An introduction to scriptless testing
Scriptless testing offers some immediate benefits to three common testing roles in most organisations: business testers, developers and test engineers. Once scriptless is introduced among these three groups, organisations can achieve up to 85 to 90 per cent test automation coverage on each and every regression cycle.
One of the hottest topics in the world of software testing right now is scriptless testing. By introducing AI and ML into a codeless approach to automation, scriptless testing is often credited for democratising test automation by giving the whole software testing team, not just coders, the ability to create automation. For this reason, it has become sought after to deal with the increasing volume and cadence of tests required to release digital apps confidently and in the face of device and browser proliferation. There is more to test now than ever — and the stakes are only getting higher.
Scriptless testing offers some immediate benefits to three common testing roles in most organisations: business testers, developers and test engineers. For business testers, the time spent on manual testing can be drastically reduced, helping to shorten the release cycle and minimise the risk of errors. For developers, scriptless helps create functional tests faster and can assist in API testing, for example. Test engineers, who perform end-to-end testing of all kinds and are typically responsible for around 70 per cent of test automation coverage, can also use scriptless testing for a subset of their activities.
Once scriptless is introduced among these three groups, organisations can achieve up to 85 to 90 per cent test automation coverage on each and every regression cycle.
A 15 to 20 per cent growth in automation coverage is a huge step forward, especially when considering how little time and resources are required to earn it compared to traditional options for automation. The fact is that many organisations have found that test automation has been neither as reliable nor as easy to maintain as expected. By introducing scriptless, significant gains in cost and time savings can be achieved, plus improved productivity and time-to-market. ‘Flakiness’ of testing is also minimised because AI/ML and self-healing tools deliver more reliable tests.
Like any new technology or technique, scriptless is not without its challenges. If introduced on a large scale and in a way that disrupts rather than fits into existing processes, organisations risk losing trust and productivity. Scriptless is a big step forward and comes with a cultural impact that needs to be introduced progressively: it has to complement the existing environment.
It is also important to appreciate that scriptless cannot cover every test; there will always be some that require coding. QA managers need to consider a balance between scriptless and non-scriptless testing to build those decisions into test plans. Time and effort spent trying to force specific tests through a scriptless model, finding it is not sustainable in practice, then reverting to non-scriptless, will be time and effort wasted.
I recommend starting small and carrying out scriptless testing with, for example, the ten most time-consuming and repetitive manual test cases in every regression. Once they seem to be working, merge them into the CI/CD toolchain and see if that works. If those tests aren’t breaking anything and prove to have value, then start with the next 10 or 20 test requirements.
Also, make the most of the test management layer within scriptless testing tools, which allow teams to govern and maintain all test scenarios in one place. This will help to build the foundation for scriptless, which can be built on with more test case scenarios.
A third consideration is around team culture and the need to communicate the proper benefits of scriptless to the different testing roles in your organisation. Often, practitioners — especially developers — worry that AI in software development is going to take away their jobs. The reality can be the opposite. Scriptless testing should help them, taking away a lot of the painful manual testing they currently experience while allowing them to focus on what they enjoy most about their work. For instance, test engineers will be able to spend more time stabilising their test automation scenarios. Manual business testers can be more involved with the rest of the team and contribute efficiently to quality by way of test automation.
It is early days for scriptless testing, and it will continue to evolve. At the moment, it is very much a controlled environment, requiring humans to point the tool in the right direction. Ultimately, scriptless testing will become more autonomous, but even so, practitioners will still be behind the scenes. That is a few years away. Today, scriptless testing has much to offer teams if applied correctly. Plus, if businesses want to keep up with test demands, scriptless testing will rapidly become a necessity, not just an option.