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How Should I Build An Agile-Friendly Test Automation Framework

As quality objectives move left in an agile environment, software testing teams learn that for continuous integration and deployment, they must depend on the quick input of automated scenarios. However, even when individuals grasp the fundamentals of test automation, the majority of automation projects fail.

There are a variety of reasons why test automation projects fail, but the most common one is a poorly-crafted architecture for the framework on which your automation is based. Test automation is alive, breathing code that was created to offer sanity tests for constantly changing production code. When regarded in this light, it is clear that test automation code must be dependable, and as a result, it should be written to a similar level as that which is now in use.

Automation frameworks should be versatile and easy to modify in addition to being dependable. A framework that can solely automate user interfaces (UIs), for example, limits the scope of a test and may result in sluggish and brittle tests.

Are you prepared to use test automation in your company? Here’s a quick rundown of the architecture for a reliable, resilient, versatile, and agile automation system.

In Agile, What Should You Automate?

Most of us choose for either the “smoke tests suit” or the “regression test suit” as the best choice for automation if we wish to add automation to our projects. Of course, they are, but when we consider the automated test pyramid, we may infer that we are just discussing the top tier of the pyramid. We still have the service and unit layers, which are more significant than the upper layers.

  • The fact that these deployments take time is one of the causes. The difficulty with this technique is that we have to wait for predetermined dates to resolve faults or integrate new features, which causes a delay.
  • To fit most of the tests into this layer, the development team should communicate and work together.
  • It is simpler to automate the testing behind the GUI than it is to automate the GUI itself. Another benefit is that functionality stays unchanged regardless of UI changes. Even if some of the elements of the UI are modified, the feature’s functionality remains unchanged. This method is primarily concerned with business logic and rules.
  • Web services are a way for two apps to share data or information in terms of responses and requests without having to worry about the underlying architecture or technology. In simpler words, web service testing usually entails making a request and confirming the answer.
  • Many of our tests need comparing data formats, such as text, CSV, or Excel files. For data validation, these files may be compared against baselines. The same data, but in a different format, may be compared. When two of the identical files are created from two distinct sources, this is what occurs. These comparisons may be automated since they are repeated.
  • Searching through a huge number of files for a single object may be tiresome, and God help us if it’s a repeated activity. Searching through log files is one example. If this is a time-consuming and repeated process, we should consider automating it.
  • Load, Performance, and Stress testing are the main components of this non-functional testing approach. There are a number of programs available on the market that may be used to automate these checks.

Steps To Build An Agile-Friendly Test Automation Framework

  • Decide where you want to start.

Choosing where to begin with test automation, like any substantial huge project, may seem to be a challenging endeavor. Here are two bits of advice:

  • Start with some low-hanging fruit (to rapidly demonstrate the benefit of test automation to stakeholders) or a section of your application associated with the most significant risk or effect of failures.
  • Starting with end-to-end test automation, such as Selenium, is a bad idea. While this may appear to be the obvious choice when writing automated regression tests, it is the most difficult to write, the slowest to run, and the most likely to fail due to any changes in the app under test or false positives caused by synchronization or environment (e.g., test data) issues. Instead, check if you can write a robust set of unit tests or use API-level testing to ensure that important business logic is validated.
  • Separate Your Automation Framework From Your Tests

The automation framework is made up of the tools, libraries, and utilities that are required to interface with the system under test. The framework should be a neutral entity that collects information about the program from the user interface, online services, business logic, databases, and other sources. Automated tests are written scenarios that direct the framework to query the application through a number of stages and then utilize the data obtained to assess the status of your test.

The framework and the tests should be architecturally independent inside the automation code base to facilitate reusability between tests. That is, all of your framework code should be included in one package, while the test code should be contained in a different package. Methods that query the application and return what it discovers should be included in the framework code. The test code should call a series of framework methods and then pass or fail the test depending on the results.

Your code will be cleaner and simpler to maintain and expand as a result of this separation of objectives. Because the framework is a neutral party that just gives information on the system, the same framework techniques may now be utilized in both positive and negative testing. The information given by the framework may be used by the test for its own purposes.

  • Dedicate Specific Resources To Automation

To be successful with test automation in your agile software development efforts, make sure the individuals responsible for designing and maintaining it have the proper skill set and have enough time to do it.

The quantity of individuals who will devote their time to automation is determined by a variety of criteria, including their abilities, the sort of automation required, and the complexity and risk connected with the application to be produced. If your company doesn’t have enough personnel to meet your automation needs, or if the individuals you have don’t have the necessary expertise, hiring external specialists on a temporary basis could be a good way to get started.

  • Inheritance’s Importance In Test Automation Code

Inheritance, an object-oriented programming feature that allows objects to inherit attributes from their parents, has a role in your automation test code as well.

Every UI test in the test layer must start the browser. Instead of repeating your code in each test method, you can use this feature to extract it and put it in a method that runs before each test. Place the function in a base test class from which all test classes inherit to guarantee that it is not repeated in every test class. Annotations are provided by test runner technologies like JUnit and TestNG that you may use to mark methods that should run before the tests. They also include “after” annotations, which may be used and inherited in the same manner as “before” annotations to clean up after testing.

Inheritance may also be used at the framework layer. For example, in order to interact with the application using Selenium WebDriver, every page object class requires a handle to the WebDriver instance. Setting up a base page class with the WebDriver instance as a protected member and then having the page object classes inherited from the base page is one approach to achieve this.

Objects for other elements of the program that are accessible from any page, such as navigation menus, headers, and footers, may be found on the base page. All of them would be inherited by any carrier, making them available without the need for other codes.

  • Making Use Of Page Object Models

Classes that interface with the system’s pages are required for UI applications. The framework layer should have these classes. The page object model is the most prevalent design paradigm for building these classes (POM). According to this architecture, each page of your application should have its own class. The components of a page (e.g. buttons, text fields, etc.) are included inside a specific class, as are methods for interacting with those elements. To manage the actual interaction, you may use a browser automation tool like Selenium WebDriver.

Consider a common login page for an application. A text box for the username, a text field for the password, and a submit button are all available. The automation framework would contain a class named LoginPage using the POM. LoginPage would have handles for the following elements:

  • usernameField
  • passwordField
  • submitButton
  • errorMessageLabel

and would also include methods such as:

  • setUsername
  • setPassword
  • clickSubmit
  • getErrorMessage
  • Consider Include Behavior-Driven Development In Your Plan.

Team members utilize domain-specific terminology to explain the intended behavior of an application in the form of scenarios in Behavior-Driven Development (BDD). This task is best done in collaboration with the business analyst, developer, and tester to stimulate communication and iron out any missing facts or misunderstandings regarding the product to be produced.

To run these natural-language situations, you may use tools that you can combine with automation code. This is great for teams who wish to collaborate on automation projects with both developers and testers. Testers effectively construct automated scenarios without having to write by defining scenarios in domain-specific natural language. But this isn’t magic, of course. To act as the glue between the scenarios and the framework, a new layer of code is required. This layer effectively interprets what’s stated in plain language and invokes framework functions that match to that purpose.

Adding a BDD layer to the automation framework should be a well-thought-out option. If the team isn’t utilizing behavior-driven development for communication and just using it for automation, this additional layer of code isn’t as useful and adds yet another degree of complexity to the framework.

However, if your team thinks that this is a reasonable strategy, adding a BDD layer to the current automation code base is simple. Here are the steps to add the feature to Cucumber, assuming it is your preferred BDD automation tool. Add a new sub-package for BDD to the test package.

Add a folder for the scenarios (i.e. feature files) within that sub-package, as well as a sub-package for the glue code (i.e. step definitions). A class responsible for running the scenarios must also be included in the BDD sub-package. The location of the feature files and step definition code will be determined by this class.

  • Look Beyond The User Interface

The time taken by the tests to run is one important factor that an automation framework needs to be chnaged Because continuous integration pipelines rely on test feedback, time is of the essence, and quick input is essential. Limiting UI testing to just what truly has to be checked on the UI is one technique to reduce test execution times.

You can’t, however, confine the framework to only browser automation tools to do this. Adding a web services sub-package to your framework layer is a great way to get started.

Some automated testing may not need the use of the user interface. Verifying functioning via a web service call, for example, may be sufficient. Perhaps a UI test scenario has some setup or cleaning that is better handled through web service calls. These, like page object classes, may be inserted as service utilities in a WebServicesUtils class and utilized by test classes. This may assist cut down on execution time while also removing a lot of the brittleness that comes with UI automation testing.

Without the bother of setting up an in-house device lab, automation testing platforms like LambdaTest allow you to test your website across 3000+ browsers and operating systems. You won’t have to worry about managing large device laboratories with its cloud-based Selenium grid.

With LambdaTest, you can run Selenium automation testing straight from Virtuoso instances to extend your cloud-based test environments. To run parallel tests and examine test results, you can also use LambdaTest. Selenium test reports may be analyzed and extracted. It also allows you to look at full test logs, test metrics, and to gather other helpful information.