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A Minimalist Guide to Test Automation

Digital Assurance

January 31, 2023

When building test automation strategies, it is crucial to evaluate various approaches for each team. In many cases, there are more manual testers than automation engineers, leading to extended working hours. To optimize automation, it’s essential to select the right services, considering factors such as budget, application type, and development models. Although manual testing methods like discovery testing and usability testing are invaluable, relying solely on them for functional and regression testing can be inefficient.

What is Test Automation?

Test automation is the process of using software and tools to manage test data and automate testing to improve the quality of a software application. It is a critical aspect of quality assurance that involves collaboration between developers, business analysts, and DevOps engineers for seamless execution. Adopting Agile methodology with short Agile iterations can help initiate a “Shift Left” approach, which allows testing to begin earlier in the application lifecycle.

The Importance of Automation in Testing

Automation in software testing not only saves resources, but it also allows organizations to focus on improving customer experiences.

1. Saves Time and Cost

Software tests often need to be repeated during development cycles to ensure high quality. Every time the source code is modified, the tests must be repeated. Each software release must be tested on all supporting operating systems and hardware configurations to ensure optimum results. However, manually repeating these tests can be time-consuming and costly. With test automation, tests can be run repeatedly at no cost and much faster than manual testing.

2. Increases Test Coverage

Automated software testing increases the depth and scope of tests to improve the quality of the software. Tests that are often skipped during manual testing due to their length can be run unattended, and can even be run on multiple computers with different configurations.

Test automation allows developers to look inside an application and see data tables, file contents, and internal program states to determine if the product is functioning as expected. It can execute thousands of complex test cases during every test run and provide coverage that is not possible with manual testing.

3. Aids Developers and Testers

Automated test can be set to run automatically whenever the source code changes and send notifications to the team or developer if they fail. This saves time and boosts developers’ confidence, as they can detect problems quickly before they reach QA.

Manual Vs. Automated Testing

Manual testing is a process in which QA analysts execute tests one by one. manually. The objective is to identify bugs and feature issues before a software application goes live. In manual testing, testers validate the key features of a software application, execute test cases, and create error reports without using specialized automation tools.

On the other hand, automation testing uses tools and scripts to automate testing efforts. It enables testers to execute more test cases, significantly improving test coverage. Though manual testing is slow and tedious, it is better equipped for handling complex scenarios. Automated testing, however, is faster and covers a broader range of cases, but requires coding skills and test maintenance.

Types of Automation Testing

Here are some of the types of automation testing used by developers:

Code Analysis

There are various types of code analysis tools, including static analysis and dynamic analysis. Some are good for testing security flaws, while others are ideal for style and form. These automated tests require minimal test writing, mainly configuring rules and updating tools.

Unit Tests

A suite of unit tests can be automated. They test a single function, or unit, of operation in isolation and usually run on a build server without dependencies on databases, external APIs, or file storage. They are fast and designed to test code.

Integration Tests

Integration tests, also known as end-to-end tests, involve interacting with external dependencies and can be more complex to set up. Thus, it is best for developers to create fake external resources, especially when dealing with resources beyond control.

For example, if a logistics app depends on a vendor’s web service, the test may fail if the vendor’s service is down, which does not necessarily mean that the app is broken. To get the best results, developers must ensure the test environment is controlled to create specific scenarios explicitly.

Automated Acceptance Tests

There are various practices that use Automated Acceptance Tests (AAT), such as Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), and Automated Acceptance Test-Driven Development (AATDD). These practices involve creating acceptance tests before developing the feature.

The automated acceptance test is ultimately run to determine if the feature meets expectations. It is crucial for developers, the business, and QA to work together in writing these tests, as they serve as future regression tests and ensure the feature meets required standards.

Regression Tests

Without automated testing tools, developers must write regression tests after developing the application. Both are forms of functional tests, but their writing method, timing, and who writes them are different. Regression tests can easily be run through an API by code or a user interface (UI).

Performance Tests

There are various types of performance tests that test different aspects of an application’s performance, such as ability of an application to handle extreme pressure, high-heat environments, response time, and scalability.

In cases of high-user loads, it is important to have an environment capable of handling the load, which can be done through cloud resources or on-premises resources.

Smoke Tests

A smoke test is performed after a deployment or maintenance window to ensure all services and dependencies are up and running. It does not have to be a fully functional test and can be run as part of an automated deployment or triggered manually.

Test Automation Challenges

Choosing the right automation tool can be challenging for businesses as there are many options available, both licensed and open-source. Test engineers need to carefully consider various parameters that could impact their business. Moreover, teams may not always agree on which tools to use, and confusion around organizational strategies and unrealistic expectations, given the high investments at stake, can occur.

Test Automation Tools


iD2E (Integrated Design to Execution Automation) is designed to facilitate seamless automation across test design, execution, and reporting. It is known for increasing productivity by 4X, reducing costs, and speeding up time-to-market.


Hexaware’s Smart Test Automation platform, TALOS, enables rapid test automation for applications developed across multiple platforms and software development life cycles, including the Behavior Driven Development (BDD) approach. TALOS expedites the creation of BDD automation in the following ways:

  • Importing feature files and creating scripts using AI/NLP features
  • Executing robust tests via self-healing locators
  • Accessing advanced insights and boosting faster maintenance
  • Importing bulk feature files and using them to create automation scripts
  • Creating an integrated IDE for feature files and generating automation scripts to create seamless automation experiences


Jumbo has been specifically designed to address challenges around Big Data. It can quickly process large amounts of data, automate testing efforts for data comparison, generate multiple reports, and carry out tests across heterogeneous data.

Build a Test Automation Strategy with Hexaware

Modern enterprises must operate with higher levels of test automation to keep pace with competitors. However, many activities, such as failure analysis, collating insights from different data sources, and developing and maintaining automation scripts, still rely on humans.

To support this pace of change, Hexaware has developed its ATOP (Autonomous Test Orchestration Platform) with a plug-and-play architecture and addresses various test automation services that are often neglected by manual test automation. With 205 use cases and multiple tests across all the layers of testing, implementing ATOP will eliminate the need for human intervention in software testing.

In addition, Hexaware has built automation accelerators for open-source and commercial tools that can be used to develop automation scripts independently. Hexaware’s Insight 360 also automates 100% of test reporting activities and provides a real-time view of testing progress with transparent views on vendor performance against contractual SLAs or KPIs.

About the Author

Sridhar Thakkappan

Sridhar Thakkappan

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