Testing automation can be a complicated process. Because it boils down to testing engineers creating a software that will check over other software, it only really saves time when the software needing review is stable and has many uniform parts. For example: a website whose content pages all follow the same page layout. Too many differences or too many changes too often, and your testers will spend so much time rewriting their testing automation software that it saves you no time compared to testing it manually!
It’s unreasonable, though, to expect that the software being tested will never change existing segments of its code. By using modular programming, software testing engineers can still reliably check changing portions of existing code without having to rewrite the testing automation software every time it changes.
What is Modular Programming?
Modular programming is a technique where software developers (or in the case of testing automation software, software testers) write individual “modules” of code to perform individual functions. A module, also known as a package, assembly or unit, is an independent portion of code which can act as a single building block for building more complex systems of code without the need to completely rewrite multiple bits of software every time a change is made.
For example, a testing automation software may have a module of code for checking that the cart button on each page of an ecommerce site works, another for confirming that users can successfully input their address into a form, and another that makes sure their cart correctly displays the items selected.
With modular programming, each one of those modules can be changed individually. For example, if the image file for the cart button is changed, only the module for testing the cart button needs to be updated to reference the new image file. If the testing automation software was written as one monolithic block of code, that one change would cause the testing software to fail with new updates. With modular programming, the testing automation only needs to change the individual modules affected by a change, while the overall code of the automated test remains the same.
How Modular Programming Benefits Testing Automation
Modular programming means more software code can be tested via test automation software, as more of the test will reference individual independent modules. It also provides the software testing team with the building blocks to build new or more complex testing automation programs in the future. Instead of rewriting the same instructions in the testing software for each automated test, you simply have to change the module in question. Because all tests reference that module, they will all have the proper instructions replaced without needing to have the whole software rewritten.
By layering modules in a hierarchy, testing engineers can save the time that would be required writing and rewriting testing automation software despite updates made to any modules lower in the hierarchy. Since saving time and effort is the goal of testing automation in the first place, modular programming in testing automation is a logical and intuitive technique to employ for testers working on more changeable software.