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Let’s have a look at how to write great end to end tests and the risks involved with not writing them at all. An end-to-end test is a type of automated test that verifies how well an entire application works. Like a feature test, an end-to-end test involves validating the full functionality of a single component; in this case, an entire software application instead of just one feature. An end-to-end test may validate many features and functionalities while including complex use cases that demonstrate how the software product would be used “in the real world” to accomplish a goal. As with any testing approach, there is no absolute definition for end-to-end testing, but as a general rule, it attempts to verify as much of the product’s functionality as is possible with automated tests.
Risks of not performing End to End tests
There are many risks associated with not performing end-to-end testing.
1) Bugs in production
One major risk is that the software will be delivered to the customer before all of its features and functionalities have been thoroughly tested. As a result, customers may discover and report problems that could have been avoided.
2) Slowed releases
Furthermore, if developers perform only feature tests when they write automated tests, they will fail to handle abnormal conditions that may occur later on in the life cycle of the product. For example, if a particular script never fails while executing automated feature tests during development when working properly, there is no guarantee that it will do so correctly during test execution at some point in the future when changed circumstances are likely to interfere with correct functioning.
Another risk is that automated feature tests will provide a false sense of security before production deployment even occurs. Since the tests are limited to a small number of features, there is no guarantee that all aspects of the software will function properly once in production.
3) Unsatisfied customers
Finally, end-to-end testing can reveal problems with the entire application that may have been overlooked if feature tests alone had been used. For example, if an entire feature set related to opening a file was not tested for correct functionality and one or more pieces were not working properly, problems might occur when users tried to use those functionalities later on.
4) Low quality releases
If end-to-end tests are not performed, certain functionality may never be added to a software product. For example, if an auto-archiving feature set is not well tested, the automated feature tests will not discover that it does not work properly. If this functionality is later on added to the product, it is likely that some undesirable behaviour may be exhibited because of incomplete testing.
5) End-user dissatisfaction
End users of a software product will often find themselves dissatisfied with its overall quality and usability because they have discovered defects in the application that should have been detected via automated feature tests but were missed by them.
How to write great end to end tests – Tips and Tricks
Step 1: Define the scope of tests
Before writing any automated tests, one must first understand the scope and purpose. The scope represents how far along in the software development process a project is. Generally, the scope can be divided into four categories:
Step 2: Define test cases and scenarios for each feature
As mentioned above, an end-to-end test is a single test case that contains all of the functionality of an entire product. Therefore, it is important to design them correctly. The steps below will help guide you in developing feature test cases that are specific to your application and testing requirements.
Step 3: Define the steps for each scenario in detail
Write down detailed steps for each use case scenario.
Step 4: Define the automated tests that you will write based on each scenario and step.
Step 5: Create the necessary test environment
Next, you need to set up a testing environment to run your tests. You will need hardware (if you’re using a distributed architecture), network connections and test scripts. Each of these components must be correctly installed and configured. Running automated tests is always time consuming, so make sure you have enough hardware on which to use the tests that you have written. Also ensure that each machine runs the same operating system and application as required by your automated feature/end-to-end tests.
Step 6: Run the automated testing
Finally, you need to run your tests. This can be done manually or with the help of a batch utility tool. The test script must be executed on all of the machines used in the testing configuration in batch mode so that they are not running individually and can run as fast as they can while still being completely automated. Assume that there are at least two machines in each configuration.
End to end testing not only provides an effective way of testing the overall application but also illustrates a high level of product quality. The approach can also be used as a post-release indicator of whether software features have been fully tested or not. The test can be performed by using manual or automatic scripts which are then executed by the automated feature tests employed (if any) to complete the test manually.
You might be interested in How to write good test cases with examples.