Automated test

Every time you write or change a piece of software you risk introducing errors.  Software must be tested, and re-tested each time it is changed.  Automated tests dramatically reduce the time and cost of testing, which in turn can dramatically improve the quality of the software.

Test automation is a crucial enabler of Agile software development.  The discipline of consistently writing and running automated tests for your software will improve the value of your organization’s software development through a range of effects:

  • Make quality and progress visible.
  • Increase software stability.
  • Facilitate more frequent releases and enable responsiveness to reported errors because re-testing is no longer a significant cost.
  • Improve productivity in the organization overall — including saving time for support and error management.
  • Minimize errors and wasted time.
  • At the same time, the test code acts as a specific and precise documentation of how the software should work.

Most software can not be tested 100% automatically.  But an 80% or 90% coverage will still save a large amount of effort, and the manual testing can be focused where it is needed the most.  ZeaLake can assist your team and organization in prioritizing your test automation effort, whether your primary goal is to increase quality, save cost or improve responsiveness.  We take a pragmatic approach, ensuring that stepwise improvements bring results from early on.

The discipline of always writing automated test for your software can be taken to the extreme that you write the test before you write the actual code.  The test case becomes a way of stating how the software should work — a specification.  This approach is called Test-Driven Development (TDD) or Behaviour- Driven Development.  Read more at Wikipedia and DanNorth.net.

Other disciplines that reinforce the value of automated tests are Continuous Integration, automated build systems, and frequent releases / Continuous Deployment.  ZeaLake’s consultants have in-depth experience with all these aspects of a smooth software development setup.

Some software developers feel that writing automated tests is like writing the same code twice.  They say this slightingly but in fact it could be said with applause: Test automation is somewhat similar to “double entry” in bookkeeping.  The programmer writes the intended functionality in the production code, and again in the test code using example data.  By testing one with the other, errors can be detected — sooner rather than later. It has been said that you develop software either by Test-first or by Debug-later.  A test-first approach is easier to plan for and brings more job satisfaction.