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What is Test Automation Framework? Why It's Key to Automation Testing?
Testing frameworks are integral to any successful automation testing project. Test automation framework helps reduce maintenance costs and testing efforts, which contributes to a higher return on investment (ROI). Testing framework is especially for QA teams looking to optimize their agile processes.
This article walks you through the most popular test automation frameworks today as well as their benefits and drawbacks.
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What is a Test Automation Framework?
Before learning all the testing frameworks and their benefits, it’s essential to understand what a test automation framework actually is. A testing framework is a set of rules or guidelines for designing and developing test cases. It includes a set of practices and tools that help QA professionals test more effectively.
Coding standards, test-data handling techniques, object repositories, protocols for storing test results, and instructions on how to access external resources might all be included in these guidelines.
While these are not essential criteria, and testers can still write or record tests without them, adopting an organized framework often gives extra advantages that might otherwise be overlooked.
The Benefits of Test Automation Framework
Using an automated testing framework will enhance a team's test speed and efficiency, improve test correctness, cut test maintenance costs, and lessen risks. They are necessary for a successful automated testing process over many reasons:
- Test efficiency has improved.
- Maintenance expenditures are reduced.
- Manual involvement is minimal.
- Maximum coverage of tests
- Coding reusability
Types of Automated Testing Frameworks
Six different types of test automation frameworks exist, each with its own architecture and set of pros and downsides. It's critical to select the framework that's ideal for you while creating a test strategy.
- BDD Testing Framework
- Linear Automation Framework
- Modular Based Testing Framework
- Library Architecture Testing Framework
- Data-Driven Framework
- Keyword-Driven Framework
BDD Testing Framework
Behaviour-driven development (BDD) framework allows software testers to write test scripts in plain English, making them easily understandable even to individuals without technical expertise. The primary goal of BDD testing is to enhance collaboration between the technical and business sides.
Cucumber is a widely used tool for implementing the BDD framework, which utilizes Gherkin, a business-readable language, to describe system behaviors and scenarios. It follows a structured format consisting of 3 main statements: Given, When and Then. Each addresses a specific aspect of the system
- Given: establishes the initial context and sets the starting point for the system
- When: describes the trigger or event that leads to a change or behavior in the system
- Then: defines the expected outcome or result
BDD testers then transform the articulated system behavior in Gherkin into a test script that can be interpreted and executed by computers.
Advantages of BDD testing:
- Establish a common language between engineers and stakeholders to effectively communicate about software solutions and user needs
- Mitigate uncertainties
- Automated tests can be rapidly created based on agreed-upon specifications, enabling faster product delivery and quicker feedback loops
- By converting business requirements into a clear and executable format, BDD testing minimizes errors in software implementation
- Simplifies the learning curve and technical jargon
Drawbacks of BDD testing:
- May require the inclusion of all key stakeholders in the process, which can lead to lengthy meetings
- Relies on well-prepared software requirements for the Gherkin scripts to accurately represent the business needs, which might now always align with the fast-paced nature of Agile teams working from concise specifications
- Can be less efficient for small development teams
Framework for Modular-Based Testing
When using a modular framework, testers must break down the program under test into different components, functions, or sections, each of which must be tested separately. Following the decomposition of the application into discrete modules, each portion is given its own test script, which is then integrated to construct bigger tests in a hierarchical approach. These bigger groups of tests will start to reflect different test scenarios.
Building an abstraction layer so that changes made in specific portions do not effect the overall module is a crucial technique for adopting the modular architecture.
Advantages of Modular Frameworks:
- If the application is changed, just the module and its related individual test script will need to be corrected, which means you won't have to alter the rest of the program and can leave it alone.
- Because test scripts for multiple modules may be reused, creating test cases takes less time.
Modular Framework Disadvantages:
- Because the tests are run independently, data is still hard-coded in the test script, therefore you can't utilize several data sets.
- To build up the framework, you'll need to know how to program.
Framework for Testing Library Architecture
The library architectural framework for automated testing is based on the modular framework, however it comes with a few more features. Rather of breaking down the program under test into the numerous scripts that must be performed, related jobs within the scripts are recognized and then grouped by function, resulting in the application being broken down into common objectives. These routines are stored in a library and may be used by the test scripts at any time.
Benefits of Library Architecture Testing Frameworks:
- Using this design, similar to the modular framework, will result in a high level of modularization, making test maintenance and scaling easier and more cost efficient.
- Because there is a library of common functions that can be used by various test scripts, this framework has a higher degree of reusability.
- The script's test data is still hard-coded. As a result, any changes to the data will necessitate script adjustments.
- The typical functions inside the test scripts require technical skills to develop and analyze.
- Test scripts take longer to write.
The test data is separated from the script logic when using a data-driven framework, allowing testers to store data elsewhere. Frequently, testers are faced with the task of testing the same feature or function of an application numerous times with various sets of data. It's vital in these cases that the test data isn't hard-coded in the script, as is the case with a Linear or Modular-based testing framework.
Setting up a data-driven test framework allows the tester to save and pass input/output parameters from an external data source, such as Excel spreadsheets, Text files, CSV files, SQL tables, or ODBC repositories, to test scripts.
The test scripts are linked to an external data source and instructed to read and populate the required data as needed.
Benefits of Data-Driven Frameworks:
- Multiple data sets can be used in tests.
- By altering the data, several scenarios may be evaluated fast, minimizing the number of scripts required.
- It's possible to avoid hard-coding data so that any changes to the test scripts don't effect the data being utilized, and vice versa.
- You'll save time by running more tests more quickly.
- To fully use this framework architecture, you'll need a highly experienced tester who is fluent in many programming languages. They'll have to discover and format external data sources, as well as build code (create functions) that elegantly connects the tests to those data sources.
- A data-driven architecture requires a large amount of time to set up.
Framework Based on Keywords
Each function of the application under test is written down in a table with a sequence of instructions in sequential order for each test that has to be conducted in a keyword-driven framework. The test data and script logic are separated in a keyword-driven framework in the same way as they are in a data-driven framework, but this method goes one step further.
Keywords are likewise maintained in an external data table (thus the name) using this technique, making them independent of the automated testing tool used to run the tests. Keywords are the parts of a script that represent the various activities taken to test an application's GUI. These can have simple labels like 'click' or 'login,' or more complicated labels like 'clicklink,' or'verifylink.'
Advantages of Keyword-Driven Frameworks:
- Only rudimentary programming skills are required.
- The code is reusable since a single term may be used in several test scripts.
- Test scripts can be written without regard to the application being tested.
- The initial expense of putting the framework together is rather costly. It's time-consuming and difficult. Keywords must be declared, and object repositories / libraries must be established.
- You'll need someone who knows how to automate tests.
- When growing a test operation, keywords might be a pain to keep track of.
Linear Automation Framework
Testers don't need to write code to build functions in a linear test automation framework, also known as a record-and-playback framework, and the steps are written in a sequential manner. The tester captures each step, such as navigation, user input, or checkpoints, and then conducts the test by automatically replaying the script.
Benefits of using a linear framework:
- Because test scripts can be quickly recorded in a short amount of time, this is one of the quickest ways to produce them.
- Because the scripts are written out in a sequential fashion, the test workflow is easy to grasp for everybody engaged in testing.
- This is also the quickest method to get started with automated testing, particularly if you're using a new tool. Because most automated testing tools currently have record-and-playback capabilities, you won't need to plan ahead of time using this architecture.
- Scripts written with this framework are not reusable. Because the data is hardcoded into the test script, the test cases cannot be re-run with other sets of data and must be updated if the data changes.
- Maintenance is a pain since any modifications to the application necessitate a significant amount of rework.
See more: How to choose Test Cases for Automation
Finding a technology that can rapidly and readily adapt to your processes is one advised strategy for building a hybrid framework for automated testing. You should search for a versatile automated testing solution that can support a wide range of apps and languages when selecting one. This will allow everyone on your team to participate to your testing efforts, regardless of their experience or skill set.