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20 March, 2024

Software Test Automation: 5 Important Trends for 2024

5 automation trends

Software test automation has evolved massively over the last few years; gone are the days of flaky tools, gargantuan setup effort, and scripts that require constant human intervention. The integration of cutting-edge technologies and methodologies has redefined the role of test automation within the software development lifecycle.

The advantages of test automation have been promised for decades. For years, automation has significantly reduced manual testing efforts, provided rapid feedback on code changes, and facilitated continuous delivery and deployment. The benefits, including improved software quality, enhanced efficiency, and accelerated time-to-market, are widely accepted within the software development industry.

However, the journey towards effective test automation was often fraught with challenges, and many people have been scarred by the process. In the past, organisations looking to implement or scale their test automation initiatives have frequently encountered challenges with initial setup effort, ongoing maintenance, and the need for specialised expertise.

Thankfully, automation solutions and approaches have come on leaps and bounds since those dark days.

In this insight, we investigate and offer advice on five important trends that have helped reshape functional software test automation and make it an essential part of your testing armoury in 2024.

1. Harness AI for Smarter Testing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has moved from concepts to reality, rapidly becoming a core aspect of test automation.

These technologies are now more sophisticated, able to identify patterns, detect issues before they become critical, and maintain test cases. When used correctly, AI can boost the efficiency and effectiveness of your testing processes, enabling your teams to deliver higher-quality software faster.

  • Problem Solved by AI: Without AI, test automation scripts require manual maintenance effort to keep them relevant. Through machine-driven regression testing, AI can easily find anomalies such as scripting errors, visual regressions, broken links, and more.
    • Advice: Build and maintain your scripts with AI-based automation tools. These tools can automatically identify problems and maintain your scripts. As well as use a single script for testing Android and IoS mobile devices. Invest in AI-assisted testing tools (such as UFT One) to generate and maintain AI-based automation test cases.

2. Shift Left With IDE Based Test Automation

Shift-left testing, where testing QA tasks are integrated earlier in the development process, has gained substantial traction.

This proactive strategy helps you identify and address defects sooner, enhancing product quality and contributing to cost savings by avoiding late-stage fixes. Modern test tools integrate seamlessly with popular Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio and Eclipse, making it easier for developers to test their code with professional automation tools.

  • Problem Solved by Shifting Left: Finding bugs late in the development cycle can significantly increase the cost and time to fix them.
  • Advice: Implement a shift-left approach by integrating testing early and often. Incorporate automated testing tools (Like UFT Developer and UFT One) that can be easily integrated into your development environment. If possible, foster a culture of collaboration between developers and testers; this will help you shift left and make everything easier in later development stages.

3. Shift Right with Codeless Test Automation

For decades, codeless testing has been the holy grail of test automation. Modern test tools have made shifting right a reality.

Codeless testing democratises test automation and makes it accessible to professionals with varying technical expertise. These tools enable business users who don’t have a deep understanding of coding to design, execute, and manage automated test cases. This expands the pool of experts who can contribute to testing efforts, enhancing testing process efficiency and increasing coverage.

  • Problem Solved: The technical barrier that prevents non-developers from contributing to testing efforts.
  • Advice: Implement codeless test automation tools (e.g., ValueEdge Model-Based Testing) to enable team members with diverse skill sets to create and manage tests without deep programming knowledge. Conduct tool-based and general testing training sessions to get your team up to speed on creating tests using these tools.

4. Adopt Continuous Testing

Continuous testing has emerged as a critical practice, helping to detect regression errors and reduce project timelines.

This is mostly due to the rise of DevOps and Agile, where ongoing testing throughout the SDLC is key to achieving rapid iteration and release cycles. Even away from DevOps and Agile, though, continuous testing enables your teams to drive higher quality into your solutions and reduce the duration of dedicated regression cycles.

  • Problem Solved: The need to maintain high-quality standards in a fast-paced development environment.
  • Advice: Embed continuous testing into your development approach to ensure ongoing quality assurance. This enables immediate feedback on the impact of code changes, facilitating rapid iterations. Use automation tools to run tests automatically after every code commit. Ensure your testing suite covers a broad range of tests, from unit to integration tests.

5. Migrate to Cloud-based Testing Tools

Cloud-based testing tools are scalable, flexible, and cost-efficient. SaaS functional test tools are a modern solution for dynamic development landscapes.

They allow your teams to adjust their testing resources as needed easily and facilitate collaboration among distributed teams by providing access to shared testing environments and resources. Cloud-based automation testing enables a more dynamic, accessible, and efficient approach to functional testing.

Cloud-based testing is also ideal for testing across different platforms. Traditionally, cross-browser and mobile testing meant investing in multiple devices and installing multiple operating systems and browsers. Cloud-based testing means you can easily access any combination of device, O/S, and browser, whenever you need them.

  • Problem Solved: Limited testing resources and challenges in collaborating across geographically distributed teams.
  • Advice: Adopt cloud-based testing platforms to provide scalable, flexible testing environments that can be accessed from anywhere, facilitating collaboration. Select a cloud-based testing solution that fits your needs and budget (Check out ValueEdge Functional Test). Migrate your testing environments to the cloud and ensure your team is trained to use these new resources effectively.

Conclusion

Test automation has moved with the times. It is now faster, smarter, more efficient and essential for dynamic and rapid software development.

  • AI and ML-assisted test tools are a reality.
  • Shift-left and continuous testing approaches are helping to fix bugs earlier.
  • Cloud-based and codeless testing tools are making automation more accessible.

These advancements are not just trends or buzzwords; they’re essential tools that help software development teams keep up with the fast pace of technology.

Stephen Davis
by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is the founder of Calleo Software, a OpenText (formerly Micro Focus) Gold Partner. His passion is to help test professionals improve the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing.

To view Stephen's LinkedIn profile and connect 

Stephen Davis LinkedIn profile

20th March 2024
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