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Machines taking over – Manual Vs Automation Testing!
Software testing is quite a huge domain, but we can easily categorize all the types of testing in two broad areas – Manual and Automation. Manual testing means the software is tested manually by the testers, without the help of any tools, whereas automation testing contains all such types of testing techniques where the test cases are executed with the help of a tool.
Manual Testing has always been the part of the software development cycle but has recently received the center stage just some years back. Software testing has gained the importance in the due course of time, which changed the game in the software industry. The focus of the organizations has moved to quality due to heavy competition and software testing is the key contributor for improving the quality.
Organizations have started refining their processes and want to improve the quality but at the same time will also have to save on time to meet the ongoing competition. Some software testing tools contributed heavily in improving the quality in less period. They came as a boon in the industry. The automation testing started taking over various repetitive testing processes which used to be done manually and were time taking. This actually improves the quality as manual errors were reduced and it was faster than the manual processes.
Automation vs Manual
Although there are various manual testing processes, which were taken over by the machines but still the manual testing cannot be completely removed. Eventually, when the automation tools for software testing was released in the market, there was quite a buzz that the manual testing would be completely finished and all the manual testers are going to become jobless. But, this didn’t happened. The manual testing is still done in all the projects as a first level of testing. Although, it is true that the repetitive tasks which manual testers used to do has been taken over by testing tools.
There is a clear distinction between manual and automation testing. They both have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is always good to know when to use and which one for best results. Even the tools within testing have a specific purpose and has its own pros and cons. There are various tools in the market to assist in functional testing, performance testing, regression testing and UI testing. But before this, let us look at the good parts of automation testing and the reason behind its innovation and popularity −
- Saves Time − Using automation tools, a project can save upto 50% of the cost and time. It is quicker than the human speed and more accurate results are reported.
- Repetitive Tasks − The automation tools helps in performing repetitive tasks which otherwise can become monotonous.
- Reusable − Once the automation script is written, it can be used multiple times, without making efforts of re-writing it.
- Performance − For doing performance testing, it may require to invest in hardware, software and human resources, which can be reduced by performance testing tools which simulates the scenario with only one machine and one resource. This saves time and cost both.
And now with advantages, let us look at some down point. Automation testing is not a full proof solution. It too has its share of loopholes and few of them are −
- Reduction in Scope − Using automation testing, the scope of testing is not reduced. The scope of testing remains the same or sometimes becomes wider. When we are using the tools, we need to write the scripts for the tools, which themselves need to be tested before actual use. This only increases the scope instead of reducing.
- Automate Everything − Not all parts of functionality can be automated due to limitation in the tools itself. There are some types of testing which cannot be done via automation, hence, we always require manual testing for the same.
- Test Coverage − Also automation testing tools does not provide 100% test coverage. To get 100% test coverage, we need to collaborate automation and manual techniques of testing.
- Efficiency − Not all automation tools in the market are efficient. Before using any tool, study the fine print and check for the reviews.
- Quick ROI − The automation tools does not start providing ROI immediately in the project. It takes a round or two of implementation to see the effectiveness.
Make Conversant Decisions
Before deciding on the choice between automation and manual, always go ahead with a small quiz to understand the requirement. Do not take a hasty conclusion to implement the automation tool because of the buzz in the market. There are few points that need to be considered before going ahead with automation −
- Money Matters − The automation tool does involve a lot of cost. If it is a paid tool, then you need to buy the licences. The cost of the tool also needs to be considered. These tools require some pre-requisite hardware and software which can be an additional cost.
- Trainings − You also need to hire technical resources who are aware of writing the scripts for the tool. If not, then you have to plan for training for the resources who are going to use it.
- Project Type − A key factor to consider is the project size and its type. In case, the project is expecting a huge amount or frequent changes in the GUI, then automation is a big NO. An automation tool is highly dependent on UI. It is a good choice for data driven project or where the project needs to be tested on multiple browsers.
- Frequent Requirement Changes − If the project is expecting frequent UI changes / additions, then also automation should not be considered. Writing a script involves time, resources and cost.
While considering all the above points, the test automation tools can be decided and a set budget for the same can be allocated. We cannot use the same tool for all types of projects. In our upcoming series, we are going to discuss the various test automation tools and their purpose. Every type of testing tool has their own individual advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss in our next article. This is going to be a 3-series article to explore automation testing.
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