choosing a UI test automation tool

As organizations try to keep up with growing customer demands — releasing software faster than ever before — it becomes even more crucial to invest in automation early in the software development life cycle, in order to maintain fast release cycles and stay relevant in their industries.

One of the biggest challenges during this process is selecting the right UI automation tool that fits the organization’s needs. There are various tools and frameworks available for automating tests, but each one comes with its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and limitations.

Here are five considerations to keep in mind when choosing a UI automation tool, to ensure your organization succeeds in its test automation efforts.

1. Ease of use

The automation tool you choose should be easy to use by people from various technical and non-technical backgrounds. It needs to be intuitive, and tests should be simple to write, understand and execute across multiple projects.

Also, look for a tool with one IDE (integrated development environment) that handles all aspects of the tests. Although there are currently many tools with this ability, there are only a few that offer an end-to-end solution with all the features to complete easy and stable automation contained within a single IDE. This is one of the most important aspects of selecting the right automation tool.

2. Extensiblity

With applications becoming more complex with the use of advanced technologies such as AI, blockchain, and microservices, being able to create automated tests quickly has become a necessity for teams. Thus, codeless automation tools have become popular, helping anyone write easy and stable automated tests.

In the same token, most of these tools do not provide the flexibility for users to add their own custom code to extend the functionalities of the tool. For example, if you want to build a wrapper or utility on top of the codeless tool, there need to be provisions for developers and testers to add their own code. In other words, the user needs to have control of the tests written using an external IDE.

Also, if there are already existing Selenium tests, there needs to be a capability to easily reuse and build upon these tests without forcing the user to eliminate them completely and start from scratch. This is critical for large organizations that invest a lot of time writing Selenium tests. For example, say a company has written 2,000 Selenium tests, which has taken two years. They discover that it is hard to maintain, and write new ones due to the instability of Selenium tests and the IDE. As a result, they start looking into a vendor tool to ease the test creation and execution process. The chosen tool should have the ability to import all these old tests and add new ones easily. Currently, not many vendor tools support this process, and it is very important to consider.

3. Cross-browser and device support

Most organizations these days have a hybrid desktop and mobile web application, pure desktop application, and native application — offering users the flexibility to use any or all of these options to get the full customer experience. Consequently, it is important to test on all these different devices, operating systems, and browser configurations.

The chosen tool must provide the ability to write one single test in the IDE and run it across different mobile devices, browsers, and OS versions seamlessly and in parallel. Also, it needs to support applications built using different technologies. This is crucial to get faster feedback across various ecosystems.

4. CI/CD Integration

With agile development processes like Devops, DevSecOps, ATDD and BDD becoming more popular these days, it is important to ensure seamless CI/CD integration. There is a need to run automated tests on every code check-in, as well as periodically throughout the day, to ensure that the critical functionalities of the system are still working as expected and the newly merged code did not break other application features.

These tests need to be run both locally and on remote machines. To facilitate this, the tool should integrate with popular CI tools such as Jenkins, Bamboo, TeamCity, Travis CI, and others relevant to your organization’s software development teams.

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5. Reporting

It is not only enough to easily author and execute tests, but team members need to be able to get quick feedback on them as well. The chosen tool needs to have different reporting capabilities and dashboards to quickly show what tests passed and failed, how many tests ran, the health of your automated suites, and of course the ability to export these results and share them with your teams.

In summary, a tool or framework for automation should not just be good in one area, but rather provide an end-to-end solution to support various needs of the project. Keeping these five factors in mind will help your teams select the best tools to fit your organization’s needs.

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About the Author

Raj Subrameyer is an international keynote speaker, writer and tech career coach with a rich technical background. In his blog, rajsubra.com/blog/, he posts inspirational news, resources, and updates to help his readers lead a better life.

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