Douglas Hoffman, Software Quality Methods, LLC.
When most managers think of automated tests they picture automating what the manual testers do in running the tests. Sometimes this is what we desire, but it isn’t the most powerful way to use test automation. This tutorial is about extending your reach to do testing that cannot be done manually. Few organizations are working beyond the automated execution of manual tests: monitoring program activities not observable by humans, evaluating massive volumes of data, or exploring ever-changing areas of the program. This tutorial covers all of these areas with a focus on Exploratory Test Automation (ETA).
ETA is a testing approach that uses the power of the computer to look for bugs that functional testing misses. Unlike regression tests that do the same thing each time they are run, exploratory tests do something different each time. Through the power of the computer, many of these tests can run and check millions or billions of functions – numbers unthinkable with manual tests, automated scripts, or even table-driven automation. These techniques go after bugs that are virtually impossible to expose or isolate in manual testing.
One of the challenges of ETA is the extent to which sophisticated testing relies on a deeper knowledge of the application under test. Designing test programs that explore for new kinds of bugs is difficult and can be time consuming, so it is important to understand the program’s behavior and ask questions that matter. Designing oracles to identify suspicious or erroneous program behavior is also critical for ETA.
When the workshop is completed, the attendees will be able to:
- Gain insight into applications of ETA
- Analyze testing context to identify opportunities for ETA
- Apply different automation strategies and oracles for ETA
Target audience: Intermediate
Douglas Hoffman, 2011 Workshop