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Enter the era of Visual Automation Frameworks

I believe we are rapidly entering a new era in automation frameworks. Whilst the term 'framework' is abused, confused and overused, it is deeply ingrained in automation psyche, most often referring to abstraction in some form. A potted history; from basic modular scripted automation we rapidly developed data-driven Excel based frameworks. Keyword frameworks evolved from there as an additional abstraction layer and have appeared in many forms both homegrown and commercial. I’ve probably encountered hundreds of Keyword frameworks over the years developed by eager and talented SDETs! Keyword based frameworks generally have one thing in common, scripts are organised in spreadsheets or some pretty tabular format, with the latter forming the basis of many commercial automation solutions.

I am all for simplicity, but complex automation requirements too often require algorithmic constructs to achieve and this is where abstraction falls down. Conditional control flow, dynamic events and iteration test the bounds of tabular scripting formats.

I believe a bold new era is upon us, with the advent of visual 'Canvas' style approaches to test automation design appearing. In these canvases tests are represented in the form of either flow diagrams or visually manipulated elements, dragged/dropped and connected to describe test flow. Easily manipulated, the canvas approach flexes to meet complex automation requirements where tabular formats fall down. You’ll find complex control flow patterns rolled in from the outset, simply connect one element to another to form or loop or drag a branch off in a flow diagram. As an abstraction layer they are beautifully simple, exciting, and dare I say it, sexier than spreadsheets!

It's an exciting time to be in test automation.

Scriptworks is coming… to learn more about a beautifully simple Visual approach to Selenium and Appium automation contact Odin Technology - for a preview.

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Article written by Duncan Brigginshaw
Co-Founder and Technical Director

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