Automated browser testing, simply put, is the use of automation during browser testing. Developers use automation toolsets or frameworks to execute defined tasks to test browsers and check their functionality. This article aims at getting you started with automated browser testing.
This article was originally published by HeadSpin.
Automation assists developers with time-consuming and repetitive tasks like regression or performance testing. With the advent of data science, automation tests deliver accurate results enabling testers to proactively resolve issues and ship products faster to the market.
The Importance of Automated Browser Testing
Excellent user experience is the best way to ensure your web application’s continuous usage. The best way to provide an ideal user experience is through automated cross-browser testing. However, cross-browser testing becomes challenging when an organization tries doing it manually.
First, setting up a local infrastructure is costly considering the different browsers and devices that are required for testing apps. Second, on-premise infrastructure is not always the ideal choice; thus, to make it work, you will need to invest in a device farm, which is very costly.
Third, specific applications require continuous testing when developers release new application versions. A manual tester may test version 1 of the application and identify bugs. The developers fix the bugs and release version 2 for the testers to check. There is no specific limit to how many upgrades an application may go through. Yet, each time a developer releases a new version of the app, testers need to check its entire code.
Over time this repetitive task can become tedious and can lead to errors. Automated cross-browser testing helps solve these issues while being hassle-free in setup and a cost-effective method. It is scalable, and while running tests, it maintains efficiency and accuracy.
Developers run these tests through automation frameworks to devise test scripts to validate applications. Appium is one such framework that developers should use to automate testing. If you’re looking for tutorials on using Appium effectively, know more here.
Other advantages of automated browser testing include support for parallel test execution – which helps in faster test processing, faster go-to-market, and ease of implementation.
That said, when building an effective test plan, it is always good to ensure a proper mix of manual and automated browser tests.
Seamlessly Shifting From Manual to Automated Browser – How?
Moving to automation is easy; however, start your journey by automating a few test cases, and based on your initial assessment, you can consider moving more test cases and increasing the frequency of browser testing automation. It is always possible to shift back to manual testing if automated browser testing isn’t bringing the desired results.
Additionally, using analytics will help you understand your users better. These insights can help you target specific web application and browser areas that require attention.
What to Automate?
Regression Testing: Regression testing is a repetitive process. It requires testers to repeatedly fill in the same variables to ensure the new features to the web app do not affect the older functions. Manual testers can experience fatigue and make mistakes, so automating regression testing is an excellent call to make.
Performance Testing: Analyzing various performance metrics through manual testing is tedious work. Using automation tools like Appium can help you write comprehensive test cases to analyze every aspect of your web application. The HeadSpin platform leverages Appium capabilities to do just that. Here’s how.
Smoke Testing: Developers perform smoke tests to check for build stability; they act as indicators to the QA team that the build is ready for further formal testing. Automating smoke tests will help developers analyze the results and identify the significant issues in the web application.
Functional Testing: Functional testing involves testing the practical aspects of the web application, mainly around UI, APIs, security, database, and more. As organizations scale up, manually running functional tests becomes impractical. Automation will help improve test speeds, help increase the number of simultaneously running tests, and overall test accuracy.
Data-Driven Testing: Data-driven tests help testers keep data separate from test scripts and bring the data in when there is a need to extend the tests. Automation is the best way forward when dealing with data, as there are usually numerous data sets.
How to Get Started with Automation Testing
Here’s what you can keep in mind:
Keep manual testing in the mix and do not aim for complete automation.
Start by automating a few test cases – ensure these are comparatively small. You would want to keep these test cases small because you can reuse them in the future. Labeling test cases is also a good practice as this will help teams identify which test cases to automate and which ones to report.
It is also essential to know what not to automate. For example, automating user experience tests may not give you accurate results since an algorithm cannot predict individual user behavior. In such a case, manual testing is the way to go.
Identify which browser testing tools you will need to use for automation testing. Selenium is an excellent tool for web-based applications, while Appium has set the standard for mobile-based applications. If you’re looking to get introduced to both these tools, HeadSpin’s course on Appium and Selenium Fundamentals can help.
Another vital thing to consider while choosing the right cross-browser testing online tool is opting for an open-source or premium tool. While making this choice, many things come into play, but the company budget is the most obvious. Then you will need to consider your requirement and compare that with the services you get with the open-source version of the tool you’re choosing.
If your requirement doesn’t need you to go premium, then leverage open-source as much as you can.
Lastly, it would help to consider what infrastructure you’d put in place to run automation tests. Would you choose simulators or emulators? Testing on real devices is always the better option. Simulators can only ‘simulate’ a real device experience. Thus testing on simulators may not always give the best results.
Your test grid should comprise real devices and browsers and should be capable of parallel testing. i.e., simultaneously running multiple tests on multiple devices.
The HeadSpin platform enables you to test your applications on real devices worldwide. It integrates seamlessly into your CI/CD workflows and stimulates functional and performance testing pre and post-release. Know more.
Here’s What to Consider Before Investing
Before investing in browser testing tools, you must consider your budget first.
Second, you would want to consider the capabilities of your team. Mainly, do they have the skill set to utilize the tool you want to invest in, or will you need to bear additional upskilling costs? Asking this will help you invest in the right tools or, if it is a possibility, to upskill your team.
Third, what do you need from your cross-browser testing online tool? Do you want it to give you access to real devices? Enable parallel testing? Integrate into your CI/CD workflows? Knowing this will help you select the right tool.
Automation has become an integral part of our lives. It has made our work faster, and thus we can take our products out to market much quicker than before. No wonder then that automation is something everyone is after.
HeadSpin offers the much-needed requisite to all enterprises entering the cross-browser testing scenario. For a QA process that is costly and time-consuming for businesses, HeadSpin offers a wide range of solutions that include automated testing in real-time across thousands of combinations of devices, OS, and browsers.
Whatever your need, we have the solution that will ensure that your app is compatible with several web browsers and help you scale your business without any issue. We welcome you to start the free trial and decide for yourself.
Q1. Should you use testing tools to perform browser tests?
Ans: Yes, if you go by our suggestion, you must always keep testing tools handy to perform browser tests. Whether for browser testing online or mobile browser testing, using automation tools eliminates the possibility of errors in the entire QA process.
Additionally, tools help run multiple tests simultaneously, save time and cost, and offer accurate results compared to manual testing. Testing tools further assist real-time browser testing and cloud browser testing and generate test reports and scenarios.
Q2. Is parallel testing the same as cross-browser testing?
Ans: When developers run a parallel test, they simultaneously execute test cases on multiple browsers, operating systems, and devices.
On the other hand, cross-browser testing includes running the same test cases on different web browsers and devices one by one.
Hence, although they perform the function and provide similar results, the only difference between parallel testing and cross-browser testing is the sequence in which developers run the test cases.
Q3. What features to look for when selecting an automation tool?
- Ease of use
- Enable parallel testing
- Enable real device testing
- Support multiple frameworks
- Debugging features