3 Ways to Get Started with Codeless Automation

Enterprise development organizations are warming up to the concept of codeless automation tools to help resolve some of their test automation challenges. And they’re ready to put their money down on the idea.

A recent Applause survey indicated that 53.5% of respondents plan to purchase a codeless automation tool, with the following drivers most prominent among expected buyers:

  • improve test coverage (54.7%);

  • mature test automation faster (47.6%);

  • save on traditional costs of automation (43.9%);

  • free up internal resources for other work (39.6%);

  • serve as a starting point for full-fledged automation (27.7%).

There are many motivators for buying a codeless automation product, such as Applause Codeless Automation (ACA). But how do you get started with codeless automation, and what is its limitations?

In a recent webinar called How to Go Codeless for Automated Mobile App Testing, Applause Product Director Cathy Huang provided three practical tips to get started with codeless automation. Here’s a summary of that webinar.

What is codeless automation?

Codeless test automation products enable users with no programming abilities to create scripted tests via a user interface. There’s no need to write code for test scripts, which displaces the burden that often falls on developers to create and manage automated tests.

As Huang explained, codeless automation products vary in how they create test scripts for users. In an unstructured approach, the codeless automation tool crawls a site to identify potential weak points. However, a structured approach better accounts for organizations that want to create structured test cases, Huang said. Structured approaches can include products that focus on record and edit – like ACA – or keyword functionality.

Test automation challenges

Organizations inevitably land on codeless automation products as a way to implement and augment test automation for a number of reasons. While test automation challenges might vary slightly by industry and each individual business, most struggles boil down to three key areas:

  • Time. Feeling a pressure to release quickly, software quality is often first on the chopping block. Cutting corners is no path to effective test automation. Yet, doing it correctly often involves a time commitment, often via context switching between tools, barriers to adoption, and challenges with API integration.

  • Skills. Not everyone can write test scripts that work, let alone maintain or scale them. As the scope of test automation expands, the work piles onto software developers and quality engineers, who struggle to get the work done in a timely manner – if at all. Worse, scripted test automation requires specialized coding knowledge that many workers don’t have.

  • Resources. It’s not possible to simply spend your way to effective test automation. But, even if you could, automation experts don’t come cheap and aren’t always easy to find. Test automation products have limitations too, which can leave organizations short on their test coverage goals.

So, how does codeless automation alleviate those challenges? Huang provided three tips for using these products.

1. Start with a simple smoke test

Don’t go overboard. Get started with codeless automation tests that are simple and repeatable, especially if you don’t already have an automation suite in place. Smoke tests and regression tests are a great way to start.

Additionally, these tests should be atomic, or independent of other tests. “[This way] you don’t have to have a setup of data or teardown of data on either end of that,” Huang said.

For organizations with scripted automation suites in place, Huang recommended they periodically replace predictable scripted tests with codeless tests. Rather than waste time maintaining a scripted test you don’t need, use a codeless automation tool, which encourages repeatable use.

2. Modularize tests

One of the benefits of codeless automation is the reusability of test components. Rather than program long, end-to-end tests, rely on the building blocks of tests you’ve already created. For example, if you intend to create a test for a checkout flow, you could include tests that validate logins and add to cart, rather than program them all over again.

Huang walked through a live demo of ACA in action to demonstrate how to include and adjust test modules to serve a longer test.

3. Get the app ready

It’s easier to plan for test automation from the beginning – and get buy-in from all parties – than to retrofit codeless automation. Start at the planning stages, so that developers can build an app more amenable to automation.

Some qualities of automation-friendly apps include:

  • static data

  • identifiable elements in the code

  • less conditional logic

  • easy build creation

These three tips all apply to ACA, which is a useful piece for any organization’s test automation puzzle. When used alongside scripted test automation and manual testing, ACA helps organizations increase test coverage, mature their automation suites quickly and release confidently – and on schedule.

ACA fits into your workflows where and when you need it. To learn more, request a demo or download this whitepaper.

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David Carty
Senior Content Manager
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