In today’s fast-paced world, no one questions the overwhelming benefits of test automation. In a rapidly-moving environment, test automation ensures reliable test results, boosts the productivity of quality assurance and helps decision-makers lead with accurate and timely information. Now, new human-readable software tools have put the power of test automation into the hands of non-tech business testers.
In an effort to stay abreast of the pace of software changes and manage the cost of test automation, corporates as well as public sector organizations are increasingly turning to business testers – subject-matter experts who are not professional testers – to roll out and manage test automation routines.
It might sound unwise to hand over the work of testing professionals to business owners, who do not have the skills to automate testing using traditional tools. However, they can now do so using new software tools that run automated tests using language and routines that are non-technical and human-readable.
Human-readable tools build stakeholder buy-in
Essentially, these innovative software tools feature keyword-based routines that are human-friendly, behind which lies a layer that interprets the routines and creates the testing script. The use of a few carefully-selected and easy-to-understand keywords is part of a human-centered, behavior-driven development philosophy that aims to make it easier for virtually anyone to roll up their sleeves and get involved in test automation.
Apart from ramping up the effective number of personnel running tests and decreasing the cost of testing, human-readable approaches have the added benefit of making it easier to share the technology with other stakeholders so they can also be confident using it and offering input.
This breakthrough has proven to be especially useful in the public sector where there is continuous pressure to keep a lid on costs. Increasingly, customers in the public service who buy software from vendors find that their in-house officials are taking responsibility for validating the software as domain experts. Additionally, when vendors roll out software updates or when legislative amendments call for system modifications, it falls to these organizational experts to make changes to their environments.
Key role for test automation professionals
Working with subject matter experts in government circles for example, we at Qentinel have been describing how projects should work and what aspects of their environments need to be tested. They, in turn, only need to work with a small number of keywords so they are better able to understand what needs to be done. More importantly, they are now equipped to write test cases on their own using this human-friendly keyword list. Armed with the ability to run tests, write test cases and make changes to their domains, customers can now be confident that their systems can survive even major changes.
Do these advancements mean that testing professionals will become redundant and possibly disappear? Not by any means! Testing developers will still be required to coach customers to write solid test cases. And of course, we will continue to develop test automation so that customers can perform certain routines themselves.
The advent of human-readable test automation frameworks frees up time and resources for people to concentrate on solving interesting problems while computers focus on repetitive, routine tasks. When customers perform basic testing procedures, professional testers can focus on exploratory testing – imagining the unimaginable, anticipating the unanticipated, and finding ways to prevent or correct it.
Pekka Kiviniemi is a Qentinel test automation developer who is not afraid to try out new concepts to solve customer problems. His daring ideas are backed by two decades in the field of software testing and test automation.