If you are a software developer, you will bear me witness that today’s software testing market is offering developers hundreds of options which, besides being an advantage also breeds confusion. Both commercial and open source vendors are coming up with software testing tools at an extraordinary rate, making it hard for developers like you and me to make informed decisions. And given all there is to choose from, it is not surprising that many of us get stuck because we cannot satisfactorily answer the question of which tool is best suited to handle our projects.
Fortunately, here’s the kicker!
Before introducing test automation in your development process, it is very imperative to find an objective and actionable solution. I mean, you need to craft a test automation strategy that will help you identify and leverage the most suitable tool for your project. Otherwise, you might end up never finding your way out of the maze that is automated software testing.
In full realization of the plight you might be in, this post has compiled a comprehensive list of the best test automation tools and also identified benefits, cons, and instances when they are best applicable. Read on!
First things first
Well, the answer to this question is pretty straightforward!
Like the name goes, automated testing automates and simplifies the entire process of testing software while still under development. Instead of having to build everything from scratch, a developer leverages on sets of pre-built tools to test and perfect their software. This way, developers do not have to worry about how their Beta project is going to be received by manual testers or even how it is going to be managed while under testing. Consequently, more time can be invested in testing and perfecting the software. This reduces labor overhead costs, increases the levels of accuracy, and also bolsters consistency reliability and speed of development.
You see, when it comes to software testing, being thorough and accurate is indispensable. And with automated testing, solutions come with detailed analysis and reporting which can be positively used to further improve the functionality and reliability of applications under development.
Even when custom scripted, you can count on automated testing platforms to be stable and reliable during the entire testing process. They achieve this by creating a framework where a testing atmosphere can thrive. And depending on how sophisticated the application being built is, it is possible for such automated kits to provide all the necessary tools required to test it to the end.
When time to decide the most suitable tool for your project comes, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
With commercial tools, you will certainly enjoy good customer service. However, open source tools are more affordable, scalable and customizable. Moreover, most of the popular automated testing tools are either built on open source software or they are they themselves open source.
These tools are designed to test a wide range of applications. There are those designed for testing desktop applications, web-based applications, mobile applications and a blend of different platforms. They also run in different environments. Some run as standalone products while others run via a browser. The choice here fully depends on the type of application you are building.
Typically, most programming environments favor one coding language over another. For instance, there are those that are friendlier to Python or Java. Likewise, there are testing platforms that will favor coding in different programming languages while others only accept one scripting language which the developer has to learn.
Developers approach automated testing tools in a different way when compared to testers. While testers require tools to enable them to create scenarios without writing custom scripts, developers have to develop their own custom automated tests. And due to this discrepancy, there are platforms that have been precisely designed for each of these audiences. Therefore, before making a choice, determine whether you are a tester or a developer.
Normally, different performance testing formats are either keyword driven or data based. The data-based approach is good for developers while the keyword driven one is best suited for testers. All in all, the choice depends on the way the software being tested runs.
The citrus framework is an integrated automatic testing tool custom-built for testing data formats and messaging protocols. Some of the protocols that can be tested with citrus include but not limited to:
The platform checks whether the application being tested is dispatching messages appropriately and whether the end results are as anticipated. If any front-end functionality has to be automated, it can be integrated with Selenium. This makes it an ideal tool for automating repeat tests which validate exchanged messages.
This is a special platform designed to be used by both developers and automation testers. It comes with different levels of automation depending on the available skill set. It is able to automate tests across web applications, web services, and mobile applications. And since it is built on top of selenium and Appium, it provides better functionality to these solutions.
Katalon Studio is ideal for developers and testers who require different levels of testing. It can be integrated with other QA testing platforms such as Jenkins, JIRA, qTest, and Git. Besides this, its analytics system provides charts, metrics, and graphs to simplify decision making.
Galen is a unique platform designed for developers who want to automate their testing experience. It is a tool that can be used to verify that your application is going to perform as it is designed to on multiple platforms. After testing is over, it generates reports which include screenshots to help designers and developers examine how the application appears on multiple environments. It can perform other automated tasks using:
The Karate-DSL platform is built on Cucumber-JVM. This makes it more of an API tool with REST API support. Most of its functionalities and features are similar to those of Cucumber-JVM. This implies that it can view reports and automate tests like Cucumber does. This tool is best for developers since it requires advanced knowledge to use and set up.
Though it might not work very well in situations that require in-depth testing, it is a good option for starters and those who mainly operate on a test-driven atmosphere. Developers might find the platform a little bit shallow. However, it also comes with several features that set it apart from the rest.
It is ideal for conducting tests on Web-based applications that require several users. Its scripts can be written in:
Applications that can be tested on this framework can also be tested on Selenium, respective web IDEs or APIs. Keyword friendly searches simply the testing process while scripting can be conducted on a drag and drop basis.
This platform is keyword driven and available for use with Java, Python, OR .NET framework. Besides web-based applications, it can test software ranging from Mongodb to Android. It is also designed with several APIs and a robot framework which is easily customizable and extendable depending on the environment you are developing on. When compared to other products on this list, its keyword-based approach makes it friendlier to tasters rather than developers. And though it comes with several of its own functionalities, it heavily depends on selenium.
It is particularly ideal for developers who need iOS and Android test automation. Its low barrier to entry and secure environment makes it makes it suitable for environments where users do not have substantial programming or development skills.
By now, you must have noticed that the products we have been talking about are either compatible with Selenium or built on top of it. This high level of compatibility and functionality makes Selenium the most popular and used automated security testing platform for web apps. It is used with everything from Robot Framework to Katalon Studio. However, when alone, it is basically a web-based testing platform.
If your project demands frequent and active customization, selenium is an ideal platform to give a try because it is highly customizable. Nonetheless, if you are working on a more structured project, using other frameworks built on top of selenium will come in handier. It can be scripted in several languages which include:
One more thing to take note is that Selenium’s interface is not as user-friendly when compared to the other platforms in this list. The reason is that it is designed for advanced developers with advanced developing and programming tools. If you find the interface too hard to use, use other platforms built on top of it.
Watir is a straightforward and light testing tool which is suitable for use in data-driven and cross-browser testing. It is also a free open source which can be integrated with RSpec, Cucumber and Test/Unit. It will come in handy for businesses that operate under a Ruby environment and those that are looking to automate their web testing.
Gauge is a sister product of Selenium and they are built by the same company. The difference is, developers have the freedom to use Java, Ruby, and C to build automated tests. Though still in Beta, it is a scalable program which comes with plug-in support. When completed, it is most likely going to become a standard platform for testers and developers considering the amount of technology behind its design.
This is a data-driven testing tool which works with.Net, Java, AJAX and several other programming languages. It comes with a special functionality in form of a storyboard which captures user’s actions and visualizes them via screenshots. This product provides information on how users are using the product and also how they are breaking it. It can be integrated with lifecycle management systems such as Rational Team Concert and Rational Quality Manager. For this reason, it is best to use it in strong IBM environment.
This is a commercial platform precisely designed for mobile and desktop testing. Additionally, it works seamlessly with web-based applications. Unlike other products in this list, it is less expensive and can also be integrated with selenium. It is also designed with several tools to ease up the testing process. Some of these tools include playback, recording, GUI recognition, and reusable test scripts. It is an ideal all-round tool for developers working with mobile and web-based applications. If you are interested, a free trial version is available on their website for the purposes of testing what it can do.
Sahi is one of the few automation testing tools available in commercial and open source versions. It is primarily designed to test web-based applications. This implies that it is used within a browser which makes it possible to record and report on activities conducted on the application under test. By using it over the internet, a user-friendly environment is created which makes it possible for specific elements of the application to be selected and tested. Automation can be repeated and tests can be recorded. Its playback feature further makes it easy to pinpoint and correct errors.
Though it is well designed for the smaller parts of an application, it is not suitable for wide-scale automated tests because it only relies on playback and recording. This is not a reliable and consistent way of testing an application
Serenity is also known as Thucydides and it is a Java-based platform designed to take advantage of behavior driven tools. Its operations are compatible with Cucumber and JBehave while serenity makes it easy to conduct regression tests and create acceptance. Serenity works via the Selenium WebDriver and on top of behavior driven development tools to create a secure environment which can be used to build complex applications. Its functionalities include Jira Integration, WebDriver Management, parallel testing, and screenshot access.
TestComplete uses both data and keyword driven approaches. Besides this, it is a highly functional testing tool ideal for desktop, mobile, and web-based applications testing. Other advanced functionalities are also included in the package. They are, ability to record and playback tests, recognize objects, and detect and update UIs. It can also be integrated with Jenkins.
This is a niche based tool designed to model a user’s activity and POV instead of just scripting his actions. The design makes it possible for testers to interact with the application just like an end user would. This feature makes it ideal for a developer without limited programming language since most of the scripting is already done. It is best suitable for creating scenarios and cases without having to program. Apart from that, it can also be integrated with CI solutions and Lab management.
Tricentis is one of the few model-based automated solutions which allow multiple integrations, dashboards, and offers analytics. These functionalities are designed to enable quick and effortless test automation. It is ideal for risk analysis, distributed execution, integrated project management, web application testing, Mobile applications testing, and APIs.
Despite being an expensive option, UFT is the most popular testing platform for big enterprises. It comes with almost everything a developer or tester requires in the entire process of test automation and load testing. Some of its unique features include web services, API, GUI support and the testing of web, desktop and mobile applications. Besides being a multiplatform test site, it can also perform other tasks such as image-based object recognition and producing documentation of tests. UFT is compatible with Jenkins.
This is an end to end solution for all applications that run within a browser. By operating within a browser, Cypress produces more consistent results when compared to other platforms like Selenium. As it conducts tests, it alerts the user of what is happening within the browser, providing insight on how applications are behaving. In case of bugs, debuggers can be incorporated into applications directly, further streamlining the development process. All in all, this is a dependable tool ideal for end to end projects.
At the end of it all, making the right choice boils down to pairing down to test cases, test results and test scripts that you are aiming to get. And though these tools make it easy to build and test applications, it is up to you to identify what you are looking to achieve, then choose the tool that will produce the best results.