Understanding the multilayered benefits of scriptless test automation
Executive Summary :
Going scriptless makes sense in general. Will it make sense for your organization? Answering that questions would require us to take a closer look at various aspects of scriptless test automation. We will also need to understand how going scriptless will positively impact the already existing processes and functions. This article is aimed at giving an introduction to scriptless and then highlight multiple benefits under different categories like cost, time, maintenance etc.
Over the last decade, we have seen the speed of digital transformation increasing manifolds. Starting from most obvious functions like storing and managing data, today, every business process is digitized. For big corporations, digital is not just a strategy but the very core of their existence. Accelerated digitization of business process led to companies launching a large number of digital products like desktop, web or mobile applications and interconnected with APIs. With increasing number of products and their frequent releases, quality became a bottleneck and quality assurance evolved as a domain in itself. Test engineers were deployed to carry out extensive testing before every release.
Software testing is a very ideal use case for automation. It is human resource intensive and repetitive to a certain extent. This led to the emergence of scriptless test automation. There is a lot of content out there talking about why everyone should go ‘scriptless’. Going scriptless is not a decision that one can make based on just the generalized facts.
Going scriptless makes sense in general. Will it make sense for your organization? If you have already invested your time and resources in Selenium and have come halfway, will it still make sense to go scriptless? Answering that questions would require us to take a closer look at various aspects of scriptless test automation (also known as no code test automation). Let’s do that!
What is scriptless test automation?
The heart of test automation are various test automation frameworks. Typically, a framework is a set of rules and tools which lay out the basic ground for automation. Frameworks enable automation but there is a lot of human involvement – writing scripts, maintaining test data, updating scripts, reporting etc. Scriptless test automation lets you do all these activities without writing a script. To simplify scriptless automation tools add another layer in-between the framework and the users and eliminate the most dreaded part of the process – writing scripts.
A large number of organizations, after trying to work with the frameworks, realize the pain involved in the process and start exploring scriptless test automation tools. Here are some multilayered benefits of scriptless automation which might help you to arrive at a decision.
Benefits of scriptless test automation :
a. More number of releases : How much you test does not matter. What matters is how fast you release. The biggest advantage of scrtiptless automation is the ability to increase the number of releases. Scrtiptless test automation eliminates the need for re-inventing the
wheel every time you push a release. Features like reusable blocks, composite actions etc. significantly bring down the testing cycle time and allow you to release faster.
b. Reduced cost of automation : It is generally believed that automation reduces the cost of testing. That being said, automation itself has some associated costs. As we discussed earlier, test automation involves a large number of people and tools each of them having their own cost component. If we break down the test automation costs, these are the major buckets :
– People cost : Test automation needs a large ecosystem of engineers to support it at various stages such as test design, writing, execution, maintenance, reporting etc. Scriptless test automation brings down these costs substantially. Different frameworks, tools and languages are required for web, mobile or API applications each of which require specialized human resource. Reporting is often complex and done manually. Scriptless test automation can downsize the human resource requirement substantially on all the fronts mentioned above.
– Training cost : As demand for test engineers is always high, getting and retaining talent is a major challenge. Often, companies have to hire from the available pool of engineers which are often less experienced than the requirement. In such cases, the organization has to invest a large amount of sum into training the talent and bring them to the acceptable level. Depending on the situation at a given time, the organization would have to train its team for different applications and frameworks. When people are shifted from one project to the other, some of them will have to be trained for a different application of framework. Scriptless test automation brings down these training costs substantially.
Cost of multiple tools and licenses : Test automation frameworks are not easy to work with. Though they are open source, they often need an array of other tools which need to be purchased. Ultimately, all combines, one ends up spending significant costs on these individual tools. Scriptless automation tools are end to end solution. Once you have the tool, you will need no other licenses.
– Cost of failure : It is very difficult to put a cost to a lost opportunity or to a release that gets delayed by a week.
b. Enhanced user experience :
The core purpose of testing is not writing and maintaining scripts. Testing should enable better user adoption and user experience. When scripts are written manually, non technical stakeholders or business stakeholders cannot share their ideas, inputs and feedback on the work in progress. Scriptless automation eliminates this barrier. Scripts and errors are no longer the topic of conversation. This encourages participation from UI/UX experts, business analysts and domain experts in the overall process. While putting a number to the benefits out of this co-creation is difficult, one can immediately sense the infinite possibilities!
c. Reduced time :
Time is the costliest resource. When it comes to saving time, no one can beat scriptless test automation. Look at the various levels on which going scriptless can save time :
– Reduced time for finding talent.
– Reduced time for training the talent.
– Reduced time to design and build : With advanced features like object spying and reusable blocks, test automation brings down the test automation time by 80% in certain cases.
– Reduced time to modify : Changes and customizations have become more common than ever. Updating scripts is often a scary thing as it not only takes time, it might affect many other scripts that are dependent on it. Scriptless test automation not only speeds up the script modifications but it can also trigger smart alerts when a change that affects other scripts have been made.
d. Enhanced confidence :
Imagine a release without being sure of it being flawless. With testing automation, if one relies on scripts, being completely confident is nearly impossible. There can always be an error neglected or a bug slipping through the eyes of an engineer. There are multiple factors which lead to testing errors. :
– Fatigue of doing same thing again and agin leading to errors.
– Lengthly codes make it easy for errors to creep in.
– Spotting errors is way easier when you are scriptless than in thousands of lines of code.
Going scriptless will surely make you more confident about the quality and performance of every release you push out.
e. Reduced maintenance :
Maintenance plays a critical role in the overall quality assurance process. Maintaining scripts and test data is resource intensive. Scriptless test automation can bring down the cost of maintenance substantially.
In long run, going scriptless will alway help. The cumulative effects of increased efficiency and reduced costs will outnumber the initial investments. To get a definitive answer to the question, one needs to calculate the RoI from going scriptless and possible savings. If you are thinking of giving scriptless automation a chance, it might help having a word with us. Feel free to get in touch with me at rahul[dot]chaudhari[at]qualitiasoft[dot]com to understand if going scriptless makes sense for your business.