Alan Page is an author with more than two decades of experience in software testing roles, the majority spent in various roles at Microsoft. He offers another perspective on the importance of distinguishing automated and manual testing. In “The A Word,” an ebook compilation of his blog posts on automation, Page mentions that most of his commentary on automation focuses on the “abuse and misuse” of automation in software testing and development. He is skeptical of replacing manual testing activity with test automation, as you can see from the his Twitter feed:

With the growing number of web-based applications this is changing, however, as verifying and testing web-based interfaces is easier and there are various tools that help with this, including free open source projects. Please see below for a list of popular and useful tools, projects, books and resources to get started with automated software testing.

Before that happens, anyone who works with code may want to consider the benefits enjoyed by self-automation. They’re a sort of test case for how automation could deliver a higher quality of life to the average worker, albeit an imperfect one. “The problem is for automation to work, it needs to be democratized,” Woodcock told me. “It’s a step forward that it’s not a corporate manager who’s delivering automation. It’s still not a democratic process.” Self-automators are acting alone, deciding when and how to replace their own job with code. Ideally, automation decisions would happen collectively, with colleagues’ and peers’ input, so the gains could be evenly distributed.
Business processes are the series of activities that companies put in place to create a product or to benefit another internal workflow. Business processes can cut across various departments and often impact customer satisfaction. Workflows are visual diagrams that help automate these processes by increasing ease of use, speed of production, and consistency.
Late last year, the health-care start-up Viome raised $15 million in venture-capital funding for at-home fecal test kits. You send in a very small package of your own poop, and the company tells you what’s happening in your gut so that you can recalibrate your diet to, among other things, lose weight and keep it off. In the company’s words, subscribers get the opportunity to explore and improve their own microbiome: Viome “uses state-of-the-art proprietary technology” to create “unique molecular profiles” for those who purchase and submit a kit.
Maybe that means buying an additional device from the same brand as your original purchase, but it doesn't have to. In general, smart home manufacturers see the value in keeping things at least somewhat open, and many go out of their way to embrace third-party hubs and smart home platforms as a means of providing compatibility with other gadgets. That means that you've got a lot of options. And, if you're looking for an easy way to stay on top of what works with what, our handy smart home compatibility tracker is here to help.
The most well-known kind of software application testing tool is automation, which attempts to replace human activities -- clicking and checking -- with a computer. The most common kind of test automation is driving the user interface, where a human records a series of actions and expected results. Two common kinds of user-interface automation are record/playback -- where an automated software testing tool records the interactions and then automates them, expecting the same results -- and keyword-driven -- where the user interface elements, such as text boxes and submit buttons, are referred to by name. Keyword-driven tests are often created in a programming language, but they do not have to be; they can resemble a spreadsheet with element identifiers, commands, inputs and expected results.
When we reviewed the original Wyze Cam, its performance, features, and very affordable price earned it our Editors' Choice award. With its latest iteration, the Wyze Cam V2, the folks at Wyze Labs made some improvements, including motion tracking, enhanced audio capabilities, and a more powerful CMOS sensor. It's still the smallest home security camera we've tested and an incredible bargain at $19.99.
Just getting started? Try choosing a single device that you want or find useful and learn how it works. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be ready to add compatible devices to enhance the functionality of the ones you already own. Consider things you’ll likely interact with on a daily basis, like smart bulbs, smart plugs, or smart thermostats. These are great starter devices for home automation. You can also shop our Smart Home Bundles for sets of compatible smart devices designed to fit your home automation needs.

As mentioned previously, automated testing frees you up to focus on larger issues such as customer needs, functionality and improvements. Automated testing also reduces the cost and need for multiple code revisions, so over the course of time, the investment pays out. In addition, each time the source code is modified, the software tests can be repeated. Manually repeating these tests is costly and time-consuming, but automated tests can be run over and over again at no additional cost.
This is my second favorite, because it's huge on micros which I've become a really big fan of recently. I'm really trying to focus on my overall health and not just about macros so I've been working on getting all of my essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals and it's fun to watch that tick up as the days progress. You might realize that you are overloading in one area with vitamins but not getting any of the others so it helps you to add variety. 
In most fields, workers rarely have any formal input into whether their job is automated, or how and when automation could be implemented. Self-automators offer a glimpse of what it looks like when automation is orchestrated not by top-down corporate fiat, but by the same workers who stand to reap its benefits. Some embrace the extra leisure time, while others use the spare hours to learn new skills and tackle new programmatic challenges.
Developed for low-carb dieters specifically, Carb Manager has many of the same features as the other apps – including the ability to input macros, upload recipes, scan barcodes, and track each meal. Conveniently, Carb Manager also automatically calculates net carbs by subtracting fiber from total carbs. Daily macros can be tracked and monitored using a pie chart and bar graph, making it simple to stay on track.
With the free version you can adjust your macros percentages to fit your calorie intake and then input foods, upload recipes, scan barcodes of foods you’re tracking, and manually enter nutritional information. Paid users of the app enjoy the ability to adjust their macro limits by grams, not percentages, and change macros on a daily basis (which comes in handy when you’re following a Cyclic Ketogenic Diet).
Chandra Kandukuri is a Technical Test Lead at Microsoft with more than 16 years of software development experience in multiple environments, developing automation frameworks and tools. He advocates the use of TDD and dedicating the time and resources to do it well. Although it is relatively uncommon to see teams utilize TDD in his experience, Kandukuri recommends the method with automated software testing because of the positive teamwork habits it can promote.
When we reviewed the Ecobee3 in 2015 it earned our Editors' Choice for its sleek design, numerous features, and ease of use. We also loved the inclusion of a remote sensor to help reduce hot or cold spots in different rooms. We're happy to report that the new Ecobee4 boasts all the same features as it predecessor, and more, thanks to the addition of built-in Amazon Alexa voice service capabilities. That means you can have the thermostat do everything that the Amazon Echo and its siblings can, such as control smart devices, shop, play music, and hear the latest news and weather, all using Alexa voice commands.
“I use Zapier to automate my outreach and collect user stories to feature in blog posts. After compiling a list of users to reach out to in a Google Sheet, I set up an automation between my Google Sheets and my Gmail. Then, every time I update a row in my Google Sheet, the system sends a personalized email to the user using a template I created. The email has a link to a Typeform survey with a couple of questions. After users submit the survey, their answers are automatically routed back to the Google Sheet. With this automation, I can spend more time crafting a piece of content and less time manually compiling the information I collect.”
You can also control the WeMo Switch using IFTTT, with recipes that take your automation capabilities to the next level. You could, for instance, craft a recipe that turns your lamp on whenever your phone enters the area around your home. Or, you could set the light to flash whenever the boss emails (just don't tell him about it, lest he decide to troll you at 4 a.m.)
Such generous benefits are unlikely to be offered anytime soon, acknowledges Muro, who has worked with manufacturing communities in the Midwest (see “Manufacturing Jobs Aren't Coming Back”). However, the presidential election, he suggests, was a wake-up call for many people. In some ways the result was “secretly about automation,” he says. “There is a great sense of anxiety and frustration out there.”

In software testing, test automation is the use of special software (separate from the software being tested) to control the execution of tests and the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or add additional testing that would be difficult to perform manually.


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Implementation: During this phase, set up and customize the technology. If necessary, extend the current IT systems with specialized plugins and add-ons. At this time, documentation is critical, and you should record each and every functionality. You should also implement administrator and select end-user training, followed by end-to-end and user-acceptance testing to determine feasibility before the next phase.

With tools like TestComplete, the evolution from manual to automated testing does not have to be difficult. By allowing you to see every action you make, either while generating test code or in administering tests, manual testers can see exactly where to make adjustments while they’re learning. After using automated testing tools and techniques, manual testing has proven to be an effective way of double-checking the software to make sure there is no stone left unturned. In that sense, manual and automated testing go hand-in-hand and, when used properly, can ensure that the final product is as good as it can be.

A report cited in the book found that software developers in the 1990s routinely missed ship dates and deadlines. The pressure to reduce costs and keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing market is now dependent on faster software development. With growth and competition in commercial software development came new technology that changed software forever. The new graphical user interface (GUI), networked personal computers, and the client-server architecture demanded new development and testing tools.


Another study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics showed similar findings. The researchers observed 123 postmenopausal, overweight and obese women over the span of a year. These women were put on two different diets. But regardless of which diet the women followed, the women who completed food journals lost about 4 percent more weight, on average, than those who didn’t track their food regularly.
How to Manage Summer Staffing Shortages - It can be difficult to find reliable workers during the summer months as it’s a time filled with vacations and outings. If you’re having trouble keeping up with staffing demands during this time, consider the following tips and tricks to fill the seasonal gaps. Cross-Train Your Current Employees You might be able to look inward... Read more »
This article uses the term “tester” to refer to the person involved in testing software with automation tools. It is not meant to distinguish by job title or technical proficiency. Jim Hazen describes himself as a hybrid, or “technical tester,” because he can write test scripts and develop what he refers to as “testware.” The trend is to hire for multiple skillsets, but that does not mean the non-technical stakeholders involved in software development don’t benefit from automation testing.
The most successful RPA implementations include a center of excellence staffed by people who are responsible for making efficiency programs a success within the organization, Viadro says. Not every enterprise, however, has the budget for this. The RPA center of excellence develops business cases, calculating potential cost optimization and ROI, and measures progress against those goals. "That group is typically fairly small and nimble and it scales with the technology staff that are focused on the actual implementation of automation,” Viadro says. “I’d encourage all IT leaders across different industries to look for opportunities and understand whether [RPA] will be transformative for their businesses.”
But many economists argue that automation bears much more blame than globalization for the decline of jobs in the region’s manufacturing sector and the gutting of its middle class. Indeed, in his farewell speech to thousands in a packed convention hall in Chicago, President Obama warned: “The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete.”
The open source Cypress Test Runner is architected to handle modern JavaScript frameworks especially well. The Cypress Dashboard Service is an optional web-based companion to the Test Runner. The Dashboard records tests run in Continuous Integration so developer can understand failures, share results with their team, and optimize test runs. The Dashboard is sold as a SaaS service.
Environment issues aside, automated checks that need to be run by hand create a drain on the team. Most teams we work with tend to want to just get started by running automated checks by hand. I suggest a different approach: Start with one check that runs end-to-end, through the continuous integration server, running on every build. Add additional scripts to that slowly, carefully, and with intention. Instead of trying to automate 100%, recognize that tooling creates drag and maintenance cost. Strive instead to automate the most powerful examples.
Jones believes the most common reason for using test automation today is to shorten the regression test cycle. Regression tests are used to determine if changes to the software are the cause of new problems. They verify that a system under test hasn’t changed. To guard against introducing unintended changes, they become part of a regression test suite after the tests pass. Regression tests are automated to ensure regular feedback.
What to automate, when to automate, or even whether one really needs automation are crucial decisions which the testing (or development) team must make.[3] A multi-vocal literature review of 52 practitioner and 26 academic sources found that five main factors to consider in test automation decision are: 1) System Under Test (SUT), 2) the types and numbers of tests, 3) test-tool, 4) human and organizational topics, and 5) cross-cutting factors. The most frequent individual factors identified in the study were: need for regression testing, economic factors, and maturity of SUT.[4]
The method or process being used to implement automation is called a test automation framework. Several frameworks have been implemented over the years by commercial vendors and testing organizations. Automating tests with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or open source software can be complicated, however, because they almost always require customization. In many organizations, automation is only implemented when it has been determined that the manual testing program is not meeting expectations and it is not possible to bring in more human testers.
Here you might ask, Just who is augmenting whom (or what) in this situation? It’s a good moment to emphasize that in an augmentation environment, support is mutual. The human ensures that the computer is doing a good job and makes it better. This is the point being made by all those people who encourage more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. They envision a work world largely made up of stepping-in positions. But if this is your strategy, you’ll also need to develop your powers of observation, translation, and human connection.
There are many ways to track your sleep these days, from fitness trackers to smartwatches, but perhaps nothing is better suited for the job than your mattress itself. At least, that's the idea behind Sleep Number's 360 Smart Bed, which incorporates biometric sensors to help you snooze better. You use an app on your smartphone to view your sleep trends and health metrics, and to gain insight on how you can sleep better. It's a hefty investment, but if you have the money to spend, the 360 Smart Bed is a comfortable, effective, and highly customizable way to improve your quality of sleep.
“There are millions of regression tests for a Windows 10 release. For example, if you plan 10 new features, five [of those 10] are critical and a priority. These test cases will be the criteria used to release the software. You build from that progress. So on the next release, you have new features, 10 are determined critical for testing. So it keeps adding, now you have 15 regression tests being automated to keep up with the release schedules.”
This is a more fun way to keep track of the food you eat. MealLogger is a photo food journal which helps you keep yourself accountable by sharing a photo of your meal with others. It is a unique app that connects you directly with a health professional, usually a registered dietitian. You snap a photo of what you eat, add a brief description and upload it to your account. The nutrition coach will then review your meal online, providing advice and guidance to improve your diet. Having a pictorial evidence of how you’re feeding yourself, is a great way to maintain proper portion sizes and can help to stop overeating and snacking.

The latest Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller gives you control over eight or 16 zones depending on the unit you get, with a master valve terminal for systems that have one. It won't water the lawn if it's raining, and you can turn it on and off remotely with your phone. Plus, it integrates with lots of other services and devices like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings.
Suddenly, it seems, people in all walks of life are becoming very concerned about advancing automation. And they should be: Unless we find as many tasks to give humans as we find to take away from them, all the social and psychological ills of joblessness will grow, from economic recession to youth unemployment to individual crises of identity. That’s especially true now that automation is coming to knowledge work, in the form of artificial intelligence. Knowledge work—which we’ll define loosely as work that is more mental than manual, involves consequential decision making, and has traditionally required a college education—accounts for a large proportion of jobs in today’s mature economies. It is the high ground to which humanity has retreated as machines have taken over less cognitively challenging work. But in the very foreseeable future, as the Gartner analyst Nigel Rayner says, “many of the things executives do today will be automated.”
Many people have tried to make this point in different ways (e.g. this is also the quintessence of the discussion about testing vs. checking, started by James Bach and Michael Bolton). But the emotionally loaded discussions (because it is about peoples self-image and their jobs) often split discussants into two broad camps: those that think test automation is “snake oil” and should be used sparsely and with caution, and those that think it is a silver bullet and the solution to all of our quality problems. Test automation is an indispensable tool of today’s quality assurance but as every tool it can also be misused.
To effectively manage RPA, companies should involve IT early and often, designating an IT RPA expert who can help you manage the volume of data you decide to collect. You should also have an RPA project manager who provides structure to the implementation. In businesses with compliance requirements, controlling the project rollout will maintain good governance. Other experts suggest building an RPA center of excellence that gives your personnel the resources they need when they have questions and issues for a more manageable impact on your employees.
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