A Comprehensive Guide to Codeless Automation: Basics, Benefits, and Approaches
Conducting traditional test automation is a key aspect of product analysis and increasing deployment speed. But the traditional approach of hand-coded automation requires programming expertise. Hence, companies face challenges in preparing robust test code.
As the programmer-centric approach creates a shortage of skilled human resources, companies want a modern solution. This gave birth to the codeless automation approach that enables developers to execute test scripts without writing code.
It allowed all team members to contribute to the test automation process. As such, more companies are planning to shift to codeless automation from traditional testing. It is hence not surprising that its demand is projected to grow at a 15.5% CAGR from 2021 to 2031!
Moreover, the approach allows testers to execute tests faster, resulting in quicker product delivery and release rates. Given these trendsetting benefits, this article will take a closer look at the crucial details of the codeless automation process.
What is codeless test automation?
Codeless test automation is a modern process where the tester can develop test scripts without writing code. It allows professionals to automate test script creation without being technically proficient.
Even if a tester doesn’t know a programming language, he can automate the scripts. A professional can also maintain test scripts conveniently through this approach without any coding. Thus, professionals, including the managers, software developers, and even release managers, can contribute to the testing process.
Moreover, unlike legacy testing tools, codeless testing offerings are equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning which allows testers to create and modify test steps manually.
Additionally, codeless automation facilitates the creation of test flow diagrams, making the process even more convenient.
Hence, to sum up, codeless test automation is an excellent approach that frees up the testers’ and developers’ time so that they can utilize these working hours to focus on enhancing product strategies and improving testing activities.
How codeless testing works
For conducting codeless testing, testers do not necessarily need to know the exact code to move forward and hence they utilize codeless testing tools for developing the scripts.
The idea behind the process is to make executing, maintaining, and integrating test scripts convenient via a simple UI. This is done generally through two test automation approaches-
1. Record and play approach
In this process, the tester performs the test manually, while the automation tool records any action that helps develop the test script.
As per product requirements, the testers can be modified and can edit this script which the company and professionals can execute later on. As such, this approach is highly prevalent among web-based product developers.
For instance, Katalon Studio, a very popular codeless automation platform, offers this feature.
2. Test flow diagram
In this approach, software testers develop a test flow diagram that consists of structured test blocks. Here, the test script will run automatically depending upon the actions present in the test flow diagram.
Low-code vs. no-code vs. codeless automation
In this rapidly expanding market, organizations are always aiming to gain a competitive edge over other firms. Hence, product testing and developing test scripts need to be faster than before.
That’s why development teams try to implement multiple strategies for automation testing. They use technologies like no-code, low-code, and codeless tools interchangeably. However, these tools have specific characteristics that separate them.
Low code test automation
Low code test automation tools allow developers of different technical skills to begin application development without manual coding. These tools offer built-in visual code blocks that the testers can drag and drop to develop applications.
With these tools, testers can avoid learning the latest programming frameworks or executing multiple tests for their application code. However, some amount of coding knowledge is still required for operating these tools.
That's why professionals with programming knowledge utilize these tools to enhance the speed of their development process. Although non-technical professionals might be able to work with low-code technologies, the projects will require coding at some point.
Lastly, low-code tools allow developers to conveniently build apps for several platforms and share them with stakeholders.
No-code test automation
These tools are targeted at IT professionals who do not have actual programming knowledge or experience. They provide visual development along with drag and drop features. As such, both technical and non-technical professionals can collaborate on a single project to speed up its development.
Additionally, they are similar to low-code automation tools, but no-code technologies don't require programming expertise. Not to forget, the tools comprise of all the elements required for application development. As such, they are quite popular and used in Bubble and Makerpad.
Furthermore, these platforms are ideal if testers want a simple application for a specific business purpose. Instead of waiting for your software development team to deliver it, you can assemble a team and develop an application in a quick time.
No-code and codeless automation are the same as they don’t involve extensive coding during app development. In addition, codeless automation platforms can also consist of NLP and self-healing features which allow the tool to modify the tests according to the changes in the user interface.
Code-based vs. codeless selenium testing
A skilled programmer might need to automate a web script and have sufficient time to go ahead with it. In such a situation, Selenium is the best automation testing tool for the project.
The tool is open-source software that supports most browsers and is preferred for web applications. Additionally, to enhance the test automation process, codeless Selenium has emerged in recent times.
1. Code-based Selenium testing
Selenium automation testing requires superior programming expertise and app developmental abilities. The tools support major programming languages like Python, Java, Ruby, and PHP. Moreover, it offers a suite of tools such as Selenium WebDriver, Selenium IDE, and Selenium Grid.
Due to these features, developers accustomed to low-code or no-code platforms might face difficulties operating this platform.
Moreover, the test scenarios are complex and very structured and hence tales sufficient time to set up the testing process and maintain the scripts. In addition, testers might require third-party integrations to execute some tests. As such, developers with strict project deadlines might not prefer code-based Selenium.
2. Codeless Selenium testing
As the name suggests, codeless Selenium testing is all about executing test scripts faster with less code involved. This approach enables testers of various skills and expertise to start working on an application. So, it reduces the complexity of the automation testing process.
Additionally, it has less complicated test scripts which aren’t heavily structured which allows testers and developers to create test scripts and execute test cases faster than code-based Selenium.
So, each codeless test usually takes approximately an hour.
For instance, Selenium IDE is a useful tool that makes codeless testing convenient. Testers can record interactions in the browser and playback them easily. This automatically reduces the time and complexity of executing the tests.
Moreover, another excellent feature of codeless Selenium automation is test case reusability which allows testers and other team members to reuse already created test cases.
So, they save a substantial amount of time by avoiding developing test scripts for multiple scenarios. Not to forget, cross-browser testing is also much faster and more convenient in the codeless approach.
Besides, professionals can lessen the complexities of maintaining these test scripts. As a result, they can spend more time enhancing the product, innovation, and deployment.
Which tests are best for codeless automated testing?
To implement codeless automated testing, it is crucial to identify the tests that need automation to help the testers and the company enhance their testing processes.
These variations include:
1. Manual tests
Organizations can consider manual tests which make for the most common testing strategy across the globe. This is evident in a recent survey that showed that companies execute manual and automated testing with a ratio of 75:25.
Here, 9% of the survey respondents stated that they carry out only manual testing, but 73% would like to achieve a ratio of 50:50. However, 14% of these firms want to discontinue manual testing and shift to codeless automation.
The primary reason behind this change is the significant amount of time manual testing entails and its complexity.
2. Inconsistent tests
Testers would also prefer to automate inconsistent or flaky test scripts that often provide undesirable results.
These tests might lead to returning false negatives or return failures and passes without any code modifications. But, handling these inconsistent tests gets difficult with time, as application development becomes complex and the amount of code increases.
So, along with these tests, companies must also consider automating tests needing substantial expertise.
As every company may not be able to manage the necessary resources or hire new employees, automation will be a boon for them.
How to get started with codeless automation?
Before starting with codeless automation, you need to identify the tests you wish to automate.
These can be the time-consuming and flaky tests that complicate your testing processes. Furthermore, it is important to determine the tests that create instability within your testing pipeline. To do so, you must follow the listed steps:
1. Begin with automating repeatable tests
If the company doesn't have an automation suite for implementation, starting with repeatable yet simple tests is a commendable strategy. Regression tests and smoke tests are the most recommended test strategies here.
Testers can start by applying codeless automation for a small number of tests to evaluate the process’s efficiency. However, they have to be careful to ensure that these tests are absolutely atomic and independent from other tests. This is important because it will allow them to execute these tests efficiently without affecting other test scripts.
Additionally, in case the organization has a scripted test automation suite, they must regularly replace scripted tests with codeless tests.
2. Preparing the test team
The next most important step is to identify the professionals who will be handling the entire testing procedure.
It's important to gather the required professionals, including testers, developers, product engineers, and release managers, for moving forward with the process.
This will be a structured approach that will stabilize the codeless automation processes. Moreover, these professionals will be able to track the testing progress and analyze the outcomes.
3. Modularize the tests
As codeless automation offers many reusable components, testers can utilize modular blocks of tests that might be already in place. So, if they want to test the specific functionality of an application, they can use the associated test block rather than prepare an end-to-end test script.
This will allow teams to also evaluate these small test cases separately to increase the testing efficiency.
In addition, testis can also utilize some repeatable test steps, which can work as prerequisites for other cases.
Codeless test automation tools and approaches
Developers and testers are looking for codeless automation tools that will offer maximum usability, reliability, and flexibility during testing. Hence, companies must select the appropriate codeless testing tools for their business operations.
Being a cost-effective and less time-consuming method, codeless automation tools allow testers to enhance application quality.
To understand this better, let’s look at some of the best codeless automation tools currently used in the industry:
Katalon Studio is one of the most popular codeless testing platforms supporting testers of a variety of skill levels. It is ideal for developing desktop, mobile, APIs, and web solutions. Plus, it offers a solid automation framework for added convenience.
Moreover, it provides a record and playback feature to capture test movements and a BDD Cucumber feature for conveying test scenarios to facilitate team collaboration. Furthermore, the Katalon TestOps functionality enhances the workflow along with DevOps and test orchestration.
This is a user-friendly cloud-based automation tool that supports applications for Windows, SAP Testing, and the Web. It allows professionals to combine and reuse test flows and perform cross-browser testing efficiently. Moreover, testers can conveniently integrate it with their existing DevOps toolset.
Additionally, testers get notified through an SMS alert if there are performance errors and they can view reports on the live dashboards for performing modifications.
This is another cloud-based web and mobile application that is powered by a record and playback functionality. It doesn't require extra plugins but supports parallel execution for multiple data sets.
Its smart binding feature captures application changes and attributes like position, size, or text value. Additionally, the platform offers numerous built-in integrations such as Issue Management, Communication, Notifications, and Test Management.
Not to forget, the analysis and reports of every test step also help testers evaluate the automation test’s efficiency.
Ranorex Studio is a multipurpose codeless automation tool that is suitable for mobile, desktop, web, and cross-platform testing. Preferred by experienced and beginner testers, it comes with drag and drop objects and regression testing code modules.
Hence, professionals can easily integrate this platform with Android, iOS, Java, HTML5, and Silverlight. Furthermore, the flexible automation interface makes integration and test execution convenient and testers can utilize the Ranorex Spy and RanoreXPath features for identifying GUI elements during testing.
Codeless Automation Approaches
Organizations must ensure that all selected codeless automation tool is suitable for professionals with varied technical skills and experiences. Hence, they must follow the listed approaches for selecting these tools:
The tools must reduce programming complexity and enable testers to use common constructs like loops, arrays, and conditional blocks.
It must provide reusability and modularity in automation testing
The tool must maintain the business process flow and consistency
The testing platform must-have functionalities to handle the dynamics of UI changes
Benefits of codeless automation
One of the most important benefits of codeless automation is it allows companies to free up resources and improve the testing processes. As professionals take lesser time for automation testing, they can spend more time on exploratory application testing.
The approach hence helps them understand the nuances of the application and suggest areas for improvement. Furthermore, with parallel test execution, companies can execute more tests in a variety of environments. All of this helps reduce their expenses and increase the efficiency of their organizational strategies.
Better automation scope
As codeless automation testing tools are equipped to handle multiple applications such as desktop and mobile apps, the automation scope is huge.
These tests involve several interfaces and offer maximum flexibility. So, it becomes easier to scale the automation of several applications and support project integration.
Moreover, it also allows testers to evaluate possible risks and issues in the application.
The codeless automation tools have excellent functionalities to make the testing process convenient and simple. They offer a user-friendly interface and features that non-technical professionals too can learn.
Moreover, having a shallow learning curve, codeless automation allows professionals to start testing right after they register for the tool. Not to forget, most tools offer product tours and simple configurations to make the testing process smooth.
Upgrading standard automation testing platforms is a difficult task for most professionals. But in codeless automation, companies receive excellent scalability as most of the tools are cloud-based.
This makes it much more convenient to scale up the tools according to the project and product requirements. In addition, it provides greater security and is less expensive than scaling a traditional automation system.
As such, companies can utilize saved costs to increase the application’s functionalities.
Codeless testing tools facilitate the reusability of test steps of cross projects, applications, and even operating systems.
The tools might also prioritize a particular test case's reusability and automatically update the test cases. These practical features thus help in saving time and expenses.
The bottom line
It is expected that by 2026, the automation testing market might be worth $49.9 billion. This is because more companies are adopting codeless automation to free up their resources, enhance collaboration and elevate product standards. It proves beneficial as they won’t have to hire more testers. So, codeless automation can be considered the future of modern testing. With artificial intelligence, analytics, and IoT becoming popular in codeless tools, professionals will have more flexibility to execute tests.