Published: 23 April 2018
As time moves on in the technical world, more and more people are looking to automate the testing of their systems and there are a number of benefits to doing this. However, many argue that manual testing still plays an integral part in this process. I’ll be using this article to explore the differences and benefits of manual and automation testing.
With manual testing, the human element to the test makes it unique because it is near on impossible for a human to act in the same way more than once. For example, a tester would need to click a series of buttons and although the button will be clicked every time in succession the speed will vary between each click; which may have a negative effect with automated testing because the clicks will be the same every time.
Networks and communication protocols do not work in this way so a button that fires off a web request in succession may not always work in the same time. Automated tests would fail in this instance where as a human can pause dynamically between clicks. Have you ever clicked on a web page and you get the error page cannot be displayed? You click back and then try the web page again and it works, you move forward and forget about it. If this was an automated test it would be a fail.
As the case may be, the automated test can handle lots of paralleled tests on many browsers all at the same time. For a manual tester, this would take the test duration times the parallel number times the browser type…simply a lot of times longer. Automated testing is more cost effective for larger systems in the long run but require additional skills and expertise to set it up. Automated testing is faster and more productive in its own right if used for the right purpose such as regression testing.
Manual testing is a test method with the same value as automated but in a different entity. There are many business’s that would like to think automation in full is the way to go. Manual testing is always going to be needed because automated testing is a logical test. It is faster and more efficient yes but is it a real solidified test to be trusted alone when releasing software? On the other hand, is manual testing alone a trusted test as well. Manual and automated testing are like brother and sister of testing.
This is where there is a need for manual testing and automated testing. There are many more examples for the use of each method and far too much to be covered in this blog session.
Some advantages of automated testing:
- The scripts can be used over and over again to retest the same errors of a system and build a regression pack.
- They take less time to complete than manual testing, so you will get more tested faster.
- Automation helps you find bugs in the early stages of development, saving time and money.
- You do not have to be in one location, it can be accessed anywhere. The tests can be started when you leave the office and be run overnight to get the outcome.
- There are several limitations to the manual testing approach. For example, it is difficult to conduct load and performance testing manually, as it requires a great number of users/testers and devices running the program simultaneously. That is why such tasks are best handled through special tools and automation.
Automation is best applied to the following types of testing:
Regression Testing: If your code base changes frequently and you introduce minor changes often, your regression testing can only benefit from automation. Not only does this approach allow for repeatability, it also saves you time and effort with multiple test scenario reruns.
Load and Performance Testing: Using test automation tools, even one QA engineer can easily simulate thousands of concurrent users, database queries, and server requests to test how your system performs under load. Plus, you can track and measure various metrics in the process–a task that can never be processed by hand.
Many people still prefer to carry out testing manually, and you can see the benefits below:
- Automatic scripts can’t provide feedback on the systems look and feel. Getting insight from a real person can be invaluable if you want to be sure your system is easy to use and matches the designs signed off by the client
- Manual testing requires less cost than automation
- Manual testing allows for the most precise real-life scenarios in which your system will be used. Any bugs or flaws that might occur when a using the system are likely to be captured through the process of manual testing.
- Allows human observations and suggestions for improvement into the system
- You don’t have to invest in any special tools. Having several members of your team or hiring additional resources to do the quality check makes it easier to manage the budget and requires no upfront costs
- Working in an agile environment. You need the capacity to react to the slightest requirement changes instantly. In this case, manual testing offers the freedom to adapt to anything. If you want to quickly test a new feature or check any changes in the UI, manual testing is exactly what you need
So, to conclude, not one type of testing is better than the other, both areas of testing are needed and work hand in hand for the maximum quality of a system.
In my next blog, I will discuss the differences between Sanity, Regression and Smoke testing so watch this space.
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