Test Automation is the process of software testing which is performed by utilizing various test automation tools. It plays a vital role in the success/failure of any software automation project. The type of test automation tools can either be open source or licensed versions. It is highly recommended by the software testing experts that before the initialization of test automation, a test automation framework should be created which would not only support the software testing process, but also help in improving its quality. In a way, it can be said that the test automation framework allows a software tester to effectively perform automated software testing. The clients and the business community have understood the benefits of implementing a test automation framework.
Test Automation Framework Design is defined as an organization’s way of doing things or a structure that is created to provide support to an entity that could further expand in future. In the software domain, it is a widely accepted practice to follow a set of standards that would lead to successful execution of software projects. The scripts are designed and executed within a test automation framework.
The key factors that are to be kept in mind by the tester while developing a test automation framework are discussed in detail below. Let’s explore the major factors in detail.
1. Reports and Logs: A set of results are required to analyze the effectiveness of automation and also the test automation framework should provide all the details required to test execution. Logs should be provided with necessary details of problem along with the custom message. Testers should have the reports specifying the detailed execution status with the category and the screenshots.
2. Scripts and Data Handling: The input test data (e.g. xml files or Databases, Excel files) should be kept separated from the Automated test scripts, so that the test scripts need no modifications whenever the data has to be changed for multiple input values.
3. Library: Library should contain the external connections such as databases, application & generic functions as well as all the reusable components. Testers should have the access only to the implemented libraries and tests should be performed by invoking these libraries.
4. Scripting Standards: Coding standards are always needed to be maintained across the test automation framework. This will help in maintaining the code consistency and will discourage the individual scripting practices thus making it easier for software testers and developers to interpret.
5. Well Organized Framework: The automation framework should be well organized so that it can be understood easily. Organized framework provides an easier way to expand and maintain resources, test cases, configurations, input test data and utility functions. It provides support for addition of new features and easy integration with automation tools and third party tools etc.
6. Configuration Options: The test framework should provide an option to select the configurations at run time so that it can be used as per the test execution requirement. These configurations include the ability to choose the browser, operating system, platform, test execution environment such as staging, QA etc.
7. Good Design: In software testing domain, automation tests are used for long term regression runs in order to reduce the testing time thus the designs involved should be good so that the tests can be maintained easily yielding reliable test results. Test design should be such that the application locators are separated from the test code so that the locators can be updated independently in the locator file. Test data should be separated from the code and pulled from the excel, csv or xml file and data can be updated whenever required.
8. Extensibility and Maintenance: An ideal test automation framework should withstand all new enhancements to the software application and allow modification of the existing features.
9. Jar Files: JAR files provide two major benefits. The first one is the ability to combine hundreds of different files that make up an application. The second one is the means to compress all of the contained files thereby greatly reducing the size of the application, and making it easier to move the JAR file over a network and between the environments.
10. Script/Framework Versioning: The various versions of framework/scripts should be maintained either in a local repository or versioning tool, which would help in easy monitoring of the changes made to the software code.