For many of you, your initial answer to the question “Why automate?” may be “Because management wants me to.” This is, of course, a valid reason. But after you have a few automated tests written, you will discover other, more important reasons:
- It saves you time.
At first it will seem as if automation is a huge time-sink, because it will take several weeks to get your automation system up and running. But once it’s in place, it will save you valuable testing time. As I am writing this blog, all of my automated smoke tests are running. Even without looking at our application, I will know if something went wrong with the build this morning.
- It frees you from some repetitive tasks.
We have a search form in our application that has four editable fields: Last Name, Company, Email, and Phone Number. In order to test this feature well, I would need to test with every possible permutation: just one field at a time, two fields at a time, three fields at a time, and finally four fields at a time. This adds up to fifteen searches. It’s rather tedious to do this every time I need to test the search function. But my automated test is happy to run through these fifteen searches, as many times as I tell it to.
- It helps you to think more critically about your testing.
- It helps you to understand your development team.