4 Best Test Automation Patterns that Run Like Clockwork

TestFortExpert by TestFortExpert on 10/25/2016

4 Best Test Automation Patterns that Run Like Clockwork

Disclaimer: Read this only if you want to know how to save thousands on your way to millions!

Literally, every developer has to go through a period of testing his products before releasing them. Whether you are making an accounting platform for an enterprise or writing a small game for your college friends, you have to test various features. Testing is a pivotal part of software development and enables us to see whether specific features work as intended.

There were times when everything was done manually. Unsurprisingly, manual methods are boring and ineffective, mostly due to their time-consuming nature and complications that you have to overcome one by one.

When automation comes into play, you can avoid wasting precious resources on some testing activities. This truly saves thousands and thousands of dollars. However, not every automation pattern can be of use to you. Choosing the right pattern is a complicated process that often leads to an intricate set of activities that include case studying, identifying issues, and developing a solution.

You might be dealing with DevOps or even Agile Automation. Whatever the case, there’s a known practice for it!

There are some exceptionally well-made test automation patterns examples that can be used as an etalon for many modern developers who struggle with selecting the right set of testing tools for their projects.

Test Automation Issues and Solutions

Any pattern is a solution in itself. Basically, whenever we are approaching a specific problem, we want to identify a proper solution. Testing issues is one such problem. Highlighting a testing issue is hard and sometimes demands that we invest lots of resources, but in the end if you find a proper solution, you will definitely save your budget from shrinking uncontrollably.

Usually, you can fairly easily identify the scope of testing and pinpoint various features that need heavy testing. Nonetheless, automation solutions may present issues by themselves. The issue may be of a technical nature (i.e. inefficient analysis) or be caused by incompetent management (i.e. late test automation design). Identifying the very nature of the issues is the first important step towards creating an efficient testing automation pattern.

Issues related to automation patterns creation can be categorized:

Before actually trying to select a test automation pattern, and develop or enhance it, you need to study the case carefully and identify any glaring issues that may create obstacles for your testing team. Many automators routinely case study even the simplest products before committing to heavy testing and architecting an automation pattern.

Were there any exemplary patterns that deserve our attention?

What are test automation patterns?

Before presenting you our examples, we want to elaborate on the very purpose and nature of automation patterns. A pattern is a solution to a re-occurring problem within a certain concept. Basically, you want to create a certain set of actions to counter a specific issue that you have previously identified during the case studying. Just like issues, patterns are subdivided into multiple categories:

Nearly all effective test automation patterns fall into one or another category and rarely cross-over. It is imperative to understand that each pattern is a solution to a specific problem, and piling together irrelevant methods is not an efficient way to design your patterns. The patterns must be sharp and present a definitive set of activities that address a certain issue.

Efficient process pattern

Implementing a short-term solution is similar to avoiding a problem altogether. If you want to become an efficient developer that regularly introduces new products to the market, be sure to implement a long-lasting solution that can be used over and over. Process patterns should be conceptual and upgradeable.

The most efficient way to implement a good process pattern is to approach the issue just like you approach software development in general. Basically, a process pattern is an iterative process that should be viewed as an agile project. If you are a developer, chances are that you already know how to apply agile methods. The implementation of said methods is a crucial part of creating a proper process pattern.

Key facets of the process pattern:

While this pattern is one of the most efficient, and helps you to build a very good team of testers capable of creating and maintaining an efficient testware, there some issues that you may face while implementing the pattern. First and foremost, having a talented team of developers is instrumental in the efficiency of your process patterns. Secondly, your team needs to know how to work agilely. If the opposite is true, the pattern will still help, but will be less efficient than it could be.

This pattern successfully addresses various test automation issues including revision control, ambiguous testing, script creep, loss of test data, etc. It is extremely important to avoid script creeping to keep your testware simple and efficient.

Early automation. Management pattern.

This pattern can drastically improve how you work on your project in general. There are various automation issues related to management. However, the most important one is identifying when the best time to start automating is. This pattern addresses this exact question by demanding that you start automating as early as possible. If you are late with implementing automated solutions, you will lose money that you could otherwise have saved.

Key facets of the pattern:

The most obvious problems that this pattern has relate to timing. If you implement automation patterns too early, you will definitely waste effort. Moreover, you can easily distract your developers by developing lots of “noise” and skewing the goals of first sprints. Make sure you begin automating at the same time as developers start coding. Timing can be confusing due to the fact that testers can start developing automation tools before SUT is implemented by the developers.

Model-based testing (MBT). Design pattern

MBT helps you to efficiently convey testing activities and simultaneously reduce effort, especially in terms of maintenance. Even if SUT changes, you can update the testware partially and generate test case updates automatically. Generally, this pattern is used for testing GUI, and creation of manual test instructions. MBT is extremely useful for testing a product that requires you to iterate it multiple times. The fewer the amount of repetitions, the more inefficient this pattern becomes.

You will need to create a model for each specific feature. If there are no duplicate features, you will struggle to find a good use for your MBT patterns. However, when you have a lot of repetitive testing activities, this pattern is the best choice.

Key facets of MBT pattern:

The biggest issue with this pattern is that often project requirements are not specified clearly enough to provide enough details for proper modeling. The effort grows due to the amount of work that has to be done to gather sufficient information for future modeling. Without sufficient data, the models will be inconsistent. Gathering information is usually a good thing as you can identify various problems with the project documents before you start actual development.

Maintainable testware. Design pattern

This pattern allows you to architect your testware so it will not have to be updated each time there is a minor change in the SUT. The pattern is especially efficient when used to build long-lasting solutions for repetitive changes to the SUT. Do not use this pattern to manage disposable scripts or small products with a small set of features.

Key facets of Maintainable testware:

One of the weakest aspects of this pattern is that it demands to be implemented as early as possible. Maintaining your testware at later stages of development is often unnecessary. By the time you start implementing maintainable testware, you’ve usually lost money. Planning the implementation of this pattern should start earlier than the actual development of the SUT.


Nearly all test automation patterns relate to each other and can use each other in a global scheme of things. Object map is a common execution pattern that is used in various design and management patterns to solve minor issues. There are other obvious connections. However, choosing the best pattern is a tricky task.

Each pattern category has a wide array of specific patterns that address various automation issues. We highly recommend that you commit to heavy case studying and analyze your project before choosing the best test automation pattern. For example, complex software with lots of repetitive features should use MBT at least partially. On the contrary, applications with fewer features and minor changes to the SUT over the course of development can be tested with maintainable testware easily and without much effort.

Choose your automation patterns correctly and save the drain on your budget.

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