Difference Between Automated and Manual Software Testing
Written by Pete Nystrom
Software testing is an esoteric concept. If you’re not amongst the crowd of individuals that knows this well, we explain the difference between automated and manual software testing so you can make more informed decisions throughout the software development life cycle.
Where do you start and which method is right for the job? Let’s start with the basics.
Difference Between Automated and Manual Software Testing
Automated testing involves using an automated tool, such as Selenium, which tests web applications across many browsers, to evaluate the functionality of your software. With automated testing, more time is necessary for maintaining test scripts and expanding test coverage than for exploratory tests.
Manual testing consists of a tester who acts as the end user and tests all applications within the system to make sure they are functional. The application should work as intended.
Why an Automated Testing Process?
Automated testing is much more efficient and can run tests more quickly. Without the need to have a resource conducting the tests, they can be completed overnight and the results will be ready for you in the morning.
The automation software registers test data, compares predicted results with actual results, and produces detailed test reports. If tests are conducted correctly, the system should provide reliable, repeatable tests.
Types of Automated Testing:
This software test consists of a non-exhaustive set of tests that are used to assure that important functions of the system work as intended. The results gathered from smoke testing are used to determine whether to conduct further testing.
As its title indicates, unit testing tests individual units of a software. This test is usually the first phase of software testing, conducted to ensure that each unit of the software functions correctly.
Integration testing is a phase of software testing where individual units are tested together. This testing is conducted to examine if there are any flaws when the units are forced to work together. It’s not uncommon for newly introduced units or components to cause something to break elsewhere in the system.
Functional testing is comprised of testing the system to make sure it follows the functional requirement specifications. Black box testing is included in this testing to evaluate the internal information in the system. We discuss this type of testing later in the blog.
Regression testing should be conducted when a modification has been made or new code has been added to your application. This type of software testing ensures that the new additions do not affect the functionality of the existing programs.
Data Driven Testing
Data driven testing consists of an automation system that collects test data from data sources and stores it in a single location, most likely in a spreadsheet or table format. This structure simplifies the process of data testing in that a single test can be conducted for all the data in the spreadsheet.
White Box Testing
White box testing examines the internal structure and design of the system. The internal structure is visible to the tester so that they can evaluate the flow of inputs and outputs in order to refine its design and usability.
Although leveraging automated tests may help increase efficiency throughout the quality assurance process these techniques have a downside. It is important to note that automated tests are prone to breaking and/or becoming obsolete as the software continuously evolves.
Why a Manual Testing Process?
Manual testing processes are used to mimic real-life scenarios. Manual tests check the state of the system and upon successful completion will present a defect-free product to the user.
Types of Manual Testing:
System testing is conducted when the software is complete and integrated. This testing involves a series of tests to screen the computer-based system and make sure that it is in agreement with the system’s requirements. Black box testing is usually used in this process as well.
Acceptance testing is conducted to ensure that the specified requirements are met. This test is performed to evaluate whether the system is acceptable to the end user in terms of usability.
In exploratory testing, the tester uses their creativity and personal freedom to create new tests. This testing strategy is considered both a test design and test execution process.
Black Box Testing
Black box testing is a testing method in which the tester does not know the internal structure or design of the system. This testing checks the functionality of the software through the inputs and outputs of the system without consulting the internal components.
When to Use Automated Testing:
For repetitive, unchanging tasks
For assessing the functionality of the system
For testing the same application functions with different inputs and large amounts of data
For tests that would take a lot of time to manually test
For testing software functions after implementing new code
For long-term projects that require a large investment and adequate planning
When to Use Manual Testing:
For more flexible testing
For short-term projects
For testing how users will interact with the software
For new functions that are still evolving and routinely changing
For testing specific functions
Automated testing is the better option for testing repetitive tasks, while manual testing is geared toward innovation and critical thinking. Therefore, for a specific project both types of testing may be used.
There are many components to consider when choosing which type of software testing to use. Which is more time efficient, cost efficient, etc. If you are still unsure of what method is best for you, contact us at email@example.com and we will be happy to help!
VP of Engineering, Seamgen
Software architect, full-stack web/mobile engineer, and cloud transformation expert