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Test Automation Foundation Explained

Unit Tests
Software Test Automation Explained | TestQuality Test Management
We don't need to tell you that test automation will increase quality and save your software development company time and money spent on doing manual regression testing. It's known that many businesses begin at the user interface layer, which has the lowest ROI (return in investment) and perform automated tests that take a fraction of time by running regression tests with each build, rather than investing weeks near the end of the development cycle.
This is where Mike Cohn's test automation pyramid notion comes into play. Avoid spending your time at the user interface level. Instead, spend some time learning about the test automation pyramid. When you're ready, develop a test automation approach to maximize your ROI.
Develop a test automation approach to maximize your ROI
The test automation pyramid, initially proposed by Cohn in Succeeding with Agile, which is a comprehensive, realistic, and actionable guide to getting started quickly with Scrum and agile to succeed in the long run. Here you may find documentation how to optimize test automation:
  • Unit tests at the bottom of the pyramid and progressing through Service level testing at the top.
  • User interface testing is at the very top of the list.
Unit tests are quick and dependable while the Service layer enables testing business logic at the API or service level, where the user interface (UI) is not present. Remember that Testing gets slower and more brittle as the level increases. Finally, while some UI test automation is necessary, such tests are slower, more complex to maintain, and more prone to failure and this is why it's necessary to keep them to a bare minimum.
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Where the foundation of Test Automation is found?

As we had explained in a previous post, the unit test is a key component of producing high-quality code. When individuals in software firms talk about test automation, they usually refer to technologies like Selenium, Cypress or Playwright, which provide test automation frameworks. However, the majority of automated tests should be written at the unit test level by developers.
Unit test frameworks such as JUnit Testing Framework may be used by software developers to generate automated tests for tiny units of code. Some agile teams employ TDD (test-driven development), a technique in which unit tests are written before the code to aid with code design. Some other software developers prefer to write the code first, but don't consider it finished until they've created an automated unit test for it. You may use a Test coverage feature within a tool like TestQuality to manage your unit tests and determine if they have correctly tested.

Unit tests that are automated are incredibly fast to execute, and you should run them after every build. As your code base grows and evolves, this technique will provide your team with fast feedback when regressions emerge. Because the software tests are so short and specialized, they are simple to debug when they fail. A test management tool such as TestQuality and having these tests in an organized test repository that effortlessly allows your team members to create and organize test cases, manage testing requirements, establish milestones, provide clear guidance to testers on what to test next, execute tests efficiently, and finally, track and monitor testing results, progress, and trends. A test management case tool like TestQuality allows your development team to refactor with confidence, knowing that any new code that creates regressions will be detected fast.
This example below shows how Cypress can perfectly be integrated with TestQuality and get your project linked with GitHub or Jira.
This video starts with the initial TestQuality setup and project creation with the integration with a GitHub repository, it continues with the creation of a test in TestQuality and a run in Cypress. This phase ends with the examination of the run result file.
The process continues showing how to upload a XML file to TestQuality with the Command Line Interface. Connecting CLI to TestQuality and the creation of an script for CI/CD and run Continuous Integration script and upload TestQuality Integration.

Criteria for Effective Unit Tests

When talking about the criteria for effective unit tests, we need to mention Tim Ottinger and Brett Schuchert as creators of the F-I-R-S-T mnemonic for a more condensed set of unit test criteria.
Fast: Unit tests save you time by detecting faults as soon as they occur. The faster your tests run, the more frequently they will be executed.
Isolated: Each unit test should have a single cause to fail and should be able to stand alone as a full case documenting one unique behavior. As a result, you have to create your tests to be independent not just of external conditions but also of one another. Remember that when tests are interconnected, changing one might cause multiple others to fail in unexpected ways.
Repeatable: Every time you run a test, you should get the same results. Tests may give false positives intermittently for a variety of causes such as the incorrect use of threads/processes,
Self-Verifying A good unit test either fails or succeeds without ambiguity.
Timely: Writing tests before the code helps you to consider the code's use before its implementation. Written tests indicate the behavior that will be included into the code. These "specifications by example" can assist everyone comprehend what the code is doing more quickly.
The most significant aspect of unit tests is that they are beneficial to your development team. The F-I-R-S-T mnemonic is a straightforward technique that will get you there.

The middle section of the Test Automation Pyramid

This middle section of the Test Automation pyramid is referred to as the service layer, but also it is known as the layer for automated API testing, automated component tests, or acceptance tests. This automation layer is used to test business logic without using the user interface (UI). You may test the inputs and outputs of APIs or services without all the complexity that the UI imposes by testing outside the UI.

At this level, your testers may build up data and run a series of tests using the inputs and anticipated outputs you've described in different spreadsheets or files. This enables your team to write automated tests against boundary conditions, edge situations, or error circumstances without affecting the user interface. Because they may require access to a database or other components, these tests are slower and more difficult than unit tests. However, you should utilize them because they are still considerably faster and more reliable than UI tests.

The UI Layer on the Top of the Test Automation Pyramid

At the UI level, the primary goal is to guarantee that the UI itself works properly. Our advise is to keep UI tests to a minimum since they are quite fragile. These automated tests will require updating whenever the UI changes, and since there are so many variables at play when running a test that emulates screen clicks (such as network latency), such tests might result in false test failures.

Wrapping up

Keep in mind the test automation pyaramid and remember taht the bulk of automation tests should be performed at the unit test level, followed by those performed at the API or service level. Finally, with good test creation, you can develop a small set of automated UI tests to round up your automation test suite. Regression testing will be a snap once you have this robust collection of automated tests at your disposal.
With the help of TestQuality's integration engine you will be able to pull in automated test results from popular CI/CD, Test Automation, and Unit Testing systems. TestQuality's import capabilities also allow you to import requirements, tests, and issues from Google Drive or Excel with ease, or script TestQuality REST API to import test sets from other testing tools.
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