As demands for safety and mobility have grown and technological possibilities have multiplied, interest in automation has grown. Seeking to accelerate the development and introduction of fully automated vehicles and highways, the United States Congress authorized more than $650 million over six years for intelligent transport systems (ITS) and demonstration projects in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). Congress legislated in ISTEA that "the Secretary of Transportation shall develop an automated highway and vehicle prototype from which future fully automated intelligent vehicle-highway systems can be developed. Such development shall include research in human factors to ensure the success of the man-machine relationship. The goal of this program is to have the first fully automated highway roadway or an automated test track in operation by 1997. This system shall accommodate installation of equipment in new and existing motor vehicles." [ISTEA 1991, part B, Section 6054(b)].
McKinsey & Company estimates that about half of all business processes — including yours — can be automated. Automation could save your business a lot of money, but you may be wondering what processes to start with and what is even possible. First and foremost, review the strategic and operating drivers for improvement. Then look for the processes. Rote and repetitive tasks are one obvious place to start.
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.
I think we can all agree that automation is a critical part of any organization's software delivery pipeline, especially if you call yourself "agile." It's pretty intuitive that if you automate testing, your release cycles are going to get shorter. "So, if that's the case," you might say, "why don't we just automate everything?" There's a good reason: automation comes with a price.
The possibilities are immense, ranging from lights and locks to cameras and coffee makers. The common denominator is automation, and a promise that these devices can save you time, save you money or make your life a little easier. An automated lamp might turn on by itself as soon as you walk into the room. An automated thermostat might turn the heat down when it detects you've left for the day, then back on when it thinks you're on your way back.
For another perspective on open source test automation tools, consider this list by test automation guru Joe Colantonio (@jcolantonio). He covers the 10 most popular software testing tools available on GitHub. Tools covered include EarlGrey, WebDriverIO, Robot Framework, Macaca, Detox, UI AutoMonkey, Gauge, Hound, OWTF, and FluentLenium [Read this software testing tools list]
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.
Automated testing expanded with Agile principles because testing in a repeatable manner that is secure, reliable, and keeps pace with the rapid deployment of software is required for this environment. In their book Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, authors Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory claim Agile development depends on test automation to succeed. They emphasize the team effort required for test automation and recommend automating tests early in the development process. Also, the development of automation code is as important as the development of the actual production code for software. The “test-first" approach to development is known as Test-Driven Development.
Lighting is a fun, accessible entry point in building a smart home, but smart bulbs—especially color-changing ones—cost a lot more than you might expect. That makes the $34.99 Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb White and Color an intriguing option. It doesn't offer nearly as much in the way of third-party integration as the Philips Hue bulbs, but it lets you select from over 16 million colors, it doesn't require a hub, and it supports voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Forrester (one of the world’s most influential research and advisory firms) selected the top 11 tools that provide cross-browser testing, mobile testing, UI testing, and API testing capabilities. After evaluating these software testing tools based on vendor interviews, product evaluations, and customer interviews, they scored the tools on 33 criteria and ranked them against one another. Tools covered include IBM, Tricentis, Parasoft, HPE, SmartBear, TestPlant, Micro Focus, Microsoft, LogiGear, Original Software Conformiq. [Read this software testing tools list]
The real hands-on control comes in when you start interacting with the home automation system from your remote app. In addition to arming and disarming your security system, you can reprogram the scheduling, lock and unlock doors, reset the thermostat and adjust the lights all from your phone, from anywhere in the world. As manufacturers are creating more and more “smart” devices and appliances all the time, the possibilities for home automation are virtually limitless.
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.
Manual software testing is performed by a human sitting in front of a computer carefully going through application screens, trying various usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording their observations. Manual tests are repeated often during development cycles for source code changes and other situations like multiple operating environments and hardware configurations. An automated testing tool is able to playback pre-recorded and predefined actions, compare the results to the expected behavior and report the success or failure of these manual tests to a test engineer. Once automated tests are created they can easily be repeated and they can be extended to perform tasks impossible with manual testing. Because of this, savvy managers have found that automated software testing is an essential component of successful development projects.
Home automation suffers from platform fragmentation and lack of technical standards a situation where the variety of home automation devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently between different inconsistent technology ecosystems hard. Customers may be hesitant to bet their IoT future on proprietary software or hardware devices that use proprietary protocols that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.
Industrial automation incorporates programmable logic controllers in the manufacturing process. Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) use a processing system which allows for variation of controls of inputs and outputs using simple programming. PLCs make use of programmable memory, storing instructions and functions like logic, sequencing, timing, counting, etc. Using a logic based language, a PLC can receive a variety of inputs and return a variety of logical outputs, the input devices being sensors and output devices being motors, valves, etc. PLCs are similar to computers, however, while computers are optimized for calculations, PLCs are optimized for control task and use in industrial environments. They are built so that only basic logic-based programming knowledge is needed and to handle vibrations, high temperatures, humidity and noise. The greatest advantage PLCs offer is their flexibility. With the same basic controllers, a PLC can operate a range of different control systems. PLCs make it unnecessary to rewire a system to change the control system. This flexibility leads to a cost-effective system for complex and varied control systems.
With automated testing, that time is cut drastically. The work for automated testers is instead spent coding the tests and making improvements to these tests repeatedly as adjustments are needed. Once the test is complete, however, automated testing allows for the recycled use of tests so that they do not have to go through this whole process again. In essence, the time spent on the mundane tasks and repetition a manual tester would go through is instead spent focusing on larger, more important issues involving the software you’re developing.
The increased level of production is important to companies developing software for rapid (sometimes daily) release. Companies like Google automate testing to scale their software development process and release products that billions of users rely on daily. Google created new testing roles and job titles for their engineers when they realized the benefits of automated testing during their rapid growth. Their efforts resulted in higher quality, more reliable, and more frequently released software.
A final example of automation is for customer support. SiriusDecisions reports that about 64 percent of a salesperson’s time goes to administrative tasks instead of selling, and 73 percent of customer support professionals say that the most challenging part of their job is managing time and workload. Automation can minimize the burnout for these professionals by enabling them to concentrate on the higher-level functions that touch your customers.
With the advent of the space age in 1957, controls design, particularly in the United States, turned away from the frequency-domain techniques of classical control theory and backed into the differential equation techniques of the late 19th century, which were couched in the time domain. During the 1940s and 1950s, German mathematician Irmgard Flugge-Lotz developed the theory of discontinuous automatic control, which became widely used in hysteresis control systems such as navigation systems, fire-control systems, and electronics. Through Flugge-Lotz and others, the modern era saw time-domain design for nonlinear systems (1961), navigation (1960), optimal control and estimation theory (1962), nonlinear control theory (1969), digital control and filtering theory (1974), and the personal computer (1983).
Every software development group tests its products, yet delivered software always has defects. Test engineers strive to catch them before the product is released but they always creep in and they often reappear, even with the best manual testing processes. Test Automation software is the best way to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of your software testing.
In 2016, an anonymous confession appeared on Reddit: “From around six years ago up until now, I have done nothing at work.” As far as office confessions go, that might seem pretty tepid. But this coder, posting as FiletOFish1066, said he worked for a well-known tech company, and he really meant nothing. He wrote that within eight months of arriving on the quality-assurance job, he had fully automated his entire workload. “I am not joking. For 40 hours each week, I go to work, play League of Legends in my office, browse Reddit, and do whatever I feel like. In the past six years, I have maybe done 50 hours of real work.” When his bosses realized that he’d worked less in half a decade than most Silicon Valley programmers do in a week, they fired him.
The move to agile has led many teams to adopt a pyramid testing strategy. The test automation pyramid strategy calls for automating tests at three different levels. Unit testing represents the base and biggest percentage of this test automation pyramid. Next comes, service layer, or API testing. And finally, GUI tests sit at the top. The pyramid looks something like this:
Start your journey to home automation with the Home Remote Starter Kit, which includes the Insteon Hub and 2 lamp dimming modules. The starter kit is a great way to test if you'd like to automate your home and control from a smartphone. We talked a little bit about the Insteon hub. Remote control lighting is controlling your products via smartphone, laptop, apple watch, home assistant, and more
Industrial robotics is a sub-branch in the industrial automation that aids in various manufacturing processes. Such manufacturing processes include; machining, welding, painting, assembling and material handling to name a few. Industrial robots utilizes various mechanical, electrical as well as software systems to allow for high precision, accuracy and speed that far exceeds any human performance. The birth of industrial robot came shortly after World War II as United States saw the need for a quicker way to produce industrial and consumer goods. Servos, digital logic and solid state electronics allowed engineers to build better and faster systems and overtime these systems were improved and revised to the point where a single robot is capable of running 24 hours a day with little or no maintenance. In 1997, there were 700,000 industrial robots in use, the number has risen to 1.8M in 2017
When decisions are high-level, total automation may not be suitable. When environmental cues are needed to make the decisions — such as on automatic vehicles — accidents can happen. Some companies that have brought to market voice and visual-based automation have discovered that the physical world may be too difficult yet for the response needed. This could be a matter of time and constant testing, but humans may still need to make these types of environmental-response decisions.
Automated software testing can increase the depth and scope of tests to help improve software quality. Lengthy tests that are often avoided during manual testing can be run unattended. They can even be run on multiple computers with different configurations. Automated software testing can look inside an application and see memory contents, data tables, file contents, and internal program states to determine if the product is behaving as expected. Test automation can easily execute thousands of different complex test cases during every test run providing coverage that is impossible with manual tests.
As it relates to testing software, Hazen looks at Agile and non-Agile methods of development as being risk-based decisions. According to Hazen, the question of how test automation impacts Agile or other development methods comes down to how much automation “tooling” is used, where it is implemented in testing, and how much it is relied on for the project’s goal.
Kim Kadiyala, Marketing Specialist at Zapier, says: “We're in an exciting time where business process automation is accessible to everyone — even if you're not technically savvy or a programmer. Tools that connect your apps put the power of automation into the hands of marketers, founders, real estate agents, and lawyers. Anyone who is moving bits of information from one place to another can set up an automation and start saving some time. I like to say that there are some tasks that are better suited for computers and some tasks best done by humans. Automating the tedious parts of your work frees you up to spend more time on the more creative aspects of your job, like big-picture thinking and strategic problem solving.
All that action adds up to a rapidly growing number of things in the internet of things, along with a variety of platforms competing to control them all. That might make the idea of getting your smart home started a little bit overwhelming, but don't worry. It's actually easier than ever to start automating your home -- provided you know your options.
The objective of automated testing is to simplify as much of the testing effort as possible with a minimum set of scripts. If unit testing consumes a large percentage of a quality assurance (QA) team's resources, for example, then this process might be a good candidate for automation. Automated testing tools are capable of executing tests, reporting outcomes and comparing results with earlier test runs. Tests carried out with these tools can be run repeatedly, at any time of day.
After hearing of a recent Oxford University study on advancing automation and its potential to displace workers, Yuh-Mei Hutt, of Tallahassee, Florida, wrote, “The idea that half of today’s jobs may vanish has changed my view of my children’s future.” Hutt was reacting not only as a mother; she heads a business and occasionally blogs about emerging technologies. Familiar as she is with the upside of computerization, the downside looms large. “How will they compete against AI?” she asked. “How will they compete against a much older and experienced workforce vying for even fewer positions?”
When digital computers became available, being general-purpose programmable devices, they were soon applied to control sequential and combinatorial logic in industrial processes. However these early computers required specialist programmers and stringent operating environmental control for temperature, cleanliness, and power quality. To meet these challenges this the PLC was developed with several key attributes. It would tolerate the shop-floor environment, it would support discrete (bit-form) input and output in an easily extensible manner, it would not require years of training to use, and it would permit its operation to be monitored. Since many industrial processes have timescales easily addressed by millisecond response times, modern (fast, small, reliable) electronics greatly facilitate building reliable controllers, and performance could be traded off for reliability.
Websites as well as mobile applications need to handle spikes in traffic effectively. Consumers have limited tolerance for latency and any performance degradation typically results in customers abandoning your website/app for a competitor’s site. Planning ahead for exceptional user experience and optimizing performance by ensuring system works under high load is essential to deliver onto customer expectations and prevent losing business to competitors. SmartBear's LoadComplete tool will prepare developers and testers to:
The comprehensive portfolio of test automation tools helps ensure your whole application, including its user interface and API, are functioning correctly. You can also scale your automated tests to thousands of concurrent users for performance testing. And finally, you can plan, organize, and manage all testing activities in one place using our test case management tool.
Relay logic was introduced with factory electrification, which underwent rapid adaption from 1900 though the 1920s. Central electric power stations were also undergoing rapid growth and operation of new high pressure boilers, steam turbines and electrical substations created a large demand for instruments and controls. Central control rooms became common in the 1920s, but as late as the early 1930s, most process control was on-off. Operators typically monitored charts drawn by recorders that plotted data from instruments. To make corrections, operators manually opened or closed valves or turned switches on or off. Control rooms also used color coded lights to send signals to workers in the plant to manually make certain changes.
Instead of creating the "tests" at the end, I suggest starting with examples at the beginning that can be run by a human or a software system. Get the programmer, tester, and product owner in a room to talk about what they need to be successful, to create examples, to define what the automation strategy will be, and to create a shared understanding to reduce failure demand. My preference is to do this at the story level — what some might call a minimum marketable feature — which requires a half-day to a week of work. George Dinwiddie, an agile coach in Maryland, popularized the term "the three amigos" for this style of work, referring to the programmer, tester, and analyst in these roles. Another term for the concept is acceptance test-driven development.
Home automation is nothing new, but a recent boom in smart home tech has thrust it straight into the spotlight. Smart home kits, sensors and gadgets have been a dominating presence at CES for the past two years, with big names like Apple, Google, GE and Microsoft right there in the thick of it. That's not surprising, given that market experts predict that the smart home's market share will be worth tens of billions within the next few years.
Summary: A comprehensive test automation tool with integration testing capabilities as well as mobile, regression, performance and scalability testing capabilities. In terms of integration testing, IBM Rational Test Workbench allows for service-level testing, automatic scheduling and execution of testing via an integration with the IBM Rational collaborative lifecycle management tool.
Home automation may seem like a sci-fi fantasy, but advancements in technology now allow us to harness some of the benefits of automation for use in our own homes today. Home automation allows us to make our lives simpler and more efficient, whether that means programming the lights to turn on or off at certain times or setting the temperature of the house to self-adjust depending on who is at home.
According to Aaron Norris, Vice President of The Norris Group, “Automation is dead, at least as it pertains to complete automation. I’m going old school these days looking at each of my funnels and automating low-value and augmenting high-value prospects. I’m constantly trying to figure out where to spend my time to customize and create personal touches that delight potential clients. I’m not asking how to automate more. I’m asking how to drive people down the funnel faster by doing things other people won’t take the time to do. Mail and phone? Yes, please. 2017 is all about giving good phone.”
“When we refer to automation frameworks, it is easiest to understand with the functional testing areas,” says Kandukuri. “You are providing commonly used methods to improve the efficiency of automated tasks. With limited knowledge of how the test case is set up, a tester can fall back on the framework to refer to simple statements and implement the test cases.”
Analysts at Gartner (the world’s leading research and advisory company) evaluated 9 “enterprise-grade” software testing tool. The evaluation involved inquiries with clients, surveys of tool users, vendor responses to questions, and product evaluations. Gartner required tools to support native Windows desktop application testing and Android or iOS testing support as well as support 3 of the following: responsive web applications, mobile applications, packaged applications (SAP, Salesforce, etc.), API/web services. Tools covered include Tricentis, Micro Focus, Microsoft, IBM, SmartBear, CA Technologies, TestPlant, Parasoft, and Ranorex. [Read this software testing tools list]
Call it self-automation, or auto-automation. At a moment when the specter of mass automation haunts workers, rogue programmers demonstrate how the threat can become a godsend when taken into coders’ hands, with or without their employers’ knowledge. Since both FiletOFish1066 and Etherable posted anonymously and promptly disappeared, neither could be reached for comment. But their stories show that workplace automation can come in many forms and be led by people other than executives.
Summary: A desktop tool for load, stress and scalability testing that works with both HTML sites and rich internet applications. SmartBear LoadComplete can generate load from virtual machines, on premise computers or the cloud and offers record and replay capabilities, visual programming, a test cost simulator, distributed load testing, analytics and functional test reuse.
Roberts notes, “Streamlining processes is my expertise, so I have a lot of experience here. Here's one high-level example: I worked on a technical risk management process that involved process streamlining and troubleshooting. Process upsets were two to three times more than plan. Staff satisfaction was poor. Annual business targets weren't met. After automating and streamlining that process, the process upsets were reduced to within 10 percent of plan. Staff satisfaction increased 20 percent. The business started meeting targets and saved over $3 million from efficiency gains. Talk about some serious results from automating!
Take the test automation pyramid diagram and put it on your wall. It should serve as a reminder that the majority of automation tests should be at the unit test level, followed by those that can be executed at the API or service level. Finally, with strong test design, you can write a minimum set of automated UI tests to complete your automation test suite. Once you have this solid set of automation tests at your disposal, regression testing will be a breeze.
A second common type of test data is the export-to-zip/import-from-zip combination. Teams that do this create a common sample test data set, with known expected results to search, and known users. The deploy pipeline creates a sample environment with a clean database, then imports the zip file. Some of my customers who have a multitenant system, where many users share the same database, think this option isn't a realistic simulation. In that case I suggest finding a way to export, delete, and re-import by account.
When it comes to business process automation efforts, our experts from around the web give several recommendations for how to get started. Some say that the projects are only successful if you initially approach them from the position of the desired outcome. Others recommend automating first, then figuring out the processes. Some claim that a full map and model of your processes are required prior to any automation. Experts also extol the virtue of having your business leaders on board, even as part of the team. Finally, they emphasize that you should improve all your processes (not just the automated ones) to maximize usefulness. In other words, garbage in, garbage out.