Experiences of Test Automation

I recently received my copy of Experiences of Test Automation: Case Studies of Software Test Automation. I contributed chapter 19: There’s More to Automation than Regression Testing: Thinking Outside the Box. I’m recommending this book not only because I am a contributor, but I have enjoyed the raw honesty about test automation by experienced practitioners. Finally, we have a book that provides balanced, realistic, experienced-based content.

For years, it seems that test automation writing is dominated by cheerleading, tool flogging, hype and hyperbole. (There are some exceptions, but I still run into exaggerations and how automation is an unquestioning good far too often.) The division between the promoters of the practice (ie. those who make a lot of money from it), the decision makers they convince and the technical practitioners is often deep. It can be galling to constantly see outright claptrap about how automation is a cure to all ills, or views that only talk about benefits without also pointing out drawbacks and limitations. It’s really difficult to implement something worthwhile in a world of hype and misinformation that skews implementation ideas and the expected results. This book is refreshingly different.

I agreed to contribute after talking to Dot Graham – she wanted content that was relevant, real, and honest. She said their goal for the book was a balanced view from real practitioners on the ground who would talk about good points, but we also needed to be honest about bad points and challenges we had to overcome. Dot liked my Man and Machine work and asked me to expand on that concept.

Now that I have a copy of the book, I find myself smiling at the honesty and reality described within. Did I really just read that? Where else will you find an admission of: “We tried tool____, and it was a complete disaster?

If you’re serious about automation, consider buying this book. It is chock full of real-world experience, and you are bound to find at least one lesson that you can apply directly to your automation effort. That is worth the cost alone, especially when we are constantly bombarded with distorted ideals and hype. You won’t agree with everything, and we all have preferences and biases, but the real-world honesty is a constant theme, and a breath of fresh air.