Automated functional testing can help increase the accuracy and speed of your software testing efforts. This article will discuss what automated functional testing is, why it’s important to automate functional testing, what types of automated functional testing exist, and ways you could get started with automated functional testing to ensure your customers’ satisfaction with your product or service.
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What Is Automated Functional Testing?
First of all, what is automated functional testing? The primary benefit of automated functional testing is that it can test your software efficiently. This is due to two reasons: automation and functionalities. With automation, a developer can write code to execute set actions during a run instead of relying on manually clicking buttons or checking boxes. By doing so, they free themselves up to perform higher-level tasks that require more critical thinking.
Second, functional test automation helps you improve your software by exercising its functionality in a controlled manner. That means that you can test how your software responds to specific inputs and setups. The real beauty of automated functional testing is that it allows you to perform these tests repeatedly while also running them on different devices or in different environments (e.g., web browsers). This saves you tons of time compared to manual tests, where every change means starting from scratch.
Another benefit of functional test automation is that it allows you to test your software in a manner similar to how end users will use it. The advantage here is that you can look for areas where your software might need additional development to perform as expected. Without automated functional testing, you might not know about problems with your software until after releasing it to customers—and at that point, doing anything would be difficult.
With backend functional testing, you can also ensure that all of your application’s backend functionalities and databases respond as expected. The reason is that these tests allow you to test your software like how actual users will interact with it.
Why Is Functional Testing Automation Important?
In software development, automated functional testing is critical. Unfortunately, manual functional testing is too time-consuming and subject to human error, which means it’s often not done as much as it should be. On top of that, manual testing can’t capture all of a program’s functionality because it simply takes too long for a human to test everything. The bottom line: Software testers need automated tools to help speed up and improve their work processes—and that’s where functional test automation comes in.
Automating functional tests helps save time and allows for faster releases. Functional test automation tools work by recording a human tester’s actions—clicking buttons or fields, filling out forms, and then playing back those actions in any order at any time.
There are many types of functional testing automation, including test case automation, data-driven testing, and cross-browser/cross-device testing. Each type is designed to make software testers’ jobs easier.
There are many different ways to automate your functional tests. For example, you can use Selenium WebDriver, an open-source browser automation tool that works with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Or you could look into Appium or Testdroid from Xamarin.
The Types of Functional Test Automation
There are four different types of functional tests:
- Integration tests, which check that everything in your product works together
- System tests, which make sure that each module in your software works correctly
- Unit tests, which make sure individual components are working as they should
- Acceptance tests allow you to determine if what you’ve developed meets customer expectations.
Acceptance tests are particularly important for software that’s supposed to be easy to use. They allow you to evaluate if your product meets customer expectations in terms of how simple or intuitive it is and how easy it is for them to achieve their objectives. Use cases also help you understand who will be using your product and what they’ll need from it.
While testing is a complex subject, and many books have been written about it, there are two main schools of thought when it comes to automated testing:
- Black box testing: This type of testing focuses on functionality and requires very little knowledge of how your product works.
- White box testing: In contrast, white-box tests focus on a more detailed level, where you test each component independently and understand what they do and how they interact with each other.
Benefits of Functional Testing
One benefit of functional testing is that it can help reduce development time. However, when you do manual testing, each change means regression time—not to mention that automated tests typically run much faster than manual ones. Thus, if you have a lot of changes to make, you’ll need a large amount of regression time and will likely end up with a lot of wasted hours spent just waiting for tests to complete.
In addition to saving time, functional test automation also makes it easy to ensure new features or changes don’t adversely affect existing functionality. With manual regression testing, you often can’t test all possible use cases or even verify everything worked correctly—it’s just too hard.
Finally, automated functional testing makes it easier to test your code and your database. As your app grows and more features are added, manual testing becomes complicated. Add in a database—which is also likely growing in size—and you have a recipe for an untenable amount of regression testing.
Common Challenges in Automated Functional Testing
The biggest challenge is that if functional test automation does not capture all functionality and scenarios, they might fail intermittently, or a problem may exist that may not be detected until it negatively impacts business operations. QA engineers then spend time finding and documenting these issues rather than adding value to their organizations.
Another challenge of functional testing is managing complexity. As software applications become more complex, testing for every possible state becomes increasingly difficult.
Lastly, functional testing is costly and can be time-consuming to set up. QA developers spend most of their time writing, running, analyzing, and updating tests. In fact, up to 50% of a developer’s time can be spent on these activities. In addition, because these processes are labor-intensive and error-prone, it means that many defects escape detection until they reach production, where they cause more work in fixing them due to customer impact and business disruption.
What Makes a Functional Testing Tool Great?
There are a number of different types of functional testing tools, each having varying degrees of ease of use and functionalities. The best tool for you will depend on your needs and how much control you want over test creation and execution.
This is because various functional testing tools are available to you, and it’s your job to determine which one best meets your needs. This should depend on what features and functionalities you need most in your automated functional testing tool and how much control you want over test creation and execution.
Of course, one of the best reasons to use a functional test automation tool is cost-effectiveness. Instead of hiring a team of people to test your software for you, you can simply use an automated functional testing tool. This will give you all of the functionality and usability you need at a fraction of the cost.