WARNING: This is a personal reflection based on personal experience, any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.
A while back I read a phrase uttered by some ilustrious person that stayed with me and made me think, which does not happen often in my case. The phrase is ¨when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves¨ (Viktor Frankl)… I hope I don´t have to pay royalties to the autor for this piece of wisdom.
Applying this philosophy at key moments in my personal life has been quite useful and necessary, but what does this have to do with the world of testing (“Pruebas for the Spanish speakers amongst you)?
Well, it all goes back to my humble beginnings in the world of telecommunications where I worked
manually testing network systems.
For me, it was the best thing in the world: I defined the tests, I ran them, I checked the results step by step, connecting manually to the databases, to the servers, I become creative so as to provoke a result… I did everything else that anyone whose job it is to do manual tests knows what I am talking about, to anyone else it just sounds boring.
Back then the phrase “test automation” bored me immediately. What interest could arise from automating tests and lose out on the challenges presented by the realization of each and every unit test?
Of Course, the moment came when life took me down a different path, (here is the part of “when we are no longer able to change a situation”) and one day the possibility of working in automating tests arose.
Needless to say, It did not appeal to me, but what did I have to lose by trying it anyway and here comes the part of “..we are challenged to change ourselves”. So, I started to automate.
At first, I had a hard time adapting the concepts of one methodology to the other, I have to admit, and my first automations were quite “Messy” so to speak, but once I started to see it differently everything became simpler. What advantages could I get from automating? Well, a very useful one is the time saved when reusing a test and also being able to launch the same test by simply changing one or two parameters. Whilst doing manual testing I had already had to create scripts for this purpose and what was that if not a way to automate?
For over 6 months now, I have been automating tests with a framework which in my case is called TAST (Test Automation System Tool) and it is not essential to be an expert on scripting to be able to design a test diagram, so long as, the tool is versatile enough to facilitate the process, as is in my case. For this, it is obvious that there has to be an excellent group of developers behind the tool used.
What about my fear that each test would no longer pose a challenge? Well, it has not been like that either, as it turns out automating a test is not as I had thought. Actually, it is me who manages the tool and I can complicate or simplify a test case diagram as much as I want, with the advantage that I will be able to run that same test as many times as I need without having to execute each step manually and as a unitary test. I can even reuse a diagram, or part of it, when I need it for other types of tests.
Concluding, from my point of view, automation has helped me save time and I believe that it allows many more people to test without the need to have specific knowledge and expertise, As that is what the TAST framework is there for , to make our life easier and “do the dirty work”.
Still, I wouldn’t change my time with manual testing, because it helped me develop my analytical skills and created the foundation to understand how a test should be designed so as to detect and even how to provoke errors.
Dedicated to my fellow TASTERS.