AgileWay’s Web Test Automation Creation Service: One Test Step for $1

A high-quality web test automation scripting service at an incredibly low price.

Zhimin Zhan
10 min readFeb 16, 2023

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How much does it cost to develop an automated end-to-end test script? Many haven’t thought about it, I can tell you it is quite costly for many software teams. For example, the pay for mid-level automated testers (contractor) is about A$800/day in Australia; Let’s say, on average, a tester develops two test cases per day (10 per week, i.e. 20 per sprint, 200 for 10 sprints. Reality: very few software teams have 50+ automated end-to-end tests in total). Hence, one automated test case would cost the company $400. Of course, this is overly simplified (excluding stabilization and ongoing maintenance) for argument's sake. If the test step count is 50 on average for a test case, then one test step costs $80.

Please note $80 per test step is the ideal situation without considering an important factor: Quality. You may have known that few software companies are able to implement real test automation. It is safe to say that good test automation engineers are rare, even in companies such as Google and Microsoft.

In my experience, great developers do not always make great testers, but great testers (who also have strong design skills) can make great developers. It’s a mindset and a passion. … They are gold”.
- Google VP Patrick Copeland, in an
interview (2010)

95% of the time, 95% of test engineers will write bad GUI automation just because it’s a very difficult thing to do correctly”.
-
this interview from Microsoft Test Guru Alan Page (2015)

AgileWay, my company, is now offering Automated End-to-End (Web) Test Scripts Authoring service, quality-controlled by me, at an incredibly low price: US$1 per test step.

Table of Contents
· Prerequisite
·
How does it work?
·
A Piece of Mind
·
Customers who will benefit from this service
·
Why this service?
·
Test Framework Options and Fees
·
Test Step Calculation
·
FAQ

Prerequisite

We can access the target website. It can be a public site or a temporary one set up for this specific purpose. It is important to note that our services do not include live interactions using remote desktop sessions, which are typically part of one-on-one mentoring services.

How does it work?

Six simple steps:

  1. Buy WiseCoins for a minimum amount of $50 on WhenWise.
    WiseCoin is the exclusive currency used for our services and is fully refundable. You pay for the test scripts (with WiseCoins) only if you are satisfied with the automated test execution video. This is necessary for you to become our customer. Otherwise, we cannot guarantee discretion in handling the information you have provided.
  2. Record your test scenario as a screencast video.
    A screencast video is the best way to show a business flow, i.e. test scenario in the context of software testing. Most software professionals know how (after remote working during the Pandemic), using software such as ScreenFlow and TechSmith Capture (free). Even Microsoft Teams, schedule a meeting with yourself and record the session.
  3. Initiate a service request on WhenWise, including the video’s location on platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive, and provide the following details:
    - A brief introduction
    - Test data like website URL, login information, etc.
    - Supporting information to bolster the request.
  4. We will inform you when the scripts are completed, and provide you with the location of the execution video, as well as the total number of test steps included in the test scripts, which determines the cost.
  5. You may review the execution video and choose to pay for the test scripts, only if you are satisfied with the results.
  6. Once payment is processed through WiseCoins, you will be able to download the test scripts.

Below is the screencast video (capture of a test automation script execution) for the workflow for this service.

A customer purchases wise coins, and raises a service request; Agileway assigns and completes the work; The satisfied (watched the execution video like this) customer pays for the automation scripts, using wise coins.

We hold the right to reject projects containing inappropriate content.

A Piece of Mind

  • Quality guaranteed
    I will review all test scripts personally, so there is an assurance of quality here. The test scripts conform to the Maintainable Automated Test Design (reusable helper function and Page Object Model).
    You can check out examples here (on Github).
  • Free, open and widely used frameworks
    The test scripts are in widely popular, free and open test automation frameworks:
    - automation framework: raw Selenium WebDriver (W3C standard)
    - syntax framework:
    RSpec (v3.10 has over 50 million downloads), JUnit, or Mocha
    (see FAQ for other framework options)
  • Free, no vendor locking
    Customers can choose from other framework options listed in our FAQ. There is no vendor locking, and all delivered test scripts are in text format, easily integrated with any CI/CD server, and can be run from the command line.
  • Satisfaction guaranteed
    We guarantee 100% satisfaction and customers only pay after seeing the test execution video created by our automated test scripts.
  • Security and discreteness
    The test execution video and scripts will be uploaded to a secure Dropbox folder and removed after customer confirmation.
    This service will remain completely confidential for our customers. (definition of customer: a person who buys goods or services from a business)
    We suggest purchasing the credit first. In this way, after the transaction, you will be our customer. Anyway, you can refund your credit anytime.

Customers who will benefit from this service

This service is affordable, making it attractive to many aspiring software professionals who can benefit from it.

  1. Software teams can outsource end-to-end test automation testing
    Saving time and money on hiring or outsourcing. The service guarantees success at a significantly lower cost.
  2. Individual Software Engineers, including those in testing, can utilize the service to solve work tasks without spending hours searching the internet and getting frustrated.
  3. Manual testers and business analysts can automate repetitive tasks with custom-created automation scripts, increasing productivity and reducing monotony.
  4. Motivated senior engineers and test managers lacking confidence in introducing test automation to their team can use the service to implement key test scenarios and defend the use of the correct technology, such as Selenium.
  5. University lecturers and test automation trainers
    One reason the bar for test automation is so low: failure in education. I worked at two universities before, and generally speaking, the lecturers’ hands-on coding/testing is quite poor. But test automation is super practical, and can only gain real knowledge through lots of hands-on practice.
    Motivated lecturers and trainers can get help discreetly when they are stuck in preparing the teaching material.
  6. Motivated Testers/Engineers who want to find a job in or switch career to Test Automation
    Like myself, switched my day work from Programming to Automated Testing, in 2010.
  7. Fake Test Consulting Companies
    There are plenty of fake ones (like in this story). As our customers, it is not our concern how you do the business, we just provide high-quality and working technical solutions.

Why this service?

Several years ago, I first considered the concept while using an online graphic design service to purchase a logo. Like graph design, Automated End-to-End (via UI) testing is universally applicable to 99+% projects. Through years of consultation and coaching, I have demonstrated that I can script a web test scenario for any company without prior preparation during the initial meeting, even while presenting on a projector. But I didn’t have time to pursue this service myself then.

From time to time, I am asked to assist with test automation by former colleagues, mentees, readers and even strangers on the Internet. Unfortunately, I cannot offer personalized guidance without examining the application being tested. Likewise, these individuals may not feel at ease approaching me in an official capacity. In my opinion, the primary reason for their reluctance is not money, but rather a desire to be recognized as the hero in their workplace. I am content to remain anonymous and allow them to claim the credit. However, they usually would not pay my consultancy rates out of their pockets. Therefore, this very affordable service will fit the gap.

Recently I informally trained two junior testers for half an hour each day for over a month, utilizing written materials from the Web Test Automation with Selenium Training workshop series. Their scripting abilities have exceeded those of many senior test automation engineers I’ve encountered in various organizations (which is not saying much based on the poor results of the One Simple Test Automation Scenario Interview Question that Most Candidates Failed). But they lacked the confidence and real-world exercises (they just practised on AgileTravel and WhenWise sandbox). Nonetheless, they can perform scripting tasks for clients under my guidance, and I will personally assess and validate their test scripts.

Test Framework Options and Fees

At the moment, we offer test scripts in three test automation frameworks (automation + test syntax).

Raw Selenium WebDriver + RSpec (Ruby): $1 per test step.

Raw Selenium WebDriver + JUnit (Java): $4 per test step.

Playwright + Mocha (JavaScript): $6 per test step.

One may wonder why Selenium RSpec comes at a lower cost. The reason is that it is simpler and more enjoyable to create, which has been reflected in the price. In addition, our consultants will always start with Selenium + RSpec and then switch to the desired one. We also offer an optional feature to transform the basic test steps into the Maintainable Automated Test Design.

Refactored Version : $1 per test step

Test Step Calculation

After locking on the test automation framework, the pricing factor is the test step count. The concept of a test step is what most people understand in software testing (manual or automated), such as:

  • Navigate to a page
  • Click a button
  • Perform an assertion
  • browser operation, e.g. move/resize, open a new tab

Let me illustrate this with an example. Here are two user login tests in one test script file.

load File.dirname(__FILE__) + "/../test_helper.rb"describe "User Login" do
include TestHelper
#1 to #3
before(:all) do
driver = Selenium::WebDriver.for(browser_type, browser_options)
driver.manage().window().resize_to(1280, 720)
driver.get(site_url)
end
after(:all) do
driver.quit unless debugging? #4
end
# 6 steps (raw Selenium)
it "User sign in OK" do
visit("/login")
driver.find_element(:id, "username").send_keys("agileway")
driver.find_element(:id, "password").send_keys("testwise")
driver.find_element(:name, "commit").click
expect(driver.page_source).to include("Welcome")
driver.find_element(:link_text, "Sign off").click
end
# 5 steps (refactored)
it "User failed to sign in due to invalid password" do
visit("/login")
login_page = LoginPage.new(driver)
login_page.login("agileway", "badpass")
expect(driver.page_source).to include("Invalid email or password")
end
end

There are four sections:

  1. before_all
    three test steps:
    - open browser
    - set the browser window to the desired size
    - open the target server URL
  2. after_all
    one test step: close the browser
  3. Test Case 1: User signs in OK
    six test steps:
    - navigate to the login page
    - enter your user name, password and click the ‘sign in’ button (3 steps)
    - assertion
    - sign off
  4. Test Case 2: User failed to sign in
    five test steps:
    - navigate to the login page
    - user-login function in page class (still three steps)
    - assertion

The total test steps are 15 raw test steps, and the cost would be US$15.

The first test case uses raw Selenium statements driver.find_element(...); The second one uses the Page Object Model (POM), a part of the Maintainable Automated Test Design. If you want this version as well, another US$15.

GET STARTED

FAQ

1. Can you do the test scripts first without purchasing the WiseCoins?

Firstly, our test automation engineers will do the following for free:

  • download and view your provided screencast videos (multiple times)
  • script every step
  • verify it works
  • create a screencast video

All the above are exclusively for your work (promotion, better job…).

It is worth noting that if you are not a customer of AgileWay, the information you provide to us may receive less attention, which might be more important to you.

Most importantly, WiseCoins purchased can be refunded (full refund, minus payment gateway, and Stripe processing fee. If we haven’t started the work, you will get 100% money back, and we will pay the Stripe fee.)

2. Can I get a refund if not happy with the test scripts?

Yes, for a minor $5 fee, mainly to cover the payment gateway (Stripe, which charges for refund) fee.

3. This is too cheap, is there any catches?

No, everything is provided transparently and clearly. We are just highly efficient in using the right framework and tools along with best practices. As I said in my articles, for several test automation proof of concept (POC) planned for 3 months, I completed them in 3–5 days.

4. Is there a free trial?

It depends on your definition. There is no test scripts (which our consultants completed for you) until payment with WhenWise. Nearly all trials, such as Netflix, require a credit card. We don’t store customers’ credit cards, but the WiseCoins are refundable.

5. Is there vendor-locking or dependencies in created test scripts?

No, 100% free and open. In the video, you will see the test script execution started from the command line. By the way, you can check the sample test scripts (see above).

6. Can I get a refund if I don’t like the test scripts?

No, just like you are unable to return a video game, a common sense. This is IP work (exclusively for you). The maximum commitment from you is $50, have a think about our commitment (we offer full refund before customers get the test scripts)

7. What will be Selenium+Java or Playwright test scripts be like?

Sample Selenium Java tests (refactored): https://github.com/testwisely/agiletravel-ui-tests/tree/master/selenium-webdriver-junit/tests

Sample Playwright tests (raw and refactored): https://github.com/testwisely/agiletravel-ui-tests/tree/master/playwright-mocha

8. Is it OK to send all test scenarios to you (in the multiple videos) which effectively you create all the test automation scripts for us?

While the main purpose of this service is education (people learn better with real stuff), yes, you can use our services as complete outsource testing. However, we do this work in one by one manner.

For example, if a customer purchases $5000 WiseCoins and sends us 100 videos. We will get test case 1 done and verified (see the above process) before working on test case 2.

9. What if there are discrepancies between our test step calculation?

We will have a final say. Usually, it shall be quite clear and straightforward. To save communication overhead, we ask our customers to trust our test-step calculation process.

For example, a customer may think “entering an email” is one step, but sometimes, it is not safe in test scripts. It is often better to do this in two steps: “clear the text box” and “enter a new text”.

driver.find_element(:id, "email").clear
driver.find_element(:id, "email").send_keys("wiselytester@gmail.com")

Another example is selecting an option (from a dropdown). This is in fact two steps, but many regarded it as one step.

Again, with such a low price ($1 for one step), money is not our main objective. We just want the service to be helpful for motivated software professionals who want to learn real test automation.

10. Compared to $1 for Selenium RSpec, it is $6 a step for Playwright. Can you make Playwright pricing cheaper?

We always create test scripts in Selenium RSpec first, regardless, then convert to Selenium Java or Playwright if necessary. So, the pricing other than Selenium Rspec will cost more.

In terms of whether 6 times is justifiable, we may refine it as we go. Anyhow, even at $6/step, this service is still a fraction of other worthy competitors (if any).

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Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.