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How can you maintain a scalable, reusable, and reliable software testing framework?

Software testing market size worldwide is valued at $ 45 Billion in the year 2022 and is projected to hit a 5 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate from 2023 to 2032. Driven by the rising use of mobile-centric apps.

The core software testing trends in 2022 also depict that 63 percent of QA teams consider automated testing over manual testing for the agility required during the SDLC while being cost-effective. The growth of the market depends on multiple factors, comprising the higher acceptance of mobile tests, the accessibility of cloud-based software testing solutions, and the rise in automated testing services. 

These revealed that software testing has evolved into an important element for companies looking to cut costs, enhance effectiveness, and elevate the software products’ quality.  Every business prioritizes tests; therefore, mainly prefers to move from manual to automated testing. Test ensures apps behave as projected, and test automation frameworks are an essential part of the complete test process. The success of any automation testing relies on the usage of test frameworks. Such a test framework is important to any QA testing procedure.  

Therefore, the maintenance of a scalable, reusable, and reliable software testing framework is supreme for accomplishing efficiency in the testing process. Yet, it can be a challenging task, particularly as software systems grow in complexity and size. In this article, we will delve into practical insights and tips for maintaining a dependable test automation framework, covering best practices for design, employment, and ongoing maintenance. 

What is an Automation Testing Framework?

An automated testing framework is a suite of standards or guidelines for planning and strategizing effective test cases. A framework comprises multiple tools and processes intended to aid QA experts in conducting tests more efficiently and rapidly. The framework might comprise guidelines such as object repositories, methods for coding standards, processing test data, processes for storing test outcomes, and guidelines on accessing external resources. 

QA specialists can still write or record testing without adhering to such standards. Even though accepting a structured test framework offers additional advantages that would otherwise be missed. Hence, using an effective test automation framework can enhance software quality by easily detecting errors at an early stage and therefore reducing the effort and time necessary to run manual testing.

The elements that make up an automated test framework comprise AUT (Application-Under-Test), driver scripts, test data, environment variables, business user library, general user library, recovery scenarios, object repository, and test implementation report. 

Significance of Automation Framework in Software Testing

The usage of test automation frameworks has become crucial in advanced software development and testing procedures as it enables reusing the code in distinct scenarios and assists in writing standardized test scripts for the QA team. Test frameworks also assist in avoiding human interference, enhancing test coverage, and promoting QA team collaboration.

Overall, using a test automation framework is a critical part of a comprehensive software testing and QA strategy that takes care of every single concern. Moreover, there are several other advantages of using test framework testing as listed below:

  • Reusability of code
  • Continuous test of code
  • Less manual interference
  • Low maintenance fee
  • High test coverage
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Reliable strategy throughout test suites

Reasons Why You Need Automated Testing Framework

Here are some reasons why you must start using test frameworks for test automation.

  • Assists in resource optimization, i.e., making it simpler to use several resources according to organizational requirements.
  • Provide a structured development method to guarantee design constancy, and reliability, and lessen dependence on test cases.
  • Offers an accurate root-cause analysis with the minimum human intervention.
  • Reduces dependence on QA teams by deciding which test to run automatically based on test scenarios.
  • Decreases time to compose and run test scripts.
  • Adjusts test scope dynamically concerning changes to the test plan or the system’s conditions.  
  • Companies can put the notion of shift left test into action.
  • Supports parallel tests on diverse devices, browsers, and platform blends.
  • Reduces the challenges with local configuration, report generation, and error control.
  • Considerable long-term Return on Investment.

Types of Test Automation Frameworks

These common forms of test frameworks, each with its own architecture and unique benefits and drawbacks. When strategizing a test plan, it’s important to select the framework that is accurate for you.

  1. Keyword-Driven Framework
  2. Linear Test Framework
  3. Hybrid Test Framework
  4. Modular-based Test Framework
  5. Library Architecture Test Framework
  6. Data-Driven Test Framework 

Guidelines to Maintain a Scalable, Reusable, and Dependable Automated Test Framework

  1. Plan for Scalability From the Start

One of the most significant things you can look after to maintain your automation test framework is to plan for scalability from the start. This means planning your test framework with scalability in mind and executing best practices for dependability, performance, consistency, and maintainability. Our specialists recommend using reusable and modular constituents and executing automated tests that are self-contained and independent. 

  1. Automation Best Practices

Execute design patterns such as POM (Page Object Model) or Screenplay Patterns for web apps to abstract the collaboration with elements. This lets you update components in one place when they are modified. Make your test cases data-centric, so you can utilize similar test cases with diverse input data. This reduces duplication and makes your test framework more reusable.

  1. Utilize a Dynamic Test Automation Tool

Picking out a robust automated test tool is crucial to maintaining and scaling your test framework. Choosing an automation test tool that is consistent, flexible, and that offers a suite of competences and features can aid in supporting your software test requirements. Some common automated testing tools such as Appium, TestComplete, and Selenium.

  1. Execute Version Control

Version control is vital for maintaining & scaling your automated test framework, chiefly as the complexity and size of your test suite progresses. You must utilize a version control system like SVN or Git to manage your test scripts as well as other assets and to allow teamwork among teams. This will assist you to track modifications, maintain conflicts, and manage a clear history of your automation test codebase. 

  1. Maintainable Test Data

Collect test data individually from test scripts and utilize a centralized data source. This, in turn, makes it simple to update information without amending the test code. When possible, utilize generated or randomized data for tests. This decreases the dependence on static test information and makes tests highly dependable.

  1. Practice Continuous Integration

CI (Continuous Integration) is another significant approach for maintaining and scaling your automated test framework. It includes automatically building, testing, and employing software modifications regularly while confirming that any defects or issues are caught early in the software development cycle. You must employ a standard Continuous Integration tool such as Travis CI or Jenkins that guarantee your automation testing suite will be always up-to-date and completely functional.  

  1. Execute Test Reporting & Analytics

Executing test reporting and analytics is crucial to maintaining and scaling your automation testing framework. You must utilize a tool like qTest or TestRail for tracking and reporting on your test outcomes and scrutinizing testing information to find trends, patterns, and portions for upgrading. This will aid you in noticing and addressing problems more rapidly so you can enhance the complete quality and efficiency of your automation testing framework.

  1. Invest in Training and Development

To end with, spending on training and development is crucial to maintaining and scaling your automated testing framework. You must ensure that your QA team members have the knowledge and expertise they require to design, execute, and maintain the framework and that they are upgraded with cutting-edge tools & best practices. You would also provide prospects for professional development, like courses, conferences, and online communities.

Maintaining and scaling an automated test framework requires careful planning, employment, and maintenance. By following such crucial tips and investing in the correct processes, tools, and people, you can make sure that your automated test framework is reliable, robust, and scalable and that it offers the insights and feedback you require to deliver top-quality software products to your users. 

It’s worth noting that such essential tips for maintaining and scaling your test framework aren’t exhaustive, and there might be other considerations that are pertinent to your precise organization and QA requirements. But, by focusing on these crucial facets, you could easily build a solid foundation for your test framework and certify that it continues to meet your progressing testing requirements over time.

Some common pitfalls and challenges 

Including these tips, there are some common challenges and pitfalls that enterprises might encounter when maintaining and scaling their automation test frameworks. Some of these comprise:

  1. Lack of Communication & Collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration are critical to maintaining and scaling your test framework. This includes confirming that team members are working together excellently, sharing expertise and knowledge, and interacting often to ensure that everybody is on the same page. Failure to team up and communicate intelligently can result in confusion, duplicated effort, and delays in the QA process.  

  1. Lack of Maintenance

Automated test frameworks necessitate frequent maintenance to confirm that they remain effective and upgraded. This comprises updating assets and test scripts to reflect alterations in the software being tested and addressing any problems or flaws that are detected during testing. Failure to manage your test framework can result in uncertain outputs, extra effort, and less confidence in your testing process.

  1. Over-dependency on Manual Testing

While manual testing is beneficial in some circumstances, over-reliance on manual testing can turn out to be a major bottleneck in maintaining the test framework. Manual testing is more error-prone, slower, and less scalable than test automation. It can rapidly become a bottleneck as the complexity and size of your test suite grows.

  1. Lack of Planning and Organizing

Proper planning and organizing are crucial to maintaining and scaling your automated test framework. This comprises setting clear objectives, defining roles and duties, and developing a strong plan for executing and maintaining your test framework over time. Failure to perform so intelligently can result in a wasted effort, lack of direction, and less confidence in your QA process.

  1. Lack of Flexibility 

Lastly, a lack of adaptability can be a critical challenge while maintaining your test framework. As software systems and QA requirements grow over time, your test framework must be flexible enough to accommodate such modifications. This comprises being able to rapidly and effortlessly update assets and test scripts and integrating advanced testing technologies and methods as required.

LambdaTest: Elevating Your Testing Framework

No matter whatever test automation framework you choose, it is strongly recommended to execute testing on a real device cloud to account for the circumstances experienced by real-time users. LambdaTest, an AI-centric test orchestration and implementation platform, lets you test with an extensive suite of frameworks such as Cypress, Selenium, Puppeteer, Playwright, Appium, Taiko, Mocha, and so on. It also gives an online browser farm of 3000+ browsers and Operating Systems combinations.

It takes extra effort and time to switch from one framework to another. It is better to acquire requirements, comprehend the scope, perform a modest POC, and confirm your test framework before starting the evaluation process. Check out our hub on automation testing metrics to scrutinize several metrics for assessing success, the strategies for metric execution, and the challenges involved.

Conclusion

By addressing these pitfalls and challenges and by focusing on the important areas of design, execution, and maintenance, you can confirm that your test framework remains reliable, effective, and scalable over time. With the aid of correct tools, and people in place, you can deliver superior-quality software products and make sure that your testing process is effective, scalable, and reliable. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What tools or platforms can assist with maintaining a scalable testing framework?

Tools such as Selenium, TestNG, Cucumber, JUnit, and Jenkins can aid in maintaining and implementing tests within a software testing framework. Cloud-centric testing platforms such as LambdaTest offer additional resources for browser compatibility and scalability testing.

  • What are the benefits of integrating cloud-centric testing platforms such as LambdaTest into a software testing framework?

Cloud-centric platforms mainly provide scalability, access to a broad range of real-time devices and browsers, and the capability to execute testing in parallel, making them valuable for cross-device and cross-browser compatibility testing. 

  • How can I make certain that my framework is aligned with industry best practices?

Regularly engage with the software testing and QA community, take part in forums, and look for expert guidance to stay updated with modern testing best practices and trends. Continuous upgrading is key to retaining a dynamic test framework.