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What are advantages and disadvantages of Test Execution tools?

The test automation process makes use of special software called the test execution tool for controlling the execution, comparing the actual with expected outcomes, setting up pre-conditions for the tests, for test reporting and controlling functions.
In actual, test automation makes use of a manual process that has already been formalized. In this article we discuss about test execution tools advantages as well as disadvantages.

Manual processes may prove to be quite helpful in digging out many defects present in a software system or application but it does consumes a lot of time and labor. Plus the manual process may or may not detect bugs and errors of a certain class. On the other hand this whole time consuming process can be shortened by writing a computer program that would do the task for us. And the result is that we have text execution tools today which can automate the tests and run them quickly and over and over again. This also proves to be a cost effective method for maintenance of software products having a long life. Software products having long life require repetitive maintenance since they might contain minor patches which can ultimately cause a break in the features of the software which were working well earlier.

Test execution tools take two approaches in to account for automated testing namely:
1. Code driven testing:
It tests the following with a number of different arguments for validating the correctness of the returned results:
a) Public interfaces
b) Classes
c) Modules
d) Libraries etc.

2. Graphical user interface testing:
The user interface events such as mouse hovering, clicking, key strokes etc. are generated by a testing frame work and the changes resulting in the user interface are observed for validating the correctness of the observable behavior of the software.

– Test execution tools are expensive and therefore, it is usually not feasible to make the whole process automated.
– To overcome this problem the test execution tools are used in combination with the manual testing methodologies.
– This is to make these effective in the long term.
– The effectiveness also increases when these tools are used for carrying out regression tests repeatedly.
– Software coding ability must be possessed by the software quality assurance person or the test engineer since it is required for writing effective test cases which produce output as per the assertions when executed.

Test automation tools or the test execution tools help us in automating tasks such as:
1. Product installation
2. Test data generation
3. GUI interaction
4. Problem detection
5. Defect logging and so on.

Sometimes the need for automating the test cases in an end to end fashion is eliminated. However there are certain features of which one must take care while opting for using a particular test execution tool:
1. Platform
2. OS independence
3. Customizable reporting
4. Debugging
5. Logging
6. Data driven capability accounting for input data, output data and metadata.
7. Binary file requirement
8. Extensible
9. Common driver
10. Support for unattended test runs
11. Email notifications
12. Support for distributed execution environment
13. Support for distributed applications

For the whole process to carry on a frame work is required which is an integrated system. The rules for automating a software product are set by the framework itself. Apart from the rules it integrates the following things:
1. Function libraries
2. Test data sources
3. Object details
4. Other reusable modules.

All of the above mentioned components are nothing but the building blocks of a business process. The foundation for the test automation is laid down by frame work, thus simplifying the efforts for automation. However there are considerable differences between a frame work and a testing tool.
Test execution tools target a particular test environment and drive the automation process but the framework is actually an infrastructure providing a solution where several tools can work together to achieve a particular task.

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