Software testing is a must for every start-up and business if they wish to achieve the best customer satisfaction ratings for their app, no matter the domain or genre for which it has been created.
It can be broadly divided into Automated Software Testing and Manual Software Testing. However, before learning the difference between these two, we need to understand what Software Testing entails.
What is Software Testing?
Testing of software can be described as the evaluation and validation of software to know if it is free of bugs. It caters to its technical design requirements and ensures efficiency and robustness for the users. In addition, it tends to measure the software's specifications, functionality, and user performance.
In order for your software to be successful, software testing is one extremely critical step that cannot be skipped. The method allows you to identify inefficiencies in your product and ensure that it is in top condition before releasing it to the marketplace.
The selection of testing method (manual or automated) is determined by different criteria such as budget, timeline, and project requirements, etc.
What is Manual Testing?
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Manual testing is done to evaluate and validate the software and find bugs during the development process without using any automation testing tool. Instead, these tests are executed manually by software testers, who check all the relevant features and technicalities of the software.
Tester writes test cases for multiple modules, runs the test cases, and compiles test reports without automation software tools.
Manual testing is a traditional method for all forms of testing that assists in identifying faults or problems in software. An experienced tester usually conducts this software testing procedure, but it is time- and resource-intensive.
For a tester, manual processes can be tedious and monotonous, due to which there are possibility of errors.
What is Automation Testing?
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In Automated Software Tests, a QA Automation Engineer creates test scripts (write codes) to automate the process of testing. The QA Test Automation Specialist uses different tools to make these test scripts and validate the software.
This form of testing generally involves pre-scripted tests that run automatically to compare the actual performance of software with the expected performance.
The execution of repetitive and regression tests is possible using this type of testing without the intervention of a manual tester. These tests may involve some manual effort to develop the initial testing scripts.
Automated testing instruments execute tests that repeatedly perform predetermined actions. If the program's objectives and results are in sync, your project is successfully behaving and is most undoubtedly bug-free.
Nonetheless, if the two don't agree, the fault needs to addressed. A tester would be required to examine the code, make modifications, and keep running tests until the actual outputs match.
Manual Testing: Advantages and Disadvantages
Lower Costs in the Short-Term
Purchasing software automation tools is quite expensive. Manual testing on the other hand, does not require any tools, making it more economical in the long run. Moreover, since it is an entirely hands-on process, one would not have to worry about any up-front costs.
2. More Focus on Complex Problems
It can take quite some time to run automated test cases to emulate every possible outcome for a feature. Here, manual testing helps testers to focus less on emulating every distinct user path and more on reasoning edge cases for complicated features and functionalities.
On the contrary, the software testers can use datasets to reuse the same automation test case to run multiple test cases without repeating every bit of code.
3. Identify Underlying User Issues
Manual testing entails finding defects that aren't tied to the code, including server responsiveness. It allows the developing application to be used in the same way that it would be once it releases. Manual testing can help catch any defects that may appear when a user interacts with the software in a specific way.
The conventional automation testing tools have limitations in what they can identify inside an application code. In addition, these tools are robotic and often don't behave in the same way as an actual user would.
4. Faster Method of Testing
In automation testing, one would first have to create test scripts, code them into an automated tool, and eventually run the tests. On the other hand, testing manually involves conducting tests rapidly and immediately viewing the results. Compared to the latter, it helps tests ideas quickly and seamlessly.
5. No Programming Skills Needed
Manual testing does not require a tester to be well-versed in programming. Likewise, manual testing does not necessitate coding skills. However, this does not imply that everyone can perform manual testing.
One requires abilities to identify different defects, such as UI-related issues, functionality-related faults, and performance-related glitches, along with strong reasoning abilities and, most importantly, patience during testing.
- Extremely Time-Consuming
Manual testing takes an excessive amount of time and has a lot of time-related shortcomings. The entire manual testing process is usually not a viable option every time the software changes owing to time limitations.
A automated testing tool can perform a test in seconds or minutes that would otherwise take a human tester several hours or perhaps even days to complete. Data is analyzed faster by computers and scripts than by humans. This type of testing is complex and time-intensive, especially for repetitive activities.
2. Higher Chances of Human Error
People are prone to oversight after repetitive execution of programs, including retesting a feature after each update. Focussing their attention on different sections in a single program can also pose issues for QAs, resulting in less accurate test outcomes.
Human errors, such as faults caused by fatigue, low concentration levels, and distractions, can also happen during manual testing. In addition, if the bugs in a program are neglected during testing, they may go undetected.
On the other side, automation tests are less likely to make mistakes than testing manually, as analysts do not have to spend time validating programs after each release.
3. Not Good for Large-Scale Performance Testing
Performance tests guarantee that your application fulfills the desired quality of service and provides a pleasant user experience. In addition, they point out areas in which the applications can be improved in terms of performance, reliability, and adaptability right before going into production.
In a scenario where testing is absent, applications distributed among the public can suffer from multiple issues that might result in a tarnished brand image, irrevocable in some situations.
Manually testing the long-term performance of applications, which are intended to be accessed by a significant number of users simultaneously, is exceedingly tricky. Several testers would be required to assess if the software can endure the pressure of hundreds of users at once without crashing.
4. Tedious & Monotonous
It is not interesting to write the same bugs and error reports, fill out the forms and run the tests repetitively. No matter how innovative, enthusiastic, or persistent a manual tester is, the excitement of bug detection wears off after a while. This is why QAs struggle to stay devoted to the process, increasing the likelihood of errors.
5. Maintaining Manual Testers is Expensive
Manual testing can be expensive depending upon the nature and amount of testing necessary for a project. The cost goes way up when a project is significant and consumes a long time to finish or is done several times. This issue should be resolved at the onset of the planning phase to compare the costs of different solutions (automated or manual) and determine the most cost-effective.
Manual testing requires huge investments as it is carried out by humans (testers) rather than machines (automation tools). On the other hand, automated testing is less expensive since the cost of executing it is decided by the amount of time spent coding and maintaining it, not by the number of man hours required or times testing is done.
Automated Testing: Advantages and Disadvantages
Quick and Effective
One can rerun tests with automation testing, which is beneficial for regression testing on continuously changing code. It is handled automatically. Manually performing repetitive jobs is doable, but it requires a lot of effort from QAs.
A Software Tester can automatically test new features by designing algorithms to execute monotonous tests. A test script can carry out tests five times quicker than humans. It completes non-automated operations and writes multiple scripts at once. Furthermore, automation tests can continue 24/7, compared with manual testers who typically work five days a week in an eight-hour shift.
To err is human, and this might cause oversight of essential details.
However, when properly developed, automation testing helps reduce errors. With automation testing one can witness right away if there is an error in the program code or execution; if there is, the test will fail. There is nothing like it appears to perform as expected in automation testing; it either runs successfully or does not.
Cost-Effective in the Long Run
It costs less when a tester does not spend a lot of time on a project. This point is frequently brought up in discussions about manual vs. automation testing, and to a great extent, this is true. However, automating whatever tests can be automated will most certainly save you a lot of man-hours and, as a result, a lot of cost in the long term.
Everyone Knows the Results
The entire team cannot observe the outcomes in manual testing because only one individual performs the test. However, other team members can log into the testing program and examine the output for automated testing. This enables improved team communication and higher-quality results.
Interesting to Stay Committed
Writing yet another similar document repeatedly can be tedious and precisely dull. A software quality automation engineer resolves this problem. However, setting up test cases necessitates coding, effort, and a lot of innovation, keeping your finest technical talents engaged and devoted to the entire testing process without getting bored.
Additionally, automating the testing process relieves the QAs of a great deal of stress. Once the time-taking manual processes are eliminated, they can create applications to help improve the testing suite. Further, it adds to their job satisfaction and reduces the tension and boredom of their daily testing routines.
Automation necessitates the use of highly skilled programmers. For example, they create intricate codes in performance testing, turn on and off the spring VMs and browsers, and manage testing phases on a large scale.
The automated systems can also be expensive. One needs to opt for high-end tools that provide full coverage of probable test issues. UI is ever-evolving in the fast-paced testing environment, demanding regular UI-test changes. Furthermore, automated testing has restrictions in the testing environment, making it more expensive.
Pre-preparing Test Cases is Time-Intensive
Although automation reduces the time required to test software manually, test automation is still a time-consuming procedure. Developing automated tests and executing them can take a long time.
QAs write the test scripts manually for every project, which involves coding expertise and training in one programming language. A QA creates a test case for running a script to start test automation. Each test case is written manually, demanding a lot of time from the testers.
No Human Interaction
With today's technology, automated testing cannot achieve every possible goal. While evaluating design or user-friendliness, human intuition and interaction are required. User input might also come from a test set of users and organization's staff.
Not All Tests Require Automation
Testing an entirely new function or feature is yet another area in which automated testing falls short. In order for a QA professional to understand how to code a test script, they must first determine the expected findings. As a result, manual testing is still the most viable option in several instances.
While automation tests can find the majority of defects in a system, they have their limitations. For instance, some technologies cannot test for visual factors such as image color or font size. Manual testing is identified as the most efficient way to discover modifications in such a scenario, implying that not all testing can be done with automated tools.
Lack of Testing Infrastructure
Another challenge that several organizations face is the lack of proper infrastructure for the appropriate tests and fast-paced processing systems.
In a scenario where an application needs to be tested on a variety of browsers and operating systems, the test scripts undoubtedly have to run concurrently to conduct every test against the other's configuration in a reasonable amount of time. To enable this process all the necessary infrastructure must be in place to enable parallel processing.
Which testing method is better?
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Manual or automated testing?
"It depends!" is possibly the aptest answer. But we cannot leave you hanging with a solution that leads you nowhere.
It is evident from the above mentioned points that both forms of testing have their advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, here are a few guidelines that you can follow to help you select the best option.
Go for automated testing if:
- The application is stable and is not likely to change too often.
- The application can run on a wide variety of systems and environments, providing the same set of features. In such a case, automation testing will prevent the duplication of manual efforts and can save a large part of your time.
- The application requires testing with a large number of data sets.
- If many users are required to simulate testing (in performance, load, stress testing, etc.)
Go for manual testing if:
- The application is unstable or undergoes frequent functional or UX changes.
- The application is simple, and the need to repeat tests is not frequent.
- The application needs to be evaluated on many subjective parameters such as user interface, usability, etc.
Overall, automation testing is a better choice as it offers long-term ROI.
Until fully automated website testing becomes a reality, a healthy and informed mix of both testing methods will help you deliver quality goals faster, cheaper, and most effectively. Combining the two may be the ideal way to balance out the disadvantages of each and create the best software testing platform.
Make sure you analyze the time, resources, project size, and the quality of the automation systems you will be deploying along with the competence of the testing team.