A simple definition of Scriptless Test Automation can be, “an approach that helps users automate their tests without having to script or code using any programming language”.
Script-less automation creates a harmonious blend of functional and technology expertise to ensure test automation success by having functional experts use their functional knowledge to automate tests (work flow and data) and automation/technology experts use their tool and technology knowledge to strategize, lead, plan, troubleshoot, and write extension scripts if required.
The word Scriptless means “No Scripts” or “Script free”. Does that mean there is no scripting required? The answer is “NO”. Does that mean this is just a gimmick? The answer is “NO”.
Often in various forums and conferences, I have come across people with strong views on script-less automation. Some believe it works and some don’t. When I look back at my conversations, I felt there are few myths or misconceptions about script-less automation which need some discussion.
Myth 1: Script-less means scriptfree
Script-less is an approach to make test automation scalable without increasing people, tools, technology, and infrastructure costs. This approach uses readily available code assets termed as “Keywords” or ”Constructors” to build and maintain automated test cases. These Keywords and Constructors are nothing but user-based actions such as “Click”, “Edit”, “Select” for that matter any action one needs to perform on an application user interface.
Similarly, actions such as arithmetic calculations, file handling, database handling, and any others that you could ever build into scripts can be developed as keywords, allowing you the ability to use them across applications, tools, and technologies.
A true script-less approach should allow its users, functional and technical both, to extend and tune the approach to the requirements of a specific application, technology and tool.
Myth 2: Script-less is Not maintainable and reliable, not any different than Record and Playback
Scriptless test automation framework is a well-structured, methodical approach towards implementing test automation.
It eliminates the complexities of test automation tool by building a wrapper on top, allowing functional users to automate. This framework, by design, maintains a complete traceability of all reusable components and maps dependencies throughout the test automation life cycle.
Scrip-less framework allows easier change adoption and reduced maintenance efforts arising out of any change in the workflow or objects.
This layer houses scripts at a granular level that can be scaled across multiple technologies, automation tools, and applications. Generally, a keyword driven approach is used in implementing a script-less framework.
In my opinion this myth is created by the promises made on usage of the framework or tool by functional users, which was exactly the case with Record and Playback more than a decade ago. Till any approach helps you to not just build tests, but maintain, manage objects, etc… I would give script-less a serious thought.
Myth 3: It’s just a buzzword
There is always hype about new thing being introduced, with Sales and Marketing folks trying to capitalize on it. However I don’t think enterprise software is bought just by advertisements and marketing gimmicks. Each one who invests in an enterprise software do their own due diligence in terms of Demos, Proof of Evaluations, and success stories etc.
Also this doesn’t mean there are no scripts or code involved. As a matter of fact coding is significantly reduced, allowing us to yield the benefits of a consistent and standardized approach.
Myth 4: Automation experts are no more required
Even though script-less test automation allows manual testers to quickly automate test cases, you would still feel the need of your best Automation experts/specialists to prioritize tests. What to automate and what not to, strategies for object learning, test data planning and to extend script-less framework by writing custom scripts, if required. Your Automation specialists lead the way and are the owners of your Test Automation suites.
Script-less automation, allows you to use your functional experts in building automation and bridging the gap between domain/application expertise and technical automation knowledge. This ability to use the best of both worlds to achieve reliable, faster automation by allowing you to leverage your current team’s strengths is what script-less automation stands for.
Over the years, script-less automation has come a long way in proving its worth by making test automation faster, more reliable and scalable.
A well designed script-less framework can in fact achieve higher levels of maintainability allowing users to effectively change workflows and data while being in complete control of the impact on overall automation.
Functional and technology experts are the Yin and Yang of test automation and the script-less approach brings them together to deliver faster results, better quality products and higher returns on investments.