24.08.2023 11:30

Mainframe Test Automation

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We are not exaggerating when we state that more than half the global businesses are running on Mainframe. It is the power behind the world’s top banks, largest companies, and top US retailers. The BFSI (Banking, financial services) runs on the Mainframe, which enables up to 1.1 million customer transactions every second.

Despite the importance of the platform, the Mainframe is sub-par when it comes to testing, especially in an age where automation is powering development life cycles. Most of the mainframe testing is done manually, leading to bottlenecks in crucial development stages. Moreover, relying on manual testing may hold you back from moving forward in this digital era. Many candidates skilled in automated testing are seeking mainframe jobs in USA. By recruiting them, you can leverage their skills to your advantage.

Read on to learn more about manual and automated testing for mainframes and why automated mainframe testing will be the path forward.

What Is Mainframe Testing & How Is It Done?

By simple definition, mainframe testing refers to testing software services and applications that run on mainframe systems. The process uses validation and verification methods to assess the software’s performance, quality, and reliability. It also ensures that the software is good enough to be deployed.

Testers rely on three factors for mainframe testing:

  1. The mainframe application or the batch job is tested against the test cases developed using the requirements.
  2. The testing is normally done on the deployed application with various data combinations set as input.
  3. Mainframe applications are accessed through a terminal emulator- software that is installed on the client’s machine.

How is Mainframe Testing Done?

A mainframe application is tested in two parts:

  1. Testing requirements in which the application is tested to see if it aligns with the functionality or changes mentioned in the requirements specification.
  2. Testing integration in which the process that sends and receives data from the affected application is tested.

There are two ways to complete a mainframe testing process– manually or with automation tools.

Manual mainframe testing involves testing two kinds of applications

  1. Batch job testing involves the execution of batch jobs for the functionality implemented in the current release.
  2. Online testing refers to the testing of the CICS screens to implement changes or add new screens.

Automated mainframe testing uses tools like REXX, QTP, and Excel to conduct a series of tests. It requires no human intervention, and it is the best way to increase test coverage and execution speed.

Once an application is chosen for testing, the process goes through various stages:

  • The business team prepares the specification documents for testing, which details how the software will be modified in the release cycle.
  • The testing and development teams analyze the requirements specifications to understand the processes to be tested.
  • The teams will list the processes affected by the changes in the release cycle.

Normally, the customization affects only 20-25% of the application. The remaining 75% relates to out-of-the-box functionalities like testing the application and processes.

However, you should step up your manual mainframe testing and development with the right automation tools to meet the demand for better release cycles. But when you make the transition from manual to automated testing, you are bound to hit some roadblocks.

From Manual To Automated Testing: Hurdles To Expect With The Change

  1. One of the main barriers to making the switch is the lack of adequate developer resources. Yes, there is an increasing workload, and expectations for quality delivery are also huge. However, the number of mainframe specialists with good experience in testing jobs in USA is becoming scarce.
  2. Manual testing is time-consuming and inefficient. Developers often omit steps like unit testing or “finish” because it slows down the development process. The end result is a lower quality code.
  3. As there is a limited number of skilled mainframe programmers, the developers will focus only on development rather than testing. Those in charge of testing focus mainly on exploratory testing, improving test design, and user experience.

Automated testing makes teams more agile and speeds up the entire release cycle. Furthermore, it improves the accuracy and speed of repetitive tasks, resulting in fewer risks and better productivity. Automation is an investment, but it improves your resources, enhances the product, and results in a great customer experience, which is what you want.

So what stops organizations from shifting to automated testing for mainframe applications?

  1. The challenge lies in the fact that creating the automated tests ultimately requires the same mainframe developers to set up the automation. With mainframe developers in scarcity, this will only overburden them.
  2. Further, most organizations are reluctant to prioritize automation for mainframe testing. This is mainly due to the lack of adequate knowledge on how to go about automating the tests.
  3. Finally, it is the perceived fear inherent in mainframe-run organizations that stops them from embracing change. Most organizations truly believe that the “green screen” cannot be meddled with.

But it’s time that organizations overcome these inhibitions. It would do well for them to recognize that these tools and methods should be replaced with emerging alternatives if they were to keep up with the agile disruptors of the digital era.

Benefits Of Mainframe Automation Testing

Automated mainframe testing delivers the following benefits:

  • Ensures consistency, accuracy, and reliability
  • Saves expenses and time spent in testing
  • Provides reusable test scripts
  • Covers a wide range of application features
  • Allows better cycle of execution

Successful mainframe testing requires the correct selection of automation tools and testing processes. Above all, you need an expert team that’s well-versed in both manual and automated testing.

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