With the everyday advancement of software technology, software applications require frequent updates along with their deployment to the end-users on time. For the time being, the testers and developers can update it manually. However, due to the time constraint, a faster deployment of the software application is required. And therefore, automation testing came into existence.
Automation testing acts as a competent part of the development of modern-day software applications. The software applications require to be verified and validated in very little time to cope with this fast-paced software industry. And thus ensuring their effectiveness and efficiency. Also, automation testing checks the software applications’ correctness, reliability, and quality. Along with these, automation testing is also beneficial in reducing overall development costs by limiting the usage of resources and effective management of test data.
A little human involvement is required during automation testing. The test data is used on its own by automation testing tools such as Selenium, Playwright, Cypress, and many more, making test data management an important criterion for automation testing. Test data stored in the memory are automatically used as inputs for various test cases. Thus it becomes more important that the correct set of data is used during test automation so that the software application generates the desired output and the test cases are stated as passed.
Advantages of Managing Test Data in Automated Testing
Test data management is essential in automation testing as it provides the following advantages.
- Test data is essential to test various test case scripts that require input. If test data is managed in automation testing then the automated tools will work on the correct set of inputs and provide the desired output. This will thus improve the test coverage of the software applications.
- When the test data are managed effectively in automated testing, it opens a pathway to use the same test case script multiple times. Even testers and developers may use the same test script for testing the functionality of another software application. And this clearly will help in saving time and effort.
- Also while managing the test data in automated testing, testers and developers put a little effort into segregating test data from the test script. This effort would lead to a scalable and flexible test script that can work with multiple sets of data. Thus making the software application more accurate.
- Management of test data in automated testing provides advantages to testers and developers while conducting regression testing. It helps ensure that the updates and changes made to the code have not affected the software application functionality or no new defect has been introduced.
- Test data management in automated testing also ensures that the test case and the test data are not integrated. Further, this ensures that the executed test cases provide more reliable results. Also, the test cases are independently executed without interfering with each other.
- Test data management in automated testing also ensures that the actual data of the software application are secure and are not tampered with or intruded on by any external party other than the team members involved in software application development.
Challenges in Managing Test Data in Automated Testing
Test data management in automated testing requires a lot of effort and thus can be challenging. Here is a list of the challenges involved.
- The test data management in an automated testing environment is done manually and requires lots of effort. If these efforts are not put up, then it becomes insufficient for test cases leading to gaps between test data and inefficiency. This further leads to a hole in overall test coverage.
- Also, the test data, when managed manually for automated testing, can lead to several duplications of data. This further can hamper the automated testing process as it will keep on testing software applications for the same data several times.
- There is a requirement to manage test data for every update of software applications, which is challenging for testers and developers. If not done so there remains an inconsistency in the software application which further leads to various defects for the end-user thus providing a bad experience.
- In automated testing, when test data are managed by testers and developers, they tend to create their own set of data themselves. This leads to poor-quality data as testers and developers cannot provision test data many a time.
- In automated testing, the test data are stored at the center of the memory for everyone to access, and due to this, if any confidential data is fed to the software application as test data, then it can be intruded on by anyone other than the team members as well. This hampers the security and confidentiality of the test data.
Strategies for Managing Test Data in Automated Testing
There are various strategies available that can help the development team manage test data in an automated testing environment. Creating duplicate copies of the test data that do not exist in real can help the development team use the same set of data for various test cases without the need to copy data and use them. Further, this will save users from the issue of data duplicity.
The next thing that can be done to manage test data with less effort is to use Application Programming Interfaces that would feed data during software testing. This will ensure data are placed centrally. Also, data could be used multiple times. And updation becomes easy.
Also, the best thing you can do is use an automated framework. These will allow you to create data effortlessly. Also, this data would be more accurate and of good quality. It also checks on the parallel alignment of test data with test execution.
The main concern that arises with test data is security and privacy. Integrating a framework can solve this too. These frameworks would govern the data. It will look at who can access it. It will look at who can create data. And who can modify and update it? In simple words, these frameworks will save data from any illegal activity.
Best Practices for Managing Test Data in Automated Testing
Here is a list of best practices one must follow along with managing test data in automated testing.
- In automated testing, you can develop and test various features at the same time. Integrating test data with this will help reduce the testing cost as the software application would be tested together.
- In automation testing, you can use the same set of data for testing multiple test cases at a time. This will save time and memory space as test data can be re-utilized.
- One must test their software application multiple times with the same set of data. This will help you to find more defects and resolve them, thus creating a quality software application.
- One must classify data according to their requirement in different test cases and group them. This will help in easy access to test data.
- The testers and developers must review and update the test data every time before executing the test cases. This will help in reducing the chance of any bug detection.
- Test data must be updated using a version control so that the previous set of data can be extracted when needed.
- The test data must be documented properly by mentioning its purpose and source. So that it can be easily understood and worked upon.
- The automated tools should be used to detect any type of data duplicity present in the test data. Also, it should be resolved if found to save the storage space of the automated testing environment.
- To manage test data it is equally important to manage the memory space. The test data that are of no use must be removed from the memory location.
- The test data should be isolated from one another. This simply means that the test data should not affect one another. Or it should not affect the correctness of any other feature.
It is well-understood that data is key for testing the correctness of software applications. Thus the development team needs to manage test data. We have also learned data management involves creating data and updating it when required. When data is managed in an automated testing, it not only assures a good quality data set but also ensures that the data are well stored so that every member of the development team can access it. Also, it ensures there is no data duplicity which further helps in managing the storage space.
We have also known that manual management of data requires concentration on data along with time and effort as test data management in automated testing can be a complex task. Therefore today, many automated tools are used to create and update test data so that efforts and complexity can be minimized.
Along with these, there are several practices that we have gone through that will help in the easy management of the test data. Also in automated testing keeping data safe and away from intruders is very important. Following up on the concept of data hiding helps the development team to achieve the same.