March 9, 2020

Testing Tool Blunders

At last years STPConference in Boston, Dorothy Graham talked about "Testing Automation Blunders." (Check out the interview at STAREAST 2015. )

She defined a "Blunder" as:

  • Mistake caused by ignorance, carelessness or not thinking things through.
  • People blunder when they don't see or understand.

The same thing could be applied to automation tools.

Automation Application Blunders

Over the past five years, I have evaluated various automation tools. There has been a pattern of feature blunders that keep occurring. They are more focus on making automation easy to create and not really focus on the day-to-day automation functionality.

There's a lot more to the automation process. So here's a couple of blunders that I see over and over:

Automation Debug Friendly

Not Debugging Automation Friendly

Did you know that QA Engineers spend a lot of time debugging automation issues?

We spend a ton of time having to find out why automation test case fails. Then we have to decide if its an issue that needs to be reported to engineering or if the test case needs to be fixed.

Automation Test Cases systems should make it easy to debug and update.

I have encountered some automation tools where you would have to "start from scratch" and completely rewrite the automation step to fix an issue.

Reuse Automation Code

Reusing Automation Functionality

Many test cases have similar functionality. The test may share the same path to get to certain functionality - at some point, it changes to do something else. Wouldn't it be great to reuse common code.

Wouldn't it be great if a code change was made, say an XPath change, was made there was a single source file to change?

I have found many test applications where it's not possible to share code. So then I have to make the change to the same XPath in multiple locations. Which is very time-consuming.

Test Automation systems should have the ability to reuse code. Even better to allow XPath value to be defined in a global library so it can be used elsewhere.

Ya, There Are More Blunders...

Those two are the ones that I see over and over again. I have discovered that automation tools are not always written for all the common QA automation tasks.

Sure it's nice to make it easy to create an automation test case. But there's so much more into the whole process.

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