6 Test Automation Trends for 2016

Although the number of test organizations utilizing test automation has only incrementally increased over last year, the demands for automation overall are increasing significantly. As a result of new technologies, new approaches to software development, the increasing sophistication of cloud testing services and an enormous increase in the complexity of deployment environments, those using automation today are looking to automation more than ever to deliver productivity and quality.

1. Mobile Testing Remains a Top Priority

Gartner predicts close to 300 billion mobile app downloads next year. Thus, testing gravity continues to center on mobile app testing for both consumer and business applications. Every testing area from functional to performance to compatibility and usability is going to demand increased automation to deal with this deluge. The skills and innovation of test teams must also increase as mobile apps intersect with other technologies and new ways to make software.

2. New Framework Capabilities Supporting Automation

Supporting the onward rise of mobile app testing, the industry will see increased use of both paid and open-source testing frameworks, such as Selenium and Appium, plus specialized tools in the quest to lower costs while increasing efficiency and quality. Throughout 2016, many tools and frameworks will increase their capability to cover more of the software development process from inception to production.

3. Increased Reliance on Cloud Testing

Hand-in-hand with the increased demand for mobile app testing, more QA departments will further their use of cloud-based, automated testing services. These offer test organizations relief from upfront capital costs and ongoing maintenance and decommissioning outlays.

Other features, such as on-demand scalability and complete cross-platform test suites that can be accessed by geographically dispersed development and test teams, are now necessities. Furthermore, as mundane tasks, such as configuration and provisioning, shift to cloud services, test teams will enjoy the opportunity to work on higher-value tasks.

4. Testing’s Left-Shift Continues

Businesses in 2016 are continuing to increase the frequency of product releases. This situation has brought about an increased appreciation of early defect discovery using such techniques as TDD and BDD. It also leads to closer collaboration between developers and testers in an overall leftward shift in testing scope.

This provides testers opportunities to deliver more value to new projects, but it challenges them to automate early development tests, which, up to now, are perceived as being incompatible with the requirements for efficient automation in other development phases.

5. New Software Architectures Using Micro-Services

Software design is trending toward micro-architectures that divide functionality into smaller components. These message-based “micro-services” are developed, tested and delivered as part of larger applications or systems without disturbing enclosing or associated apps or services.

Micro-services increase a business’ ability to deliver products to market in even shorter cycles and accurately meet rapidly changing customer requirements. Testing organizations benefit from a smaller testing scope and reduced inter-dependencies. Automated API testing will become a primary technique to ensure inter-service compatibility even before code completion.

6. Complexity in Deployment Scenarios

With the rapid rise of smartphones, the increasing popularity of wearable computational devices and the rise of IoT, the complexity of cross-platform testing is difficult enough. Add to that the need to test apps in relation to their Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud environment.

SMAC testing is adding yet another dimension to mobile app testing and its automation. This new reality is already claiming additional resources and raising the ante on automation tools to deal with it effectively. SMAC, especially, calls for innovations in how to acquire and process sensitive user data that can help drive automated testing strategies.

The world of testing automation is facing an array of new opportunities in 2016 arising from fresh approaches to harnessing additional efficiency and agility from software development and deployment processes, especially in the mobile app domain. One effect of this has been testing’s left-shift to the earliest stages of development and the consequent difficulty in applying automation at this point.

Existing automation tools, frameworks and cloud-based testing services are also faced with novel challenges in how they will support an increasingly complex world of mobile/IoT interaction, micro-service/API testing and effective SMAC testing.

Taken together, these converging trends are spawning new ideas and approaches to exactly how, what, when and where software is tested let alone how such testing is to be automated in ways that increase efficiency and product quality.

Clearly, 2016 and beyond promise to provide a vibrant, vigorous and exciting atmosphere for the world of testing and test automation in particular.