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New Process/Approach for Test Planning and Test Automation

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000018816D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Aug-14
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Aug-14
Document File: 3 page(s) / 125K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Test automation is an expensive activity that may prove not a good investment if done without good planning and structure. The proposed system improves the process of test automation, from test planning to automated test generation. It introduces two paradigms that contribute to lowering the automation cost, thus increasing its value: "build a solid foundation for automation" and "automate test generation". In order to increase the automation benefits, first, plan ahead and create the building blocks of the automated system - a set of procedures that can be shared by multiple tests. Second, the automated test cases are generated by a tool that takes as input the mapping between the building blocks and the actual tests.

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New Process/Approach for Test Planning and Test Automation

  Disclosed is a system that improves the process of test automation, from test planning to automated test generation. It introduces two paradigms that contribute to lowering the automation cost, thus increasing its value: " build a solid foundation for automation" and "automate test generation".

The system can be used for small and medium applications, but its benefits would be maximum for larger applications where line item or end to end tests that share similar procedures are automated.

The primary goal of test automation is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of testing activities and by this, to improve the overall quality of the application being tested. Test automation can affect how efficient the test is, as well as the test cycle. Despite obvious advantages, we have to acknowledge that automation is expensive and may not do a better job than manual testing in some situations.

The test planning of large software systems often requires the break down of the testing into smaller components/line items. When testers assigned to each line item write test cases for their line item, they usually do so in isolation of other testers. Some of these test cases are then often automated. Often, this automation also occurs in isolation of other testers. Test organization who are more mature (based on maturity model) often create libraries of functions (shared code) that can be used by the different test line item owners. These libraries do not often cover all the shared pieces of code, simply because this concept of "factoring" commonalities and putting them in to a shared library is an after-thought. Meaning that the process takes the following steps:

1. Break up testing in to line items or similarly small components to be tested
2. Assign each test line item to a tester
3. Have tester write test cases for each test in the line item
4. Have an automation architect try to figure out what the commonalities are across thousands of test cases

       5. Automate commonalities into a shared testing library function

6. Automate test cases in a line item partly based on shared testing library and partly based on specific needs of the line item

The problems with this approach are as follows:

1. Testers repeat all the steps of their test over and over in each test case, leading to duplication of effort when writing and reviewing test plans. For example if there is a

logon feature to the product being tested, the tester describes the logon function in each test case where the logon feature is being exercised.

       2. The automation architect must review a tremendous amount of documentation to understand what the commonalities are and how to factor out the commonalities.

3. The testers spends quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to use the shared library functions to create automated test cases for their line item.

The introduction and...