It may seem like automated software testing for startups can be another expenditure to cut corners on. Is it true? Maybe. But wait, we don’t mean that you should do all the testing manually or skip this step altogether. What you should do is devise a sound automation testing strategy that will eventually become a tool for significant cost reduction.
In this automation testing guide, you’ll not only learn more about automation testing but also find a couple of tips on how to choose the right test automation tool based on the peculiarities of software testing for small businesses.
Before we get started, let's review the fundamentals and explore why testing is important in software development, so that you don't have second thoughts when looking for the best test automation approach for your company.
Why Is Testing Important?
Just as building any type of business entails mistakes, software products of any kind will have bugs. Understandably, as a startup owner, your primary aim is to gain traction for your product as fast as possible, and, being unsure that your venture will be successful, you may not be willing to invest huge amounts in testing.
But, along with it, you most probably want to deliver a client a flawlessly working app, right? In this case, you can’t avoid testing. Trading off quality for time can result in wasting even more resources on fixing an app and making up for the missed customers.
We’re sure that confidence in the quality of your product and saving money in the long run are compelling reasons to begin careful testing of your software.
If the advantages of testing in general are clear, a lot of business owners face the conundrum: should they test software manually or use test automation tools? Thrift often drives us to opt for manual testing once we hear about the upfront costs of top test automation tools. But the solution is not so straightforward, and we're elaborating on this below.
Can I Go Without Test Automation?
The tension between automated and manual testing is growing, considering how advanced the algorithms for test automation tools have become. But manual and automation testing are not juxtaposed to each other. That’s why before talking about test automation solutions for small businesses, let’s bow to manual testing, as anything that involves the word "manual" is so often unreasonably deprecated in the modern world.
First, every automation routine starts with manual work, as QA engineers need to create a set of initial test scenarios so that they can be repeated over and over again.
Checking how easy the website navigation is, its aesthetic aspects, and other tests that need to be run only once or twice are always left to a human being. Maybe anytime soon or in a hundred years, our computers will reproduce human cognition and attention to details, but today the privilege of final assessment should be given to a real QA engineer.
This being said, it’s virtually impossible to test everything manually. The best approach is to complement automation technologies with manual work but not replace it. Test automation will not only help to deliver a bug-free product faster but will also offload cumbersome tasks to a machine.
Let’s enumerate some of the advantages that test automation can bring to a small business:
- Saves time and money in the long run.
- Helps to build a reliable product and thus your clients’ trust.
- Increases test coverage.
- Allows software testers concentrate on more challenging tasks.
When to Automate Testing and Why
Every penny counts for tech startups, and test automation requires a lot of investments: you need to pay for test automation tools and spend time and money searching for test automation engineers. But manual testing is no less expensive: you also need a team to execute tests and set up a testing environment.
On top of that, if you stick to manual testing only, you’ll need to expand the team that’s involved in testing. With automated tools for software testing, you can keep your QA team small and accelerate the release cycle.
Every French soldier carries a marshal's baton in his knapsack. So, if your project is long-term, it’ll surely grow and evolve, just as your testing routine will become more complex. That’s why your future self will undoubtedly say "thank you" for proceeding with test automation from the very inception. Moreover, fixing bugs when an app is already deployed is far more expensive than at the stage of building.
Automating testing routine is the best solution for:
- Repetitive, monotonous tests that are run frequently and require a lot of attention as humans tend to make mistakes when doing tedious work with tons of data. Sometimes, the tiniest mistakes can cause serious trouble.
- Regularly updated app, as every update requires careful testing.
- Business that's planning to scale and become more complex. It’s ineffective to constantly ramp up your manual testing team; leverage test automation tools instead.
- Compliance with DevOps culture.
6 Essential Steps of Tech Testing
If you're planning on testing your software, you've probably heard of SDLC or the Software Development Life Cycle. Did you know that there is an Automation Test Life Cycle (ATLC) as well? It consists of six steps:
- Deciding which tests should be automated, the budget, and the size of the team performing them.
- Choosing the right test automation tools.
- Determining the testing strategy, schedule, and design.
- Setting up a test environment and installing the necessary software.
- Test script development and execution.
- Examination of test results and maintenance of test scripts.
What Tests Should I Automate and Which Shouldn’t?
Now, let’s continue this automation testing guide by describing different types of tests that should be automated. It doesn’t mean that you have to automate all of them at once. The budgets of startups and small businesses are limited. That’s why it’s rather wiser and cost-efficient to automate each type of testing step by step, according to the demands of your company.
Keep in mind that sometimes even the best testing strategy can’t deal with a poorly built software product. It means that you should also invest in an experienced team of developers in order not to cause congestion on the stage of testing.
Let’s enunciate it once again: it’s impossible to achieve complete test automation. Here are the tests that should be performed by a human tester:
- User Experience (UX) testing
- Accessibility testing
- CAPTCHA testing
If you want to learn more about the importance of manual testing, don’t hesitate to read this article.
Now, let’s look at the order of test automation that many tech startup owners follow:
Unit and Integration Testing
Unit tests check individual units of code; they’re conducted first and are relatively cheap to automate and maintain. Integration tests evaluate if separate units work correctly together, and their maintenance is more expensive.
These tests are performed after smoke tests and aim to determine whether the output is in accordance with the product requirements without assessing an intermediate state.
They need to be run every time an update is introduced, as you have to be sure that a new chunk of code doesn’t break the functionality of the whole app.
As the name suggests, these tests reveal if a website works correctly by replicating end-user behavior. They’re way more complex and expensive than unit and integration tests, and their implementation can be postponed until the business becomes stable.
Load and Performance Testing
There is no need to implement these automated tests in the early stages. Basically, load testing is a part of performance testing, as its purpose is to check how a website will function during specific load scenarios.
It includes performance, GUI, functional, and other tests. By conducting them, you will be sure that your web app looks and works on different types of browsers and devices as it’s supposed to.
Of course, you can perform some of the tests manually. In the case of cross-browser testing, for example, manual testers will have to write test scripts for different devices and operating systems and rewrite them for every update, while modern automation tools make it possible to run automated test cases even when the versions of operating systems change and imitate the load of thousands of users simultaneously for the performance testing.
How Can I Choose a Test Automation Tool?
It’s so easy to get lost in the myriad of test automation solutions available online, isn’t it? Let’s look at what you need to do to select the right tool for tech testing. Take note that "right" here isn’t equal to the most expensive or, abstractly the best, but rather suitable for your business specifically.
Determine Your Budget
While large companies can afford to go for custom automation testing tool development, small businesses can successfully leverage less expensive alternatives. There are two types of testing tools that can suit a tech startup:
- Open-source automation tools
They’re completely free, and testers can customize test cases so that they meet their needs. But the mere fact that it’s open-source might be worrying. Anyone with malicious intent can find a way to intrude on your website. And, well, the number of features of such tools is limited.
- Commercial automation tools
In order to use a commercial test automation tool, users have to pay for a subscription, as they have much greater functionality than the open-source ones. Moreover, they provide a much more solid layer of security, and you can be sure that the tool will keep updating and being enhanced with new functions.
Consider the Type of Your Software Product
Different tools are created to test different types of software products. The tools for test automation of web apps will be of no use for testing native apps, and vice versa.
Identify the Requirements for a Tool
You should decide what features your test automation tool should have according to the type of software product that’s going to be tested. Some of them are:
- Integration with the CI/CD pipeline and other tools.
- Automatic generation of test cases.
- Scheduling of tests.
- Generation of test reports in a special format.
- Support for specific programming languages.
Check the Availability of Technical Support
Users can always rely on documentation, tutorials, and technical support workers that are often provided together with the subscription for commercial test automation tools.
In the case of open-source tools, your testers can only resort to the help of a large online QA community if the chosen tool is widely used.
Make Sure Your Team Can Utilize a Tool
When selecting a tool, you have to be sure that your workers have sufficient background for using it.
For example, compared to manual testing, tools for automated software testing demand that their users know the field of QA from a different angle and have a good command of one of the programming languages.
Moreover, if you already have your eye on one of the free open-source tools, make sure your testers know the programming language needed to create test scenarios with it.
Choose Between Code-Based and Codeless Automation Tools
Both terms are quite self-explanatory. Code-based tools require testers to write test cases themselves, while codeless ones are leveraged via its UI.
The problem of a lack of testing knowledge can be solved with codeless automation tools. Surely, such tools are not completely codeless, as the coding part of the work is done by the computer itself. But most of the time, a user doesn't need to have a complex understanding of QA in order to perform tests. Very often, such tools feature a very simple navigation and a drag-and-drop function to execute tests.
If you’re thinking about adopting a codeless automation tool, make sure that you’re not limited to the set of scenarios provided by the vendor but can create your own customized ones.
You can supplement your codeless tool with code-based testing as your business grows, but startups in the early stages of software testing technologies find codeless testing a perfect solution.
The Optimum Solution for Testing Software for Small Business
Tech startups offer innovative technology-based products for people. Innovation can’t be introduced without thorough quality assurance, and thorough quality assurance, in turn, is impossible without automation.
Often being in the vanguard of technological progress, startups are compelled to give priority to minimizing their spending and try to make the best use of their scarce financial resources. Their solution, most of the time, boils down to assigning the responsibilities, carried out by several workers in a large company, to a single person. Sometimes, this person is the founder themselves, who fulfills the positions of a project manager, HR, a bookkeeper, and the leading light.
Many companies are striving to help business newbies and provide various services for startups to alleviate their problems. That’s why a startup owner today can take one more role and test their software product on their own with the help of DogQ, a codeless testing tool.
Being aware of the issues that can be encountered at the beginning of a journey, we’ve come up with a tool for which you don’t need to be a connoisseur of QA or have a huge team of software testers. With a user-friendly, intuitive GUI and a clear dashboard in DogQ, no previous experience in QA is required. You’ll see the number of tests run and failed, schedule them, and even have tests launched automatically every time your web app is updated.
Here is another perk: you don’t need to overpay. Buy the number of steps you actually need and slowly extend them with the growth of your business. Great test coverage, convenience, and cost-effectiveness — check out all the advantages of codeless automation testing in our article.
What we know for sure is that every business is unique, as are their needs. If standard solutions don’t work for you, text us, and we’ll tell you more about our codeless testing tool and even help you work out your own testing strategy.