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Is script-less test automation the future ?

Well, this article is going to be the last publication of 2020 in the forum. In this article, we’re going to discuss how script-less or no-script based automation tools (Functional) are dominating the Test Automation Tools market globally.

Be informed that I’m going to discuss more than 25 such popular script-less tools and therefore, this is going to be a bit lengthy article, and hence, will be a multipart article being divided into 2 parts.

In this part, I am going to provide some background on how test automation tools have evolved in last many decades, challenges with conventional tools, how script-less tools are making lives of test automation professionals easier and why we should consider that these script-less tools are going to be futuristic.

Introduction

As we step into 2021, our quest for speed around Test Automation will continue to grow. With everchanging business dynamics due to several environmental factors like COVID19 pandemic, has pushed the enterprises to adapt to the new age automation tools/platforms that are easy to adopt, intelligent and are also cost & time effective.

In today’s DevOps/Agile world, delivering on 100% test coverage within the sprint cycle is not an easy task. Testing teams are always challenged to squeeze the testing window in order to keep up to the code delivery schedules. Test automation has 3 broad areas like Test Development, execution and script maintenance, the ideal automation tool is the one that brings the maximum speed around these 3 areas as one of their primary requirements.

Have a look at the chart above that gives a snapshot of how we have come along with the evolution of Test Automation tools over last several decades.

Challenges with conventional script-based testing tools

In last few years, as DevOps started gaining popularity to accelerate the Digital Transformation, traditional automation test engineers upskilled themselves on open-source technologies like Selenium, Appium, JMeter, Robot framework, Jenkins etc. and also on several commercial tools, in order to build continuous testing solutions that are needed as part of the CI/CD setup for continuous delivery. Testing teams were able to complete the configuration seamlessly from automation standpoint however, “Speed” was still a concern as 100% in-sprint automation coverage was still not a reality all the time.

The below points describe the issues with the conventional automation tools that need testing professionals to write scripts/code to build their automation suites:

  • Scripting/coding in Test Automation takes time for development, dry runs and so on and it is difficult to achieve 100% automation in each sprint in a timely manner
  • Significant rework in the script/code is involved when functionalities or objects change
  • Automation coverage and overall efficiency (e.g. reusability etc.) is dependent on the experience/coding skills of the test engineer
  • Integration with other tools/plugins might be difficult as that needs some level of technical skills

How script-less testing tools address the above challenges?

Script-less/codeless Testing tools don’t need coding or programming skills and are designed to create automated tests that are structured and customizable. The goal is to create the automated tests quickly, self-recognize the changes and auto-correct the tests and also to reduce the maintenance costs. Ultimate idea is to enable “Anybody can automate the tests”.

Note: Not all script-less tools are really 100% code free. There might be a marketing gimmicks as well, some of them are marketed as script-less tools however, there might be low or very minimal coding required.

Let’s try to understand how script-less tools work. Script-less tools use the below methods in order to create the Automated tests quickly:

  • Object based testing
  • NLP: Natural Language Processing (AI)
  • Model based testing
  • Key-word driven testing
  • Record and playback
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)/Image recognition
  • AI Bots for business process automation

Script-less Test Automation needs very minimal learning curve and are also simpler to use. 

Why script-less automation tools are thought to be futuristic?

I hope you are familiar with Hyper-automation. So what is hyper-automation? In short, Hyper-automation is intelligent automation of automation i.e. cognitive orchestration of cluster of automations of several business processes.  

Hyper-automation enables end users (e.g., a field worker) with no coding skills to automate several low-level digital tasks thereby creating something called Digital Twin i.e. a virtual representation of one or several business processes. This is possible due to emergence of intelligent platforms like RPA (Robotic Process Automation) that leverages AI and Machine Learning models to automate bulky and repeated tasks which earlier were done manually.

One of the Gartner’s Top 10 strategic predictions for 2021 and beyond is “Neuromorphic Computing” — a computer that thinks and acts more like the human brain which will begin to take their place, which will be a reality in next 5 years or so.

So, it is evident that we are possibly hitting a Digital Era of No-Coding in next few years (unless you are developing your own software product) and the emergence of AI/ML powered script-less tools are just the beginning of this transformation process. In the part-2 of this multipart article I’ll discuss several emerging Script-less Test Automation tools in the industry that are gaining more and more popularity over last few years.

Looking forward to connect with you on part-2 of this article in the New year, 2021.

Thank you for your time on this article. Wishing you a bright and happy new year!

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