Not so long time ago software testing was carried out manually or by the programmers or users, which can hardly be called a systems approach and also does not allow assessing the quality of the code. A little later testing became a separate area of knowledge in the software, but it quickly came to realize that manual testing is inefficient because it requires a large workforce and a lot of time.
The first practical test automation tools are the libraries that can be used for writing tests that require programming skills from the tester at the level of the developer. Modern automated testing tools allow you to create automated tests with minimal role of human.
Test automation tools can be divided into two groups: tools for functional testing and load testing tools. The first group includes tools designed to match the applications compliance to business requirements, and the second group consists of tools for testing and evaluating the performance of applications.
Today in the market of functional testing we can mostly see the products of the following companies: HP (QuickTest Professional, WinRunner), IBM (Robot, Functional Tester), Borland (SilkTest) and AutomatedQA (TestComplete), which are application development tools. And some of them use "industrial" programming languages (e.g., QTP uses a language of scripts VB development, and Functional Tester is implemented in Eclipse, and allows you to create scripts in Java). And another part uses the "dialects" or their own special languages (e.g., Robot uses a language SQABasic and TestComplete uses language 4Test). Most of the tools designed to work with Web-based applications or conventional applications written in. Net or Java.
The developers of automated functional testing quickly enough respond to the emergence of new mechanisms and platforms for software development. And despite the fact that in the market is a huge variety of different products for automated testing, some companies-software developers prefer to build their own tools, adapted for the testing of developed applications.
There are at least two reasons for this: the high cost of automated testing and unique of tested software that does not allow the use the standard test automation tools.
Load testing tools are more sophisticated. The market leader for automated load testing is the HP LoadRunner product and IBM's products and Robot Performance Tester, supporting multiple protocols (including terminal protocol). Most load testing tools work only with Web-applications.
Besides the testing tools it is also exist so-called means of support of the testing process, allowing recording the requirements and test cases, conduct analysis of tests cover the requirements, manage the progress of test execution, keep track of defects found, etc. Leader in the field Web-application is HP Quality Center - a single tool to manage the testing process (including requirements management and defect management), integrated with the means of functional and load testing of HP QuickTest Professional and LoadRunner.