QA Focus

Jul 11 2008   3:17AM GMT

Types of Test Automation Frameworks

Sentinel627 Greg Annen Profile: Sentinel627


In a previous posting, we examined the evolution of automation frameworks.
How are frameworks being implemented today by various QA organizations? Here’s a basic summary of the types of test automation currently in use:


  • Scripting developed in reactionary mode to test a single issue or fix
  • Test case steps are part of each Action script: high maintenance, low reusability
  • Contains some data inputs stored in test script’s datasheet, but not true data-driven


  • Scripts are an assembly of function calls
  • Data for test cases read in from external source (e.g., Excel spreadsheet, ODBC database)
  • Results can be captured externally per script execution (i.e., spreadsheet, database)


  • Test cases are expressed as sequence of keyword-prompted actions
  • A Driver script executes Action scripts which call functions as prompted by keywords
  • No scripting knowledge necessary for developing and maintaining test cases


  • Descriptive programming is used to respond to dynamic applications (e.g., websites)
  • Actually, this is a method which can used within other solution types
  • Objects defined by parameterized code (i.e., regular expressions, descriptive programming)
  • Custom functions used to enhance workflow capabilities

3rd-Party: HP (Mercury) Quality Center with QuickTest Pro and Business Process Testing

  • Similar to keyword-driven but controlled via HP Quality Center database
  • Can be used for collaborative work efforts: Business Analysts, Testers, Automaters
  • Begins with high-level test requirements:
  • Business Requirements defined
  • Application Areas (shared resources) defined
  • Business Components defined and grouped under Application Areas
  • Test steps defined
  • Tests can be defined as Scripted Components (i.e., QTP scripts with Expert Mode)
  • Business Process Tests and Scripted Components are collected under Test Plan
  • Test Runs are organized from Test Plan components and executed from Test Lab
  • Test Runs can be scheduled and/or executed on remote/virtual test machines (with QTP)
  • Defects can be generated automatically or entered manually per incident
  • Dashboard available for interactive status monitoring

Intelligent Query-Driven

  • Agile
  • Object Oriented
  • Constructed as a layered framework
  • Test data is compiled at runtime using data-mining techniques

Of course, a combination of these techniques could also be used based on the scope and depth of test requirements.

Have you seen any other notable examples of test automation framework development?


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