Test Maintenance and the Limits of Code Based Automation

How to move fast without breaking anything.

By SpotQA,

2019/10/17

With code based frameworks you’re never too far away from a potential problem that can’t be automated. Take test maintenance, where we’re still stuck in a world of manual processes. But with Virtuoso we can automate with self-healing tests and in-sprint automation.

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Beyond the Limits

A lot of great work has been achieved using code based frameworks and the craftsmen and women working in QA can take a lot of pride in the customized setups they create. But advances in test automation are offering us dramatic efficiencies, forcing us to look beyond automation frameworks to the next paradigm in QA.

Revolutionary QA features are being made possible through Robotic Process Automation and Machine Learning that code based frameworks simply cannot compete with. The issue of test maintenance in particular illustrates the chasm that now exists between these types of frameworks and an Intelligent Quality Assistance platform like Virtuoso.

The Scenario

In this case our customer was developing an application that was proving very difficult to automate within a framework. The application had a lot of problems around object identification and required two-factor authentication in the form of email one-time passwords.

However, the really big challenge with this application was the unusually high volume of test maintenance that was required for regression testing. Even small changes in the application would result in many hours of manual work to re-author the tests.

With a framework you’ll eventually hit a brick wall in terms of what you can achieve with automation. In this situation there was no solution available to us that didn’t involve many hours of manual test maintenance. Ideally, what was needed was a whole new feature to automate the maintenance.

Self Healing Test Reports


The Solution

Solving the problem of email OTPs was relatively straightforward. We automated this using Virtuoso by opening the email in a different tab and extracting and using the OTP.

But the real challenge posed by the test maintenance requirements was even easier to solve because Virtuoso had exactly the features that were needed. One of Virtuoso’s biggest time-saving elements is self-maintaining tests, and in this case it saved many hundreds of hours of manual work.

With Virtuoso, tests are able to self-heal, meaning they are able to maintain themselves even after significant changes in the application. Following any change in the application Virtuoso automatically remaps the elements and repairs the tests. It does all of this autonomously, and will report back all of its decisions in case you want to alter anything.

The second capability that allowed them to save huge amounts of time was in-sprint automation, or “mid-air” repairs. With Virtuoso, the tester doesn’t need an automation engineer to debug or fix a failing script. Instead, a script showing an error can be quickly identified in a screenshot and repaired by writing a new step in plain English, using Virtuoso’s NLP engine.

So, how much manual effort was actually saved?

Virtuoso Usage Gain Graph

The Numbers

Overall, Virtuoso reduced test authoring time by at least 95%. The time required for test maintenance was reduced by at least 70%.

All targeted test scenarios and crucial end to end journeys are now automated in Virtuoso and the time taken to execute them has been reduced by 98%.

But what is speed without quality? Virtuoso enabled them to have both.

Using test driven data and cross browser capability they were able to achieve far greater test coverage than ever before.

Over the previous 6 month period we can see a continuous, month-to-month reduction in manual test time accompanied by increases in coverage and efficiency. The whole idea with Virtuoso is that you can go fast and improve quality at the same time.

Virtuoso Transforming your Testing Process

Having self-maintaining tests is a huge time-saver, but it is only one of many intelligent features in Virtuoso. Find out how you can automate every stage of your testing process with a free demo from one of our experts.

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