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As more teams move to an agile model, setting up a flexible framework for automated testing is crucial. A hybrid framework can be more easily adapted to get the best test results. One recommended approach for implementing a hybrid framework for automated testing, is to find a tool that can quickly and easily adapt to your processes. When choosing an automated testing tool, you should look for one that is flexible and can support a wide range of applications and languages. This will enable your team, regardless of background and skill set, to contribute to your testing efforts.

TestComplete, our automated testing tool that allows QA teams to create and run UI and functional tests across mobile, desktop and web applications, provides a comprehensive environment for building and maintaining automated testing projects. TestComplete supports a wide variety of scripting languages, such as Python, JavaScript, Java and VBScript, and comes with an extensive object library that has over fifty thousand object properties and more than five hundred control types.

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With these features, any team can easily build a hybrid framework that TestComplete supports and will allow teams to implement a myriad of testing types, including data-driven testing and keyword-driven testing. Test Automation Frameworks. Types of Automated Testing Frameworks There are six common types of test automation frameworks, each with their own architecture and differing benefits and disadvantages. Advantages of a linear framework: There is no need to write custom code, so expertise in test automation is not necessary.

This is one of the fastest ways to generate test scripts since they can be easily recorded in a minimal amount of time. The test workflow is easier to understand for any party involved in testing since the scripts are laid out in a sequential manner. This is also the easiest way to get up and running with automated testing, especially with a new tool. The data is hardcoded into the test script, meaning the test cases cannot be re-run with multiple sets and will need to be modified if the data is altered.

Maintenance is considered a hassle because any changes to the application will require a lot of rework. This model is not particularly scalable as the scope of testing expands. Modular Based Testing Framework Implementing a modular framework will require testers to divide the application under test into separate units, functions, or sections, each of which will be tested in isolation.

Creating test cases takes less effort because test scripts for different modules can be reused. Programming knowledge is required to set up the framework. Library Architecture Testing Framework The library architecture framework for automated testing is based on the modular framework, but has some additional benefits. Advantages of a LIbrary Architecture Testing Framework: Similar to the modular framework, utilizing this architecture will lead to a high level of modularization, which makes test maintenance and scalability easier and more cost effective.

This framework has a higher degree of reusability because there is a library of common functions that can be used by multiple test scripts. Disadvantages: Test data is still hard coded into the script. Testing frameworks are an essential part of any successful automated testing process.

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They can reduce maintenance costs and testing efforts and will provide a higher return on investment ROI for QA teams looking to optimize their agile processes. The goal of this article is to walk through the most common types of frameworks used today and the benefits and disadvantages of each. For QA professionals new to automated testing, or those who need a quick refresher, this article will provide a high-level overview of each type of framework and how they can contribute to the success of any automated testing process.


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A testing framework is a set of guidelines or rules used for creating and designing test cases. A framework is comprised of a combination of practices and tools that are designed to help QA professionals test more efficiently. These guidelines could include coding standards, test-data handling methods, object repositories, processes for storing test results, or information on how to access external resources.

While these are not mandatory rules and testers can still script or record tests without following them, using an organized framework typically provides additional benefits that would otherwise be missed out on. They are essential to an efficient automated testing process for a few key reasons:. A common trend to minimize risk is to test earlier in the Test Automation Framework. Download a free day trial to Automate in your IDE today! There are six common types of test automation frameworks, each with their own architecture and differing benefits and disadvantages.

In this process, the tester records each step such as navigation, user input, or checkpoints, and then plays the script back automatically to conduct the test.

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Implementing a modular framework will require testers to divide the application under test into separate units, functions, or sections, each of which will be tested in isolation. After breaking down the application into individual modules, a test script is created for each part and then combined to build larger tests in a hierarchical fashion. These larger sets of tests will begin to represent various test cases. The library architecture framework for automated testing is based on the modular framework, but has some additional benefits. Instead of dividing the application under test into the various scripts that need to be run, similar tasks within the scripts are identified and later grouped by function, so the application is ultimately broken down by common objectives.

These functions are kept in a library which can be called upon by the test scripts whenever needed. Using a data-driven framework separates the test data from script logic, meaning testers can store data externally. Very frequently, testers find themselves in a situation where they need to test the same feature or function of an application multiple times with different sets of data.


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The test scripts are connected to the external data source and told to read and populate the necessary data when needed. In a keyword-driven framework, each function of the application under test is laid out in a table with a series of instructions in consecutive order for each test that needs to be run.

In a similar fashion to the data-driven framework, the test data and script logic are separated in a keyword-driven framework, but this approach takes it a step further. For example, the root cause of weak authentication vulnerability might be the lack of mutual authentication when data crosses a trust boundary between the client and server tiers of the application. A security requirement that captures the threat of non-repudiation during an architecture design review allows for the documentation of the requirement for the countermeasure e.

A threat and countermeasure categorization for vulnerabilities can also be used to document security requirements for secure coding such as secure coding standards. An example of a common coding error in authentication controls consists of applying an hash function to encrypt a password, without applying a seed to the value.

From the secure coding perspective, this is a vulnerability that affects the encryption used for authentication with a vulnerability root cause in a coding error. Since the root cause is insecure coding the security requirement can be documented in secure coding standards and validated through secure code reviews during the development phase of the SDLC.

Security Testing and Risk Analysis Security requirements need to take into consideration the severity of the vulnerabilities to support a risk mitigation strategy. Assuming that the organization maintains a repository of vulnerabilities found in applications i.

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Such a vulnerability knowledge base can also be used to establish a metrics to analyze the effectiveness of the security tests throughout the SDLC. For example, consider an input validation issue, such as a SQL injection, which was identified via source code analysis and reported with a coding error root cause and input validation vulnerability type. The exposure of such vulnerability can be assessed via a penetration test, by probing input fields with several SQL injection attack vectors.

This test might validate that special characters are filtered before hitting the database and mitigate the vulnerability. By combining the results of source code analysis and penetration testing it is possible to determine the likelihood and exposure of the vulnerability and calculate the risk rating of the vulnerability. By reporting vulnerability risk ratings in the findings e. For example, high and medium risk vulnerabilities can be prioritized for remediation, while low risk can be fixed in further releases.

By considering the threat scenarios of exploiting common vulnerabilities it is possible to identify potential risks that the application security control needs to be security tested for. For example, the OWASP Top Ten vulnerabilities can be mapped to attacks such as phishing, privacy violations, identify theft, system compromise, data alteration or data destruction, financial loss, and reputation loss. Such issues should be documented as part of the threat scenarios.

By thinking in terms of threats and vulnerabilities, it is possible to devise a battery of tests that simulate such attack scenarios. Ideally, the organization vulnerability knowledge base can be used to derive security risk driven tests cases to validate the most likely attack scenarios. For example, if identity theft is considered high risk, negative test scenarios should validate the mitigation of impacts deriving from the exploit of vulnerabilities in authentication, cryptographic controls, input validation, and authorization controls.

Functional Security Requirements From the perspective of functional security requirements, the applicable standards, policies and regulations drive both the need for a type of security control as well as the control functionality. The validation of positive requirements consists of asserting the expected functionality and can be tested by re-creating the testing conditions and running the test according to predefined inputs. The results are then shown as as a fail or pass condition.

In order to validate security requirements with security tests, security requirements need to be function driven and they need to highlight the expected functionality the what and implicitly the implementation the how. Examples of high-level security design requirements for authentication can be:. Risk Driven Security Requirements Security tests need also to be risk driven, that is they need to validate the application for unexpected behavior.

Negative requirements are more difficult to test, because there is no expected behavior to look for. This might require a threat analyst to come up with unforeseeable input conditions, causes, and effects. This is where security testing needs to be driven by risk analysis and threat modeling. The key is to document the threat scenarios and the functionality of the countermeasure as a factor to mitigate a threat.

For example, in the case of authentication controls, the following security requirements can be documented from the threats and countermeasure perspective:. Threat modeling tools such as threat trees and attack libraries can be useful to derive the negative test scenarios. A threat tree will assume a root attack e. A prerequisite to describing the application functionality is to understand what the application is supposed to do and how.

This can be done by describing use cases. Use cases, in the graphical form as commonly used in software engineering, show the interactions of actors and their relations. They help to identify the actors in the application, their relationships, the intended sequence of actions for each scenario, alternative actions, special requirements, preconditions and and post-conditions.

Similar to use cases, misuse and abuse cases [19] describe unintended and malicious use scenarios of the application. These misuse cases provide a way to describe scenarios of how an attacker could misuse and abuse the application. By going through the individual steps in a use scenario and thinking about how it can be maliciously exploited, potential flaws or aspects of the application that are not well-defined can be discovered.

The key is to describe all possible or, at least, the most critical use and misuse scenarios.

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Misuse scenarios allow the analysis of the application from the attacker's point of view and contribute to identifying potential vulnerabilities and the countermeasures that need to be implemented to mitigate the impact caused by the potential exposure to such vulnerabilities. Given all of the use and abuse cases, it is important to analyze them to determine which of them are the most critical ones and need to be documented in security requirements. The identification of the most critical misuse and abuse cases drives the documentation of security requirements and the necessary controls where security risks should be mitigated.

To derive security requirements from use and misuse case [20] it is important to define the functional scenarios and the negative scenarios and put these in graphical form. In the case of derivation of security requirements for authentication, for example, the following step-by-step methodology can be followed. Security Testing in the Development Workflow Security testing during the development phase of the SDLC represents the first opportunity for developers to ensure that the individual software components they have developed are security tested before they are integrated with other components and built into the application.