What is a Test Automation Framework?

Sometimes manual methods of testing the software would be a cumbersome task to carry out. However, Gone are those days when you have to rely on a manual way of testing the software. At present, you can automate tests whenever you want from anywhere in this world with no trouble.

To leverage the power of automation, you need to have a stellar test automation framework deployed in the testing process.

But,

What is a test automation framework?

Test automation framework is a comprises tools, guidelines, resources, and rules required to bring automation to the testing process. They will be located in a single place so that you do not have to spend time looking for them.

For instance, imagine that you are at an airplane ticket counter. The ticket counter also serves as a place to get answers to your queries, get the boarding pass, etc. A lot of services at one place! Sounds good right?

Likewise, the test automation framework provides all the necessary information and resources you need to execute the test cases in one place.

Test automation framework can prepare test cases based on the latest circumstances by providing syntaxes, methodology, preparing testing iteration, etc. so that testing can commence easily.

Different Components in the Test Automation Framework

API: Be it RestAssured API, Selenium, Driver API, Selenide, WinApp, etc., or any API. There has to be an automation API for the framework to work

Test data management: Test data can be stored in a separate file so that, to modify it you need not modify the script. All you have to do is access the data and modify it accordingly. And also, there should a robust library that can be used to scavenge the heap of production data to find the one suitable and safe for testing

Efficient Libraries: The success of the automation framework depends upon the arrangement of test cases. For that, you need libraries to store and manage effortlessly.

Testing tool: An array of tools is required to run the test automation framework. Defect tracking, traffic generation, analysis, requirement analysis, etc. require a separate tool.

Page object classes: This component helps in the reusability of tests. Duplicating all the functions in every test is a daunting task. A page object model or an API will help in reusing the page classes in multiple test classes to change one place

CI integration: For better ROI the tool must be able to integrate with the continuous platform so that once new code is injected into the software system automated regression tests can be facilitated.

Report Generation module: The framework wil be equipped with different kinds of libraries that can generate reports based on the requirement

Types of Test Automation Framework

Modular Test Automation Framework

In this type of framework, the application that will be subjected to testing has to be divided into modules. Scripts will be written for each module and tests will be executed hierarchically.

To achieve ease of access, there will be a master script that can be used to evoke scripts for each module.

The biggest advantage of the module test automation framework is that you only need to alter the script of a particular module.

Reusability is another advantage of this type of test automation framework. However, there are a few disadvantages as well. Adding multiple data sets is impossible as data is hardcoded to the script and writing the script required coding knowledge.

Linear scripting framework

This is a basic level of framework and is often called a record playback framework.

The linear scripting framework works linearly and thus the name.

This type of framework is majorly deployed to take care of the testing activities of small applications.

The scripts in this framework are not structured and for the same reason, they can interact directly with the application under test.

Owing to the same, you can generate tests very easily.

Since the tests are in sequential order, the Linear test automation framework is the fastest available at present.

However, there are disadvantages to this platform. They are, lack of reusability of the scripts, hardcoded data sets, and maintenance.

Data-driven Test Automation Framework

In this type of test automation framework test data and script logic will be separated from each other. This helps in adding different data types to every test.

Data is often stored in the form of XML, spreadsheets, MS access tables, text files, CSV files, SQL databases, etc.

Since data can be changed easily, multiple scenarios with varied data inputs can be used for testing. As a result, a lot of time can be saved, increased test coverage, flexibility in test execution, and many more.

Even though the perks are plenty there are certain drawbacks to this framework as well. You need to have an experienced tester with coding skills to take care of this test automation framework.

And also, testing up a data-driven test automation framework is a daunting task.

Keyword-driven test automation framework

This type of framework relies on tables or words for tracking tests.

Keyword-driven testing is also known as action word-based testing and table-driven testing owing to the reason mentioned above.

Every functionality of the application will be laid out in a table accompanied by instructions that are required to run the test. Often testers have to test the same functionality multiple times with different data sets.

Since data changes often it cannot be hardcoded to the script. In this kind of scenario, keywords can be of great help to testers or anyone else who runs the test.

Advantages of keyword-driven test automation include provision for the addition of multiple data sets, the ability to test multiple scenarios, and also several scripts that can be reduced in number.

Hybrid testing framework

Testing scene changes based on the application under test or the company strategy.

Implementing a hybrid testing framework requires deep testing knowledge because, as the name suggests this is a combination of multiple testing frameworks so the complexity involved in the operation is very high.

The idea behind the hybrid testing framework is to leverage the advantages of multiple frameworks in one single testing scene.

Since this framework is a combination of multiple flameworks its operability can be set to flexible or rigid based on the tests.

Hybrid testing frameworks are mostly opted for by software development companies who are releasing software frequently.

Top 10 Test Automation Framework Tools

1) Selenium

16 years have passed since the birth of Selenium. This exemplary tool has helped in the testing of bazillion web applications across the world. There are 3 major components of selenium they are.

Selenium web driver: Mainly created for creating regression suits and bringing automation to the testing of web applications.

Selenium IDE: Helps in creating scripts that can be used for the automation of exploratory tests and bug reproduction. Record and playback option is also available in Selenium IDE

Selenium Grid: Using this feature you can run tests on multiple devices and scale them according to the need. Multiple environments can be manipulated from a center point so that testing applications in combination browsers and OS versions becomes a piece of cake.

2) Cypress

Cypress is a Javascript-based end-to-end testing tool. The tool is easy to use and maintain and has managed to make a strong presence in the highly competitive market within a short time.

Features of cypress include,

  • You do not need any dependencies to install the tool
  • Writing tests is a piece of cake and you can the test execution in realtime
  • Debugging tests in CI is as easy as running tests in a local environment
  • Recording tests, taking screenshots, etc. is also very easy. Hovering over the command log will reveal a screenshot so that you can guess what happened in each test
  • Operating cypress is very easy for developers and testers
  • The tool is built on a completely new platform
  • You will get to see clearly which tests were a success and which one is a failure
  • ‘Tests can be run as fast as a browser rendering its content

3) Serenity

Serenity is a JAVA-based tool that can aid you in BDD (behavior-driven development). The most astounding feature of the tool is that it can easily automate the user acceptance tests and UI test automation

Features of Serenity

  • Detailed and customizable summary of all the tests
  • Generates BDD style reporting
  • For API tests Serenity can generate JSON requests and responses
  • Tag-based reporting
  • Serenity helps in the automation of acceptance criteria

4) Webdriver IO

A renowned test automation framework that works on Webdriver protocol (Cross-browser testing) and Chrome Devtools protocol( chromium automation using puppeteer tool).

WebdriverIO is an open-source tool and can be used to add complicated sets and combinations to existing commands.

Features of WebdriverIO

  • Can be used for test automation of applications based on Polymeror Vue.js, Angular, React, and native mobile applications( Android and iOS )
  • Comes with the popular developer tool, Google Lighthouse
  • Backup from a well documented and active community
  • Can be used to automate multiple tabs at a time

5) Robot Framework

An open-source test automation framework that can be used for automation as well as RPA (Robotic process automation). What makes the tool unique is that it can be integrated with other tools to make it more powerful.

Features of robot framework

  • Huge community support
  • The capability of the robot framework can be extended by Python libraries, java, or any other programming language
  • Renowned tools such as Juniper, ABB, Kone, etc. are built on the robot framework.

6) Guage

Guage is an open-source that can aid you in acceptance testing. This is relatively a new framework meant for Mac, Windows, and Linux. And the most amusing fact about the tool is that it is created by the same people who are behind the creation of Selenium.

Features of Guage

  • Writing and maintaining tests in Gauge is very easy because it’s in markdown
  • To avoid duplication there are reusable specifications and refactoring
  • Supports languages such as Python, Ruby, C#, Java, and Javascript
  • The plugin ecosystem of Guage is very extensive
  • Guage helps you run several tests parallelly in a CI/CD pipeline
  • Helps in data-driven testing
  • Through screenshots, Guage helps you study the failed tests in detail

7) Appium

A superstar just like selenium, Appium is yet another star when it comes to test automation frameworks. One of the most important features of Appium is that it does not need SDK or even recompilation for testing.

Features of Appium

  • Appium can be used to automate that’s built on any language or any framework
  • Helps in code reusability
  • Helps in the automation of cross-platform apps
  • There is no need for recompilation if you use Appium

8) Citrus Framework

Citrus helps in automating integration tests and also supports many protocols such as XML, FTP/SFTP, TCP/IP, HTTP REST, Kafka, JMS, SOAP, SSH, JSON, etc.

Features of Citrus

  • Couples with Selenium for better efficiency
  • Helps in BDD
  • Has client and server-side interface mocks and simulators
  • Has body assertions and message header

9) Cucumber

A tool that does not need much introduction. Cucumber is a BDD assisting tool that can automate tests with utmost efficiency.

Features of Cucumber

  • Can be used to validate executable specifications
  • Plain text specifications can be stored along with the code
  • Automate tests using Selenium, direct function calls, and API calls
  • Reports can be generated in JSON, HTML, and many other formats
  • JIRA and Cucumber studio integration

10) Sahi pro

Sahi Pro is a low code test automation tool that can be used to automate complex test scenarios with ease.

Features of Sahi Pro

  • Aids in the automation of cross-browser web apps, SAP applications, desktop apps, web services, JAVA applications, and mobile applications
  • Sahi Pro has a record functionality that works on any platforms
  • AJAX and Pageloads automatic waiting
  • Automation script can be auto healed and works on all the browsers
  • Does not require separate libraries for each browser
  • Facilities for detailed logging and reporting
  • Only basic programming knowledge is required

Final note…

The best way to choose the right cross of test automation from the ones listed above is to have a clear idea about the process and to ask certain questions.

Do the testers in your company have coding knowledge? If the answer is yes you need a platform that can be used by employees who have coding knowledge and ones who do not have a coding background.

Another thing to consider is the platform the software is built on and whether the framework can efficiently test it?

Most importantly, money matters! No matter what, pick a tool that’s in your budget.

If you find it difficult to automate tests, we can help you with the process. We have the expertise and resource to integrate automation into your development project so that you get a robust product in the end.

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