What is ServiceNow Automated Test Framework (ATF), & why should I use it?

January 27, 2020

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N Priya Saravanan

Senior Technical Lead - vServe24/7

In today’s era of continuous delivery, organizations are implementing innovative testing methodologies to accelerate their deployment and stay ahead of the curve. To accommodate the need for speed, ServiceNow offers a ready-to-go solution - Automated Test Framework (ATF) that facilitates and expedites the testing process for upgrades and deployments in ServiceNow.

Automated Test Framework was one of the most promising features of ServiceNow’s Istanbul release, launched in January 2017. This unique feature facilitates the creation and execution of automated test cases on ServiceNow instances and has gained widespread acceptance among users ever since its release.

As a ServiceNow application, ATF can be used to automate the tests performed to validate applications, configurations, or customizations. It offers the tools required to create and run tests on a ServiceNow non-production instance. ATF allows users to perform functional testing with actions such as creating records, determining field values, and verifying results of field values. If the test results are negative, ATF informs the users about the underlying problem behind the error. Also, ATF is free with the Now Platform and implements tools that your developers are acquainted with.

The need for ATF

ServiceNow releases upgrades every six months. While cited as one of the advantages of the ServiceNow platform, a common challenge that customers face while upgrading ServiceNow instances, is testing. Peer testing of all modules and integrations after an upgrade is a big challenge for customers. Depending on the complexity of the instance, it can take weeks of regression testing to detect minor errors, which are resolved almost instantaneously. Another customer pain point is that manual testing is time-intensive, liable to errors, and often unpredictable. In such a scenario, ATF poses as a time-saving solution for ServiceNow customers who wish to upgrade while reducing test times.

Benefits of using ATF

ServiceNow ATF brings in numerous benefits that deliver faster results during implementation and upgrades. Following are some of the benefits of implementing the Automated Test Framework:

  • Tests cover several metrics including application navigation, form validation, form submission, accommodation portal, server-side scripting, REST operation, and testing catalog items
  • Test cases are engendered in lesser time and with inhibited code
  • ATF provides ease of scripting
  • It offers modularity by breaking down bigger tasks into simple, manageable chunks
  • With ATF, errors can be identified in the development phase itself while we run the test cases
  • It performs inimitable regression testing in development and test instance
  • It allows users to perform the testing of custom application(s)
  • ATF can set up scheduled testing which runs automatically without any manual interventions
  • It supports multi-browser testing
  • Automated notification and report functionalities are possible with ATF
  • Reduction in testing effort, time and resource allocation

What ATF does not do

ATF has huge potential in streamlining the testing process for ServiceNow instances. However, there are a few limitations that need to be taken into consideration:

  • Testing tabbed sections and adding fields require manual testing
  • ATF has some constraints on portal testing
  • ATF is not a load testing or performance testing application
  • ATF is not intended for testing all UI components of your ServiceNow instance
  • ATF can be used but is not recommended for unit testing

What is the best practice process for using ATF?

ServiceNow Practice

Overall, the Automated Test Framework is a highly effective solution that can empower Test-Driven Development. It minimizes human involvement, thereby reducing testing errors and saving time otherwise spent on manual tests. For organizations implementing ATF, there is a huge scope for delivering value to ServiceNow projects faster and enabling development and testing teams to be more agile.

As a ServiceNow specialist partner, Nous offers ServiceNow development services and assists organizations in leveraging ServiceNow’s broad set of features to bring products to market faster. Get in touch with our experts to add automated testing to your process with ServiceNow ATF.

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