What is Automated Testing?
If you have ever used software in beta or even alpha, you’ve seen software glitches and bugs in action. They reduce the quality of the experience and could become a deal breaker for customers. With the number of mobile and web applications on the rise, the bar is very high for any new app. Customers will not give you a second chance. You either impress them the first time and deliver the value you promised or you are going to lose them. That’s why when going through app development Vancouver, the testing and quality assurance is even more important.
Manual vs Automated: Why Every Dev Team Needs to Build Automated Tests
There are two ways you can perform usability testing with your apps. You can (and should) test your apps manually. A human with a computer or mobile device should carefully and diligently go through the app, trying different tasks and comparing results and behaviours to what was expected. Results are recorded and if bugs are found, the information gets passed back to the development team so they can reproduce and debug the issue to fix it.
Manual testing is labour intensive and can be costly for development projects. Especially if you are developing your features in an agile manner in teams of more than 1. You would want to test all features after every change to be sure you didn’t break anything or cause regression. You would also want to test for different situations such as multiple operating systems, different hardware configuration, etc.
Automated testing on the other hand can be used to reduce labour and cost. For every development iteration you have to verify that new development efforts are working as expected. You also need to ensure that whatever you’ve built previously continues to work without conflict. With automated testing you can “play back” predefined sets of actions and then compare the result with the expected outcomes. Automated tests not only act as a safety net against regression in your app, but it will also free up precious and expensive developer time and will allow them to focus more effectively on their next task.
You Can Do It Yourself
You might hear that you need an automation specialist to build automated tests, but we are here to suggest otherwise.
It’s true, if you are in a big corporation and you are maintaining/adding features to a huge legacy app, you may need to hire specialists. They can get you out of the weeds and bring some sanity to your software with automated tests. But the biggest value you get from automated tests is when you start a new project.
When you start a new project, the only thing you need to do is build tests for any feature you add, so you don’t have to go back or look at other code. You are only responsible for building tests for your own code. Over time this will result in a large repository of hundreds or thousands of tests that you can run to make sure your app is working.
Running tests is easier than you would expect. Almost all of the testing tools and frameworks have their own test runners. You don’t need to have a separate server to run the tests when you are starting, you can run it locally. Any of the developers on the team can run tests before and after they commit any code to your codebase.
All you need to make use of the benefits of automated testing is discipline in your team. If you lead by example and show the value of automated testing, your team will follow. Automated tests will shorten development cycles and decrease the necessity of manually testing.
Not having to repetitively test functionality will not only make your developers rejoice but it has the added benefit of ensuring a more consistent and reliable user experience.
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