New products, procedures, hardware and software must always be tested in order to make sure that they work properly, and that they conform to standards and plans for operation. Just imagine all the hassle - not to mention the lawsuits - that would ensue if products were found to be defective and unsatisfactory!
It used to be that testing was done through manual operation. The problem with this, however, is that this process if highly time-consuming, and inefficient besides. Thank goodness for technology, as products are now being tested by software applications, which are infinitely more thorough and speedy.
What is being measured and determined during test automation? Some of these would include the effectiveness and limits of a particular product or software, test functionality (or a comparison analysis between predicted functionality and actual outcomes), test controls, and consequence or reaction to test preconditions.
Test automation tools vary, although there are two general approaches: graphical user interface (GUI) testing, and Code-driven testing. In simplest terms, GUI as a test strategy features a record and playback capability that allows the tester to check for the resulting actions of every mouse click, keystroke, etc. These resulting actions may not be easily noticeable without the record and playback test functionality, so these features are very useful automation tools for analysis. A variation on GUI testing is how a programmer or engineer could build a model of the application, and then change the parameters to test its limits.
Code-driven testing, on the other hand, focuses on programmed codes to test if they would operate as planned, throughout a variety of conditions. Code-driven test automation uses programming and testing frameworks such as xUnit frameworks.
Integration automation is another relevant term, which talks about how software could be programmed to realistically simulate a user's actions and then record them. This is a step up from the regular record-and-playback capability that GUI testing features. One example of such automation software is called RoutineBot. You could download a sample of RoutineBot (free for a 30-day trial period, or you could also purchase this software for about $149, along with troubleshooting and support services) at comparesuite.com.
In summary, software test automation deals with tasks such as problem detection, defect logging, and product installation. The following software details and features must be thoroughly examined: debugging capabilities, customize options, capability for test integration and unattended runs, platform and operating system dependence, and application support. One common mistake is the neglecting of maintenance and sustainability testing, so the software must be equipped to perform such testing tasks.
If you're looking for test automation software, try out TestComplete at automatedqa.com, Automated Anywhere at tethyssolutions.com, Borland software test automation products at borland.com and Automation Anywhere at automationanywhere.com. Try out automation software directory listings at such websites as codequality.searchsoftwarequality.com. If you want to try your hand at looking for free, downloadable software (or at least instructions in programming), check out these websites: theserverside.com, automatedtestingsinfo.com, wareseeker.com and searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com.
There you have it! This is just a brief overview of some software applications that you could use for test automation. Hope this article was able to help you out. Good luck!