Selenium-Interface-Tests: A continuous quality assurance on websites, web-applications and a guarantee for functioning processes

If you are responsible for the management of websites, web-applications and other portals (e.g. shops) with a browser-interface, you have probably experienced the following: The entire website just focuses on a contact form that can be completed - but the  contact form doesn’t work. Or even worse: You cannot complete an order in your online-shop.
When you find out, you will be annoyed. Since when has it been broken? Why has nobody noticed? Why did it take us so long? How many customers did we lose due to this issue?
Have you ever thought about how to solve these problems? This is when interface tests come into play.

The basics of interface tests

You can think of an interface test the same way as you would surf the tested interface on your own through a web browser, trying out if everything works fine. The difference is, that the interface test is automated. The Selenium-Firefox-Addon is very easy to handle: Start the plugin and press “start recording”. Then surf exactly how the test indicates. Then press “stop recording”. You will get a test-file which you can call up anytime. By pressing “play” you can run the interface test. More of these tests combined are called a test-scenario, which can be also automated.
The tests can have any level of complexity. Is the calculation correct? Is the right layout shown? Is the correct success or failure message displayed? To make it even more convenient, the tests can be started by the server and you don’t have to sit in front of the computer anymore to manually start the tests.

Advantages and reasons for interface tests

There is one disadvantage regarding Selenium-Tests: They have to be created cleanly. This takes time, concentration, know-how, and eventually costs money. Because there are no other disadvantages, we could almost let it pass as an advantage. However, here are the most important advantages:

  • Avoidance of annoying sales shortfalls or costs due to non-functional web-processes
  • Immediate detection of failures, that are covered by the acceptance tests
  • Systematical and fully automated check of relevant test-functions
  • Cost effective operation
  • Simple creation of new test cases in the own application through the browser
  • Very low learning barriers regarding handling and configuration
  • Open-Source-Software
  • Portability of test cases and reusability

Operationalization within your company

This is how you start with the quality assurance of your website

The usage and configuration of Selenium IDE is documented on (manufacturer’s website). We recommend to make the first steps and the implementation of the automated tests together with us.

Specific offers for workshops

Please note, that due to reasons of capacity we can only offer individual workshops that are conducted completely individual. The demand for the standard workshops mentioned below is simply not high enough at the moment and our competent employees are tied up in projects. We suggest you calculate workshop budgets starting at 2,000 USD. Only the actual effort is charged with 200 USD per hour.

Our offer for beginners: Introductory Workshop

If you have never worked with automated interface tests but are convinced of the idea to stop sales shortfalls because of non-functional website-elements, you should book our Introductory Workshop. This workshop could be conducted on-site at your location or “remote” via a desktop-sharing-session.

The Introductory Workshop will last 90 minutes and costs 280 USD (conducted by Martin Seibert or Sebastian Preuss) or 200 USD (conducted by a consultant at staff level). You can request or book this workshop via this form.

Our offer for professionals: Strategy, configuration, operation, automatization and reaction

Everybody who appreciates their website or online-application should set up and run a professional test-scenario. It is like an insurance against problems and damages to your website. We take care of:

  1. Strategy-Workshop together with you, which defines what exactly should and could be tested. (280 USD, see above)
  2. Configuration and QS for test cases for your website (e.g. 6 hours x 140 USD → 840 USD)
  3. Implementation and import of the test cases in our centralized test-automatization (e.g. 5 hours x 140 USD → 700 USD) 
  4. Monthly costs due to the permanent operation and the completion of the configured test-automatization (e.g. 200 USD)
  5. Optional: Reporting, reaction, interpretation (after consultation)

The efforts shown above are adjustable, but give you the option to get a quote and get started with us. Nevertheless, changes can be made for your specific requirements. This may be the case, if your system is not available on the public internet but is located in your own network. However, we will let you know and define the steps to be taken. You can request or book professional offer for interface-tests via this form.

Smaller difficulties during use

  • If you work with Selenium for the first time, it’s easy to have trouble with simple queries and the learning curve is much longer than actually necessary. It is often frustrating because it it is not working as planned.
  • A lack of automatization often results in irregular test-runs, which are therefore not really “experienced”.
  • You should ensure, that Selenium tests don’t distort the statistic. A simple IP filter before evaluation does the trick.
  • Processes defining the reaction to faults or problems are not in place.

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This content was last updated on 10/08/2014.

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