Sridevi Pinjala, IBM
Once upon a time, the average life for software was 7 years. Some software lasted more than 7 years. Some software lasted less than 7 years. But no matter how long the software lasted, its code was updated, improvised, changed and tweaked frequently. To handle the tweaks and to make sure the other code was not broken, regression testing came into being. Automated tools were invented to handle regression. But most automated tests also needed to be tweaked when the application code was tweaked. When the application interface changed completely, the automated scripts died.
Some companies had several interfaces for one back-end system. They had to pay the price to have all these interfaces tested with the same tests and maintained separately. There was no way out. If one particular interface has hundreds of automated scripts written already, they could not re-use the scripts on other interfaces.
Some companies had frequent changes to the User Interface of the application. Since the automated test case scripts needed to be changed every time the User Interface changed, automation did not add any value nor did it decrease the need for manpower. So, the companies had to rely on manual testing alone.
Many test automation tools came into the market to help out the needy companies. Some tools relied on the objects used for testing, some relied on the User Interface, and some relied on the Document Object Model. Almost all of these tools had a feature – to change the logical name on the elements to give them a unique identification to avoid conflict.