Test automation frameworks are often the starting point for building automated tests for Oracle and transitioning to agile development. But they rarely allow businesses to leverage the full potential of automation. Learn why in this blog post.
The benefits of automated testing for Oracle applications are clear; test automation allows businesses to reduce risk, increase efficiency, increase quality, and lower costs.
These benefits are incremental as businesses are pressured to deliver quality at an increasing speed with limited resources.
But there’s one thing in particular keeping businesses using Oracle from leveraging the full potential of test automation, and it involves the way test automation is approached. More often than not, test automation is built using test automation frameworks that don’t allow teams to scale or maintain their tests, diminishing the return on investment.
There are several reasons why Oracle test automation frameworks fail, which we’ll cover in this blog post. First, let’s take a closer look at what test automation frameworks for Oracle are, and why they are used.
What are Oracle test automation frameworks?
Oracle test automation frameworks are basically recipes for how to build test automation for Oracle. They can be made up of various resources and tools, but are, in essence, guidelines for how to build automation scripts for Oracle applications.
Test automation frameworks can take many different shapes - at one end of the scale are structured approaches that rigidly follow script recipes for automating specific applications - in this case Oracle. At the other end of the scale are more advanced, custom approaches that require strong programming skills, but allow greater flexibility.
Why are Oracle test automation frameworks used?
Both approaches to automation frameworks have their pros and cons.
The simpler the script, the less programming knowledge is required. With simplicity, however, also comes less flexibility and agility, which prohibits teams from adapting tests to system changes.
A more advanced script will inherently be more customizable, but also more complex, and it will inevitably take longer to build. There is also a higher risk of it becoming dependent on the developer who wrote it, since only that developer will know the ins and outs of the code.
A simpler automation framework will therefore be more ideal for automating tasks that are repetitive and that will remain unchanged over time.
The purpose of simple frameworks is to provide guidance for testers on how to build test automation. The idea is to make test design and development more efficient by providing a tried-and-tested, structured approach to test automation. This, as opposed to reinventing the wheel every time, can save test teams valuable hours and resources.
Another benefit of a uniform approach is that the tests can be used across the board, and aren’t dependent on one specific developers’ competencies. This also helps to minimize bottlenecks.
A more advanced automation framework will, on the other hand, be better suited to complex systems that involve many applications, and for which continuous change is expected - which is typically the case for Oracle applications and other ERP systems.
The problem with these advanced test automation frameworks, however, is that they still pose significant challenges in terms of time and developer resources. Next, we’ll take a closer look at why that is.
Why test automation frameworks don’t work
Although test automation frameworks built specifically for Oracle can seem appealing due to the higher level of customization to individual business needs, they don’t allow enterprises to truly scale their automation efforts.
There are several reasons why frameworks for Oracle test automation fail:
1. Frameworks don’t match the pace of development
Script-based Oracle test automation frameworks make it challenging for test teams to match the pace of development, even though that’s a main reason for them being introduced.
The challenge is that it takes a considerable amount of time to not only implement code-based tests, but also to maintain them. During sprints, there’s little time to spend on maintenance, as test execution is the key focus. If a test breaks, testers in a rush may be inclined to make quick fixes instead of solving the underlying problem. Over time this adds to the pile of issues that only make tests more difficult to maintain.
As a result, the framework will fail with time, which in many cases leads to Centers of Excellence being tasked with developing more robust frameworks. It can easily take a year for a Center of Excellence to develop a framework. In the meantime, organizational conditions might have changed, such as major overhauls of the system under test and changes to the software release pipeline.
The end result is another framework that requires countless hours and resources to build and maintain.
2. Frameworks are costly and take time away from testing
Script-based frameworks take up significant resources to develop and maintain, but that’s only half the problem.
The other is that it’s extremely difficult to find skilled automation specialists who also know Oracle. A developer must know Oracle inside out to be able to develop automation for it. If you include script development in the equation, it adds up to a lot of specialist hours.
Usually the team must compromise, and either choose a person for the job who is an expert in Oracle and upskill them in automation, or leave it to a developer or tester who must learn how to automate. Regardless of which you choose, it ends up being costly and time-consuming. If you task the developer or tester with scripting automation, it will also take time away from their original task - to develop or test. As a consequence, quality is compromised.
3. Frameworks are difficult to scale and are limited in scope
When custom frameworks are built for a specific purpose, they are rarely future-proofed and designed to also work across other applications and technologies.
This naturally limits the usability in the long run, making it difficult to scale automation across applications, which essentially all businesses will need with time.
Even in the short run, it’s beneficial to build automation that will work in the browser, on desktop and mobile, on virtual desktops, as well as across multiple applications.
4. Frameworks are person-dependent and have a short lifespan
Frameworks are usually either chosen or developed by one person, and are often shaped by that one person.
Any developer will know that reading another developer's code isn’t the easiest task. If the first developer leaves the organization or changes roles, the responsibility of the automation framework will change hands, which means the second developer will have to spend a significant amount of time on understanding that framework in order to be able to use it.
In some cases it may be so difficult that the second developer will choose to start from scratch, and build their own, which only adds to the time lost due to this developer-dependent framework.
5. Oracle is a constellation of systems under constant change
Businesses using Oracle don’t use it in isolation. Rather, Oracle is a part of a constellation of systems that are under constant change and evolvement. This context is accentuated by the acceleration of digital transformation, which brings with it an influx of new back and front end solutions.
Automation should allow complete, end-to-end testing to take place, but most frameworks will have limited capabilities and solve testing problems only partially (e.g. Selenium only works in the browser) meaning many businesses end up with an even larger, more complex web of systems, which further adds to maintenance burdens and prohibits scalability.
How codeless automation solves challenges in Oracle testing
In conclusion, test automation frameworks are paradoxical: They are intended to hide code and complexity from the tester, but they still dictate a code-based approach to automation, requiring either the tester to code or the developer to spend their time on testing. Either way, valuable resources are wasted.
Instead of searching for a test automation framework for Oracle, we therefore propose that you develop a strategy for test automation and find a tool that will let you maintain and scale Oracle test automation more efficiently. This will bring with it the lower costs, high productivity, and enhanced product quality that test automation is meant to deliver.
Codeless UI automation enables a level of agility that frameworks don’t. When all members of a QA team can take ownership of and collaborate on test automation, testing becomes agile and can match the pace of development. The maintenance workload of automated tests built with codeless UI automation is only a fraction of the workload related to script-based tests.
The end result is test automation that will allow businesses using Oracle to build, maintain, and scale their tests and processes with ease, ultimately boosting efficiency and quality while lowering risk and costs.