Development teams nowadays rely significantly on the results of automated tests to assess the quality of the system they are building. Performing automation testing every night or after every commit can give teams insight into how changes to the code affect the code’s overall quality, depending on the type of software testing and the development process being utilized.
But with immense power also comes great responsibility. You need to be able to rely on the software quality and defect-detection efficiency of these very automated tests the more you depend on feedback from them to determine whether to allow a build to advance to the next phase in your development pipeline.
In other words, having faith in a system’s quality is crucial, thus if the system is evaluated at any point through an automated process, you should have faith in the validity of those tests as well. Unfortunately, test automation typically falls short of its potential in this area. Automated tests are frequently a cause of confusion, frustration, and deception rather than being the reliable and steadfast defenders of product quality that they should be. They ultimately end up undermining the very trust they were meant to be establishing.
What can we do to restore faith in our automated tests? Let’s examine two ways automated testing could undermine rather than increase confidence, and then think about what you can do to correct the situation.
Here we talk about False positive, these are less menacing test instances that fail without there being a defect in the application under test, i.e., the test itself is the reason for the failure.
False positives can be highly annoying when your team or company uses a continuous integration or continuous deployment strategy for software development. Your build may occasionally fail if your build pipeline includes tests that occasionally produce false positives because the tests can’t effectively handle exceptions and timeouts. You might finally decide to completely remove the tests from your pipeline as a result of this. This is not a long-term solution, even though it might momentarily solve your problem with destroyed buildings. These tests should be a part of the automated testing and delivery process because you took the time to make them in the first place, right? You should therefore look into the root source of these false positives as soon as they occur and fix them immediately.
You should put effort into creating robust and trustworthy tests, including sufficient exception handling and synchronization methods, to prevent false positives in the first place. In the beginning, this will undoubtedly take time, effort, and expertise, but a strong foundation will pay off in the long run by getting rid of these dreadfully frustrating false positives.
Talking of False negative, these are highly menacing test instances that pass while the software contains the bug that the test is meant to catch. As a result of a false negative, bugs land in the production software and cause issues for the customers. It indicates no bug when there is one present in the software.
Even while false positives might be very unpleasant, at least they are made clear by error messages or failed CI builds. Negative situations, or tests that pass when they shouldn’t, pose the biggest risk to the trust in test automation. It is essential that you can believe that your test results are an accurate reflection of the quality of your application under test, rather than a hollow shell of tests that pass but do not carry out the verifications they are supposed to, the more you rely on the results of your automated test runs when making procedural decisions, like a deployment into production.
False negatives are particularly challenging to manage and recognize for the following two main reasons:
- They do not actively signal their presence, as true positives and false positives do, by presenting an error message.
- While some tests may result in false negatives right away, the majority of false negatives are produced over time and following repeated adjustments to the test subject.
Your test automation strategy should include regularly evaluating the fault detection performance of your existing test cases in addition to creating new tests and updating outdated ones. This is particularly true for tests that have been running smoothly and successfully since they were first introduced. Are you certain that they are still making the right claims? Or would they continue to work even if the program being tested has a bug? A smart strategy for regularly assessing whether your tests still merit the trust you place in them is as follows:
- Test your tests as you develop them. This may be as simple as rejecting the claim made at the test’s conclusion and seeing if the test passes, depending on the type of test and assertion. Because your tests won’t pass until you add actual production code, test-driven development unavoidably entails similar practices.
- The statistical data may benefit greatly from a meaningless passing test, but the additional maintenance labor is usually unnecessary. Review your tests on a regular basis to make sure they still have the original ability to find flaws and are not redundant as a result of modifications made to your application since the test was created.
Performing Automation Testing With LambdaTest
LambdaTest is a cloud-based platform that allows you to perform end-to-end automated testing for web and mobile on a scalable, secure, and reliable automation cloud. Run Selenium, Cypress, TestCafe, Puppeteer, Taiko and XCUITest tests on LambdaTest’s infrastructure. Along with this, LambdaTest also allows:
- Parallel testing to speed up your test execution by multiple folds, get early feedback on code commits, and reduce costs associated with finding issues in advanced stages.
- Get detailed insights in tests logs to help you debug on the go. Dive into exception logs, command logs, network logs, framework-native logs, and an entire video log which reflects end-to-end test execution.
- Integrate LambdaTest test automation cloud with your favorite continuous integration tools using our native plugins for Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI, and more.
We also want to share with you what has to be kept in mind while performing test automation:
Understand to whom or to what the examinations are directed. Without it, the project devolves into creating numerous test cases that might not even have any practical commercial benefit.
Give modules and functionalities first priority. Decide where to start, schedule the work in accordance with the demands of the business, and be flexible enough to adjust if anything new emerges with a higher priority, such as new functionality.
Create a genuine curiosity among the developers about the findings and the advantages that the tests offer. This is related to the previous point: constantly strive to add value. To do this, adding another team member is crucial and avoiding running the automation project in tandem with or independently from the development process. This could be done by incorporating automation tasks into the functionality planning, i.e., planning the automation of a test as part of the “Definition of Done” of the feature.
Apply a tried-and-true set of best practices by speaking with other teams about how their automation initiatives are being handled.
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