Functional Testing with Browser Automation Tools


Within the realm of website and application development, there is a wide array of testing that must be done. Although some of this testing is completed using specific software and tools, browser automation software has become one of the most effective ways to carry out a specific type of test known as functional testing. Also referred to as GUI testing, functional testing determines whether or not a website or application is performing as it should. While there are many techniques and methods one may utilize to carry out functional testing on their platform, the following is considered an effective way to utilize browser automation software as a means of testing website or application functionality.

Purpose of Functional Testing

 In order to understand how to carry out this test, it’s imperative administrator’s understand its primary purpose. In general, functional testing is used to ensure:

  • Dialog boxes are displayed and transmitting information in an accurate manner.
  • Icons and various toolbars consistently display in proper formats based upon browser and operating system.
  • Screen elements, such as text, images and videos, are properly displayed. Tests are done on multiple browsers, and hopefully, on multiple devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.).
  • Data is transferred in a complete manner. This form of testing ensures the UI is functioning properly, but also the underlining code and database communications are functional.

Tip #1 – Record Tasks and Review for Confirmation

It’s essential that all tasks and test are recorded for review. While many browser automation tools offer a reporting capability, it’s important to visually review the functionality and performance of specific page elements and applications. By reviewing recorded tasks, making necessary adjustments and modifications to task procedures is far simpler. Therefore, if you plan on using your browser automation software in this manner, make sure automated test scripts, keyword tests and low-level tasks can be recorded and stored for review. This is relatively easy to do using a web browser automation tool. There are a number of these that can be found online, such as the EveryStep tool, or even something else.

Tip #2 – Utilize Object-Based Tasks

The primary goal of using browser automation software as a means of functional testing is to review the functionality of page elements in the same manner as actual users. Because of this, it’s imperative functional tasks are deployed using object-based actions. Traditionally, automation software relies on exact screen coordinates to begin a task. However, if the page or application changes, these coordinates are no longer applicable. Moreover, users interact with the pages via objects, not coordinates. Therefore, assigning specific objects, such as buttons or drop-down menus, helps create a more realistic insight into the actual functionality of your website or application. One program that does a particularly good job of this is Selenium.