Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't Drive Around in a Horseless Carriage, and Don't Automate Manual Tests!

One of the memes doing the rounds these days is that automated testing isn’t different from manual testing, and in fact, you should simplify by thinking of these two modes of quality measurement in the same way.

That way of thinking is very self-limiting and therefore expensive. I will illustrate this with an analogy.

Back in the 1890’s, this was a stylish way to get around:

Then, this happened:

And, people could ride this:


Notice some things about this gasoline-powered car:

The rear wheels are bigger than the front.

One steers the thing with a tiller.

It looks a lot like the horse-drawn buggy that woman is driving, doesn’t it?

But, when people say you should think of automated tests just like manual tests, and even say that the word “automation” should be removed as a meaningless identifier, they’re well-intentioned, but the real consequence of what they’re saying is that they want you to get around town in something like this motorcar from a century ago.

Meanwhile, what you really want to be driving is something like this Tesla Model S:


In the last century, people have figured out that with modern infrastructure in modern society, it doesn’t make sense to drive around in something that looks like a horse belongs in front of it.

I submit that it’s time to do test automation that’s optimized for automated processes, and not approach it as if it were the same as manual testing.

The Atomic Check pattern, the least dependent pattern in the MetaAutomation pattern language, does exactly this. To learn more, check out other entries in this blog or see my book on MetaAutomation on Amazon.


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