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Testing Tech: Which Works Best, Manual or Automated Application Testing

Automated application testing can be a great time saver.

The software you are using right now to operate your computer and browse the web was put through rigorous testing. These tests were completed to ensure a consistent user experience. Testing software is a critical step toward providing all the technical conveniences we enjoy in the modern world. 

Sometimes this testing is performed by manual testers, sitting at screens and workstations. At other times it is completed by automated tools and algorithms. Which works best? Let’s find out.

Manual or Automated, What is the Difference?

The biggest difference between the two is power and many hours. Manual testing can be laborious. Time involvement can often lead to delays in the development process, which can have knock-on effects in other areas of the business. 

Automated testing needs a lot of preparation time. Developers will set frameworks and create testing code to automate user actions. You should be ware that it can take a lot of effort to set all this up. However, once it is running, the testing software does the rest of the work while testing staff wait for results. This frees them up to concentrate on other important development tasks while the automated software does its job.

One time-saving automated technique is fuzz testing. This uses testing software to look for security vulnerabilities and potential zero-day exploits. Read this guide to fuzz testing from ForAllSecure to find out more. ForAllSecure provides automated application testing software for Fortune 500 companies and even governments, so they know a thing or two about the benefits of automated testing.

How Does Manual Testing Work?

Manual testing requires a lot of power. Testers must manually search for defects and bugs in software code following a prepared testing plan. The testers take the place of the end users, performing common tasks and requests with the software. Those testing these applications are constantly monitoring its behavior. 

Testers want the software to perform consistently. They often have to repeat tests over and over again to make sure the application works as it should. Any performance issues, data discrepancies, or inconsistencies are then reported to the development staff to address. Specific issues often have to be repeated for the development staff. This way, they can better understand the issue and create a solution.

Manual testing usually works better for user interfaces and for tasks that involve intuition or cognitive abilities that an end user would have. Such platforms and applications include a website or app behavior and user experience. Getting the best results from manual testing requires high-level QA (Quality Assurance) testers. These individuals must understand the technical and business demands of the software to give developers the information they need. This makes the process both long and expensive.

How Does Automated Testing Work?

Automated testing has many advantages over manual testing. Where manual testing can provide targeted results in a short time frame, it does not have the scalability that automated testing makes possible. You can execute simultaneous tests on multiple platforms, devices, and browsers. While this is being conducted, error logs and reports can go through a live review process while tests are still running.

The automated testing process is built on frameworks that create a structure for the testing software to use as its instructions. Depending on the requirements of the business, this framework could be linear or agile. It may also be data-driven, key-driven, or a hybrid of all these. 

This allows automated testing tools to be highly customized, specific to the infrastructure it is being used to test. Though this requires careful preparation, the quality and depth of the testing tools are able to perform makes them a time-saving alternative.

For its scalability, speed, and time savings, automated testing is often used in large projects. These projects may require tens of thousands of hours of manual work to generate the same level of testing. Big development projects are drawn to automated testing for these reasons.

However, smaller projects appreciate the ability to tailor testing tools to their needs and their application. This produces a better product for the end user, helping them to carve their niche in the market.

Manual or Automated Testing, Which Works Best? 

The ultimate answer to this question is that in most circumstances, businesses need to strike a balance between the two. This way they can reap all the benefits of both while mitigating the negatives. 

Automated testing is perfect for performing large-scale testing across an entire application, website, or custom software. It can test areas of coding to its limit and imitate thousands of simultaneous users. The error logs and bug reports it produces can provide a ‘hit list’ for manual operators to test and repeat. 

Automated testing tools find the needles in the haystack for the human testers and developers to understand and solve. By balancing manual and automated testing, developers get a cost-effective, high-quality product that they can rely on. 

Though both have their unique advantages, the most successful software tests use a mix of the two. This helps to create a testing program tailored to the software and the demands of the business and achieves the most reliable and consistent results.

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