Article

Automation Testing Tools – A Deep Dive

June 16, 2022

Automation is a critical component to test and release software faster. Check out some frequently used software test automation tools.

Automation is a critical component to test and release software faster. Check out some frequently used software test automation tools.

Automation pervades most domains in technology at present. In software testing, automation can bring much-needed efficiency, speed, and convenience. Test automation tools help teams achieve these benefits by executing tests automatically with little or no intervention from a tester. 

Automation is an integral part of modern software development. It is employed in every facet of the development lifecycle. Nowadays, rapid development and quick deadlines rule the roost, making automated testing tools even more invaluable.

Test automation involves continuously running automated test cases that are pre-built. This helps eliminate human error from the process, speeds up execution considerably, and produces reliable results. Most of all, it allows testers to test more of their software applications in less time. With automation testing tools, testers can define their testing requirements and run large volumes of tests automatically.

Automation testing tools come in many flavors, with each solution boasting its own pros and cons. Here, we take a look at some of the core functionality of popular automation testing tools and discuss some of the leading options currently available.

All About Automation Testing Tools

During software development, testers run a variety of different automated tests. Unit tests are the building blocks of code-based tests while UI tests have more to do with verifying the individual functional elements of the software UI. Test automation tools can be deployed to create and run automated tests so that the results are available to testers at the right time in the build or sprint process.

Some automation testing tools require you to have coding skills so that you can create the test scripts by writing code. Other tools aim to make it easier for testers by not requiring any coding to operate. Hybrid tools combine both options, giving testers the option to design customized tests using techniques that are the best suited to each test case.

You also might have to choose your testing tool based on your software development platform. Different testing tools have different strengths, and your choice might not be the same if you are looking for a tool that tests desktop applications compared with web or mobile. You can choose between open-source and commercial software, depending on your budget, how much support you prefer, and your testing use case. With a plethora of automation testing tools currently available, these are important considerations to keep in mind if you are looking to make the most of your test automation tool of choice.

Frequently Used Automation Testing Tools

Here are some test automation tools that are popular among software testers.

Selenium

Selenium illustration

The testing platform of choice for thousands of companies around the world, Selenium is an open-source testing tool that has been around for nearly two decades and has varied capabilities. Since its inception, Selenium has evolved to keep up with the evolution of web development, becoming more useful and capable over time. This free solution can be customized to fit different scenarios, and since it is script-based, it provides engineers granular control over the creation and execution of test scripts.

Apart from being free and open-source, Selenium has the advantage of supporting a large range of programming languages, platforms, and browsers. Testers can use their preferred programming language to code the tests. Selenium also supports mobile testing on both Android and iOS platforms. It has a large library of extensions, integrations, and plugins. Since it is a free solution, there is no support included although there is a large community of users who may have run into similar questions and roadblocks. Selenium has been implemented by companies of all industries to support a variety of initiatives such as Continuous Delivery, Agile, and DevOps. 

On the flip side, Selenium has a very steep learning curve and requires skilled and accomplished programmers to code the tests. This “do it yourself” approach will involve a lot of time and cost to set up and maintain over time. There is also no reporting capability, no support, and can only be used for web-based apps. Selenium tests are also hardcoded and therefore can fail easily with small UI changes, which will require a lot of ongoing maintenance.

TestRigor

TestRigor logo

With testRigor, testers can create complex tests in an end-to-end format with the help of basic English language commands, which lends stellar ease of use. This hosted testing solution also comes with a large variety of integrations and can be used for desktop, mobile, web, and API testing. The platform facilitates fast creation and execution of tests and can scale with ease.

Testsigma

Testsigma dashboard

Testsigma is another testing platform that allows for the creation of exhaustive tests with no coding. With this platform, testers can define very specific test environments and carry out parallel tests on multiple devices, browsers, and operating systems. This is a particular salient solution for Continuous Delivery and Agile teams.

Katalon

Katalon dashboard

Katalon is a popular automation testing tool that is well-known for its ease of use and low cost. It comes in a basic free version and a feature-rich pro version. Katalon’s engine is based on the open-source tool, Selenium, so it inherits some of its maintenance and reliability issues. It has a wide set of integrations and employs a dual scripting system for added versatility. It can be used for desktop, web, mobile, and API testing. Katalon shines with its easy-to-use GUI and brilliant reporting and analytics. However, it lacks versatility in terms of scripting languages.

TestComplete

Smartbear TestComplete

TestComplete supports multiple programming languages including Python and JavaScript. It can be used to create powerful end-to-end tests and features integrations with a variety of CI/CD solutions. Recently, the TestComplete object recognition system has been bolstered by the use of AI, although users have to manually select backup selectors to identify each element, which can be time-consuming and less intuitive than a big-data approach. 

Applitools

Applitools

Applitools employs computer vision technology that is AI-driven to create and run powerful tests that can self-maintain. The platform makes it easy to create a comprehensive suite of tests within minutes and is particularly useful for visual regression or assertion testing. This is a golden solution for use cases that involve dynamic visual content. One of the major drawbacks of Applitools is that it still requires a functional testing framework like Selenium or Cypress in order to work.

The Future of Automation Testing Tools

Over time, more and more automation testing tools that make use of ingenious and innovative features are coming to the market. For industrious testing teams, taking advantage of these new, improved solutions can mean fast, efficient creation of tests, avoiding crippling test debt, and dramatically increasing test coverage. These are all things you can achieve easily with a modern automation testing tool like Functionize, which employs AI, machine learning, and big data to create self-healing tests that take care of their own maintenance.

Depending on your use case and its inherent requirements, adopting the right automation testing tools can help you test and release software faster with higher quality.