In this article we will consider a very important question: What type of testing is better to use for a given project – automated or manual? To make the right choice, you need to understand what each type of testing implies and what advantages and disadvantages they would yield for your project.
Automated Software Testing – A software testing process in which test cases are passed and automatically analyzed using software tools. In the professional field, there are no (out of the box) universal automated testing solutions for detecting bugs. Effective automated testing is a specially written or specially customized software for a specific product. Writing or customizing is expensive in terms of time and money, however, the possibility of reuse makes them effective for large and long-term projects. The more iterations of product testing to be done, the more effective the automated testing is.
| Advantages || Disadvantages |
|Reusability. After a test is written, it can be used for each new release. ||Writing tests is time-consuming and expensive, so they are only cost-effective when reused. And when changing functionality, the tests must also be changed.|
| There are services which allow you to quickly start automatic testing and get results.||Using these services can give a feeling of false security. All of these services make it easier for your developers to use tests, but without programmers, these services only look for the most primitive errors and do not notify you of possible errors in the logic. The product still has bugs, but you may only find out about it from the client.|
|Stability. The machine is guaranteed to pass all tests; it will not forget or miss anything from the program.||Limited scope. Automated tests only look for those errors which their creators programmed them to find. In the event that something new appears, the tests will not find it.|
Manual software testing – A software testing process in which test cases are passed and analyzed by engineers using both user logic and all possible tools, including special equipment, and by selecting automatic methods suitable for the application. The main advantage is quality. A person can detect any bug, even the most unexpected one, while a program only checks what it has been prescribed.
At first glance, it might seem that manual testing is just a poorly automated testing process with all its shortcomings. In fact, it is important to understand that only test cases themselves are executed manually, and a decision is made on the presence or absence of bugs. The rest of the process usually has a high degree of automation, so the difference in the speed of manual and automated testing is much less than it seems.
|Flexibility. Testing can be launched quickly in any configuration – individual product blocks, individual types of testing, etc.|| With each new testing configuration, |
new test cases must also be created.
|Adaptability. With manual testing, all bugs are found and described, and not just the type for which testing is performed.||Speed. Manual testing may take some time.|
|Feedback. The bug reports described by a professional tester help the developer quickly find the cause of the error and fix it.||Scalability. If a sharp increase in the number of tests is required, problems may arise, because only large companies can quickly transfer tens or hundreds of testers from one project to another. This problem can be solved with QA Supermarket.|
Indications for using automated testing
Automated testing should be used for bulk testing, as sustaining peak capacity through manual testing is usually quite difficult.
The first stages of any type of testing are impossible without some manual testing when there is still no information about potential weak points and the software may malfunction anywhere. It is also almost impossible to replace manual testing for graphics since programs miss most of the visual errors.
What method should be chosen in other cases?
A combination of the two options is most often employed to utilize the strengths of both methods. Naturally, all new projects begin with manual testing and gradually introduce elements of automated testing. An active project regularly raises the question of whether it is time to develop automated tests and stop manual testing. This should only be done if the following factors coincide at the same time:
• The project is stable. There are no plans for large-scale functionality changes.
• Bugs are consistent and recurring; they can be classified and described for automated testing.
• Testing does not require creativity. Product user interactions are known, predictable, and easily mimicked by tests. You are certain that in each case the user will press the predicted button, and will not do something completely unexpected (and they always do so).
• Quality is not critical and in the event that a new type of bug passes an automated test, the product will not suffer serious damage, and the user experience of the application is not critical.
If you are not sure that the above list describes your product – it is better to continue working with people and not risk the quality of the product and the large resources required for implementation of automated testing.