End-to-End Testing: Driving Digital Transformation with Quality and Automation
Digital businesses that exploit quality as a key differentiator in the market are empowered to bring about meaningful changes to their operations. Every digital transformation initiative can benefit greatly from having continuous quality as the foundation of its strategy.
Software testing that leverages test automation helps ensure quality across the entire software development life cycle. It also eliminates delays, accelerates innovation, and reduces costs.
Here we will explore how important automated testing is for digital transformation success, especially end-to-end testing automation.
Driving forward digital transformation with continuous testing
As digital is becoming a part of every aspect of activity, brand, and reputation for a business, forward-looking organizations are reimagining the way systems and people interact with each other.
In this process, however, some leaders don’t realize the role and importance of software testing in digital transformation. According to Clark Golestani, previously Global CIO for Merck and presently the Managing Director of C Sensei Group:
Any IT leader concerned about innovation speed and digital transformation success should make software testing a top concern.
CIOs, who have embarked on digital transformation journeys, make it a priority to ensure more rapid delivery of innovative solutions and greater agility so that companies are able to pivot as soon as they spot new opportunities or challenges. Being committed to continuous testing as part of your quality assurance strategy will help your initiatives thrive during fundamental changes among processes, people, and technology.
If testing becomes a strategically important factor in business digital transformation, your entire organization will be able to move forward faster. It will also give you a competitive advantage in the market by ensuring the superior quality of digital solutions based on business goals and requirements.
Discover more from our case study: From Startup to 16 Million Dollar Venture: How QA Processes Influence Company’s Growth
How is DevOps changing the importance of software testing?
The goal of testing is to ensure that your digital product performs the way you envisioned it. However, sometimes testing can be viewed as something that just needs to be done and paid for to launch the product, not as a strategic aspect of your project.
Many organizations have already started their journey with DevOps, practicing continuous development and deployment, yet can still miss a continuous approach to quality. Though a standard perspective on quality assurance is to address a limited set of functional requirements, it is now not enough to meet the quality expectations of users, business or market.
Continuous delivery in DevOps is all about delivering new code releases as fast as possible to customers. And there’s no way to reach that goal if there are inefficient steps within the delivery process.
Digital testing, which is automated and continuous, is central to the product’s robust state and can prevent the time and cost of testing from growing out of sync with the desired innovation speed. Also, implementing testing at every stage of SDLC boosts the level of competitiveness, creates opportunities for more productivity gains, and brings about far better digital experiences saving costs at the same time.
Though software testing is so crucial, the amount of manual effort that goes in the process in our digital age is astonishing. Successful digital businesses, which have shifted from waterfall to agile methodologies, integrate a continuous quality approach focused on automation.
What is test automation and why do you need it?
In software testing, test automation is the use of tools to automate a manual process of reviewing and validating a software product. It can speed up the process of testing, if done right, by automating some repetitive but essential tasks, controlling the execution of tests, and giving means to compare actual results with predicted ones.
Automated testing makes sure quality is secured at every stage of development. It allows QA engineers to monitor all new changes and make certain they don’t cause any new bugs, thus ensuring the software is ready for deployment at all times.
Benefits of test automation:
- Increases testing speed and reduces costs
- Automated tests are reproducible (e.g. smoke, regression testing)
- Testing reports are generated automatically
- Performing tests that can’t be done manually (e.g. performance, stress, volume testing)
- Bugs are more likely to be detected at an early stage of the development process
Automated testing types
In software development, there are following types of automated testing:
- Unit Tests cover the smallest pieces of software code that can be isolated. Developers use them to test separate features.
- Integration Tests cover units that are combined and tested together. Developers use them to test meaningful components, and combinations of features.
- UI tests include E2E, and Native UI Tests on Critical Flows. These tests help check the system in general, as an end user.
No automated test can replace manual testing. They can only make life easier, speed up the testing process and help avoid a great number of regression errors. Manual testing allows QA engineers to uncover unexpected bugs and check unusual scenarios. When software is tested manually, testers can view different features in a much broader context. Only the coordinated work of both manual and automated testing can secure the high-quality performance of your software.
What Is End-To-End (E2E) Testing?
End-to-end testing is used in the software development lifecycle to simulate real user scenarios from beginning to end. Performing E2E tests allows you not only to validate the system but also to ensure that all its features work and behave as expected.
Systems today are complex and built including different UI layers, APIs, external databases, and third-party integrations. If one part of the system fails, it causes instability across the entire product, which means each component is essential for the application’s successful performance.
Therefore, end-to-end tests should be applied to test the entire application with all of its components, from beginning to end using both automated and manual testing methods to guarantee the maximum coverage.
While unit tests are responsible for the small parts of software, which may function well on their own, it doesn’t guarantee that the entire system operates properly, as you can see in the picture. It’s vital to monitor not only the performance of separate elements or features, but also the way the whole system functions. And this is exactly what E2E testing is all about.
Benefits of E2E testing automation include:
- Validating your software's accurate performance. End-to-end tests check whether your system is functional at every level - from front-end to back-end and on multiple systems. They also help uncover business logic gaps, regression errors, and examine integrations between services to ensure correct performance across different environments.
- Expanding test coverage. Automating your testing process allows you to write new code for additional tests, which may have not been thought of before. In this way, you can check different scenarios and cover more functionality.
- Uncovering bugs and boosting software performance. With E2E testing, the software is examined after each iteration which helps to uncover and correct issues faster. It also prevents new bugs from going further into production, thus making the app workflow seamless. Also, E2E testing enables QA engineers to take screenshots and compare the outcome with previously created correct mocks.
- Speeding up the testing process and reducing costs. As a result of E2E testing, you’ll spend less time and costs on the process by rerunning the tests. Such comprehensive testing at each step of the development journey will also decrease the number of bugs and breakdowns, especially after adding new changes, and consequently speed up the testing process and make it more cost-effective.
Steps for End-to-End testing automation
Here are the steps needed to start and complete each E2E test:
- Analyze the requirements to understand how the app should work and define testing goals.
- Set up a testing environment in line with the requirements.
- Evaluate software and hardware requirements.
- Make a list of how every system should respond.
- Write down testing methods, which are necessary to test these responses, including the description of languages and tools.
- Write test cases.
- Execute the tests, tack and monitor the testing progress, and save results
The most popular E2E testing frameworks
Playwright is a popular open-source automation framework for end-to-end testing developed by Microsoft. Playwright performs testing across different browsers and platforms including Windows, Linux and macOS to ensure quality of today’s web applications.
- enables native mobile emulation of Google Chrome for Android and Mobile Safari
- creates a browser context for each test to deliver full test isolation with no overhead
- saves the authentication state of the context, which you can reuse in all tests by logging in only once
- collects all the information needed to investigate test failures, such as test execution screencast and live DOM snapshots
Cypress is a developer-friendly open-source framework to deliver top end-to-end testing experience. It allows developers and QA engineers to write tests easily and quickly and monitor tests’ execution in real time.
Cypress works on any front-end framework or website. It’s easy to set up as there are no servers, drivers, or any other dependencies needed to install or configure. The automated testing tool also takes snapshots as tests run for testers to see exactly what happens at each step.
By using the additional Cypress Dashboard feature, users can also run recorded tests in parallel across multiple machines, record test results, screenshots and videos, and debug tests easily with powerful insights provided by the service.
Puppeteer is a Node library that provides a high-level API to control headless Chrome over the DevTools Protocol. It was developed by Google and doesn't support any other browsers except Chrome.
Puppeteer automates most of the things which can be done manually in the browser, speeding up the process greatly. Some of these features are:
- Generate screenshots and PDFs of pages
- Emulate mobile devices
- Automate form submission, keyboard input, etc.
- Track your site performance issues with a timeline
- Test Chrome Extensions
- Enable Pixel Perfect testing. With the first test run, it will create an exemplary screenshot of the page and save it. During all the next runs, the testing automation tool will compare new screenshots with the previously created one to spot new errors and avoid regression.
Automation testing process: Requirements to consider for your testing strategy
If you want to apply automation, it is always a good idea to start with evaluation and analysis. Consider asking yourself the following questions:
- What testing do you want to automate: backend or frontend? (The choice of testing tools will depend on this)
- What instruments, frameworks, databases are used at the project?
- What browsers do you want to test? What platforms are in priority?
- What integrations?
- How will you run the automated tests? Do you have the resources and a team to do it?
Not always, however, automating the testing process is the best decision. And not everything that can be automated should be automated. Sometimes, the ROI of developing an automated test suite is not worth it when compared to performing a test manually.
It’s better not to apply test automation in the following cases:
- UX and usability testing
- For testing new functionality which may change shortly as well as when you need to use the test only once
- When there is no stable environment or the product code is quickly changing
- When the software products release happens on fixed intervals, e.g. monthly or weekly
Software products that release rapidly can benefit much more from automated testing than manual since CI and CD rely on automated testing to ensure stability and continuity. Automated tests are there to keep unexpected code regressions at bay. But if there are a lot of dramatic and rapid changes to your software product, the costs for updating and maintaining automated tests may become significantly high.
Ensure quality as part of your digital transformation journey
The shared goals of digital transformation, DevOps, and quality assurance consist of embracing automation, promoting cooperation, and reshaping the digital infrastructure. What truly matters is allowing these components to work together and support meaningful changes in your organization.
If you need help accelerating your digital transformation journey, just reach out to us!