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The Power of Self-Healing Test Automation

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Posted On: 3 April 2023

Over the years, application testing has evolved from a standalone activity (typically performed at the end of the application development cycle) to a more integrated and continuous process. We are entering the age of quality engineering that combines test automation, DevOps, and Agile practices. However, despite all its benefits, test automation is also associated with the problem of "fragile" test scripts, which are known to break down regularly.

So, without further ado, let's understand how self-healing test automation overcomes the challenges of traditional test automation.

What Is Self-Healing Test Automation?

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Self-Healing test automation is the technique of leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to adapt application testing dynamically to any changes in the application interface or development environment.

Why is self-healing test automation required? Traditionally, test automation tools used application components and objects to define their test cases. Whenever the application under test went through certain changes, the developer was required to update these application components and objects. If not, the test scripts broke down in response to any change in the object properties. The manual maintenance process that identified the changed object could last up to 15 minutes.

The self-healing test automation process saves this time by automatically updating the tests whenever there is any change to the application. For instance, it updates the automated tests on adding a new application feature or improving existing functionality.

In essence, self-healing test automation uses AI and ML tools to eliminate time lost due to manual updates to the test automation scripts. To that end, let's elaborate on the benefits of self-healing test automation.

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Benefits of Self-Healing Test Automation

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Self-healing is a crucial element when it comes to maintaining a test automation process. Here are some of the key benefits of self-healing test automation:

1. Saves Time and Effort in Test Maintenance

Be it manual or automation testing, QA teams spend significant time and money in performing software testing. Each time there is any change in the application, they need to adapt to new test scenarios, use cases, and features. However, self-healing test automation eliminates these overheads associated with traditional test automation.

2. Reduces the Number of Failed Tests

Failed tests occur during the application testing process. Most of the failed tests are a result of poor test maintenance. This means QA teams spend more time fixing testing flaws than fixing application bugs. Manual test maintenance can also delay product development and release to the market.

Self-healing test automation reduces (or even eliminates) the manual task of test maintenance. This, in turn, reduces the number of failed tests.

3. Prevents Object Flakiness

Object flakiness makes it challenging for QA teams to measure how stable (or not) are their test cases. Among the many reported errors, the "NoSuchElementException" error causes flakiness in the test design. QA professionals have little control over their test design.

With self-healing test automation, organizations can automatically update the test design for the application under test. This means smoother test executions and lower possibility of failure when it does not detect a particular object.

4. Improves Test Coverage

Test coverage is quite limited in manual testing. However, with test automation, QA teams can improve test coverage by building an efficient test suite (instead of recreating it). In addition, with improved test coverage, organizations can improve their application quality by testing most of its new (or enhanced) features.

Self-healing automation further improves test coverage by 5-10% by reducing the testing of any redundant application code. This leads to on-time product deliveries and improved ROI.

But how exactly does self-healing test automation work? Let's discuss.

How Does Self-Healing Test Automation Work?

In the self-healing mode, test automation is capable of the following:

  • Determining the status of the application testing
  • Detecting any code errors in the application
  • Automatically fixing any broken test cases

So, how does self-healing test automation work? Primarily, this testing technique addresses the challenge of object change that requires continuous maintenance of test automation scripts. An object is any interface item like a webpage, navigation button, or text box. Test scripts must identify each unique item on which it needs to perform an action.

How does it identify the correct object? Self-healing tests can use AI-powered data analytics to identify the exact object in the test script. This is more efficient than using wildcards and expressions to manage any variations in the object name or identifier.

What happens when the test script still fails to find the exact object? The self-healing mechanism does not shut down the process – but instead evaluates the attributes and properties of all available objects. Then, with a weighted scoring system, it selects the object most similar to the previously used object. Thanks to its speed, self-healing can evaluate up to 10 objects in less than 0.05 seconds.

In the self-healing mode, test automation can remediate up to 35 object changes in less than a fraction of a second. As object properties change, the self-healing mechanism is automatically activated – and starts comparing similar objects with previous object data.

Why Choose ACCELQ for Test Automation

With its AI-powered codeless test automation platform, ACCELQ is the best tool for organizations to implement a comprehensive test automation process. Here are the top reasons to choose ACCELQ as your test automation platform:

  • Cloud-powered test automation at the enterprise level
  • AI-powered self-healing capabilities
  • Seamless integration with Agile and DevOps environments
  • Visually intuitive user interface along with easy element identification
  • A design-first approach that promotes reusability and modularity

In the age of constant changes to application code, the "traditional" mode of test automation is no longer sufficient to keep the testing process on track. As it stands, the AI-powered self-healing test automation is the best solution to achieve speed and efficiency.

At ACCELQ, we can help you improve the quality and efficiency of your software testing process. Connect with our QA consultants today to learn more. Or, sign up for a 14-day free trial.


Director, Product Evangelist at ACCELQ.

Geosley is a Test Automation Evangelist and Community builder at ACCELQ. Being passionate about continuous learning, Geosley helps ACCELQ with innovative solutions to transform test automation to be simpler, more reliable, and sustainable for the real world.

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