A test automation framework is a set of rules, guidelines, and tools for testing software products under development. It helps quality assurance teams improve both their productivity and user experiences. With a well-documented framework, organizations can test new software deployments more thoroughly, mitigate human error, and save time using automation. Running tests multiple times also boosts confidence and helps teams understand how to better implement desired functions. There are several types of testing frameworks, each designed for use in specific situations.
Linear testing frameworks
Linear automation frameworks are the most basic since there’s no need to write additional code to create test functions. Instead, the steps involved in the test are written in sequential order to align with the desired user experience. In this way, the tester records all of the steps, such as navigation and user input, and plays the script back to test the system. Since the test steps can be recorded in a minimal amount of time and there’s no need to write custom code, linear testing provides one of the fastest and easiest ways to deliver a minimum viable product (MVP) to the customer.
Furthermore, most automated testing solutions provide linear testing features, so there’s rarely any need to plan extensively. On the other hand, the scripts used with this framework cannot be reused, and any changes to the application will require a great deal of extra work. As such, linear testing is generally better suited to simpler applications or functions.
Modular testing frameworks
A modular testing framework involves dividing the application into multiple separate test units, sections, or functions, each of which will be tested independently. Test scripts are created for each component, with the data collected being fed into larger tests hierarchically. One of the most critical elements of this type of framework is the abstraction layer, which helps ensure that any changes made to one module won’t affect the overarching application. This modular division of testing scripts helps make maintenance easier while enabling greater scalability, but it can also require a lot of extra work when updating large test scripts. Modular testing is best suited for complex, integrated applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP).
Data-driven testing frameworks
In a data-driven testing framework, the test input and expected outputs are stored in separate tables or spreadsheets. A single driver script is applied to different data, thus reducing the number of scripts required to carry out each test. This means less coding and greater maintenance flexibility. However, the many complexities involved in developing driver scripts requires a highly experienced tester who understands all the necessary programming languages. Also, test data and driver scripts are so closely related that neither one may be modified without having to configure the other.
Hybrid testing frameworks
Often, the best way to ensure a software application is thoroughly tested is to combine all the strengths of each framework. A hybrid testing framework incorporates linear, modular, data-driven, and keyword-driven testing in which each testing environment has a degree of overlap. Now that agile software development methodologies are becoming more popular, this degree of flexibility is essential. When choosing a software-testing platform, you should find a tool that can adapt easily and quickly to your specific development processes. It will also need to support a wide range of applications and processes that align with the skill sets of your staff.
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