Tools exist to make life easy. Software testing too is made an interesting and fun activity with the use of testing tools. These tools help us in improving efficiency and productivity; all the while making testing a more interactive activity for the test and QA engineers.
Let me ask! Is it really as wonderful as it seems to be? Are our expectations from these tools justified? And do we consider and take into account all the important factors before setting these expectations?
True, tools might facilitate the technical feasibilities; however, one might come across with such scenarios where the usage of testing tools is not preferred.
Generally speaking, following are the criteria elements that should be considered before using any specific test tool in order to maximize the benefits you gain through its usage:
- Project needs
- Nature and frequency of application code update
- Test tool license considerations
- Precision of the tool’s performance
- Acknowledgement of client
- Availability of supported software & hardware infrastructure for test tool
- The ability & skill of the team using the tool
Knowing, learning and applying a test tool can be an interesting as well as a challenging task. Using testing tools becomes challenging when it comes to the integration & extension of test tools with other tools, framework and software mechanisms. Linking the tools up with other interfaces might at times require out of a test engineer to learn the skills required to work on these connected interfaces in order to achieve the optimum level of results from the testing tools.
Things I’ve learned:
Problems might occur when test engineers begin to blindly rely on the tool’s execution output. In my opinion, it is advisable that we cross check the results through manual tests.
Sometimes the validity of a testing tool can be put to test by using it across different applications, browsers, OS and other such changeable factors.
It might be a good idea to compare the results of multiple tools over the same platform or OS along with manual test results. You might get somewhat different results in this comparison that may reveal the accuracy of a tool’s performance.
Another factor to be considered in using a test tool, e.g. automation test or load test can be the behavior of application under test. An automation tool, for example, may not always run exactly the same way because the website in question is built in a different way than a standard way of W3 consortium. Test tool will thus fail to recognize some application page elements or their values. This may happen, either due to incompatibility between application under test and test tool, or because the user of test tool may need to apply some explicit workarounds to make things work.
Therefore, its not always the case of following a tutorial or checklist to use the tool perfectly, rather it’s a dynamic process that requires real time decision making; which is subject to variations and changes in real life. It is, then, a game and art of technical test engineer and not a non-technical team.
The success or failure of a test tool results is thus, codependent on many more factors that we tend to ignore. These, however, are critical enough to affect your commitment to project specifications and deadlines. It is, in the field of software testing, that every connecting dot matters!
Check again! “Tool based tests Vs. manual tests” is an on-going battle, and is perhaps one of those “Egg or the Chick” scenarios, where you can never decide who came first! The Only difference lies in the way you may interpret the word “First”!
About the Author: Zeeshan Dilawar is a senior QA engineer, majors in Automation Testing, with a little over 6 years of Testing and QA experience.