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Simply stated, automated testing is the programmatic execution of test cases. Computers are very literal beasties. In order to accomodate the interpreted scripting language that is typically at the core of a test tool, the test steps in an automated test case must be more granular than your typical ‘natural language’ manual test. But they “do” essentially the same things as a manual test.
Within a test case, whether automated or manual, each test step generally takes this form:
Object –> Action –> Expected Result
- An Object is a concrete realization of a class, and includes data and the operations associated with that data.
- An Action affects the properties of an object; it is the execution of one or more of its methods.
- The Expected Result is the required or predicted outcome of the action.
In automated functional testing:
- Objects are the components in the application’s UI which can be manipulated by the test tool: labels, fields, grids, etc.
- An Action mimics some procedure a user would perform with an Object and is typically coded as a reusable function.
- The Expected Result is the desired outcome of the Action and is used as one of the criteria for the test step Passing or Failing.
Here’s a picture, worth a thousand words*:
So automation is a method of executing test cases, just like manual testing. Some concessions are made to the test tools utilized, but generally all test steps take the form shown above.
*Good thing I don’t get paid by the word! ;-))