Making Automated Tests Data Driven

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By Nadine Parmelee

Nadine-Parmelee1-bSo you’ve decided to start an automation project and your team has taken the time to do the tool analysis. Let’s also assume you’ve gotten your team trained on the tool of choice. What comes next? Now is the time to sort out the best way to set up an automation project for the cleanest data and project timeline. Hopefully, the automation and manual test teams have been analyzing which tests should be automated first, and now the automation scripting can begin. Many projects start with automating the manual test cases as they are written and then later expanding on those tests and making them more efficient. I would suggest that there is an even better way to start the automation project.

When analyzing the tests to be automated, analyze the data used for those test cases as well. Are there different expected results or different application features for different data types or options used in the test cases? Does selecting one set of data options create a different selection of data options for another field or dialog? Do the manual tests only cover a limited amount of test data? Now is a good time to enhance these tests and determine how the automation project can enhance your overall testing effort. For situations where the manual tests cover the basic application functionality but a limited set of data points, data driven tests may be a key benefit to your automation effort.

An example of this could be a manual test case for an application that has different data choices presented if a different region is selected:

Region: North America
Size Options: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, …
Color options then based on size selected

Region: Europe
Size Options: 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 46, 48, …
Color options then based on size selected

Very often the manual tests will only hit one or two of the size options and some of the color options that flow down the decision tree from there. The automated tests can validate each region, size and color combination in probably the same amount of time as the more limited manual tests. This can be a quick expansion of the testing that is already planned which yields a higher return on investment as well as an increased quality level. This type of automation also frees up the manual testers to concentrate on other investigative testing that can be done. Try data driven tests in your automation project, and let us know how much time and effort you saved.

Author: bridge360blog

Software Changes Everything.... Bridge360 improves and develops custom application software. We specialize in solving complex problems at every phase of the software development lifecycle, removing roadblocks to help our clients’ software and applications reach their full potential in any market. The Bridge360 customer base includes software companies and world technology leaders, leading system integrators, federal and state government agencies, and small to enterprise businesses across the globe. Clients spanning industries from legal to healthcare, automotive to energy, and high tech to high fashion count on us to clear a path for success. Bridge360 was founded in 2001 (as Austin Test) and is headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices in Beijing, China.

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