The customer experience begins when a product works. Functional testing is the way to ensure that happens. Since testing affects the overall SDLC, developers must implement functional testing as quickly and efficiently as possible. That means automation. Specifically, automated functional testing tools. So which tools should you use, and how?
Automated Functional Testing Tools
Functional testing involves quality assurance on the entire product from end-to-end. You have to replicate the live environment in which it will perform once it hits the market. That ensures that the product carries out the actions that meet your business requirements and is error-free upon release.
This means testing the UI, APIs, database, security and client/server applications. These tests must be performed continually during the SDLC to ensure changes to code do not break the application. This is especially important when working within an Agile environment that prioritizes product evolution through a series of highly-efficient iterations.
To ensure comprehensive coverage, we break functional testing down into four key types:
- Smoke testing: A preliminary test that confirms an application is stable enough to permit further testing
- Sanity testing: An end-to-end test that verifies new functionality works and that defects have been fixed
- Regression testing: Test implemented after code changes to verify that the intervention has not negatively affected the rest of the product
- Usability testing: Used to verify the user interface works per business goals
Each task checks and re-checks the core functionality throughout the SDLC. It is time-consuming and a common source of bottlenecks during production. Automated functional testing tools are the solution.
What to Consider for Functional Testing
Functional testing ensures that your product works. Automated functional testing tools ensure that you test quickly, using the least resources possible.
The variety of tools available means you can select them based on your unique product development needs. Tool selection should be based on the following three considerations:
- What are your business goals?
- What solution are you trying to deliver?
- What are your time and resource constraints?
Your answers will inform your tool selection. One of your first choices will be open-source vs. paid tools.
Selenium, for example, is a highly-popular free option that is flexible, reliable and efficient across a number of languages, platforms and browsers. As with most open-source solutions, the options for support are limited and updates happen infrequently. Selenium is also a web-only tool and has a learning curve and limited report function. That makes it difficult to use across a varied stakeholder team, as is common in Agile approaches.
Paid licensed tools can cost upward of $10,000, but options such as TestComplete, Ranorex and UFT have robust support and advanced features such as AI-enhanced object identification.
There is no right or wrong choice in deciding on open-source vs. paid. You just have to pick the most efficient tool for your product.
Your test framework is the foundation of your QA. The framework establishes standards and best practices to ensure comprehensive, efficient testing. The automated functional testing tools you select have to meet the requirements of your test framework. This includes languages used, object location, report conventions and more.
There is enough variety among testing tools to ensure that you do not have to compromise your own test standards.
Your test environment defines how you setup and access data for testing. It is where your hardware and software meet, and it is critical to the success of your functional tests. You should look for an automated test tool that conforms to your test environment. The idea is to get a tool that suits your needs, rather than requiring changes on your part to accommodate testing.
Establishing test infrastructure is one of the more expensive and complicated areas of QA testing. If you do not have the internal expertise or resources to fund and maintain such an environment, it is better to go with an outsourced QA solution.
Functional testing is too important to become an afterthought or a compromise. If you do not have the professional-grade infrastructure necessary to comprehensively test your application, partner with someone who does.
Maximizing QA Automation with Expert Insight
When you partner with an external QA expert, your team gets access to engineering experience, hardware and infrastructure. Outsourcing allows you to scale up and slow production according to your release cycle without the burden of long-term infrastructure and resource liability. It also gives you someone to turn to when you encounter problems or are faced with the dilemma of choice: How do you select from all those automated test tools?
Your QA partner is a tool-agnostic expert that can create an efficient, comprehensive test suite that delivers a better product faster. They have a breadth of experience to match any application with the optimal test tool. They also test for you in an Agile partnership with highly skilled development and testing engineers.
QASource has been providing expert functional testing advice and solutions for almost 20 years. In that time, our engineers have delivered hundreds of successful engagements with some of the biggest names in software, including Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Contact us today for a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 and bring your application testing up to internal standards.