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Difference Between QA and QE

Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Engineering (QE) are vital elements in the software development lifecycle, yet each one focuses on different process aspects. QA is a narrower practice that aims to ensure the quality of the product before its delivery by deploying appropriate software testing techniques and maintaining a consistent quality framework. QA primarily focuses on detecting and correcting defects in the product.

QE is a broader approach that encompasses the entire product lifecycle. It integrates quality checks at each production stage and aims to prevent defects rather than just detect them. QE leverages data-driven insights and implements rigorous processes to ensure quality from the inception of the product development process.

Both QA and QE align with the Agile methodology and DevOps through continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD).

QA is about maintaining a consistent level of quality through testing and adherence to standards, while QE is about building quality into the product from the beginning and throughout its lifecycle.

Shift-Left Methodology

The term "shift-left" is derived from the concept of moving software testing to the left (or earlier stage) on the sequential timeline of the process. This method identifies and fixes issues or bugs at the earliest possible stage, thus enhancing code quality and decreasing the overall project time and cost.

Here are some additional points regarding the benefits of the Shift Left methodology:

  • Parallel development of test and feature: It encourages parallel development of test cases and enables the Agile team to collaborate more effectively, fostering a seamless workflow.
  • Expands the role of test engineers: The role of QE engineers extends beyond traditional test case writing and execution. It actively involves refining product quality by closely collaborating with both the product and development teams.
  • Enhances collaboration and access: The QE engineers gain comprehensive access to product features, enabling them to construct a robust automation framework. This accessibility also allows active participation with the development team if necessary locator changes occur before the pull request merges with the development code.

Why Test Automation is Important

Test automation has a substantial business benefit for several reasons. The most obvious benefit is that it optimizes speed and accuracy, reducing the chance of human error and increasing the efficiency of testing processes.

Test automation also increases test coverage, ensuring that all aspects of the product are thoroughly examined, which can help identify potential issues that might have been overlooked in manually performed functional testing. The reusability of test suites enables repeated testing of specific functions or procedures. It helps improve scalability while saving time and costs.

From a business perspective, automated testing enables faster time to market by shortening the feedback cycle and accelerating the validation of newly developed features. It also provides better insights into failures, which can help in the early detection and prevention of defects, reducing bug-fixing costs and effort. Automation testing can simulate a user environment, providing a more realistic and effective testing scenario.

Why Cypress Test Automation

A comprehensive research and discovery phase was undertaken by our team to identify the most suitable test automation tool (see Top Ten Software Automation Testing Tools Compared). We found that Cypress Test Automation works best for a Shift Left Methodology.

Cypress has a vast roster of features. Table 1 summarizes the features we found most attractive for this project.

Feature Description
Efficient Execution The Cypress CLI facilitates group-based test execution, enabling targeted testing of specific features. This efficiency is essential in managing test suites and ensuring thorough testing of critical functionalities.
Robust Capabilities Cypress' headless and headed modes empower our team with robust debugging capabilities. This feature significantly reduces the turnaround time for issue resolution, ensuring a smoother development process.
Real-Time Reloads Our automation framework is designed for continuous testing. Tests automatically run upon saving code changes, providing rapid feedback on the impact of modifications. This approach accelerates the development cycle while maintaining confidence in code quality. Cypress offers real-time reloading as you make changes to your test scripts. It instantly shows the impact of code modifications.
Cypress Runner Intelligence The Cypress Runner offers intelligent guidance on DOM interactions and suggests corrective actions to resolve errors swiftly. This feature enhances our team's productivity and troubleshooting efficiency.
Bundled Test Runner Cypress has its own test runner, making it easy to set up and run tests without external dependencies.
Assertions Cypress has built-in assertions for common actions, like checking if an element exists, has a specific class, or contains a particular text.

The “Automatic Screenshots and Videos" feature in Cypress is a powerful debugging tool that can greatly assist in diagnosing issues when your tests fail. Table 2 summarizes how this feature works and how it aids in debugging:

Feature Description Benefit
Automatic Capturing Cypress has built-in capabilities to automatically capture screenshots and record videos while executing your test cases. These captures are triggered whenever an error or assertion failure occurs.
Visual Evidence Screenshots provide visual evidence of the state of your application at the time of failure. You can access the screenshot taken at the precise moment a test fails. Allows you to see the application output, which can be invaluable in understanding why the test failed.
Step-by-Step Playback Cypress allows you to review the captured screenshots in a step-by-step manner. You can repeat the test run, observe how the application evolved through each test step, and pinpoint where things went wrong.
Video Recordings In addition to screenshots, Cypress records a video of the entire test run. This is particularly useful when issues involve interactions and animations that are best understood in motion. You can watch the video to gain insights into the sequence of events leading to the failure.
Debugging Efficiency With screenshots and videos, you can efficiently debug test failures. Instead of relying solely on error messages or logs, you have visual proof of what happened, making it easier to identify UI-related problems, unexpected behavior, or regressions.
Shareable Evidence Screenshots and videos can be shared with team members, especially developers, to give them a clear picture of the problem. This visual evidence helps in collaborative debugging efforts, eliminating ambiguity in bug reports.
Configuration Options Cypress provides configuration options to control when and how screenshots and videos are captured. You can fine-tune this feature to meet your specific debugging needs.

Making the Shift to Test Automation

For one of the large global retailers, our engineers decided to house Cypress test automation within the same repository as the application's source code to streamline development. This enabled seamless collaboration between developers and QA. After that, we built a Proof of Concept (POC) with Cypress, demonstrating its capabilities and potential benefits.

Here are the details on how we made the shift to test automation.