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Why Automation Testing Is Important In Agile Development?

There have been continuous advancements in Software development technologies. When talking about software development methods one can simply not ignore the role which testing plays in software development. Therefore in order to maintain pace with latest software development technologies testing needs to be done faster than development.

Imagine you are building a big Software-as-a-Service product like for example Salesforce. The product has a 1000 features. You also have to release a new feature every other month so as to keep up with competition. Now imagine that you have to test that product. Check if new features have not affected old features and every features is working fine. All 1000 of them. Now imagine that you have to test the whole software within a week.
No possible right. That’s what enterprise developer thought and therefore automated the process of testing.

What the scenario was ‘before-Agile’?

Before the advent of Agile software Development, Waterfall Development Technology was the prevalent software development model. Waterfall model involves development in a series of steps starting with planning, designing, development, and testing. However the most salient feature of this model was that next phase is executed only when the previous phase is completed. That means that the testing of the product is done at the very last stage. If certain new requirements are added by the user at an advanced stage then the only option left is to re-develop the application with the new user demands. Or say the testers detect a bug, then the whole process has to iterate to locate the phase in which the bug was introduced. Moreover, the product could only be deployed once it is completely built so it takes a lot of time for the market release.

How Agile Development works?

In Agile, testing and development is done in several iterations. Agile Development method incorporates the concepts of Continuous Integration, Continuous Development, and Continuous Deployment. Continuous deployment can only be possible if the product is continuously tested as well. Faster testing calls for faster and advanced testing methods. If in a SDLC, the development is going on at a faster pace and testing is not able to cope up with that speed then you can imagine Agile falling out of its way. You will not be able to implement Agile with slow testing methods.

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So Where Does Automation Testing Fit In Agile Development?

To fulfil the needs for fast deployment, testing methods need to be faster. To understand this, let’s take an example of an application developed. Consider that a gaming application is being developed. In the first build, the game is deployed into the market. Now with every update new features are added to the application. So the gaming application will be continuously deployed with every new feature being tested along with the existing features. With so many features it becomes almost impossible to test every feature manually. This is where automation testing comes into picture.

Automation testing can solve your problem for fast testing methods if proper tools are used in an effective manner. There are various tools that are available for automation testing process such as: Selenium, TestNG, Appium, Cucumber, Test Studio, etc. These tools require a test case to be developed according to the needs of application/software to be tested. These test cases can then be run multiple times while performing continuous builds. This ensures that every step being taken is bug free or if a bug is introduced then it becomes easy to identify at what stage it has entered into our program.

When should you apply Automation Testing in Agile Development?

  • If a single test case is to be tested repeatedly.

  • If your test cases are very tedious and time-consuming.

  • If you have to run the test cases with different data and conditions several times

  • If you a similar test suite that needs to be executed for different user sets.

  • If you have got a narrow release window, and saving time is your top priority.

  • When test cases need to be executed with various browsers and environments

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Things That Make Agile Developer’s Life Difficult

An agile tester may face various challenges. Some of them are listed below which can be overcome by using proper testing methods

Detection of defects at an early stage:

It becomes easier and cheaper to fix a defect if it is detected at an early stage but in case the defect is found at the later stages of development cycle it becomes more expensive and difficult to fix it. So there are two solutions to this problem: you can do subsequent code reviews or run static analysis tools on source code. These ancillary tools to Automation Testing are aimed at finding missing routines, enforce coding standards , coding standard deviations and errors that can crop up in production due to mismatch data types.

Inadequate API testing:

API testing requires an advanced knowledge of coding because of the complexities associated with the test code. So this is because many a times it may be possible that your API is not tested properly. To ensure this, there are many testing tools available to check the functionality of APIs without the need of strong coding skills so that your services are fully tested.

Inadequate test coverage:

Sometimes you miss out the critical tests for any requirements because of continuous integration and the changing requirements associated with the service. Another cause to miss out the test coverage can be the unanticipated changes being made into the code. So as to make sure that all the changed codes were tested, source code analysis needs to be done to identify the modules that were changed.

Broken code due to frequent builds:

As the code is changed and compiled daily, the existing features being affected by the code becomes more frequent. For this every time the code is changed it needs to be compiled and tested. Because of resources constraint it becomes difficult to perform this daily so the testers need to implement automation testing to do so.

Performance bottlenecks:

With addition of more and more features, the complexity of code also increases. Performance issues will be faced if the developer loses track of how this is affecting the end user performance. So you need to identify which parts of the code are creating problems and how the performance is being affected with time due to these problems. Load and Automation Testing Tools can be utilized to check identify the slow areas and keep track of performance with time.

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Why Agile Developers Love Automation Testing

  • Faster Speed: Automating the testing introduces speed to our development methodology.

  • Greater ROI(Return on Investment): Though initial investment cost is high, but due to the advantages the return on investment is one long term and is time saving too.

  • Reliable Deployments: By employing the use of scripts for the testing procedure reliability is increased to many folds.

  • Parallel Testing: Same script can run on different devices hence simultaneous testing

  • Reusable Code Scripts: Once a script a developed, you can use it number of times to test the software bug. Different updations can also be made in the same script to use it for latest user requirements.

In Short

Automation testing is like a backbone to Agile Software Development methodology for the advantages it offers. By applying automation testing to Agile you can easily overcome the challenges faced by Agile.

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