Automated testing is the process by which computer software is tested in an automated manner. With the complexity of software applications, it is critical to create a testing paradigm that will ensure full test coverage of an entire software application. Typically this testing coverage will allow for automated tests as they provide for a more robust, reusable testing suit for the application.
Computer software applications are designed to perform specific tasks in an effort to satisfy the specified requirements of an application. When these systems are developed, testing must occur to ensure these requirements are satisfied. This testing is typically completed with a hybrid of both manual and automated testing processes.
When an application is developed, it is important to determine how testing will be performed at the onset of the development project. Test automation is the process by which test scripts are created and run against applications software to verify the validity of specific requirements within an application. By creating automated tests, the development team of the software application can be assured that future regression tests can be performed without manual intervention.
There are several types of testing to include within software application development. These are unit testing, functional testing, interoperability testing, and performance testing. Each of these areas should include some form of automated testing.
Once a team has created test scripts, automated testing can become a repeatable process that can be run on a periodic basis during the development cycle of a software program. This testing process is a best practice within application programming because once a test script has been created, there is no risk of missing the test in a future release. Additionally, it is a best practice to prepare automated test scripts prior to writing software code as it will ensure the code being developed will meet the expectation of the defined requirements.
Many automated testing tools are available for completing automating testing. These range from open source software applications to robust enterprise testing suites. When selecting an automated testing tool, it is important that the tester scope the overall usage and coverage required, as many of the enterprise tools require a substantial investment.
Testing scripts can become chained together to create a full test harness of an application. When automated testing is performed in this manner, processes can be put into place to generate nightly test builds and managerial reports based on the testing results. This full automation provides the project team better visibility on the progress of the system development in general.