Technological advancements have improved the lives of people manifold. They have saved time and money for companies year-on-year, and there is no reason why the coming years will be any different. As per Statista, the IT spending on enterprise software solutions worldwide will be worth $492 billion by 2021 the highest figure ever recorded since 2009!
Naturally, app development companies have to ensure that they deploy proper frameworks to test their software apps' efficiency and accuracy. No wonder the term "automation testing" is the latest buzzword to hit the market!
Automation testing is just what it sounds like - it tests the quality of software applications for web, desktop, mobile, and other platforms through an automated process. In other words, automation testing tools take over repetitive tasks to free up the developers' time so that they can do tasks that require more creative problem-solving skills and generate more revenues.
Trends in automation testing
In the past few years, the concept has evolved in many ways; it has completely transformed the way the developers approach software testing. Here are five trends in automation testing that companies must look forward to:
- Codeless automation testing will be in vogue as it allows the accelerated creation of test cases—imagine deploying tools that let you test an application without writing a single line of code?
- Automation testing tools that test apps at multiple layers is catching on.
- The QA team and the operations team will work together even more closely to deliver a quality application. Success and collaboration go hand-in-hand.
- With the increase in the number of devices, cross-browser testing on the cloud will soon be viewed as a viable option for its ability to include different screen sizes and form factors. This was not possible before!
- AI and ML algorithms will go mainstream with user interface testing as the UI can be broken down at a pixelated level.
Top 19 automation testing tools in 2020
The key to successfully doing automated testing in software apps is choosing the right set of automation testing tools. This can be a challenging task as there are so many platforms to choose from the platform, each with its strengths and weaknesses.
To help you identify the best automation tool for your company, we have listed the top 19 tools that have stood the test of time and showcased their potential in the market. Let us begin:
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will agree that Selenium is a popular name in the list of automation testing tools. It is a portable framework for testing web apps. Selenium was launched in 2004 by an engineer at ThoughtWorks when he realized the web application he was working on required frequent testing.
Selenium allows developers to write test scripts in multiple programming languages such as Ruby, C#, Python, Groovy, and Perl, which can run on different system environments, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.
Ever since the release of Selenium 4.0.0 Alpha 5 in March 2020, developers can enjoy a smoother testing experience via W3C standardization. Due to this feature, they do not have to modify codes to work with different browsers such as Safari, Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.
- Excellent parallel test execution support
- Reduces test execution time
- Foundation for other software automation testing tools
- Enables the creation of complicated and high-level automation scripts
To Selenium efficiently, developers must possess advanced programming skills and invest time to build automation libraries and networks that enable automation. This is perhaps the most significant disadvantage of Selenium.
Fifty-one-percent of Selenium customers are from the US. The open-source automation tool currently holds a market share of about 26.4%. A 2020 Katalon study states that as of today, 90% of testers are using or have used Selenium in their projects.
Community: Selenium has an active community. Developers in need can visit the Official User Group and the Slack channel to get help.
2. Tricentis Tosca
This is one of the few automation testing tools that includes comprehensive toolsets to support most testing activities, including test design, automation, reports, and analytics.
Released in 2016, Tricentis Tosca has a user-friendly interface and a rich set of features for API test management, such as dashboards, integrations, analytics, and distributed executions to support continuous integration and DevOps practices.
The tool also claims to significantly reduce regression testing down to minutes from weeks, enabling developers and testers to shorten the development cycle considerably.
- API tests can be performed across platforms, browsers, and mobile devices
- Protocols and standards such as TTP(s) JMS, AMQP, Rabbit MQ, TIBCO EMS, REST, SOAP, and IBM MQ are enabled
- Can be integrated with the DevOps process
- Provides a dynamic record and playback experience that helps in test automation
Its most recent version came out in December 2020, which includes self-healing SAP modules and provides improvements for Mail Engine 3.0 with LDAP authentication support.
Community: There is a growing, private community of Tricentis Tosca. You can check it out here.
License: Commercial—necessary to contact the sales team for information
If you are looking for test automation tools that do not require an SDK or recompilation of the mobile app, this open-source automation tool will not disappoint. It is built with the notion that developers should apply their preferred test practices, tools, and frameworks.
Initially developed in 2011, Appium is one of the few automation testing tools primarily intended to test mobile apps. It enables automating hybrid, native, and mobile web applications developed for both Android and iOS.
Appium is one of the few test automation tools which gives full access to back-end APIs and DBs from test code. It is based on server architecture and uses vendor-provided automation frameworks to do the job.
- Automates using any programming language and test framework
- Drives Android, Windows, and iOS mobile apps using the WebDriver protocol
- Supports multiple programming languages such as Ruby, Java, and Python
- Enables cross-platform testing on real devices, simulators, and emulators
Setting up Appium is easy. The learning curve is easy. It is because of this reason that the open-source automation tool has gained immense popularity as the best automation testing tool in the market.
The only disadvantage of Appium is that every time developers use the same test code for testing Android and iOS devices, they must differentiate between test automation requests through capabilities options mentioning key-value pairs such as device Name, app activity, platform name, and so on.
Community: Appium has a vibrant contributing community. One can access Appium Discuss, their official community platform.
Ranorex has been around for a long time now and provides a comprehensive set of professional-grade features for desktop, mobile, web, and API testing. Its desktop-based test automation experience allows developers and testers advanced UI element identification, editing, and management capabilities.
Released in February 2020, it integrates multiple solutions such as Bugzilla, NeoLoad, Jenkins, TFS, Git, TestRail, and more.
- Easy automation testing with intuitive GUI, record/playback facility, and script generation
- Easy codeless, click-and-go interface
- Integrable with Selenium Grid to enable distributed testing with parallel test executions
- Supports SAP, ERP, Delphi, and legacy applications
- Enhanced Jira and TestRail reporting available
Ranorex is ideal for beginners who have just started testing software applications and want to fetch optimal results in a short amount of time. It works for iOS and Android application development and delivers robust reporting, which is considered the best automation testing tool.
The newest release, Ranorex Studio 9.3.3, adapted the remote pad mechanism to display just one test suite. That is something developers will find extremely handy while testing apps.
Community: As of today, more than 14,000 users test with Ranorex worldwide. It has a robust community that one can access here.
License: Proprietary // A premium license is available from €2290 onwards
5. Katalon Studio
Katalon Studio is one of those tools automation testing tools that support both web and mobile app development environments. It comprises a rich feature set for testing API, web and desktop services, and mobile applications.
Released in 2015, Katalon Studio has a dual UI for creating test cases that is interchangeable—meaning, a manual view for those who are less technical users and a script view for experienced developers and testers.
The best automation testing tools allow test cases to be structured using test suites with environment variables, and test execution can be parameterized and parallelized using profiles. Katalon Studio also supports RESTful and SOAP for API and services testing.
Katalon recently won the Gartner Peer Insights Customers' Choice award in the category's best software automation testing tools.
- Versatile can run on macOS, Windows, and Linux
- Can be integrated with verified tools such as Git, qTest, JIRA, and Kobiton
- Enables access to hundreds of built-in keywords for creating test cases
- Supports BDD Cucumber for expressing test scenarios in natural languages
It is easy to deploy Katalon, and minimum programming skill is required from developers to use the tool. The testing capability can be enhanced with the help of plugins available at the Katalon Store to ensure in-depth views of reports.
Community: It does not matter if you are using Katalon Studio or Katalon Studio Enterprise. You can easily ask fellow Katalon users when in doubt. Developers can be a part of its thriving community at Katalon Community.
License: Available in three ways - Free / $759 per year / $539 per year
Postman is not just another automation tool—it is a complete development environment to develop and test APIs, making it popular with developers and testers for API test automation. Released in 2014, it can be installed as a browser extension or a desktop application on Linux, Windows, and Mac. That shows how versatile Postman is.
Developers can easily leverage its comprehensive set of features for designing, testing, debugging, documenting, and publishing APIs.
- Easy-to-use interface
- Supports both automated and exploratory testing
- Supports both RAML and Swagger API formats
- Enables packaging and sharing of requests and respondents with the team
- Enables the better organization of collections and API elements generated from API schemas such as a mock server, tests, monitors, and documentation
Its latest version was released in August 2020 with some bug fixes and minor feature enhancements beneficial to the developers and testers.
Community: There is a learning center by Postman, which allows developers to discover resources, watch videos, and browse the network. One can access the community here.
License: Available in four ways - Free // $12 per month // $24 per month // Custom
7. Cucumber Open
Cucumber Open is a popular automation testing tool which supports Behavior Driven Development (BDD). It offers an easy way for developers and testers to write and execute a test case, irrespective of the technical knowledge.
- Test code is written in simple English and Gherkin (ordinary language parser)
- Enables smooth automation with Selenium, direct function calls, and API calls in the same process
- Integrates with JIRA to enable and empower team collaboration
- Delivers reports in JSON, HTML, and other formats for monitoring team performance
It is currently used by 20% of testers and has an impressive clientele, including Canon and PayPal. The main goal of Cucumber Open is to ensure an enhanced end-user experience.
Community: Cucumber Open has a thriving community of contributors who get paid for their valuable contributions by companies and individuals who desire their continued involvement in Cucumber Open.
License: MIT License // Free
8. Apache JMeter
Apache JMeter is an open-source automation testing tool designed for test loading and performance measurement but is also useful for API performance and services testing.
Its most recent version was released in May 2020 and now is stacked with multiple feature enhancements such as bug fixes, an updated Groovy library, and JMeter templates for functional testing.
- A lightweight tool with a user-friendly interface
- Can smoothly replay test results
- Supports CSV files to set values for the API parameters
- Integrable with CI tools such as Jenkins
- Often used in CI and DevOps toolchains
JMeter can easily integrate with Selenium and run automation scripts besides completing performance or load tests. Also, JMeter may look like a browser. However, it does not perform all actions supported by browsers. Its architecture, instead, is based on plugins.
Community: JMeter has an active community. Developers in need can join the Slack channel to get help and to contribute.
9. HPE Unified Functional Testing (UFT) One
As the prefix suggests, HPE UFT One is owned by Hewlett-Packard, although it was initially developed by Mercury Interactive in 2001 and called QuickTest Professional (QTP). Currently, it is one of the best automation tools for cross-platforms.
It brings the developers and testers under one roof, empowering them to simplify functional testing and make it cost-effective. HPE UFT One allows them to test all three layers of a program's operations from a single console, i.e., the database layer, the service layer, and the interface.
- Supports data-driven testing
- Offers cross-platform and multi-browser compatibility
- Deployed VBScript as the scripting language
- Integrated with HP LoadRunner, a performance testing tool, and HP ALM, a test management tool
- Supports the generation of API tests from WADL documents
With HPE UFT One, it is possible to automate desktop, web, mobile, Oracle, Delphi, ActiveX, Visual Basic, PeopleSoft, Stingray, and Java relatively easily. It performs regression tests through UI, as in a web interface or a native GUI.
Besides, it is one of the few automation testing tools to feature API feature tools for evaluating the functionality and load performance of any deployed or created APIs presented in the app being tested.
Community: Since HPE UFT One is not an open-source automation tool, its community is not as large as ReactJS or Selenium. However, one can contribute to the Micro Focus Community, the sole community for HPE and UFT.
Pronounced as 'water,' Watir is an excellent open-source automation testing tool for web apps. Released in 2005, it has a rich set of APIs to assist testers with browser interaction, locating page elements, headless testing, working with alerts, and so on.
Watir supports the Internet Explorer on Windows, and Firefox and Opera after combining with WebDriver. Even though it uses Ruby as the scripting language, one can automate web apps developed in any language using Watir.
- Takes screenshots of testing already done in the past
- Test alerts pop up in the user's UI or website
- Utilizes location-based web elements
- Integrates with BDD tools such as RSpec and Cucumber
- The new version addresses some critical bugs related to locator code and browser instance
- Supports reusable test code that can be used across multiple scripts
Ruby empowers Watir to read flat files, connect with the database, and use Excel—all of which are important for data-driven testing. Many companies such as SAP, Facebook, HP, Honeywell, Yahoo!, TopTal and so on have implemented Watir. Its latest version was released in August 2020 with bug fixes and minor feature enhancements, and has caught the attention of many enterprises.
Community: Watir has a growing community of developers and testers—who can be contacted here.
11. Worksoft Certify
Worksoft Certify is one of the popular automation testing tools for enterprise packaged apps. Developed in 1998, the tool is certified by SAP and can be used even if the SAP project is in the deployment, updation, or maintenance stage. It integrates seamlessly with other automation testing tools such as DevOps toolchains and ALM systems.
Suppose one is looking to handle the needs of large enterprises dealing with mission-critical business processes. In that case, Worksoft Certify can be effectively used across multiple applications and systems for testing. It also offers an integrated test data management tool, which helps developers save time and get done quickly.
- 100% code free—enabling business users and IT to work in parallel
- Uses Groovy as the scripting language and supports external Java library
- Simplifies maintenance and accelerates migrations with reusable automation assets
- Tests and automates Concur, SuccessFactors, Ariba Network, Salesforce, and Syclo
- Offers object recognition capabilities for SAP Fiori along with the rapid release of version updates
The latest version of Worksoft Certify was released in March 2019. Its offerings expanded to DevOps integrations and optimizations for modern cloud and web apps. It also added support for Postman and improved the Jenkins automation server with an official plugin.
Community: Since Worksoft Certify is not open-source, its community is limited to Worksoft Community, a private group.
License: Commercial—necessary to contact the sales team for pricing plans
Subject7 is a cloud-based tool that supports end-to-end automation for desktop, mobile, web, database, security, web services, load, and accessibility testing. The learning curve for using the tool is shallow, and developers can begin work without any coding knowledge.
Often called one of the fastest automation testing tools, Subject7 is highly scalable. Anyone with basic QA knowledge can build and execute robust automation using our web interface, apt for real-time testing. Founded in 2011, it interacts with web and mobile, back-end verifications, and web service calls - all in the same testing kit.
- Supports collaboration, tracking, and project management
- Integration with Jira, GitHub, Jenkins, and DevOps pipeline tools
- Flexible reporting of success or failure with video
- High-scale parallel execution in the secure cloud (public, private, or hybrid)
- New feature requests delivered rapidly
- Supports running the same test across multiple browsers and platforms
Subject7 uses open-source standards such as JMeter, ZAP, Appium, and Selenium. However, instead of increasing the testing costs, it reduces it. One can avail Subject7 on the cloud or the premise—by purchasing a license.
It offers a single platform for developers and testers to use a web interface to automate. It is possible to share scripts, execute, and report on the same platform conveniently. Its clientele includes major government agencies and business enterprises of all sizes.
Community: Subject7 has a small active community. Developers in need can visit their official group for submitting a request or to help.
License: Contact for custom pricing
13. IBM Rational Functional Tester (RFT)
As the name suggests, RFT is a commercial automation test from IBM built primarily for automated functional testing, GUI testing, regression testing, and data-driven testing.
This is one of the leading automation testing tools, launched in 2016, that supports multiple development environments such as Adobe Flex, Siebel, SAP, PowerBuilder, Dojo Toolkit, Java, and so on.
Storyboard Testing is a unique offering by IBM RFT that enables diagram visualization for test activities and parameters using natural language and application screenshots. This means the tester can make amends to the screenshots for enhancing the script.
- Supports two scripting languages such as Visual Basic and Java
- Integrates with the test management tool, IBM Rational Quality Manager
- Intuitive interface for designing, executing, and reporting tests
- Earlier data detection
Its most recent version, released in July 2020, was made available with new features and bug fixes to internally-bound and client-reported defects. It enables testers to automate tests resilient to frequent application UI changes by deploying ScriptAssure technology.
IBM RFT includes multiple capabilities for API testing and supports several applications for the target application under test (AUT).
Community: Since RFT is not an open-source automation tool, its community is limited to the developers and testers of the IBM community.
License: Commercial—necessary to contact the sales team for pricing plans
AccelQ is one of the few cloud-based automation testing tools that seamlessly automate web testing and API in one unified flow. It has the flexibility and the power to handle most types of complex automation with no coding needed. Web, mobile, DB, API, and packaged apps are all supported on AccelQ.
Launched in 2014, it is developed on a cognitive core engine that empowers predictive analytics in autonomics in test automation, scenario design, and adaptive change management in traceability.
- 3X quicker test development and 70% lower maintenance for test automation assets
- Excellent support for Salesforce lightning and custom objects
- Enables CI/CD with integration to Jira, AzureDevOps, and Jenkins
- Codeless natural language test development
- Behavior-driven scenario designer for testing
- Supports enterprise technology test automation for API, microservices, mainframe, web, and so on
It enables AI-based test automation for rapid app development. Testers can flexibly handle the most complicated automation techniques without writing a single line of code. AccelQ integrates seamlessly with Salesforce Test Automation and also supports Salesforce lightning and custom objects.
Community: There is a small private community for developers and testers who can offer help and add value to the world of AccelQ.
License: Commercial—starts at $390 per month per user // Free trial available
15. Telerik Test Studio
Telerik Test Studio is one of the best automation testing tools known for software performance testing, mobile app testing, and Web and desktop functional testing. Built as a Windows-based software testing tool in 2012, it follows a codeless approach and ensures an optimal app quality with the best results and addresses QA's top challenges efficiently.
Telerik Test Studio makes application testing more stable and reliable while keeping maintenance to a minimum. It provides cross-browser support, which is perfect for functional, load, and API testing. It creates, runs, and maintains functional tests for WPF applications as well, so developers can actually have it easy with Telerik Test Studio.
- Enables smart hybrid element detection
- Ensures excellent test element management
- Supports coding languages such as VB.net and C#
- Allows parallel test execution and scheduled tests with its robust test reporting features
- Enhances communication mechanism to improve load test distribution for scheduled runs
It can connect with source control systems such as GUT and Team Foundation Server and execute Continuous Testing. Its most recent version brings new features such as scroll-type for RadInput, OCR Verification, and RadAsyncUpload steps.
Community: Telerik Test Studio has an active community. Developers in need can visit their official private group for submitting their requests or to help fellow developers.
License: Perpetual license starting from $2,500
This is the world's first community-powered free cloud-based automation testing tool that allows developers to test Web, Android, and iOS applications on all operating systems. There are no complex setup processes, and no coding knowledge is required. In fact, it is very easy for developers to develop their coding tests with its powerful SDK.
Founded in 2015, TestProject is currently used by more than 70,000 companies and users. It integrates easily with Selenium and Appium for more speed and accuracy in software testing. TestProject deploys advanced built-in recording capabilities and creates and uses add-ons.
- Easy team collaboration with Appium and Selenium
- Seamless integration with CI/CD workflow
- Detailed dashboard reports provided
- Advanced in-built test recording capabilities for real-time activity
- Cross-platform testing for Windows, Linux, Docker, and Mac
- Enables creation, use, and sharing of add-ons with the team and entire user community
TestProject is ideal for enterprises with web applications that need automated tests that scale and evolve with their app and require little to no upkeep while offering robust and actionable insights. No wonder it is such a hit amongst developers who are still new to the game and learning the testing frameworks.
Community: It has a small private community of TestProject developers and testers.
Designed by Gartner-owned Smartbear, Soap UI is an open-source automation tool, especially for API testing. Initially released in 2005, it provides API Test Automation Framework for Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAP) and Representational State Transfers (REST).
SoapUI enables testers and developers to automate and fit API testing into the continuous delivery pipeline with the next-generation tool built to validate GraphQL, microservices, and other back-end services.
- Scripts can be reused easily
- Allows asynchronous testing
- Possible to create mock services with RESTful mocking
- Support for generating API tests from WADL documents>/li>
- Enables drag-and-drop and point-and-click test generation
- Ensures robust data-driven testing with data from databases and files
There are two versions of SoapUI—open-source and pro version. The latter has a user-friendly interface and a string of advanced features such as form editor, SQL query, and assertion wizard among other things. One can also debug API's responses instantly in the pro version. This is an added benefit for developers as they get to cover all bases in testing.
SoapUI also offers new features that improve testing efficiencies, streamline the testing process, and provide high-quality results in a reduced timeframe. It supports smart object detection and image-based object detection and correction—another win for testers!
Community: SoapUI has a thriving community of developers and testers who can use resources present on the website.
License: Open-source // premium license available from $709 per year onward
This is the best codeless automation testing platform with unique AI capabilities and visual modeling for faster test creation. Testers can create fully automated test scenarios and integrate the tool with their CI/CD workflows on TestCraft.
There is an easy learning curve, and setting up TestCraft is not complicated at all! One can leverage manual tester's knowledge and create automated test scenarios relatively easily. This also helps them root out any bugs much faster.
- No coding required to create automated test scenarios
- Changes can be adapted with a few clicks
- Scripts automatically adjusted to change with the AI mechanism
- Enables auto-fixing of tests with AI
- Visual drag-and-drop interface with point-and-click functionality
It is possible to quickly integrate modules developed by the developer community, and run simultaneous tests across environments and platforms.
TestCraft enables developers to integrate and leverage modules built by the community quickly. It provides immediate value without wasting any time. CIOs, CTOs, architects, analysts, and consultants—all will love creating fully automated test scenarios without coding on TestCraft.
Community: It has a fast-growing community that offers assistance to amateur developers and testers. TestCraft also has a dynamic resource library.
License: Commercial—necessary to contact the sales team to know about the pricing plans
Another offering by Smartbear, TestComplete, is one of the leading automation testing tools ideal for testing web, mobile, and desktop apps—initially developed in 1999.
- Scripts can be reused easily
- Enables easy-to-use virtual record-and-replay capabilities to build and run functional UI tests
- Creates complicated automated test scripts without writing any code
- Can be easily integrated with other products from Smartbear, hassle-free
Like UFT One, TestComplete can accurately detect dynamic user interface elements by using an object recognition engine. This is especially in managing interfaces that are dynamic and frequently changing.
The software validates dynamic data with multiple verification points and supports regular expression pattern matching with its spreadsheet-like data editor.
TestComplete's most recent version, rolled out in September 2020, includes small improvements in the installer that streamlines the product installation process. Its self-healing functionality finds a replacement object by image by leveraging improved AI-based algorithms.
Community: There is a thriving private community for developers and testers who can offer help and add value to the world of TestCompete.
License: Commercial—starting from $5,803 per year
Wrapping it up
According to Gartner, global IT spending is projected to touch $3.8 trillion in 2021. The prediction shows a 4% jump from 2020. Experts say it has got to do with the pandemic that has compelled more and more businesses to go digital to survive the outbreak. The demand from customers is also at an all-time high.
Do not be surprised when you see more websites and mobile apps getting added to the mix. It is what the market demands right now. The future of software development is bright, and the use of the right automation testing tools can ensure lower costs, optimal results, and more profits for the enterprises.
If you are struggling to develop a software or test it or just want to understand the process a bit better, we are someone you can rely on. Please contact us today! Our competent team will sort out all your business requirements.