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Basic Code Review Guidelines for Automation QA

Ensuring that the automation script works correctly and does its intended task is a non-negotiable. One of the most effective methods to achieve this is through thorough code reviews. These reviews act as a lens, ensuring that the code addresses all necessary scenarios and is written in an optimized way. Without effective code review, it is always challenging to ensure whether we are going in the right direction or not.


Why do Code Reviews Matter?

Automated scripts reduce the burden of manual quality assurance. However, it's equally the duty of QA teams to ensure the written code is maintained at a high caliber. For the automation script to function as intended and to continue adding new code to the script, this is an essential step. Without a thorough examination, the script could miss possible weaknesses, and in the future, that weakness may trouble the automation QA a lot. In the long run, code review plays an important role in the testing process.

Let's take a look at essential aspects to consider during a code review. 


Validation of Critical Points

Test scripts should scrutinize every aspect of the software under scrutiny. Beyond the obvious checks, they should possess a comprehensive set of validations, leaving no stone unturned. This ensures a meticulous validation process, covering every possible aspect of the script.

Example: In a payment processing test, it's not merely confirming the transaction amount; it's about validating the payment gateway, the confirmation message, and the receipt generation.


Focused on One Goal at a Time

Each test should possess a clear, singular objective. Even if multiple validations are necessary, they should align to validate one core functionality. Mixing functionalities within a single test is discouraged, as it increases run time for simple cases and introduces unnecessary overhead. Sometimes people used to cover multiple functionalities in the same end-to-end scenarios, which in the future may cause them an extra burden in maintaining that and increase run time even for the simple cases because they are trying to cover different things that are not required for that case.

Example: A login test should remain focused solely on the login process without adding unrelated functionalities like password recovery to the same step or function.


Test Data Management

Managing test data is always a challenge for QA, whether you are a manual QA or an automation QA, but managing test data in an effective way gives QA an extra superpower. The way a test handles its test data can significantly impact the test suite's stability and reliability. Tests should be self-sufficient in managing their data, avoiding reliance on shared data that might lead to unreliable tests due to some modifications done by the previous tests.

Example: Rather than using shared login credentials in a "reset password" functionality test, you should create your own test user and reset the password for that user.


Clarity of Thought

A test's method should have a clear focus—setting up the application's state and verifying that state. It should not get entangled with implementation details. The more modular your code is, the easier it will be in the future to manage It increases code reusability across multiple tests.

Example: Initiating a video call should be a separate method, isolated from the other test method, promoting modularity and ease of maintenance.


Robust and Reliable Selectors in UI Automation

In UI automation, selectors are the heart of your script. Unreliable or unoptimized selectors will increase the unnecessary overhead, and changing them in the future is an additional burden compared to writing code for new functionalities.

Example: Relying on unique IDs for element identification and writing optimized XPaths ensures robustness and maintains script stability.


Effective Wait Strategies

Test executions are faster than real user interactions. Hence, employing efficient wait strategies to ensure the application is in the desired state for interaction is crucial. Using long waits can increase the execution time, and using short waits can fail the test, so it's become very crucial to use optimized waits throughout your script.

Example: Instead of a fixed-time interval wait, utilize conditional waits that adapt based on the application's actual state.


Adding Proper Comments

Adding meaningful comments within the code is crucial for understanding the logic and functionality, especially for fellow colleagues and reviewers. Comments should be short and clear and help in the future to understand the logic; otherwise, no one knows why this logic is written in this way. There's a popular saying about comments: "When I initially read this code, both God and I understood the logic. After six months, only God does".

Example: In an automation script for testing different functionalities, you generate some specific test data, but no one knows what logic it is using to generate data or why this function is written.



It's important to develop a culture of quality and provide the best user experience by using a thorough code review methodology for automation scripts. Software QA teams may improve the dependability and efficiency of their testing procedures by concentrating on these crucial elements during test code reviews and applying them effectively. After all, reliable testing provides reliable software for happy consumers.

Code reviews always seem to be an easy task, and most of the time reviewers pass them without actually looking into the code, but it may create a problem in the future, so whenever you need to do a code review, make sure you are following some checklists to make sure it's effective.

Happy Testing!

Naman Garg

Written by Naman Garg

Manual and Automation Tester | Quality Promoter | Technology Leader | Lifelong Learner | Software QA Engineer | Product Manager | Scalable Product Builder | Robust Solution Creator | Business Goal Achiever | Social Volunteer