End to End testing is one of the most significant methods of testing an application, among many other testing methods. However, performing it manually is often time- and resource-consuming. Therefore, the most efficient strategy is to automate end-to-end tests. Beyond only reducing time, test automation has many other advantages.
Automation testing is the key to increasing quality, decreasing deployment time, and minimizing application development expenses, to enable testers to deploy more frequently and gather user input more quickly,
However, it’s crucial to avoid the dangers of a poor automation strategy that might result in the waste of resources on tests with little to no payoff. Therefore, the first step in developing an automation plan based on best practices is to attain the best result.
This article discusses end-to-end testing and how it fits into an overall automation testing strategy that can benefit every organization. We will start by discussing what end-to-end testing is why it is important to conduct and lastly its automation strategy and key considerations.
What is End to End testing?
End-to-end testing, commonly referred to as E2E testing, is the method of testing an application from beginning to end as the actual users will use it. By doing this, apps are guaranteed to function as intended and sustain data flow for all kinds of user operations and processes.
This method of testing simulates a real-world scenario by beginning from the end user’s point of view. For instance, testers can anticipate that a user will carry out one or more of the following tasks in order to utilize a web application: open a browser, go to the appropriate URL, and use the application as intended.
End-to-end testing can be used to confirm that all of these behaviors behave as a user might anticipate. For a desktop application, testers would launch, utilize, and also test the functioning of the application. They would make calls just like actual users would if they were testing an API.
The purpose of this testing is to execute the application along with all of its dependencies, including the database, outside services, metrics, logging, etc. This can still happen in a test environment that is independent of the production environment. However, this test environment should preferably be as near to the production environment as possible.
Why is it named End-to-End Testing?
End-to-end testing is a continuous process that resembles a line. Where one end of the line is the user interface, where users interact with the application. The database is the other extreme. Testing runs from one end of the application to the other, working through all of the layers that are present in between. So that is why it is called end-to-end tests.
Why is end-to-end testing?
End-to-end testing has been widely adopted because of the following reasons:
- Allows teams to include more complex test cases and expand their test coverage than with other testing techniques like unit and functional testing.
- Runs the test cases depending on the end user’s behavior to make sure the application functions properly. Thereby enhancing the user experience as a result.
- Reduce the time to market by allowing the team to automate important user pathways.
- Lowers the overall cost of developing and maintaining the application by speeding up application testing time.
- End-to-end testing makes it easier to find issues before making the application available to end users. It assists the team in deciding which tasks in the development pipeline should be prioritized by determining how important a workflow is to a real-world user.
The overall testing strategy while doing end-to-end testing
Testing an application is an activity that involves many people in many positions and takes place on several distinct levels. by multiple people in different roles. While testers collaborate with developers to build test scenarios that will be executed manually or automatically, developers test their code using the unit and integration tests.
The testing pyramid provides guidelines for the variety of tests that are needed to establish a strong continuous integration process. Although end-to-end testing may seem exhaustive, it should not be the only sort of testing that is taken into account. Other testing types should also be considered with it.
The testing pyramid has a unit test at the lowest level. Programmers use this to test the functions they are building by writing a short test procedure. The application will be composed of all of these little functions.
Programmers can use unit testing to quickly assess if they are correctly implementing a feature and to make sure that every system component performs as planned.
However, it is not sufficient to just simply make sure that each of those little components functions. Additionally, it must guarantee that they function properly in combination. Integration tests are useful in this situation. Integration testing involves merging two or more components, testing them all at once, and confirming the outcomes. But even if every test passes without a problem, it’s still possible that some of the requirements were not met.
Therefore, end-to-end tests are carried out to guarantee that the UIs are designed correctly, provide a pleasant experience, have all the required components, and provide users with what they expect.
Because there are so many moving parts in modern systems, end-to-end testing is the category of tests that is drawn at the top of the testing pyramid. They include external dependencies that affect the application, servers that can alter how apps perform, and configurations that must be properly set up. Separate component testing won’t cover everything.
Methods to perform end-to-end testing
Manual end-to-end testing
A human tester interacts directly with the testing application when performing manual testing. When developing a test strategy, these testers may pick up on what works and what doesn’t quite rapidly. To find test cases and hidden user interaction paths in the system, manual testing is helpful. That provides the data testers require to begin automating these test cases in the future. The manual test plans and cases can be transformed into automated tests.
Manual testing can be done in two different ways: horizontally and vertically.
The whole application is tested horizontally from beginning to end. It requires established test environments and clearly defined workflows for application development teams. One test workflow may cover several different subsystems. An example of a horizontal end-to-end test is a strategy for testing UI, a database, and email integration all at once.
Using vertical end-to-end testing, developers may test each layer of the application separately. Because of this complexity, vertical end-to-end tests frequently come before their horizontal counterparts. For instance, testers can rapidly find and fix errors by running a vertical end-to-end test with user interface subsystems.
Automated end-to-end testing
End-to-end testing will become more difficult to manage as the application gets bigger. This is particularly true when testing user interfaces because a user interface action can trigger a variety of subsequent actions. Testing automation is crucial due to this complexity. User interaction testing can be automated with the aid of end-to-end tests, saving important time.
Test automation is the only suitable option considering how quickly applications pick up new functionality. Because the entire code base is automatically tested against the test cases each time new code is added, automation makes it possible to find defects more quickly.
The final application is built on top of the end-to-end test automation technique. Therefore, starting to automate the test scenarios without a plan is not a good idea. There is no one-size-fits-all method; an automation testing strategy should be customized to the requirements of the application.
However, this article will go over the procedures and advice that can be used to create an end-to-end automation testing plan.
E2E Testing Automation Strategy
End-to-end test beginning strategies are not always clear. Many organizations perform manual testing of new features which makes it possible for functionality that previously worked to have issues. Therefore it is important to go through some E2E test automation techniques that will help in getting started and guarantee long-term success.
Specify the test scenarios
Discuss testing priorities with developers, testers, and stakeholders, and make a list of the scenarios that must be tested before each release. This doesn’t need to be a comprehensive list. It is preferable to begin by running a basic set and then add to it.
Map the test steps
The next step is to map each scenario’s various steps using this list. The actions that must be taken and the anticipated outcomes should be noted.
At this point, automating the areas that have the biggest influence on the organization should be the priority.
Execute mapped steps
It should be noted that nothing has yet been automated. Manual end-to-end testing using the mentioned scenarios is possible but not required. Automating these tests is where the actual benefit is.
Pick test cases for automation
During this phase, the specific flows and features that need automation are outlined. First and foremost, it’s crucial to concentrate on high-value sectors while also taking the stability and complexity of the flows into account. It is typically wasteful to automate test cases that are going to change significantly in the current or following sprint. Identify the portions that should be automated based on the stated goal, risks, and requirements if the test cases already exist.
Automating the E2E API Tests
The API testing will be automated as the following action. By making several requests to an API and evaluating the responses, it is possible to test an application without a user interface, such as a REST API. Automated tests typically have a tougher time running UIs. Here, tools like Selenium are helpful.
Testers can run E2E API tests with LambdaTest simply by utilizing the tool. It can run the recorded actions as an end-to-end test after recording them. If the user interface changes, LambdaTest may detect this and modify the test. Testers can then concentrate more on enhancing the application because tests will become less fragile as a result.
Adding the tests to the CI pipeline
Make sure the end-to-end tests are run in your CI process once the setup is complete. This gives developers insightful feedback that helps them determine whether a code change caused any problems.
Key considerations and recommendations for a successful E2E testing strategy
The key to successfully establishing an e2e testing approach is picking the appropriate metrics to monitor early on. To create a high-quality user experience, QA teams must align their testing efforts with the quality of the applications. Here are some essential e2e testing metrics to take into account:
Preparation Status- This keeps a check on the development of a plan for more test cases to support new application features. To make sure that there are sufficient QA resources to prepare these test cases, it is crucial to keep an eye on the preparation status.
Test coverage and progress- These metrics keep track of the percentage of functionality that includes test cases and whether or not these test cases have been carried out, which shows how effectively the testing strategy reflects changes to the application or user experience.
Error Percentage- This measures the number of errors found and compares it with the number of successful test instances. This aids QA teams in finding faults and prioritizing fixes based on effect and severity.
Adjusting the E2E testing strategy- It is essential to continually assess key areas that could need to be altered when it comes to putting into practice an efficient E2E testing approach. The application’s new features, changes to integrated solutions, user feedback, and user behavior are the most frequent variables that could impact the testing strategy.
- New features
First, if new application features are created and developed, it is imperative to update the E2E testing strategy. The testing strategy must adapt to these new user experiences as the application grows.
- Updates to integrated solutions
The final application a user sees is the result of a combination of both internal and external solutions that are integrated with the code that is created in-house for modern applications.
To assure the quality of the overall end-user experience, it’s crucial to take into account those integrations in the end-to-end testing strategy and built-in tests for the in-house developed code, as well as how that code is performing alongside those integrations.
- Users Feedback
It’s important to assess why problems are spreading when the user service or support team notices a rise in support requests and finds locations where users are experiencing troubles.
- User behavior
Testers may discover over time that users are not commonly utilizing particular parts of the application. QA teams can concentrate their testing efforts on what has the biggest effects on the user experience by studying user behavior and prioritizing test cases that correspond to usage trends.
Automate End To End test with LambdaTest
An application that functions across many devices, platforms, and environments must undergo end-to-end testing to provide a consistent user experience. Testing the entire user experience brings more assurance about the excellence of the application.
E2E testing must include testing for cross-browser compatibility. LambdaTest is a cloud-based automation testing platform that helps users to perform end-to-end testing with higher test coverage and lesser built times. It is a secure, reliable, scalable cross-browser compatibility testing platform. It lets users perform a broader range of web and mobile application testing on more than 3000+ real devices, browsers, and operating systems with their respective versions.
Along with many other test suites, LambdaTest also supports Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, and Puppeteer. It includes a variety of capabilities that developers require to scale end-to-end tests, such as dashboards to track flaky tests and parallel test execution where they can schedule and prioritize tests across many environments. To immediately log the mistake and debug it, testers can also take full-page screenshots.
The primary objective of the end-to-end tests is to determine the entire workflow from beginning to conclusion. It is an excellent strategy to verify that each component of the application interacts with the others in the proper sequence.