less structured and more exploratory. The time to author is much shorter. Codeless automation testing takes about an hour on average per test.

For QA teams, codeless cross-browser testing takes the complexity out of writing test scripts. They can create and execute fully automated test scenarios without coding.

For developers, codeless automation testing makes test creation and execution substantially faster — even for the most complicated test scripts. This allows developers to save time and focus on product development and innovation.

Test Execution and Maintenance  

Another important issue that many testers have with code-based Selenium is its scalability. Once testers manage to create scenarios in Selenium, tests are often flaky and break after any small change occurs with the elements under test. This is because Selenium only allows for defining objects with a single locator.

Selenium test execution is either done locally via Continuous Integration (CI) or through CI in a cloud-based environment. The environment is configured using tools like TestNG Data Provider. Tests are also managed and maintained in a version control tool such as Git or Perforce. Any changes to the tests need to be done manually as the website changes. 

Not only do testers find issues with test flakiness, but it also takes longer to resolve issues with Selenium code alone. Just as with test creation, it takes considerable coding knowledge to find the right elements that are causing tests to break, fix the code, and then apply this change to other areas of code that might be affected. While Selenium is a very powerful framework for automation testing, testers can find themselves frustrated when they spend more time maintaining existing tests than creating new scenarios.

Alternatively, a codeless testing solution supports intelligent test automation through self-healing tests. This means updates and changes to test scripts are made automatically. Scripts can continuously run and fix themselves without disrupting operations.

Codeless Selenium tools can learn the website DOM object tree. This means any changes to objects are caught by the tool. They can be resolved in the background without impacting ongoing and scheduled test execution. This makes test automation more efficient and scalable, while also providing testers with newfound time and resources to expand their overall testing efforts.

Tool Maturity

Because Selenium testing has been in the market for over 10 years, the tools needed to carry out such testing are highly mature. Solutions typically include samples and have a standard set of best practices and a means of documentation.

In contrast, we find that codeless automation testing tools are less mature since they are newer in the market. However, these tools are powered by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It is these capabilities that make it possible for codeless tools Perfecto Scriptless to automatically self-correct errors in code. Codeless tools also complement testing areas where Selenium would either require more time to address the error — or cannot deal with it.

Today, codeless automation testing solutions for web testing are much more mature and developed when compared with codeless solutions for mobile testing. But, we expect this to change in the coming years as solutions continue to evolve.

How Does Codeless Testing Work?

During the codeless automation process, testers do not need to know how to code. Instead, they leverage specialized tools to help develop the proper test scripts. Codeless testing does still require testers to understand software testing as well as product development insight.

Features of Codeless Automation

  • Self-healing with machine learning and AI.
  • Complements code-based testing.
  • Record and playback ability.
  • Standard functionalities.
  • Connects to CI and cloud.

Codeless Testing: On Premise vs. Cloud

Codeless test automation is typically done with on-premise technologies, where users download legacy codeless testing solutions as software development kits (SDK).

By nature, this technology can create headaches both for individuals using the technology and IT. It creates challenges to ensure properly installed and up-to-date solutions per each type of machine. Test automation requires constant maintenance while also being executed continuously. This means that test automation must run on a robust foundation that can scale as needed, stay up and running, remain highly secure to meet enterprises’ strict requirements, and offer strong computing power and storage capabilities.

While on-premise codeless test automation may be more familiar, it doesn’t meet many of the aforementioned requirements.

The Benefits of Codeless Automation in the Cloud

Meanwhile, codeless platforms in the cloud allows users and enterprises to meet several robust requirements across scalability, speed, collaboration, quality, and security — freeing up team time to focus on product innovation.

1. Scalability

Managing a Selenium grid locally on a monthly basis when a new browser version is being released is nearly impossible, expensive, and often delays test executions. Scaling a grid with hundreds of permutations locally is also flaky and unreliable.

Cloud services, on the other hand, enjoy the unlimited scalability of thousands of on-demand desktop VMs and mobile devices. There is zero setup required for the team executing, and it enables teams to meet strict project timeline requirements and testing coverage.

2. Speed

Cloud computing solutions enjoy the benefits of strong machines, robust infrastructure, and networking that can boost test automation execution time and performance significantly. Cloud-based solutions also offer easy access to platforms in various geographies via globally distributed data centers.

This is something that contributes to the performance and speed of testing. Local solutions fall short in supporting multiple geographies that are, in many cases, a must in web and mobile testing.

3. Collaboration

Continuous testing in DevOps is all about individuals working together within squads and feature teams. Sharing test data and test scenarios are essential to reduce overhead in recreating tests, as well as having one single pane of glass for everything that is related to quality.

With several local desktops, the benefit of cross-team collaboration disappears or declines significantly. The cloud empowers multiple users to leverage existing resources, seeing other teams’ executions on-demand in a simplistic and web-based manner.

4. Quality Throughout SDLC

Continuous testing in the cloud is not just about test creation. It is also about the entire process of mitigating software risks by performing relevant testing and delivering fast feedback to the developers upon any code change.

Cloud-based solutions are best positioned to support this objective via the four pillars of success in the cloud: creation, execution at scale, a smart lab, and test reporting and analysis. When you compare a cloud that supports all four capabilities with an on-prem test creation tool that is disconnected from the pipeline, the cloud is clearly the best path to success.

5. Security

On-prem and cloud solutions also differ in the level of test data security they each provide. Cloud security is far more advanced when compared with on-prem.

A local software installation that runs on a test engineer desktop lacks the necessary level of test data security given, preventing teams from meeting strict requirements.
 

Which Tests Are Best for Codeless Automated Testing

When looking to implement a codeless test automation platform, it is important to keep one thing in mind: it will never completely replace all manual testing. There are always going to be tests that need the “human touch,” or to be monitored much more closely. Traditionally, this includes tests that have third-party dependencies and complex prerequisites from a setup perspective.

However, there are several types of tests that can — and should — be operating codeless. For example, manual tests that are either hard to implement or require greater in-house skills should be the first that make the cross-over, in addition to “flaky” tests that continuously lead to inconsistent results (e.g., pass and fail for the same configuration or result in false-negatives).

Typically, a lot of these “flaky” tests are those that look at web pop-ups for unconfigured image elements or the effects of mobile behaviors, such as certain devices being blocked by certain applications.

To successfully implement codeless test automation solutions into their pipeline, organizations need to keep in mind that they will have a combination of code and codeless tests that need to work together. The best approach is to exclude the tests that will operate codeless from the actual code itself, apply the codeless test, and then bring it back into the sequence.

How to Get Started With Codeless Test Automation

When starting with codeless Selenium, it’s best to identify the tests that are manual or challenging to implement. Automating those time-consuming tests will give the biggest benefit to your testing team. Furthermore, focusing on tests that tend to be “flaky” is a solid place to start, as inconsistent results can eat up valuable testing resources. 

Keep in mind that as you implement codeless testing you will have a combination of code and codeless tests working in parallel. Also be aware that depending on your testing framework, there are specific codeless automation solutions available.

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How to Pick the Right Codeless Testing Solution for You

Choosing the best codeless testing solution for your enterprise is an important decision. Understanding your current testing landscape, challenges, and technology will help your organization select a codeless testing platform that meets your business’s unique DevOps requirements.

Codeless testing is evolving at a rapid pace, so we recommend investing in a platform that is future-focused with an AI component. We also recommend paying close attention to the analytics and reporting features of a codeless testing solution, as the future is all about data and clear dashboards.
 

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Get Started With Codeless Test Automation Today

For teams that want to move faster on automation, Perfecto Scriptless offers the following benefits:

Smart capabilities to maintain scripts

ML capabilities address object maintenance issues within code. If code needs to be deleted, moved, or changed, it will happen agnostically to the test script – without delaying the process.

All-in-one solution

As one of three components of Perfecto’s full automation platform, all components of the testing process are connected – from creation to execution and analysis.

Codeless automation in the cloud

Perfecto delivers codeless test automation in the cloud, allowing teams to manage the pace and demands that come with test automation. It also provides the necessary flexibility, performance, and scalability needed to ensure quality throughout the SDLC.

 

Try Perfecto Scriptless

Automated testing is essential for modern DevOps teams to keep pace with the critical demands of today’s software market. Teams can move even faster with automated testing that is reliable and requires no coding thanks to codeless test automation.

Perfecto Scriptless is an AI-driven codeless testing solution that allows teams to automate the process of writing test scripts regardless of skill level. Our solution provides testing teams with the tools they need to generate maintenance-free test scripts rapidly. Try Perfecto Scriptless today.