With great power comes great responsibility, you see, and sometimes, it takes more than a strong spidey sense to find out which automated testing tool you should swing into action with, and which you should pass up on.

In a field as complex and demanding as software development, with unknowns lurking around every corner, one size does not fit all, my friend, and deciding what works for your peculiar set of circumstances is critical.

In fact, it might very well save the day!

In this article we share 7 tips for weeding through the muck, comparing automated testing tools to find the perfect fit.

Prior Preparation before Choosing Your Software Testing Tool

You know what they say: prior preparation prevents poor performance. It’s the same in this case, only that what’s at stake is choosing the wrong performance testing tool.

Before settling down to compare software testing tools, it’s important to put together a working strategy that outlines how everything should play out.

You want to come to terms with the needs of the software testing team and the needs of the company at large.

For example:

What issues need to be solved? Make a list of tasks that the tool absolutely has to be able to perform, explaining the business case for each function.

Who’s going to use the software? Take stock of how large or small the user base will be and what would be required to keep things running smoothly.

What is your budget? Ascertain how much the company is willing to allocate to getting the right software, keeping in mind that projects like this often come with unforeseen costs.

Only after having a strategy in place should you turn to the important business of choosing an automated software testing tool for your company. Here are 7 tips you want to consider in your search:

  • Usability

    You should always keep an eye out for how user-friendly an application is before committing to buying it. Would a novice tester feel as much at home as a veteran in the field?

    Many automated software testing solutions are open source and difficult to manage without a working knowledge of visual basic or C++, therefore you want to determine how much expertise is required by the engineer or team in charge to get the best out of any tool you’re interested in and whether or not it makes sense for your company.

  • Long Term Maintenance

    Make sure you’re thinking long term all through the process. How long will the vendor be able to maintain the automated software testing tool? There’s no need to invest much time, money, and other resources in a project that is already on its way out, lacking manpower, and lacking follow-through to maintain the product.

    This is especially important for open source software. If the maintenance team suddenly quits or loses their way, it could severely hamper your team’s ability to manage and get the most out of the product.

    Likewise, if you have to manage the product yourself with the aid of an internal team, that could mean added strain on critical resources like time and manpower.

    Keep in mind too that open source software products are great for long-term projects in environments that support research and development as opposed to an environment that favors quick, automated tasks.

  • Documentation and Manuals

    Documentation is key for all things software related. Make sure your automated testing solution has an operation manual that will help support it throughout its use, one that is updated regularly with each new release.

    To guarantee best results, whatever solution you choose to go with ought to come with some sort of reference material to support all end-users. Your team will be thankful for such due diligence in the future when they find they need help executing unique tasks that are specific to the tool.

    That said, some open source automated testing solutions lack documentation support of this sort, and if you find yourself partial to one of such tools, you could consider creating your own user manual. You could even do this in cases where the original product manual is too cumbersome for casual end-users.

  • Compatibility and Integrations

    Software needs to be dynamic and adaptable. Does the solution you’re staring at integrate well with other tools important in your industry? Is it compatible with your company’s environment?

    The functionality of any software product increases manifold if it has the capacity to integrate with other databases and applications. Make sure the product is compatible with the client operating system you plan to run it on, at the very least.

    Take note that the compatibility of whatever tool you’re interested in is an important indicator of how accessible it would be when executing scripts. Whether the tool can run on any machine or needs an automation client installed first will go a long way towards determining the price of the product’s license.

  • Cost

    Cost goes beyond the asking price of the automated software testing solution you’re looking at. It also includes installation period, onboarding and mastery period, and other indirect costs that may not seem apparent in the beginning but ultimately affect the company’s bottom line.

    You want to take a step back and assess all these obvious and hidden costs before you commit to a purchase, in order to avoid the indirect costs creeping up on you later down the line.

    What’s it really going to cost to install, setup, master, and run that bad boy? Many times, companies allocate budget for purchase and forget to include anything for installation and training, leading to subpar experiences down the road.

  • Online Fan Base or Community

    An online user community is critical for your peace of mind from the get-go. First and foremost it gives you the comfort of knowing that you’re not the only one who was cajoled into making a buying decision.

    Secondly, online communities tend to be a treasure trove of technical information. Pretty much everyone in the software community has come up against a problem no one else knows how to solve, only to find that there are many solutions to their problem in an online forum.

    Online communities and fanbases build trust among users and fosters the sort of organic support that no development firm can hope to engineer otherwise, making them one of the most valuable aspects about any software product.

  • Customer Support

    This is one of the most important considerations to make when purchasing a software product. None of the bells and whistles matter if you have no one to turn to when things go wrong.

    You should be asking whether the vendor and even the product provide adequate customer support. What times does this customer support operate?

    Testing an automated software should go beyond testing its advertised features to include testing the available customer support by creating a few service requests.

Before You Purchase Your Next Automated Testing Tool

Clearly, there’s a lot to carefully consider when comparing automated testing tools. After coming up with a strategy and doing your due diligence, you stand a better chance of making a decision that works for you, your department, and the company at large. However, nothing beats having a proven expert in your corner all through this process.

There’s a lot Ziffity can do to help make this process as smooth and seamless as possible for you and everyone involved. Reach out today and find out how we can be of help to you.