At LEAPWORK, we are always looking for smarter ways to solve tasks, and we often use our own tool to help us do that. This post is a real-life example of how we in our marketing department built a simple automation case with significant efficiency gains. Specifically, we designed an automated test case for checking hundreds of domain names from a list with mock contact data.
Using fake contacts as test data
Whether it is for trying out a new email integration in your CRM system or demonstrating how something works in your Marketing Automation application, fake contacts are useful test data.
For enhancing understanding, it helps if the fake data seems like real contacts. To achieve this, you need to make the contact properties like name, company, and email address, seem like real entries. This gets a little tricky when it comes to email addresses and website URLs as you want to avoid listing domain names that actually exist.
Of course, you can type the domain entries from your contact list into your web browser and check if they exist, one by one. But what if your contact list includes hundreds of domain names?
Building a test case for domain checks
In relation to the launch of an app to be used in product demonstrations, the marketing department at LEAPWORK was tasked with creating a list of hundreds of fake contacts for the app which is a mock CRM system. To enhance the app’s usefulness for training purposes, we wanted the contact list to be relatable and thematic rather than just relying on placeholder data. However, this also meant that we had to create hundreds of fake email addresses which could potentially include domain names owned by someone – and we wanted to avoid that.
We used the LEAPWORK Automation Platform to build a simple automation case for testing whether the domain names exist. Below is a screenshot of how the case was designed in LEAPWORK Studio, and then a walkthrough of the steps involved.
1. Start Web Browser
We wanted a web browser to be opened automatically, so that the website URLs could be checked. In this example, we used the Chrome browser.
2. Read Excel
The list of fake contacts lived in an Excel sheet with a column called ‘Domain’. The sheet was uploaded to the ‘Read Excel’ building block, and then the property ‘Domain’ was mapped as the data input for the next step in the flow.
3. Navigate Web
We wanted our web browser to navigate to the URLs provided in the Excel sheet. Instead of typing in the URLs in the Web address field, the ‘Domain’ property served as a dynamic input to this building block.
4. Get Web Text
In this step in the task flow, we defined a value used for validation. In this case, the success criterium was for a URL to return an error message stating that the given domain does not exist – because we did not want the domains in our list of fake contacts to be owned by anyone.
To indicate whether a domain exists, we asked LEAPWORK Studio to look for a web page header (an H1, specifically) with the text: “This site can’t be reached” as that is the Chrome browser’s default error message for domains that don’t exist.
5. Log Web Screenshot
If the web text defined in step four was not found on a given web page (meaning that the given domain does exist), then LEAPWORK Studio was set to log a screenshot of that page.
This case was set to test all the hundreds of URLs listed in the Excel sheet. We did this by choosing the ‘Iterate’ method in the ‘Read Excel’ building block.
When LEAPWORK Studio had run through all the domains to be checked, the case was done. Because of the ‘Log web screenshot’ action, we now had a list of screenshots with all the domains which did in fact return a website, and which could not be used in a fake contact list. We could also quickly scan the screenshots for whether the URLs host domain-vendors, in which case they were fit for use.
The efficiency gains achieved by this case were quite obvious.
Approximate time needed for checking 200 domain names manually one at the time:
Approximate time needed for designing and running the automation case with LEAPWORK:
What’s more, if the contact list consisted of 1000 contacts, it would still only take around 5 minutes to build the automation case with LEAPWORK. On other hand, the time needed for doing this task manually would keep increasing with the number of contacts, as a human would reach a limit to how fast a domain name can be pasted into a browser and checked.
Other Use Cases
This case can also be used inversely for real contact data. Say you have an offline list of contacts, of sales leads for example, and before uploading the contacts into your CRM system, you want to check the quality of the contacts by testing the validity of their email domains. You would just need to define the inverse success criterium, and then log any domains that return an error message.