Optimizing Web Development with Front-End Automated Testing

June 30, 2023

Optimizing Web Development with Front-End Automated Testing

Research done by Chris

All that matters to end users is what they see on the screen. Before a site goes live, the company must play the role of a scrutinizing critic, checking how it looks and functions.

After all, front-end testing is the secret ingredient to serve up an impeccable graphical user interface (GUI). But what is there to know about this testing process?

In this blog, we will cover the basics of front-end testing and how it can help optimize web development.

What Is Front-End Testing?

Front-end testing involves validating the graphical interface of websites or mobile applications to ensure a seamless user experience. It focuses on evaluating features, checking for bugs or errors, and assessing the functionality and usability of online applications.

Conducting front-end testing ensures the look and feel align with user requirements and verifies the correct functioning of essential features, such as adding items to a shopping cart. Hence, it plays a crucial role in delivering high-quality digital products and should always be part of the development process.

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8 Types of Front-End Testing Process

There are several testing approaches you can do when it comes to the front end. Each approach has its own purpose and objectives. So, it’s important to know which ones will best suit your web development project.

Here are some of the most common types of front-end testing:

1. Unit testing

Every code bit should function independently. A unit is the smallest testable part of the software. Unit tests are the lowest-level testing among different types.

Testers check individual components of software or application, usually with one or more inputs and a single output. A unit test ensures that the code works as expected before building bigger features. It includes calculations and input validations.

2. Visual regression testing

When there are system changes, regression testing ensures they don’t conflict with existing functionality or code architecture. Visual regression tests involve capturing and using test files and comparing UI screenshots to detect any differences.

In visual regression testing, testers use image comparison tools to detect differences. Also known as visual snapshot tests, this is conducted in the final stages of building something new.

3. Cross-browser testing

Cross-browser compatibility testing is a must for front-end testing. It ensures that a website works how it’s supposed to on multiple browsers, devices, and operating systems.

It’s all about delivering seamless user experiences and ensuring flawless application performance across multiple platforms. From compatibility testing on various device-OS combinations to implementing responsive design, every detail matters to create an exceptional user journey.

4. Integration testing

Integration testing makes sure that different software units or modules play nicely together, checking if they communicate well and can catch any errors that may pop up. It looks at how systems with multiple connected elements behave. These tests come after unit tests.

Integration tests ensure effective communication between the UI and API, enhancing the user experience. It also validates the interaction between microservices for smooth functioning and inter-dependability. Overall, integration testing checks that the application interface and API exchange data optimally.

performance testing quote

5. Performance testing

Site or application performance is crucial in technical culture. Performance testing assesses product stability, responsiveness, and speed. It also evaluates device performance in various conditions.

Many plug-and-play tools are available for performance testing, some allowing customization of test execution. Determining application performance is always a part of the development process, and it can be done using user-friendly and readily available tools.

6. Acceptance testing

Acceptance testing determines if a software system meets predetermined specifications. It evaluates compliance with business, technical, and aesthetic requirements to satisfy stakeholders and end-users.

Acceptance tests include User Acceptance Testing and Business Acceptance Testing. The former checks performance standards from the users’ perspective, while the latter ensures alignment with business goals.

7. Accessibility testing

Accessibility Testing is a technique that checks if all internet users, including those with disabilities or special needs, can easily access a website or app.

Doing this ensures that specific conditions don’t prevent anyone from accessing online resources quickly. The main task is to test scripts to determine compatibility with tools like screen readers, ensuring accessibility for all.

8. End-to-end testing

End-to-end testing makes sure that the application performs as expected in all scenarios. It’s also helpful in finding system dependencies and resolving any setup or system-related issues. This ensures a smooth flow of the application from start to finish. End-to-end tests help maintain data integrity between systems and components. Additionally, it helps identify system dependencies and allows testers to fix any setup or system-related issues.

Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing

When it comes to testing, whether you prefer manual tests or automated testing really depends on what you want to achieve.

Manual tests help identify issues in test cases that are not visible or repeatable, while automated testing is faster and more accurate for repetitive tasks. However, manual testing is often more cost-efficient and can be used to identify user experience issues.

Running tests for your front-end development can take a long time, so manual testing is not always the best option. Test automation is the process of testing various parts of new software with little to no human involvement. Essentially, it ensures every aspect of a software design works without a human sitting in front of a computer devoting hours to manual tests.

Either way, it’s all about determining the right combination of automated front-end tests that works for you and your project. For example, you may decide to have unit tests automated but visual regression and acceptance tests done manually. This way, you can control quality while saving time and resources.

javascript coding

JavaScript Test Automation Frameworks

JavaScript is one of the most widely used programming languages by developers, including test automation engineers. JavaScript has successfully kept its popularity over the years, and it is unlikely that its acclaim is going to diminish in the near future. 

Given the fact that this programming language has been in such high demand over the past several years, many automation frameworks have emerged in order to aid engineers in testing JavaScript applications.

Here’s a look at some JavaScript test automation frameworks, including the pros and cons of each:

Cypress

Cypress framework is a JavaScript-based end-to-end testing framework built on top of Mocha, a feature-rich JavaScript test framework running on and in the browser, making asynchronous testing simple and convenient Unit tests in Cypress are executed without even having to run a web server. That makes Cypress the ideal testing tool for testing a JS/TS library meant to be used in the browser.

Jest

Jest is an open-source testing framework built on JavaScript designed majorly to work with React and React Native-based web applications. Often, unit tests are not very useful when you run tests on the front end of any software. This is mostly because unit tests for the front end require extensive, time-consuming configuration. This complexity can be reduced to a great extent with the Jest framework.

Puppeteer

Puppeteer is a Node library that can also be used for test automation, providing a high-level API for controlling headless Chrome through Chrome DevTools Protocol. It allows the tester to perform browser-specific tasks such as accessing web pages using DOM API, automating form submissions, keyboard inputs, etc., and using commands in JavaScript, which are helpful in performing automated UI testing for Chrome or Chromium browsers.

WebdriverIO

WebdriverIO is an open-source testing automation framework written in JavaScript and running on NodeJS. It is particularly useful for testing web applications and native mobile applications for iOS-enabled devices. It comes under the umbrella of Selenium. All the capabilities of Selenium are also available in WebdriverIO, along with certain accessory assertions available for validations.

  Cypress Jest Puppeteer WebDriverIO
Price Free / Premium Free Free Free
Supported programming language Supports Javascript/Typescripts Supports Javascript Supports Javascript/Typescripts Supports Javascripts/Typescripts
Interface Has a GUI and CLI No GUI, uses CLI instead No GUI, uses CLI instead Uses CLI but runs the test on a browser
Dashboard and Reports Has a dashboard to see recorded tests and details of the events during execution. No dashboard No dashboard No dashboard
Supported Testing Methods End-to-End Testing, Integration Testing, Unit Testing Unit Testing More on UI Testing End-to-End Testing, Integration Testing, Unit Testing
Supports recording? Can record tests run for review No Uses the Chrome DevTools to record Puppeteer scripts by recording the actions you do in your Chrome browser Uses the Chrome DevTools to record and generate scripts
Supports parallel testing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Supports screenshots? Yes No Yes Yes
Integration Gitlab, Github, Bitbucket, Slack, and Jira Need to install additional library to integrate cloud services and tools Need to install additional library to integrate cloud services and tools Need to install additional library to integrate cloud services and tools
Supported browsers Only supports browsers like Chrome, Electron and Firefox No browser support Only supports browsers like Chrome, Electron, and Firefox Supports Javascript/Typescripts

5 Tips for Better Frontend Testing

Even with access to automated front-end testing tools, there are still a few tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your tests.

Here are a few tips for better front-end testing:

Plot the coverage of your tests

Before diving into testing, create a well-defined test plan that outlines the scope and objectives of your testing efforts. Identify critical functionalities and prioritize them based on their impact and frequency of use. This will help you focus your testing efforts and ensure you cover your front-end application’s most important aspects.

Use automated testing tools

Leverage automation tools and frameworks like Cypress to automate repetitive and time-consuming testing tasks. Automation allows you to execute tests more quickly, repeatedly, and accurately. It also frees up your time to focus on more complex scenarios and exploratory testing.

Test across multiple devices

Front-end applications need to be compatible with various browsers, devices, and screen sizes. It’s crucial to perform cross-browser and cross-device testing to ensure consistent functionality and appearance across different platforms. Use browser testing tools like BrowserStack or Sauce Labs to test your application on multiple environments easily.

Implement continuous integration and deployment

Integrate your testing process with a continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) testing pipeline. This ensures that tests are run automatically whenever new code changes are introduced. CI/CD helps catch issues early in the development process and facilitates faster feedback cycles. It also promotes collaboration between developers and testers, leading to better code quality.

Consider outsourcing companies

If you have little to no experience in front-end web testing, you may want to consider outsourcing companies that specialize in automated testing. They can help set up a comprehensive test strategy for your application and provide valuable insights into the testing process. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that everything is taken care of while saving time and resources.

Remember, successful front-end testing requires a combination of thorough planning, efficient tools, comprehensive coverage, and a focus on both functional and non-functional aspects of your application.

Conclusion

Based on the evaluation of the four JavaScript automation frameworks, Cypress emerges as our top choice. It has modern and powerful features, comprehensive documentation, and detailed and interactive tests.

Cypress offers a robust framework that we think would be helpful for test automation. Although it has some limitations and mishaps that other frameworks offer, like the Safari browser support or support for other programming languages, it still has more to offer than the others.

programmers working on a project

Need Front-End Development Services?

In today’s world, it’s important to have a website that is optimized for both mobile and desktop users. If you need help optimizing your website or developing a new one from scratch, look no further than our front-end development from StarTechUP.

With decades of experience building websites with modern technologies like React and Angular, our team can provide you with the best web development services available. We are committed to delivering the highest quality products while staying up-to-date with the latest trends in web development.

Contact us today and let us help you create a website that will drive more traffic and leads for your business!

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin

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