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Best Practices to Design Automation Tests

Automation Testing software

Automated testing increases test coverage, reusability, and improves accuracy by eliminating human errors and aids rapid application development environments. There are different approaches, test automation frameworks, and techniques available for conducting test automation. Irrespective of the framework one may choose for developing automation tests, successful automation testing requires industry-proven best practices to improve the quality of automated tests.

A test case is a specification of the inputs, execution conditions, testing procedure, and expected results that define a single test to be executed to achieve a particular software testing objective."  

- Wikipedia

Best Practices to Ensure Automation Tests Functionality

The base for every test is a testcase. Not all the frameworks come with the ability to caution the tester when a step is not automated. The Behavior Driven Development (BDD) approach ensures that every step is automated. The beauty of the BDD approach is that it combines the strengths of Test-Driven Development and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD). If one doesn't use BDD, the software tester must manually review every step that is automated and execute it as per the functional flow. Below are some of the best practices to ensure flow and functionality of automation tests against testcases:

  • Ensure each testcase step is automated.
  • Ensure program executes as per testcase functional flow.
  • Verify correct test data used.
  • Verify the testcase failure to check if there is a defect in the application.
  • Check if the validation implemented is the expected result via the testcase.

Best Practices to Ensure Tests Follow Test Automation Framework Standards

Whatever the framework is, the tests must be designed per automation test framework standards. As part of test design, the software testers develop generic methods to perform actions on elements and business methods based on test case functionality, test data according to the application, and so on. Here are the best practices to consider in ensuring software tests are designed for framework standards:

  • Follow test design pattern according to the test automation framework.
  • Refer to the manual Testcase ID and description.
  • Specify the testcase group, priority and description.
  • Have test method names with specific standards.
  • Report time stamp for the beginning and ending of the test.
  • Implement try-catch to block or error handling implementation for each test/method.
  • Don’t write any direct element handling statements in test.
  • Have Java docs for every step/method.
  • Create method naming conventions based on test case steps.
  • Use meaningful variable names.
  • Follow proper naming conventions and coding standards.
  • Don't use static data in tests.
  • No method should be duplicated when developing new methods for tests.

Best Practices to Ensure Performance of Automation Tests

When it comes to automation, reliability takes priority over performance. Following the above discussed practices can ensure reliability of automated tests. But to increase the performance of the tests, follow the below practices.

  • Use “No Static Wait” statements to synchronize with application response.
  • Use exit statements in For/While loops in case a condition is used.
  • Stop test execution process if mandatory verifications fail and continue execution for optional verifications.
  • Method should return statements in conditions and not only at the end of the method.
  • Complex xpath with many parents should not be used element identification.
  • Use CSS Selectors instead of Xpath if CSS Selectors work.
  • Use For each instead of index based for loop when interacting with arrays or collections.
  • Search existing/built in methods for your needs instead of writing more lines/methods.
  • When you need to reuse elements, store it in variables instead of writing find element statement to do the same operation.

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Topics: Automation Testing, Test Automation, Software testing, QA TCOE

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