The Software Testing Odyssey That You Need to Take
The evolution of software testing mirrors the progression seen in Stanley Kubrick’s classic film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” where early humans, inspired by the monolith, harnessed tools to enhance their existence. Similarly, the journey of software testing has been one of innovation using tools and methodologies to expedite release cycles and increase quality.
The origins of software testing trace back to the 1970s and 1980s, marked by manual processes primarily focused on program verification and validation. As software grew in complexity, structured testing phases emerged. They called it “waterfall.”
With the birth of agile in the 2000s, the evolution of testing was further accelerated by emphasizing testing through the entire software development life cycle (SDLC). Demand for automated testing tools that enabled faster feedback and optimized efficiency grew rapidly.
The latest milestone in this evolution is the integration of AI into software testing. Interestingly, AI-powered capabilities like automated test generation and execution can be traced back to the ’90s.
Since those humble beginnings, AI has evolved at a tremendous rate using machine learning and natural language processing (along with other techniques) to automate test case creation, optimize test execution and introduce self-healing capabilities. With this proliferation, AI-powered testing tools are emerging as the cutting edge of software testing and enabling a new generation of intelligent and automated testing tools.
The Infusion of AI Testing Capabilities
These tools and processes continue to evolve as AI and machine learning (ML) models are infused into the SDLC. In the movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” HAL is an acronym for a fictional artificial intelligence character whose purpose is to oversee and manage various spacecraft systems, assist the crew in their mission to Jupiter and ensure the success of the mission objectives.
Today, AI is similarly enhancing and evolving software testing by enhancing testing precision and speed with tools that feature predictive analysis, intelligent test automation and sophisticated defect detection. As shift-left testing becomes a more dominant process, and continuous testing solutions mature, more and more AI and ML models will be adopted to empower continuous innovation.
The New Tip of the Spear: AI-Powered Test Creation and Self-Healing
Natural language processing (NLP) and classification techniques are two of the AI and ML models employed in what may be the most powerful application of AI in software testing. Interconnected capabilities like AI-powered test creation and self-healing help streamline and optimize the software testing process.
AI-powered test creation uses natural language requirements or user stories to automate test case generation and greatly simplify test script writing, making it less technical and more intuitive. The process accelerates test case development by expanding participation in test creation to non-technical team members. The benefits add up to faster testing and higher test coverage.
Self-healing is the yang to the yin of AI-powered test creation. This capability uses AI classification methods to analyze test results and historical data. This data is used to identify the root causes of test failures and automatically correct the test scripts or issues that triggered the failures. In an automated testing process the less manual intervention the better, and with test script debugging and maintenance being handled autonomously, the entire process becomes more dependable and robust.
Financial Services Application Testing with AI
Let’s illustrate a practical scenario where a financial services company is adding new transactional functionalities to its application. Its team uses AI-powered test creation to transform its user stories and requirements into functional test scripts. The AI uses natural language processing to analyze descriptions of test requirements and convert them into executable scripts that simulate user interactions within the banking application.
During testing, which is automated and runs at predefined times, a minor application layout UI change occurs. This results in a number of tests failing as the pre-existing automated tests cannot locate the update element. This is where AI-powered self-healing comes in.
The AI algorithm, powered by classification AI techniques, will inspect the failed tests meticulously and compare them with previous test versions. Through this analysis, the AI identifies the UI element change that caused the failures and autonomously updates the test scripts with new locators for the UI element changes.
There is a symbiotic relationship between AI-driven test creation and self-healing that significantly expedites the testing process while ensuring the overall reliability and robustness of the entire test suite. The financial services application in this example can then evolve seamlessly and adapt to UI enhancements while maintaining functional integrity.
One Small Step
AI and ML models are already being used to improve efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness to reshape the landscape of software testing into a more intelligent and automated one, and now organizations are integrating AI into software testing to enhance precision and speed while embracing the journey toward continuous innovation.
You do not have to be a coder to create a test. We invite you to watch Digital.ai’s on-demand webinar, “How Test Management Ensures Agile Requirements Meet Testing Results,” and learn how to put the power of test creation and validation into the hands of anyone.