20 Key Factors To Consider While Designing A Test Automation Framework

Key Factors To Consider While Designing A Test Automation Framework

It is an excellent time to begin if you haven’t already automated your software testing process. The demand for greater speed and efficiency is more significant than ever before. Anyone still relying on outdated manual testing methods will be edged out of the competition before realizing it. 

Automation testing has become a top priority in the software testing space. It is proven by recent research, which states that test automation has replaced more than 50% of the manual testing efforts in around 46% of the cases. 

However, it is about something other than keeping up with your competitors. Automated testing offers multiple benefits to businesses that are too valuable to ignore. With your software development process powered by test automation, you can deliver software far more efficiently and quickly.

A proper test automation framework must be designed for your automation process to be successful. 

A well-designed test automation framework can

  • Speed up the testing process
  • Improve test accuracy
  • Reduce testing efforts
  • Decrease maintenance costs 
  • Generate a more significant ROI on investment for QA teams
  • Help testers test software efficiently.  

Top Considerations For Creating An Effective Test Automation Framework

If you are a test engineer entrusted with designing a high-quality test automation framework for your organization, view these key considerations:

20. Make it maintainable

You need to ensure the codebase is easy to comprehend, change, or extend by making it easy to maintain. It will enable you to reduce the sweat and pain of updating the framework later.

19. Use appropriate design patterns

Selecting the best design pattern is essential for creating the test framework. It can reduce the time and effort needed for your automation framework’s long-term development process. It accelerates test case development and prevents minor issues that can lead to major problems, thus improving code readability.  

18. Ensure it is extendable

By making your framework extendable, you can reduce the time and effort needed to develop it. With a set of reusable components and a consistent structure, you can avoid building everything again and concentrate on adding test scripts. Reusability makes testing quicker and lowers maintenance costs as well. As a result, testers should be able to implement the operation frameworks and test scripts across numerous functions to use their value fully.

17. Compatibility

The digital ecosystem and technology stacks are evolving constantly. Hence, the framework you make must be compatible with various device platforms. Try to anticipate what platforms and operating systems your organizations may use in the future. Ideally, your framework should support major applications, platforms, and operating systems. Ensure it supports running on the cloud, Docker, and VM or local machines. 

16. Containers

You can integrate your test solutions and dependencies into a single, self-contained unit with containers. It will allow you to deploy it on a computing environment like Docker quickly, as they support container runtime. It will help you easily collaborate, share, and distribute test solutions.

15. Simplicity

Keeping things simple in your framework is crucial. The best solutions are always elegant, which also apply to test automation frameworks. Experts in software testing point out that testing frameworks should be as simple as plug-and-play devices. Any member of the QA team should be able to handle the framework without needing to understand how it works. Automation or technical experience should not be a hurdle here, and writing, inserting, compiling, and running test scripts should be a breeze for the tester.

14. Ensure your code is clean and easy to understand

Avoid writing code that is complicated and hard to comprehend. Your code needs to be written well and easy to understand and modify. Such code can make a software project easily maintainable and efficient, streamlining the development process for current and future coders. Following naming conventions and coding standards can help you achieve this.

13. AAA Scripting Pattern

The AAA (Arrange-Act-Assert) pattern has become the norm followed by the entire software development industry. It denotes splitting your test method into three sections, i.e. Arrange, Act, and Assert. It means each one is only responsible for the part they are named after. For example, you only have the code needed to set up that specific test in the Arrange section. Here, you would create objects and set up mocks and expectations. The Act section is for the invocation of the method that is tested, and Assert is for verifying if the expectations were met. 

12. Updated documentation

For an automation framework to be effective, it needs to be well-documented. The framework should either have a separate setup guide document or be well-documented on Wiki or Readme.

11. Make it Configurable

You need to ensure that your test automation framework is configurable. It should support global and local parameters and other customizations such as internationalization or localization.

10. Programming language

The programming language you use for the framework needs to be aligned with your product tech and team. It is always better to go for open-source languages.

09. Reporting feature 

It needs a reporting engine to generate detailed reports with multiple views, sections and dashboards for the environment. HTML/SPA (Single Page Application) can be the preferred format.

08. SOLID principles

Following the SOLID principles can help you better design your framework. SOLID refers to the five principles introduced by the legendary Rober Cecil Martin, known as Uncle Bob.

Here they are – 

  • S – Single Responsibility Principle
  • O – Open-Closed Principle
  • L – Liskov Substitution Principle 
  • I – Interface Segregation Principle
  • D – Dependency Inversion Principle

Designing your framework based on these principles will make it easier to change or extend your codebase in the future. 

07. Libraries

Your code should be simplified as much as possible to increase its readability. Using existing libraries like Fluent Assertions will help make your code more reader-friendly.

06. Traceability

The Test automation framework should have a robust and transparent reporting mechanism that will enable QA engineers and managers to understand what’s happening quickly. Reports contain detailed information on how many test cases have been executed and how many have failed or passed. In addition, they help the QA team to trace failures and determine their root cause.

05. Test Data Generation support

It is a good idea to use fixture templates for test data generation. Avoid maintaining or adding your test data to external files; for example, in an excel sheet. Developing custom and dynamic data generation libraries is also a good solution.

04. Efficient exception handling

It mainly involves using custom exception handlers and throwing and wrapping the right exceptions. Avoid adding blank catch blocks throughout your code.

03. Integration with CI/CD/CT

The test automation framework should support integration with tools like Jenkins, GitHub, Gitlab CI, etc., to improve the efficiency of the test automation process.

Read also: A Comprehensive Guide to CI/CD & CI/CD Tools

02. Metrics and tracking

Remember to add support for basic test metrics such as traceability of scripts with test cases on ALM Tool. This crucial feature links your automated tests to approved tests on the ALM tool.

01. Code Quality Checks

Check the quality of codes using static checkers like sonarQube that can continuously assess the code you generate.

Read also: 14 Tips to Choose the Right Open Source Test Automation Tool

Summing up

Developing an effective test automation framework is an integral part of the software development process and has a significant role in the success or failure of any software automation project. 

Understanding the basic requirements well and keeping these 20 key considerations in mind, you can develop a test automation framework that can support and improve the quality of the entire software testing process.