Comparing Costs of Browser Automation Test Tools with Manual Testing
Abstract: Testing is a necessary component of software development, but it is also an expensive one, especially if performed manually. One way to mitigate the cost of testing is to implement test automation, where the test cases are run automatically. For any organisation looking to implement test automation, the most interesting cost is time. Automation takes time to implement and one of the most obvious benefits of automation is that the automated test execution time is lower than that of manual execution. This thesis contains a literature study covering testing methodology, especially in regards to the domain of web application testing. The literature covered also included three economic models that may be used to calculate the costs of automation compared to manual testing. The models can be used to calculate the time it would take, or the number of necessary executions, for the total cost of test automation to be lower than of that of manual testing. The thesis is based on a case study of test automation for the StoredSafe platform, a web application. Three sets of test automation frameworks were used to implement three different test suits and the test implementation times were collected. The data collected were then used to calculate the time it would take, using the three economic models, for the cost of automated test cases to become equal to that of with manual testing. The data showed that the estimated time to reach breakeven for the three frameworks varied between 2½ and at worst 10 years, with an average of 3½ years. The models and data presented in this thesis may be used in order to estimate the cost of test automation in comparison to manual testing over longer periods of time, but care must be taken in order to ensure that the data used is correct in regards to one’s own organisation or else the estimate may be faulty.
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