Automated software testing is a process in which software tools execute pre-scripted tests on a software application before it is released into production.
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The objective of automated testing is to simplify as much of the testing effort as possible with a minimum set of scripts. If unit testing consumes a large percentage of a quality assurance (QA) team's resources, for example, then this process might be a good candidate for automation. Automated testing tools are capable of executing tests, reporting outcomes and comparing results with earlier test runs. Tests carried out with these tools can be run repeatedly, at any time of day.
The method or process being used to implement automation is called a test automation framework. Several frameworks have been implemented over the years by commercial vendors and testing organizations. Automating tests with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or open source software can be complicated, however, because they almost always require customization. In many organizations, automation is only implemented when it has been determined that the manual testing program is not meeting expectations and it is not possible to bring in more human testers.