Can start-ups and small-sized teams start browser automation or any other types of test automation with confidence?
Review this tutorial for the answer:
Test automation takes away the manual effort in testing activities, helping testers achieve more test coverage with less stress.
However, getting started with browser automation might not come out easy at all, especially for small teams and start-ups.
The question is – can those teams start testing regardless of their limited resources, knowledge, and experience?
Why Automation Testing And What To Expect Along The Way
In many small-sized teams or start-ups, quality assurance activities usually stay within narrow constraints of budget and manpower. This explains why testing activities in those teams are mainly the job of developers or manual testers.
However, instead of leveraging its ability to discover edge cases (bugs that users rarely encounter), manual testing is usually utilized with the sole purpose of ensuring that things won’t fall apart. The job of manual testers, therefore, can be very demoralizing.
Imagine you have to test an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) application containing hundreds of forms and reports. In your exploratory testing, you pick a random form with 30 different fields. Filling out that form takes less than 15 minutes. Now think about repeating that lengthy form plus dozens of others every day.
You might get tired, fill out just half of the fields and eventually deliver poor results.
Before trapping yourself in that “valley of despair,” remember that retaining the same speed, energy and accuracy are humanly impossible. That’s the reason we need test automation solutions. Only software can maintain that high level of consistency in every single test.
But is there anything to expect after implementing test automation?
First, it’s reporting capabilities. For communicating the status of your project, teams need test reports and analyses.
A test automation solution is suitable, but a test automation solution with a built-in reporting mechanism is better. Without that, the only options you’re left with are:
- Manually writing and collecting all the reports.
- Complex workarounds with third-party reporting software.
And when reporting becomes a burden, communication is barred and inarticulate, stakeholders are uninformed, and the disconnect diverges further.
Next, consider test automation a journey, not just a start. In the beginning, small teams usually start with a few test cases and projects. Over time, they have more test cases, more complex syntaxes, or want to try desktop and API testing. When that happens, switching between testing frameworks is inevitable.
But, your test automation solution should help you with that too. It should help you move as fast, easy, and seamless as possible.
In short, teams look for test automation tools because they want to:
- Uncover defects in less time with fewer efforts & risks.
- Inform and engage with stakeholders via test reports and analytics.
- Get started easily and immediately.
- Grow sustainably and adapt to future changes.
In Search For A Browser Automation Solution
There are bunches of browser automation tools on the market. If we consider the above bullet points as a framework of assessment, what can some of the most popular names bring to the table?
#1) Selenium IDE
There’s no need to introduce Selenium IDE – a pioneering test automation solution and one of the most favorite among testing communities. For getting started easily, Selenium IDE comes out pretty handy with beginner-friendly UI and commands.
However, as an open-source framework without a dedicated product development team, Selenium IDE doesn’t ensure the stability testers all look for. One of the noticeable events was the 2017 crash when Firefox announced it would not continue supporting Selenium IDE from Firefox 55 and onwards.
For the migration path, Selenium IDE allows test exporting to the Selenium WebDriver framework. However, as Selenium WebDriver is a whole “programming library,” there’s quite a leap for teams to take when they consider moving to this framework.
Selenium IDE doesn’t provide any test reporting or analytics.
#2) UI. Vision
UI. Vision RPA is a record and replay tool for web automation, UI, and desktop testing. Like Selenium IDE, UI. Vision is also considered a fast and lightweight option to begin test automation.
Besides standard Selenium IDE commands, UI. Vision RPA has added more optimal features for web test automation, such as automated file uploads, screen scraping, etc.
UI. Vision doesn’t facilitate a smooth transition to other solutions as it doesn’t allow users to export tests to other frameworks.
UI. Vision doesn’t provide reporting or analytic options.
iMacros is another browser automation testing tool for web regression testing, performance testing, and web transaction monitoring. As its free version allows no more than 50 actions, iMacros doesn’t seem to be an ideal option to start test automation with a tight budget.
However, know that iMacros is robust to uncover test defects with options to execute tests from command lines and execute with different data sets.
iMacros (free version) does not support exporting test projects and reporting/analytic capabilities.
Cypress is a little harder to work with as it only allows command-line test execution without enabling execution with different data sets like iMacros or UI. Vision. Cypress doesn’t provide reporting or analytic options.
Getting Started With Less Stress And More Confidence
Popular automation solutions have their pros and cons, which suit a wide range of needs and team sizes. For small teams and start-ups, however, having one or two of the four criteria above unticked might not seem to be very helpful.
Katalon Recorder is another browser automation tool to be introduced in this article. As the well-rounded Selenium IDE alternative, Recorder balances all the expectations and needs of small-sized teams, offering a fast and lightweight option to start test automation with confidence:
#1) Getting Started instantly
- One-click installation: Katalon Recorder is a free web add-on available on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
- Low-code test execution: Using Recorder’s Record and Playback feature, you can create and run tests in a snap without writing a lifelong test script.
- Helpful instructions for non-tech beginners: Recorder has integrated sample projects and walkthroughs for various real-life testing scenarios.
- Community support: Whenever you have questions to ask, visit the Katalon user community. Chances are somebody has already encountered the same problem, came up with a solution, then shared it with the community there.
#2) Uncovering defects faster and painlessly
- Self-healing: This feature allows Recorder to automatically switch away from broken locators and find valid alternatives, ensuring smooth executions.
- Global variables: Users can predefine global variables and assign the same value sets across multiple different test cases without modifying them one by one.
- Command-line and data-driven execution: Katalon Recorder also supports executing test scripts from the command line or executing with different data sets.
#3) Clear and timely communication with Stakeholders
- Advanced test reporting: Thanks to Recorder’s integration with Katalon TestOps, users can get real-time analytics and test reports for better communication with stakeholders.
#4) Flexible Migration Path
- Test exporting: Katalon Recorder paves a flexible migration path to other, more comprehensive solutions. Thanks to its shared terminologies and concepts with Katalon Studio, Recorder users can easily migrate their projects to Studio or other frameworks like Selenium WebDriver.
- Support for different languages: Katalon Recorder provides a wide range of exporting options like Java (TestNG and JUnit), Python (unittest and appdynamics), C# (NUnit), Ruby (RSpec), Groovy (Katalon Studio), Robot Framework.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, choosing the right tool will boost teams’ confidence from the very first project and ensure sustainable growth in the future.