When it comes to selecting a testing framework that will best suit your software project, there are several factors you need to consider. To make sure a test automation framework will truly benefit a solution, you need to take a close look at your automation strategy and work with your team to find the best tools and methodologies. Read on to learn more about the specific factors that impact the choice of an automation testing framework and the best practices for making this decision as a team.
What you need to consider when selecting a test automation framework
When looking for the right framework for your solution, you need to consider various elements that make up an automation testing project. These factors will help you compare different frameworks against the specific challenges and requirements of the solution you’re testing.
Tech stack. This is a core criterium – the framework you’ll choose should support the languages and tools you plan to use for writing tests in your project.
Proven patterns. If you already have test automation experience, it’s a good idea to consider whether some structures and concepts (such as the PageObject pattern) you’ve already tested could be incorporated in your current project. As is the case with languages and tools, you’ll likely choose a framework that accounts for the testing patterns you plan on using.
Automation strategy. Before deciding on a testing framework, you should identify which areas of a solution you want to test, and which parts won’t be verified in an automated way. Your strategy also needs to account for paths that are critical, most prone to errors and those that must be automated. Talk to the developers involved in engineering the solution to understand their perspectives and define processes that would benefit from test automation. For example, the engineers might have a specific flow or service interaction they will want to test after implementing changes to make sure the solution works correctly.
Types of tests you plan to run. After you decide what you need to test, you should also determine what kinds of tests you will run as part of your automation strategy. This could include regression, performance, user interface (UI), application programming interface (API), functional, non-functional or other test types. This analysis will help you plan how to manage a combination of different tests. For example, if you deploy a new feature in your app with high automated testing coverage, you don’t have to launch all implemented tests. Instead, you can only run simple regression tests to achieve the same result, while saving time and resources.
DevOps standards. Your automated testing project should also consider in what way and how often tests will be launched once they’re implemented. Additionally, make sure the testing framework you choose can be integrated with other solutions and technologies used in your project, such as version control systems (Bitbucket, GitLab), continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) pipelines and test management tools.
Business requirements. Depending on a project, a client may request different coverage levels for various tests, put more emphasis on specific kinds of tests (such as UI or API) or only want basic automation testing. Business requirements will also inform your decision on what kind of devices and environments to test. For example, if you have to focus on testing a mobile version of an app or a specific mobile operating system, you might look into a test automation framework dedicated to mobile solutions (e.g., Appium, Detox).
Solution infrastructure. The architecture of your solution also affects the design of automated tests. As a result, a testing framework needs to accommodate a solution’s infrastructure and its specific challenges. For example, as more and more apps are built with microservices, test automation needs to verify the different connections and communication between services to ensure optimal performance. There are, of course, patterns that focus only on one microservice and without checking others, but they’re not optimal solutions if your goal is a well-tested app.
Resources at your disposal and team set-up. Consider the expertise level of your team members, their familiarity with different tools and areas of responsibility within a project. This will enable you to assess whether any team members may need additional training or support to work with a specific framework. You might also try and select a methodology that plays into the strengths and expertise of your testers.
Risk assessment. Different requirements and goals will call for different areas of a solution to be prioritized. For example, you might first run automated tests on main user flows, then design tests for more detailed test cases. Or, if you’re working on a microservice-based app, you might first focus on one service before you check inter-service connections.
Test data. It’s recommended to always generate new data for tests. Since an automation testing framework will include guidelines for handling test information, you should analyze what data you want to work with and how it might impact your tests. The framework you choose should also reflect your approach to test data management.
Reporting processes. Some frameworks come with built-in report modules. It’s worth considering how they fit into your existing processes and how they match your needs. For example, you might want to integrate a framework with a collaboration app to get notifications about errors in a dedicated chat. You might also want other specific reporting capabilities in a framework, so it’s best to identify these expectations early.
Best practices for choosing an automation testing framework
Carefully defining the scope of automated tests and understanding how a solution is supposed to work are essential elements of planning a test automation project. Once you have this information, you can analyze available frameworks and choose the one that best supports your project’s needs. It’s best to select a testing framework in collaboration with your team so that you can explore different methodologies, align goals and exchange experiences.
Research and compare different automation testing frameworks. One way you can approach this process is to have a few testers in your team research selected frameworks you’re considering for your project. By creating small proofs of concept (PoC), based on your project, they can use these different frameworks to test what you can and can’t do within them. This will give you a better idea whether a specific solution can really meet your project’s requirements.
Consider the value a framework may add to your project. Research on potential frameworks should include the pros and cons of a framework, as well as its potential added value. Some aspects that are worth paying attention to include test data management, reporting functionalities, CI/CD integrations, cross-browser and device support, parallel execution capabilities and community support (for example, in the form of in-depth documentation). Take into account whether a testing framework is further developed and gets regular updates to keep up with industry best practices. Frameworks with ongoing support, can serve your project in the long term and, consequently, are better investments.
Try out new frameworks. As different tools and updates emerge, try not to limit yourself only to the one or two methodologies you already know. Testers who want to excel not only stay constantly up to date with common frameworks, but also learn to write tests in other languages and systems. The new experiences that come from this approach will help you find the best solutions for your projects.
Keep in mind a project’s budget and timeline. It may turn out that a client doesn’t want to invest too much in automation testing, which will limit your options and prompt you to look into open-source products. Additionally, it’s best to start writing tests once you have a testing plan and a solution is fully functional from a development perspective. However, a tight schedule might require a different approach and priorities, which also affects what framework will suit a project more.
Finally, talk to your test automation team to standardize practices. Consistent processes and designs enable your team to navigate and manage a test automation project more effectively. For example, it’s best to settle on one style for writing your test cases so that it’s easier for team members to support areas outside of their usual duties in case of absences or other situations. Depending on a framework, you might also incorporate some of its functionalities (e.g., reporting features) into your processes or find solutions for areas that your framework doesn’t cover (such as specific integrations).
Efficient software testing for high-performing apps across industries
Implementing a testing framework streamlines quality assurance processes by enforcing a shared methodology and standards. It decreases maintenance costs and boosts test coverage, while limiting the need for manual intervention. The reusability of code and modules enables faster tests and improved app scalability. Overall, a test automation framework offers cost-effectiveness, test efficiency and a systematic approach to managing test cases and scripts, which increases the value automation testing can provide for your software.
A solid test automation strategy, including a suitable testing framework, is an essential element of high-quality software development. A dedicated engineering team can tailor its approach to build a well-tested solution that aligns with your goals and satisfies end users. Get in touch with us to discuss how automation testing can boost your software delivery and efficiency.
About the authorKarolina Blok
Test Automation Engineer
A Test Automation Engineer with 6 years’ experience in the IT industry, Karolina has tested web and mobile applications that implement the latest technologies, like the Internet of Things and AI. Having worked with clients from a range of sectors, from financial services through gaming to fleet management, she has diverse expertise in designing and conducting both manual and automated tests to ensure the highest software quality. As Karolina focuses on driving efficiency and prioritizing value-added testing in her projects, her professional interests revolve around further developing her test automation skills, exploring different frameworks and implementing cloud-based solutions.