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Automation Testing vs Manual Testing : Which Should We Use, and When ?


Manual vs Test Automation

Software testing has become an integral part of the application development lifecycle. With DevOps getting increasingly adopted, QA Automation has become an indispensable element of the software delivery process. Companies are building test automation frameworks on open source tools for maximum test coverage. Though test automation is getting widely implemented, there are certain scenarios where manual testing is still preferred. 

Here’s a quick comparison between manual and automation testing.

Manual Testing vs Test Automation

Manual Testing Scenarios

Exploratory Testing

This type of testing requires the tester’s domain expertise, logical and creative thinking, past knowledge and experience. In this case testing is often attributed to poorly written specification documentation, and/or a short time for execution. In such a scenario, human skills are required to execute the testing process.

For instance, while testing a BFSI application, the expertise of a software tester who has the knowledge in the banking and finance domain will be extremely helpful. The knowledge of basic banking and finance workflows will aid the testing process. 

Usability Testing

In this testing manual approach is preferred as we need to evaluate how user-friendly, efficient and easy-to-use the application is from an end-user’s perspective.

Suppose we have a mobile application and we are checking whether it is user-friendly and easy-to-use. During such a scenario manual testing is required.

Ad-hoc Testing

In this scenario, there is no specific approach. It is a totally unplanned method of testing where the understanding and insight of the tester is the only important factor.

In product development, we often come across situations when an application requires a sudden and quick fix. These tests are not planned or estimated earlier and hence require manual testing.

Test Automation Scenarios

Regression Testing

Here, automated testing is suitable because of the frequent code changes and the ability to run the regressions in a timely manner.

Suppose you have a change in a large BFSI application. As a part of regression we have to test the entire functionality to check whether all modules are working fine or not. For a large application, manual regression testing is very time consuming. This is one of the situation Automation testing comes into the picture. So the entire regression scenarios can be automated and organization can ensure the quality of the product with less time and less manual actions.

Load Testing

Automated testing is also the best way to complete the testing efficiently when it comes to load testing.

Consider a commercial application is being accessed by by 100k users per minute. Testing these many user logins and transactions manually is a time consuming process. So these concurrent functionalities can be automated based on the user count which would save testing effort and time. 

Repeated Execution

Automation is best suited for testing which requires the repeated execution of a tasks.

Suppose for every release we need to test the main functionality of an application and it is the same for all releases, then we can automate those test cases

Performance Testing

Testing which requires the simulation of thousands of concurrent users requires automation. This involves load, stress,volume etc.

A simple scenario will be while testing a banking application. As a part of the performance testing we will need to verify several parameters like load, memory utilization,responsiveness  etc of the application. For such a scenario we can perform test automation.

Top Automation Testing Tools

  • Selenium: An open-source web automation tool that runs across multiple Operation Systems and Browsers.
  • UFT (Unified Functional Test): It can automate Web, Desktop and Mobile using VBScript as the scripting language.
  • Cucumber: An open-source Behavior Driven Development (BDD) tool that supports multiple languages like Ruby, Java, Scala and can execute code on different frameworks like Selenium etc.
  • Karate framework:  The only open-source tool to combine API test-automation, mocks and performance-testing into a single, unified framework.
  • Katalon Studio: An open-source that supports the web and mobile environment.
  • Appium (iOS/Android Testing Tool): An open source, a cross platform test automation tool for the hybrid and native iOS and supports Android versions from 2.3 onwards.

Automation is becoming an indispensable part of the software delivery processes. With DevOps driven processes getting widely adopted to fast-track product development, enterprises across industries are implementing QA automation some way or the other. The rise of open source test automation tools and customized test automation frameworks are further enabling continuous integration and continuous delivery. As seen in this article, manual testing as well automation testing are required as per the testing requirements of a project. A right first step towards selecting the right testing strategy, tools and framework will help enterprise to deliver high-quality product to their end users.

Ahamed Sabid
Senior Software Test Engineer, RapidValue


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