Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful force of change. New applications for AI arise everyday, empowering organizations to optimize operations in exciting new ways.
In software and Salesforce testing, QA teams can leverage AI to increase efficiency, enhance accuracy, and accelerate innovation. But with technology moving so quickly, it can be difficult to discern what AI to use and how to use it. While we can’t predict where our technology will take us, we can seek to better understand. At Provar, that means educating ourselves on how to embrace these new tools to support and streamline our processes.
In this blog, we’ll focus on all things AI in testing. We’ll cover what AI is (and what it isn’t), how it can be used in Salesforce testing, and how Provar uses AI and intelligent capabilities across its solutions.
What is AI?
The term “artificial intelligence” was coined in 1955 by Stanford Professor John McCarthy. McCarthy, a renowned computer scientist, who defined AI as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” Today, most definitions of AI explain it to be a subset of computer science. Merriam-Webster defines AI as:
1. A branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers
2. The capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior
AI systems can perform tasks commonly associated with human cognitive functions — including playing games, identifying patterns, interpreting speech, and mimicking decision-making.
How AI Can Be Used in Salesforce Testing
With an ever-growing number of capabilities, AI systems are often put into smaller categories based on their applications. For our purposes, we’ll concentrate on the seven categories most used in Salesforce testing:
Generative AI involves training models to generate new data similar to the training data, and includes techniques like generative adversarial networks (GANs) and variational autoencoders (VAEs). Generative AI is frequently used in software testing — typically, for test case generation and test data generation.
Reinforcement AI, or reinforcement learning, can be used by QA teams in testing strategies, test case execution, mutation testing, and test-driven development. These adaptive systems are driven by data, and can help prioritize testing efforts and improve performance by learning from interactions within the testing environment.
Conversational AI has been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to ChatGPT and other chatbots. QA teams can use conversational AI to build virtual assistants that facilitate communication between teams, execute test cases, report bugs, and generate test results — enhancing efficiency and streamlining processes.
Computer vision systems are widely used in testing, specifically for visual test automation. This AI can analyze screenshots and videos, detect visual defects, compare images, and even predict outcomes. QA teams and testers can use computer vision in regression testing and to enhance the user experience.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is widely used in automated testing and throughout software development. NLP systems can analyze huge volumes of data quickly and efficiently, helping QA teams make more informed decisions. WIth the help of NLP systems, testing teams can generate test cases, and analyze test reports and user feedback.
AI systems that imitate human experts in specific areas are called expert systems. QA teams can use expert systems to automate many of their decision-making processes, including prioritization, recommendations, and debugging. Like other AI, expert systems are only as good as the data they analyze — so access to accurate information is crucial.
Robotics AI refers to the creation of and physical interaction with robots to perform tasks without further intervention. QA teams can use robotics to physically test devices — including hardware products and mobile applications. Robots can mimic user interactions, perform simple tasks, and measure responses.
How Provar is Using Intelligent Capabilities
Provar has long harnessed AI and intelligence in its solutions and continues to improve as new advancements come about. Though our solutions aren’t using machine learning, their magic comes from algorithms that are created based on the information within Salesforce’s metadata.
Provar Automation, for instance, offers intelligent test and data generation that utilizes an org’s metadata to generate relevant and unique tests for both UI and API testing. It automatically recognizes what type of web page is being tested, whether it’s generic HTML, Visualforce, Lightning, or a combination. We don’t just recognize the type of element someone wants to test, but we also know what elements are already on the page from the available metadata and understand what the most likely interaction is for that type of element, be it a text field, display text or a button or link. We can also recognize when it’s changed and will suggest for you to update your element mapping.
Another example occurs when building test cases in Test Builder. Provar Automation automatically inserts the required page, tab, and component navigation steps and describes them to let users focus on the components they want to test.
Finally, we recently launched our Level 2 DevOps integration that automatically determines which test cases you need to execute based on the changes being deployed. This can also highlight coverage gaps in your testing. This intelligent capability does not use a third party AI, but it doesn’t need to when the metadata is available.
Here are some areas where Provar uses its AI today.
Test scenario creation from user story text (exists today across our products), and unit test generation for apex and flows and root cause analysis (implementing or improving with AI tools and partners)
Test descriptors (exists today across our products), and translation and test summary (implementing or improving with AI tools and partners)
Execution optimization (exists today across our products), and test analytics and predictive testing and analysis (implementing or improving with AI tools and partners)
As AI gains greater influence on testing, it’s important for QA teams to remember that it should be viewed as complementary to our teams of talented humans — streamlining their processes and enhancing their capabilities rather than replacing them.
While Provar testing solutions rely primarily on Salesforce metadata to make our automated testing magic, the Provar team stays curious about how we can harness the power of artificial intelligence to improve Provar products and our customers’ Salesforce experiences.
Interested in continuing the AI conversation? University of Provar just released a new course, “Introduction to AI in Software Quality.” Be sure to let us know what you think!