Manual and Automation Testing

Monday, 28 November, 2016

People make mistakes. Developers also. Some of the mistakes are negligible, but some of them are important and expensive. When it comes to software development, everything needs to be double checked because things can always go wrong. That is why testing plays a significant part of software development process.

Another person is more likely to spot the flaws, especially in software. It is important to have a team of testers who will test the software in all sorts of different ways and invest effort and knowledge to make sure that a product is defect-free. Today, everybody wants the perfect product delivered. Everybody wants to be better and faster than the competition. It is important to them. However, for developers, it is important not to release a product that has defects.

Releasing software with bugs may affect the user experience which makes a bad impact on quality impression of your company. It can lead to many problems including loss of money and time, and what is more important – it can damage the business reputation. So, every serious company will invest in a tester team and find experts capable of detecting problems and flaws in a software product. Software testing is a huge domain, but it can be categorised into two areas: manual testing and automated testing. In this article, we will talk about the manual and automation testing and their differences.

Manual Testing

Manual testing is one of the primary and earliest types of software testing. It is a process designed to find out the defects in the application. The primary goal of manual testing is to make sure that the tested application has no bugs and that it works as it was required. In this method, the tester plays an important role – they perform a set of functional tasks and manually test the software. Here, they need to put themselves in the role of a real end user and test the application as if they were to use it, with the purpose to identify any unexpected behaviour. The tester needs to verify all features to make sure that the application behaves the way it was intended.

The tester has to follow a set of test cases established as a set of requirements. They need to create and develop a test plan to ensure that testing is comprehensive. In this testing, all actions need to be done manually without using automation testing tool. For manual testing, it is not necessary to have knowledge of any testing tool. Manual testing is a preliminary one, and it must be carried out first to start automating the test cases and, also needs to check if they can conduct automation testing.

Manual testing has to be well documented. The test lead creates a test plan document, and it needs to cover all the details and describe a systematic approach to testing a software application. Details will help in repeating the tests consistently, in the way they were intended. Typically, a test plan includes a complete understanding of what the ultimate workflow will be. Testers need to create test cases or test scenarios to assure the completeness of testing. Manual testing concepts also include exploratory examinations as testers explore the software to identify errors in it.

When a testing starts, the designed test cases or scenarios are implemented, and all the differences between the actual and expected results are reported as defects. After fixing errors, the testers repeat the testing to make sure that all the bugs are eliminated. After that, the primary goal of software testing is to deliver a high-quality product to customers.

There are several stages of manual testing:

Unit testing is a software development process in which the smallest parts of an application, called units, are individually tested. It involves only those characteristics that are vital to the performance of the application. When all of the units are working in the most efficient and bug-free way, testing can move to the next level, to larger components of the application. Integration testing is a logical extension of unit testing. Here, already tested program units are combined, and then the interface between them is tested.

Integration testing can expose problems before they occur in real-world program execution.

System testing is a level of software testing where a complete and fully integrated software product is put to the test. The purpose is to evaluate the system’s compliance with the requirements. There are two categories of software testing: Black Box and White Box testing.

User Acceptance testing is the last phase of the software testing process. Here, actual software users test the software. They have to be sure that the software can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios. This testing executes before releasing newly developed software to the market.

Although many often repress manual testing, it plays a huge part in software development, and it is imperative to implement it. Manual testing is necessary because 100% automation is not possible and the human factor will make a significant difference from automation testing.

Automation Testing

Although every software product is tested, the delivered result always has some defects. Test engineers try to catch all the bugs, but often that is impossible. Errors can creep in, even with the best manual testing processes. Because of that, there is automation software testing, and it is an essential component of successful development projects. Automated software testing is a process in which software tools execute tests on the application before its release. Automated tools run tests that compare a developing program’s expected and actual outcomes. If your project is behaving as it should, that is great. However, if there is a difference between expectations and reality, there is an issue to address. You will have to check your code, improve it and continue to run tests until the actual and expected outcomes align.

The purpose of automation testing is to simplify as much of the testing effort. If something is taking too many resources of quality assurance team, then that process needs to be automated. Automated software testing is becoming crucial for many software projects. Automated testing is useful to use when a project is large and when there are many system users. It brings many benefits – key functionalities are verified automatically, and it saves much time because a lot of tests are possible to implement in a short period.

Automation software testing is the best way to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing. Automated testing tools are capable of executing tests and comparing results with earlier test runs. These tools compare the results and report the success or failure of these manual tests to a test engineer. Once they create a test, they can repeatedly run it at any time, and it can be extended to perform tasks impossible with manual testing.

Because testing tools are expensive, automation testing is often only implemented when manual testing is not meeting expectations and when it is not possible to bring more human testers, especially in small businesses.

Manual and Automation Testing – Which One to Use?

Manual and automation testings are essential elements of software development. Both manual and automated testings offer benefits and disadvantages. It is worth knowing when to use one or the other for the best results.

For a start, manual testing requires human power who will carefully execute the test steps. There is no support for tools or scripts.  Automation testing means using an automation tool to run the test. Once the test suite is automated, human resources are not required. That means that the automation testing is more reliable because of the risks of human error and it is more likely to find real user issues.

Manual testing is suitable when there isn’t a huge number of users. Automation testing needs to be implemented when there is a significant number of users and managing large data. Manual testing will be used when the test case needs to run only once or twice. With automation testing, it is possible to record the test and replay it at any time. Successive development cycles will require execution of the same test suite repeatedly.

In software development, the code is constantly changing, so manual testing will be useful from the get-go, but it may not be powerful enough to detect regression defects. On the flip side, automation testing will catch regressions any time. When it comes to reliability while executing test cases, manual testing is less reliable. Test cases may not be performed with the same precision. In automation testing, the same operation will be carried out in the same way. Time saving is a significant advantage in automation testing. Once the test is established, it can be used many times. The automation software can also compare expected and actual results and generate detailed test reports. In manual testing, every time you execute some tests, the same amount of time and human resources are required. Automation tests are faster than human resources.

When spending money is in question, manual testing has an advantage since it requires a lower cost. Automation test demands bigger investments of money and resources. User interfaces are better to check manually. If the goal is to improve customer experience, human observation in manual testing is more useful than automated testing. Automated testing cannot guarantee user-friendliness.

There are both pros and cons to automated and manual testing. Before you decide which approach to use, make sure that you have all of the information. Consider your time, your resources, the size of your project, the quality of the automated tools and your testing team’s knowledge. When you collect data about everything, you will know what’s the best for your project. Keep in mind; a combination is always an option and a good one at that.

Conclusion

Testing is a vital part of any successful software project. It can be done using two methods – manual and automation. In manual testing, the human tester plays a significant role of an end user. He needs to be creative and patient and execute tests from the user’s point of view. In automation, the testing tester writes scripts and uses another software to check the product. Here, all the scenarios that are manually run are rerun and checked quickly and repeatedly.

The type of testing that will be used depends on various factors of each project. Project requirements, timeline, budget, expertise, and suitability are things that need to be considered. Time, cost and quality are essential parts, and the goal is to reduce the cost and time but increase quality output. When it comes to testing, one type may accomplish this goal better than the other. Considering pros and cons of each approach, you will have to pick the best one for you, your project, and your company.

Ana Lozančić

Ana is a content Marketing specialist and blogger. She graduated in Faculty of humanities and social sciences. She enjoys learning and applying knowledge about marketing and social media, covering latest trends and topics about software development subjects.

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