Sun Jun 25 2023

Automation Testing vs Manual Testing: Here's What You Need to Know

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Automation Testing vs Manual Testing: Here's What You Need to Know

Automation testing and manual testing are the two approaches used for testing software applications. While manual testing is performed by human testers, automation testing is performed with tools and software. One of the popular tools used for automation testing is Selenium. Selenium testing is gaining popularity due to its ability to execute tests faster and more accurately than manual testing.

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Note, through this article, we'll delve into the definitions of manual and automation testing, as well as explore the significant differences between these two approaches. We'll also examine which method is better suited for different testing scenarios to help you determine the most effective testing approach for your needs.

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a traditional testing approach where skilled testers manually execute test cases to detect defects in software applications. Unlike automated testing, manual testing requires human intervention to perform various test scenarios, including boundary testing, exploratory testing, and regression testing.

The process of manual testing is appropriate for evaluating the software's user interfaces, accessibility, and usability aspects. It involves following a set of instructions, observing and recording the results, and reporting any discrepancies found during the testing process. Manual testing also provides valuable feedback on the user experience and the overall quality of the software product.

While manual testing can be time-consuming and expensive, it is still important for the software testing process. This approach allows testers to identify issues that may have been missed during automated testing.

What is Automation Testing?

Automation testing is a technique that involves using specialized tools to automate the execution of test cases. In this approach, testers write scripts or code to automate the testing process and validate the software's functionality. The ultimate goal of automation testing is to reduce testing time, improve testing accuracy, and increase test coverage. Automation testing is especially useful for testing large and complex applications, where manual testing can be time-consuming and error-prone.

In fact, automated testing can be used for various types of testing, including functional testing, performance testing, and regression testing. Testers can dedicate their attention to more intricate and crucial testing scenarios when they automate tasks. However, creating and maintaining automated test scripts requires some manual effort and technical expertise.

Differences Between Manual Testing vs Automated Testing

1. Reliability

It is the accuracy of the results gained during the testing process. Automation testing is generally considered to be more reliable compared to manual testing. This is because automation testing involves the use of tools and test scripts that are designed to perform repetitive tasks and verify the expected results.

Since the tests are performed by machines, there is a lesser chance of errors caused by human factors such as fatigue, lack of attention, or inconsistencies in following the test plan. Also, automation testing can run tests faster and more frequently than manual testing, which can help detect issues more quickly.

On the other hand, manual testing relies heavily on human intervention and judgment, making it prone to human errors. For example, testers may miss some test cases or not perform tests consistently, leading to gaps in the test coverage. Additionally, manual testing is more time-consuming and may take longer to detect issues than automation testing.

2. Reused

Talking about the ability to reuse test cases, automation testing offers a clear advantage over manual testing. Automation testing involves creating test scripts that can be reused across multiple releases of the application. This means that once a test script is created, it can be used to test the application in different environments and configurations without the need to manually recreate the test case each time. This saves time and effort and helps ensure consistency in testing across multiple releases.

Manual testing can also reuse test cases, but it is limited to scenarios where the test case needs to run only once or twice. For instance, if a particular test case is applicable to a specific release of the application and there are no significant changes made to the application in the subsequent releases, then the same test case can be reused. However, if there are changes made to the application, then the manual tester may need to modify the test case or create a new one to ensure complete test coverage.

3. Batch Execution

Automation testing enables testers to execute a batch of test scripts in parallel or simultaneously, allowing for faster execution and more efficient testing. This is especially useful when there is a large number of test cases to be executed or when testing needs to be done in a time-constrained environment. In automation testing, once the test scripts are written and configured, they can be scheduled for batch execution, freeing up testers' time for other critical tasks.

Manual testing does not support batch execution, which makes it difficult to execute multiple test cases simultaneously. Testers have to manually perform each test case, one at a time, this can be a time-consuming and tedious process. This makes it challenging to test a large number of test cases within a limited timeframe.

4. Investment

The initial investment in automation tools and technologies may seem higher compared to hiring human resources for manual testing. However, automation testing can save costs in the long run by increasing the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of the testing process. In contrast, manual testing can be more expensive in the long run due to the high costs of human resources, training, and maintenance, and it may not provide the same level of accuracy, efficiency and profit as automated testing.

5. Performance Testing

Performance testing measures the responsiveness, stability, scalability, and resource usage of an application under a particular workload. The objective of performance testing is to identify any bottlenecks and performance issues in the application, which can negatively affect its user experience and business impact.

When it comes to performing performance testing, automation testing and manual testing differ significantly. In automation testing, an automation test engineer can leverage load and stress testing tools to simulate a large number of virtual users and measure the performance of the application under various load conditions.

Automation testing enables a tester to generate realistic test scenarios and execute them repeatedly to ensure consistent results. Additionally, automation testing tools can capture a wide range of performance metrics and generate detailed reports, which can help the development team to identify performance issues and prioritize them for resolution.

Conversely, manual testing, which involves humans, cannot be used for performance testing. Manual testing can simulate only a limited users, and it is not possible to reproduce complex scenarios repeatedly. Furthermore, manual testing is prone to human errors, and it can be time-consuming and expensive, especially when the application needs to be tested under high loads.

6. Programming Knowledge

In automation testing, one needs to have a good understanding of a programming language to write test scripts that can be executed by software tools. This is because automation testing relies heavily on creating test scripts that can simulate user actions and interactions with the software. Without programming knowledge, it is difficult to create effective and efficient test scripts that can accurately test the software's functionality.

Manual testing does not require programming knowledge but relies heavily on the tester's knowledge of the product being tested. In manual testing, the tester manually goes through the software's features and functionalities, testing them to ensure that they work as expected. While programming knowledge is not required for manual testing, it is important to have a fair understanding of the software and how it should behave.

7. Framework

The use of frameworks can significantly speed up the automation testing process for an automation test engineer. A framework provides a structured approach for test automation by defining guidelines, coding standards, and best practices for creating and executing automated tests. Different types of frameworks, such as Data driven, Hybrid, modular-driven, and keyword-driven, can be used based on the specific requirements of the project. These frameworks can help in organizing test cases, data, and logic, thereby improving the efficiency and maintainability of the automation testing process.

Manual testing does not require the use of a framework as it involves a human tester manually executing test cases and evaluating the results. However, manual testing can still benefit from some level of standardization and process guidelines to ensure consistency and repeatability of the testing process. This can be achieved through test plans, checklists, and documented test cases. While manual testing may not require a framework, it is still essential to follow a structured approach to ensure that all test scenarios are covered, and the testing process is thorough.

8. Operating System Compatibility

Automation tools are designed to support multiple platforms and programming languages, making it easier to create automated test scripts that can be executed on different operating systems. This means that automation testing can be performed on various systems, such as Windows, Linux, or MacOS, without the need for significant modifications to the test scripts.

Manual testing is typically performed by human testers who require a specific operating system platform to perform the testing tasks. For example, a tester who is performing manual testing on a Windows-based application needs to have a Windows operating system installed on their machine to perform the testing. Similarly, a tester who is performing manual testing on a MacOS-based application needs to have a MacOS operating system installed on their machine. This limits the flexibility of manual testing as it is dependent on the availability of testers with the appropriate operating system platform and expertise.

Wrapping Up

Each approach to testing, whether it be automated or manual, has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Automation testing is faster and more efficient, but it requires more resources and time to set up. Manual testing is more flexible and allows for more exploratory testing, but it can be time-consuming and prone to human error.

Ultimately, the choice between automation testing and manual testing depends on the specific needs of the project and the available resources. It is important to consider the requirements, timeline, budget, and skill sets of the testing team when deciding which approach to use. Both manual and automation testing can be an effective approach to achieve the best results.

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