One of the critical elements in the software development life cycle (SDLC) is ensuring that the final product meets customer requirements and is free of any bugs that could impact the functionality of the software. To this end, quality assurance in the form of software testing is absolutely indispensable.
As the software development process proceeds through multiple iterations, additional features and functionality are added. Quality Assurance, of which software testing is the largest component, ensures that the current iteration meets the release requirements defined by QA at the beginning of the project. In order to avoid the reappearance of bugs found in any particular stage in the software s development, extensive regression test passes are required.
Automating a large part of the regression testing process can add a great deal of leverage to the testing process. The amount of code coverage and integration testing, as well as individual feature testing and end to end testing, can be greatly expanded. By automating a complete regression test pass, software testers will have more time available to conduct testing in other areas of the components under test.
Automated software testing can be built using many available tools, with the most popular today being the use of the development language C#, coupled with the UI Automation Tools available in the popular software development suite, Microsoft Visual Studio Test Edition Professional.
These tools are both powerful and flexible; C# can essentially be used to build out everything required for a complete automated testing solution. From the test harness, which manages the individually coded test cases, to the test cases themselves, to logging solutions which can be integrated with a web front end and a SQL database, everything can be managed with the test platform that this software provides.
With the Microsoft Test Manager, you can create, manage and schedule an entire test suite, and create reports on pass/fail rates with the click of a button. With the UI automation tools, you can easily record UI automation tests performed manually, and then re execute those tests on a regular basis indefinitely. With this tool, even manual, black box user interface testers without any programming skills can create a full automation pass for the UI being tested.
Creating API level tests for each individual method ensures an additional layer of quality for the final released product. By validating the inputs and outputs of the API under test, one can systematically define the percentage of code comprising the software that has actually been executed and validated.
If, for example, either the client or the internal release requirements specify a 90 code coverage rate, that level of coverage can be achieved by ensuring that all of the APIs of the product, as well as their workflows from API to API, have an automated test that is hooked into a harness that can generate code coverage reports.
Putting all of these test methodologies into a cohesive test automation strategy should be part of any good test plan. Doing so will ensure that the final product has been thoroughly tested, both for functionality and regressions, and will achieve a world class level of quality. This in turn will make not only the customers happy, but ultimately, the shareholders and investors as well.
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