The Need of the Hour – Building Agile Friendly Test Automation Framework

Test Automation

“Better late than never”, we all must have used this phrase in our lives for at least once. Big applause for software development and software testing organizations that they have also realized the essence of this phrase and have started to implement automation in their daily work procedures, although it’s a bit late but no worries at least they did it. Many of these organizations become successful in getting the most out of their test automation efforts while another half of organizations also face failures. The reason for the failure of automation counts for many but the one that is in limelight is the poor design of architecture the framework on which automation is built. 

Just like a strong building is nothing without a potential architecture, test automation is also of no use without a powerful architecture. Test automation is a code that can breathe. Its development purpose is to provide sanity checks for constantly changing production code. In this case, it is obvious that the test automation code must be reliable, so it should be developed using standards equivalent to the delivered product.

In addition to being reliable, the automation framework should also be flexible and easy to extend. For example, a framework that only supports user interface (UI) automation will limit the scope of testing and may lead to slow and fragile testing. Typically organizations take this matter as a challenging one and rush to acquire services of an automation testing company to do so for them.  

You’re planning to introduce test automation in your organization, then here’s an overview of the architecture for an automation framework that is stable, robust, flexible, and agile-friendly.

Tests must be separated from the automation framework 

The automation framework contains an amalgamation of tools, libraries, and utilities that are required to connect with the system under test. It should be a neutral entity that collects information about the application through the system’s UI, Web services, business logic, database, etc. Whereas, automated tests are the scripted scenarios that urge the framework to inquire applications via multiple steps and then utilizes the information collected by the framework to ascertain the test status.

For the sake of encouraging reusability across tests, it important to separate the automation framework from automated tests in terms of their structures within the automation codebase. This means that there must be a single package that controls framework code and another separate package for test codes. This separation of intent will keep your code clean and easy to maintain and extend. Since the framework is a neutral party, the same framework methods can be used in positive and negative tests and only provide information about the system. The test can use the information returned by the framework for its own purposes.

Use of page object models

To develop UI applications, there’s a need for special classes to connect with the system pages. These classes must live in the layer of the framework. One of the famous design patterns for the creation of these classes is the Page Object Model (POM). This model suggests creating segregated classes for every page of the application. A given class contains the elements of the page (such as buttons, text fields, etc.), and methods for interacting with these elements.

Let us imagine a typical login page for an application. There is a text field for the username, a text field for the password, and a submit button.

Using POM, the automation framework will include a class called login page. LoginPage will contain the handle of the element:

  • Username
  • Password
  • Button of submission
  • Label indicating error

Try to include Behavior Driven Development 

Behavior-driven development (BDD) is a process in which team members utilize domain-specific languages ​​to express the expected behavior of an application in the form of scenarios. Ideally, this activity takes place between business analysts, developers, and testers, with the aim of expediting communication to elaborate any details that were missed or misunderstandings about the features to be developed.

Provides tools that can be integrated with automation code to execute these scenarios based upon natural languages. This is perfect for the teams who want a shared automation work between developers and testers. With the help of the implementation of the use of the natural language of the specific domain to write the program, the tester is actually writing the automation program without writing code. But, of course, this is not magic. However, a new layer of code is required that can act as an adhesive between the test scenarios and the framework. This layer essentially translates the content written in natural language and calls the framework method corresponding to the intention.

When you plan to include the behavior-driven development (BDD) layer to the automation framework, keen attention and carefulness are significant.  But If in case, the team does not actually practice behavior-driven development for the sake of better communication,  but only uses BDD for automation, then this additional coding layer will no longer be beneficial instead will become another critical issue within the framework.automation to dealt with. 

Now it’s time for you to build your own test automation framework 

Software testing is a critical and challenging process to tackle while it can never be compromised as well. Therefore a better and perfectly constituted framework for automation testing is significant for better testing. With the above all discussion you may have a clear-cut understanding of how important it is to have clean codes for the success of automation frameworks. That’s the reason neutralizing the framework and separating it from testing is the baby step towards a better automation framework design. For this purpose, a specific design model i.e Page object Model is suggested to use for the patterns of design that can be easily maintained and extended. And adding additional layers for service testing and Behavior Driven Development execution will provide you with the flexibility that is required for the stronger, powerful, faster, and successful software testing.