Codeless Automated Testing 101: What You Need To Know

While it still isn’t a widespread practice, codeless automated testing is surely starting to feel appealing to more and more QA engineers and testers. Let’s review why.
March 23, 2022
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By now, you’ve surely heard about low-code and no-code development (if you haven’t, then you haven’t been reading The Daily Bundle!). Tools and platforms focusing on low-code and no-code are revolutionizing the application development world by providing people with little to no coding experience with the possibility of building software very easily. 

That’s precisely what codeless automation tools are trying to do for software QA. As its name implies, codeless automated testing is a solution for people with virtually no knowledge of programming tests scripts. Additionally, it can be a valuable tool for knowledgeable teams that want to speed up their test development.

While it still isn’t a widespread practice, codeless automated testing is surely starting to feel appealing to more and more QA engineers and testers. That’s why we thought it would be great to take a deeper look at what codeless automated testing is, how it works, its benefits and limitations, and how you can begin using it in your organization. Let’s dive in!

What is Codeless Automated Testing?

Codeless automated testing (also known as codeless test automation) is the process of building automated tests without writing code. Thus, users of codeless automated testing tools only need to pick predefined tests and tweak them to their needs through easy-to-use interfaces and no code involved whatsoever. 

These platforms leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to make adjustments and fit tests to what the user needs. In fact, some of these tools use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to allow the user to give orders and directions to the program in plain English.

Codeless automated testing isn’t just about creating tests but also about maintaining them. Both time-consuming tasks, these platforms are a straightforward and direct way to boost testing in any development project in a way that virtually any team member can help. In that sense, these tools come to support the idea of modern development that aims at quality being the entire team’s responsibility. 

It’s important to mention that, though users don’t need to know how to code testing scripts, they do need to know how software testing works as well as its objectives and overall place in the development cycle. Codeless automated testing platforms, after all, are tools, so they don’t do the job for the users, but make it easier through features like AI-assisted self-healing and record and playback.

What are the Benefits of Codeless Automated Testing?

The fact that users with a general idea of what testing is can create and maintain tests should be enough to convince anyone to at least try codeless automated testing. However, that isn’t the only reason why these platforms are getting hotter by the minute. Other benefits of codeless automated testing include:

  • Increased efficiency. Creating automated tests with codeless testing tools is quick, easy, and virtually anyone can do it. That means you can have accurate scripts up and running in no time, boosting your testing practices and letting you focus on other pressing tasks.
  • Resource savings. Since you don’t need specialists to create tests, you’ll be relieved of hiring extra help. Additionally, your testers won’t have to learn about new languages or tools. This results in cost savings as well as better resource management. 
  • Straightforward use. The learning curve of codeless automated testing tools is so gentle that anyone with a basic understanding of testing can pick them up for a ride. These platforms are intuitive, well-documented, and have multiple assistants to make the most out of them.
  • Easily reviewable tests. Since you’ll be creating test cases with no code, anyone in your team will have the possibility to read and understand them. That means anyone can review the tests you implement to check whether they are testing the right aspects of your projects.

All of those benefits sit atop the inherent advantages of automated testing, a far superior alternative to manual testing in a lot of situations. Codeless automated testing tools can be your gateway to automation, which will boost the aforementioned benefits even more. 

What are the Disadvantages of Codeless Automated Testing?

While it can be quite advantageous to have codeless testing tools by your side, you should know that they won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. There’ll be some occasions when you’ll have to write more sophisticated or tailor-made tests, which will call for a testing specialist. Additionally, codeless test automation can’t replace scripted automation, only complement it. That’s because codeless test automation platforms have a hard time dealing with complexity.

As it happens with automated testing in general, codeless automated testing isn’t a good fit for scenarios where manual testing works best. Of course, I’m talking about testing factors that call for a more subjective approach, such as testing user experiences or trying specific aspects of the user interface. 

Finally, codeless automated testing often works best on the cloud, which means you’ll rely on a third party provider to use these tools. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it might prove an obstacle in certain environments that tend to be more closeted for strategic reasons. 

Which Tests should you Automate with Codeless Automated Testing?

If one of the cons of using codeless automated testing is that not all tests are suited for it, then you might be wondering which ones are. Keeping in mind that these tools won’t replace manual testing any time soon (best for tests with a need for subjectivity, that have third-party dependencies, or with complex prerequisites), you should know that codeless automated testing is quite flexible.

For instance, test cases that have proven to be inconsistent or that offer fluctuating results are great candidates for these tools. That’s because these tests can run multiple times more quickly, learning as they progress to finally detect patterns.

There are also the tests that are simple enough that having a senior QA engineer doing them would be a waste of time. Functional testing comes to mind, especially those tests that aim to cover simple things (like the correct performance of buttons and menus or events that should trigger certain actions).

Finally, tests made with codeless platforms are always better seen as supplements to other testing practices and tools. You can devise a complex test to try the functionality of a complicated software where codeless tests feed results to manual and more sophisticated automated tests, thus becoming a cog in a greater testing machine. 

What are Some of the Most Common Codeless Automated Testing Myths?

As it often happens with an emerging practice or technology, there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion stemming from wrong assumptions and shady marketing practices that promise users the world. To dispel some of the confusion, here are the 3 most common myths surrounding codeless automated testing.

  • Codeless testing is just Record and playback with a fancy new name. Record and playback tools were highly popular some time ago but they required users to input code to function properly. Codeless testing doesn’t need users who know how to code, as they do everything automatically. (Yes, some codeless testing platforms have Record and playback features but as a part of a wider set).
  • The “codeless” in the name is just a marketing ploy. Some testing engineers resist codeless automated testing because they think that they aren’t truly codeless, as some tests end up needing their knowledge and experience. While that may be true for some platforms, there are many codeless automated testing tools that live up to their names and can be completely codeless, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning. 
  • Tests in codeless platforms are hard to maintain. This is closely related to the first myth and only holds true because of an outdated understanding of what these tools can actually do. With AI, ML, and even NLP helping with the creation and maintenance of test cases, editing tests is easier than ever.

Are Codeless Automated Testing Solutions Right for you?

This is the key question, isn’t it? While codeless testing tools might feel appealing to you, you shouldn’t implement them just because. You need to fully understand your testing needs to define whether codeless is an approach you’ll benefit from. For instance, if you have a solid testing team with a manageable amount of tests, then codeless might be useless. 

However, if your testing team is overwhelmed with work or if you have gaps in your QA testing talent, then it’s worth taking a look at codeless test automation. That’s especially true if you still struggle with multiple manual tasks, which can significantly slow down your development progress. 

If you find yourself seeing yourself in one of those situations then codeless automated testing tools might be a great asset to you. Of course, you’ll need to do your research, understand your requirements, and contemplate the possibility of hiring outside help to make the most out of these platforms. The best thing about all of this is that codeless automation is a trend that’s starting to explode, so you aren’t late to the party yet. So, start considering if it’s something you need and jump on board to reap the benefits of a practice that can revolutionize your testing. 

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