Effective Strategies for Handling State Changes in Automated Tests

Effective Strategies for Handling State Changes in Automated Tests

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

When developing automated tests for your application, you may encounter situations where the state of the application changes unexpectedly due to asynchronous operations. This can lead to false positives and negatively impact the reliability of your test suite. In this article, we will explore strategies to handle state changes effectively and ensure your tests remain robust.

Understanding the Issue

Consider a scenario where your application state changes due to asynchronous events. You have added a test to ensure the state remains consistent, but you are unsure how long to wait to confirm the state has stabilized. This is a common issue, especially in environments with event queues and potential service restarts.

Approach to Handling State Changes

To address this issue, it is crucial to gather data and understand the typical behavior of your application. Here are some strategies you can adopt:

1. Data Gathering

Perform repeated runs of your test to gather data on the normal distribution of state changes. Determine the average time it takes for the state to stabilize. If, for instance, the state remains consistent 99% of the time after one minute, you can use this threshold to set your wait time. This approach allows you to balance the trade-off between test duration and reliability.

2. Polling Wait

Instead of a fixed wait, consider implementing a polling wait mechanism. This involves checking the state at regular intervals until it stabilizes or a timeout occurs. While this approach is generally effective, it may not be suitable if the state can change from correct to incorrect after initially stabilizing.

3. Production Monitoring

In some cases, it may be more effective to monitor the issue in production rather than during development testing. Set up monitoring to capture occurrences and frequencies of the state changes in production. This data can help you formulate better plans and adjust your testing approach accordingly.

4. System Insights

Leverage system insights to determine when the application has completed its operations. For example, check the status of items in the event queue to ensure they are in a “DONE” state. Identifying specific queue items linked to your test accounts can provide more accurate information and reduce the chances of false positives.

Advanced Techniques

For more complex scenarios, consider the following advanced techniques:

5. Sequencing and Out-of-Band Signals

Use sequencing events with unique IDs to synchronize operations. For example, send a sequence event and wait for its ID to be reported, signaling the completion of the operation. This approach helps reduce the flakiness of tests and ensures that asynchronous flows are properly synchronized.

6. White-Box Testing

Analyze the underlying algorithm and design tests based on white-box testing techniques. This involves understanding the code and verifying that the implemented solution aligns with the design. White-box testing can provide deeper insights and more targeted verification of state changes.


Handling state changes in automated tests requires a combination of data gathering, polling mechanisms, system insights, and advanced testing techniques. By adopting these strategies, you can improve the reliability and robustness of your test suite.

For those looking to streamline their testing process, consider using Repeato, a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android. Repeato’s computer vision and AI-based approach make it simple to set up, run, and maintain automated tests, ensuring your apps remain in a consistent state. Learn more about how Repeato can enhance your quality assurance efforts here.

For further reading on related topics, check out our documentation on test exception handling and running test batches. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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