Integrating Codeless Salesforce Test Automation on Cloud

Integrating Codeless Salesforce Test Automation on Cloud

When Marc Andreessen made his oft-cited claim that software was eating the world a decade ago, it got thousands of developers and coders nodding in agreement.

Written as part of an essay in the Wall Street Journal, the point the engineer-turned-VC was making was that every company needs to focus on how it adapts to both the changing competitive environment and the new digital frontiers that were becoming more prevalent. As a result, there was a growing awareness of how and why digital transformation was a prudent business optimization strategy.

Underlying all of this, however, was the acknowledgment that efficient and effective software was the platform for success. In addition, there was a need to ensure that the written code worked as it was supposed to, a significant concern for companies that just wanted to be part of the brave new digital world.

Code is eating the world

Fast forward to today and it is fair to say that the status quo is basically unchanged. The difference is that software is not eating the world, it is code.

When you then consider that code is part of a product, application or service, then it needs to go through the same level of quality testing that you would expect a physical version to undergo. This becomes even more important when you factor in that cloud has become a ubiquitous delivery mechanism for digital experiences.

This can bring a new level of concern for companies that have neither the time nor available QA (Quality Assurance) workforce to make sure that the code actually works. QA testers are rarely programmers, for the amazingly simple reason that they have not been taught to code. One solution is to implement an automated system that can run code tests without extensive human input and deliver the results in a timely fashion.

In other words, we need codeless test automation to solve any demonstrated quality or functionality choke points. In addition, we need to factor in how to do this effectively in a virtual, rigid and cloud-based environment such as Salesforce, while ensuring that we have the best tools for the job.

With that in mind, let’s take a few minutes to explore the integration, benefits, challenges and requirements of a not only codeless automation testing solution but also one that runs in cloud.

What is Codeless Test Automation?

The most common barrier to test automation is a lack of resources and an inability to identify the tools that can support this quality requirement. As a result, codeless options have become more prevalent with companies integrating tests that do not require coding.

In the QA stage, the practice of creating codeless automation tests gives everyone the chance to interact with the application through a defined user interface. Automated tests are a terrific way to understand how the digital product works, and the more tests that you can create the better. The caveat is that hard-coded test automation comes with a level of dedicated expertise, a skill set that is not always available to small or medium-size companies.

Codeless testing thereby alleviates the pressure that comes with learning code specifically directed at test scripts.

This means that QA testers can focus on the tasks that relate to application functionality and user experience. In many cases, QA teams that have limited scripting knowledge and coding expertise, so going codeless hands over the burden of automated testing in the development lifecycle altogether and streamlines the process.

What are the benefits of Codeless Test Automation?

As we have noted above, the main benefit of a codeless testing solution is that is saves valuable time and resources.

By integrating codeless into your QA processes, you can ensure that test cases can be built and executed with minimal human time spent on the action itself. This allows a company to allocate the resources that would have been focused on testing to other important parts of the product lifecycle. The knock-on effect is that it speeds up time to market and allows testers to focus on the outcome of the tests as opposed to repeating the tests to get to the required deployment.

Codeless test automation also makes it easy to create test cases. This becomes increasingly relevant when you factor in the limited coding skills that QA testers will have. On a basic level, the tools required become approachable for testers and negate the need for an intimidating script development environment.

In addition, it becomes simple to maintain, manage and update test scripts when required, while codeless integration allows the end user to generate test reports and collect data. The latter is a critical part of the product development lifecycle and the customized reporting that is generated can make it easier to spot problems at every stage.

It should be noted that there are some urban myths associated with codeless test automation.

Codeless, for example, does not mean zero code, rather that the tester is not expected to create code to run the test. And while codeless tools make it easy to build test cases, that doesn’t mean that custom code can’t be integrated into the script. Finally, saying that testers don’t need coding skills isn’t entirely true -there will always be scenarios where some level of knowledge will help to polish the test and ensure that it runs smoothly.

Choosing a Test Automation Tool

Naturally, there are numerous options and vendors available, but a good rule of thumb is to look for a tool that has the following capabilities:

  • Versatility 
  • Platform Compatibility 
  • OS Compatibility 
  • Test Creation 
  • Ease of Maintenance 
  • Pricing Policy 

Making the right decision as to which codeless testing solution will work best with the tests and product under development is not always easy, but it is vital that you understand your existing QA test landscape. The underlying technology, for instance, that the tests will run on will play a large part in the final decision, even more so when you look at your existing DevOps requirements.

And while the future is always hard to predict, there is an argument that a codeless testing platform that takes full advantage of AI capabilities and the inevitable use of analytics to drive successful business outcomes. That doesn’t mean that all challenges will be met, more that knowing what features you will need can ensure that the integration of a codeless test solution is as seamless as possible.

Selenium Automation vs Codeless Automation

One question that is constantly asked in the QA testing cycle is whether you should choose Selenium automation or codeless automation.

We talked about the benefits (and challenges) of Selenium in a previous blog post – you can read that here – but the answer is related more to the skills of the testers themselves and what are the specific testing goals you have for a digital project. Selenium has become indispensable for automated cross-platform testing but it does have some limitations.

A code-based solution like Selenium requires manual test scenarios, script creation in Java, page-based test creation and a time allocation of around six hours per test. In addition, the testers must demonstrate strong coding skills and a technical understanding of any test case under review.

Codeless testing, by contrast, is test creation without code, incorporates codeless UI tools, allows for exploratory test scenarios and takes about 60 minutes per test. And let’s not forget that QA testers don’t have to exhibit high-level coding skills and can easily run the tests or conduct system maintenance with basic knowledge of HTML, CCS or xpath.

Challenges of cloud-based test automation

Although there are demonstrated benefits to codeless testing, there are certain challenges that come with the cloud-based nature of the tool.

Firstly, it is important to remember that codeless test automation is not a replacement for script-based automation. Testing still needs to tick as many QA boxes as it can, even more so when it comes to scalability, speed, internal collaboration between development teams, security and the quality journey itself.

Second, you should assess both the cloud maturity of your organization and its commitment to automated testing. Automation is still a nascent concept in terms of how long it has been available to QA functions, and there can be times when complex automated test cases are simply not designed for a codeless approach.

Finally, there will always be digital product that is either unpredictable or not able to be validated by a codeless test automation tool. An app that is dependent on a third-party app to run might provide the tester with a tricky workflow, for example, while apps with dynamic content or subjective outcomes – media streaming platforms are notorious for having moving parts that need to all work together for validation.

Getting started with cloud-based testing

The key question to ask at this point is how one gets started with codeless test automation.

The quick answer, according to numerous sources, is to begin with tests that are easy to script and simple to automate. These would include smoke tests or regression testing that validate simple app or product functionality – logins, item selection, required data input fields, whether a feature works as expected, to name but a few.

Automating any time-consuming tests that are simple to run but which take up significant workforce time is also a prudent path to take, but it is good to remember that once you have reliable data on the easy tests, then you can move onto more complex use cases – regression testing on a new build, whether failed login attempts lock an account, end user confusion or incorrect data input, new code or required updates, for example.

Ultimately, the level of testing required will depend on what you want the tool to do.

To date, most codeless test automation has been done on-premises via SDKs, but the availability of cloud solutions allows companies to run tests that are not limited to legacy infrastructure, internal maintenance, security and defined storage capabilities or scalability. The demands of the connected society require companies to deliver experiences that gel with the lifestyles they lead, so it is imperative that any codeless automation tool meets the robust needs of the product itself.

AI-Driven test automation can overcome Salesforce challenges

To provide a complete picture, we need to spend a few minutes thinking about Salesforce. There is no doubt that the platform has had an astonishing impact on how businesses operate, and it rightly deserves the plaudits that it gets from end users.

However, test automation within Salesforce is not a slam dunk. Rather, it throws up its own set of challenges and choke points. The platform has been designed in such a way as to make the underlying software difficult to navigate in terms of testing – frequent system updates, complex DOM (Document Object Model) structure, shadow DOMs, hidden element identifiers – and that can make it difficult for script-based tools like Selenium to complete the testing effectively.

The alternative is to use a codeless automation tool that is driven by AI, cloud-based and which can navigate the complex architectures that are the bedrock of Salesforce-based apps.

When developer or IT dependency is removed from the testing process, it makes it easier for the QA functions to take place in a virtual setting, a scenario that (again) alleviates the pressure on testers and makes their role more aligned to monitoring or assessing. This approach ensures that a company can thrive in what is often called the age of Intelligent Enterprise, improving customer loyalty and providing actual digital transformation from day one.

The job it was designed for

Codeless test automation will not replace manual testing capabilities, but it can augment those processes. In the same way that a human workforce is unlikely to rely purely on robots to complete allocated tasks, automating tests is less about replacement and more about reducing the time taken to write the test scripts, run the tests and review the results.

What codeless test automation will do is to identify those manual tests that are hard to implement, and which require advanced in-house skills to perform effectively.

Testers need to have a 360-degree view of what works (and what doesn’t), so the combination of coded and codeless tests can limit the potential for inconsistent results. Time to market remains a business priority in the connected society and the companies that can effectively design, test and launch a product will always be the ones that others seek to emulate. If codeless test automation can be a factor in that workflow, then it has done the job it was designed for.

Apexon’s test automation and Salesforce experience is substantial. We put it to work for our customers, developing intelligent test automation solutions that cut test times and increase business agility.

To find out how test automation can assure high performance and increased ROI in your organization’s Salesforce environment, contact us today!

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