There is a higher degree of demand for test automation tools than ever before. However, whether you practice manual testing or automated testing, the right tool selection is critical.

The growing need for continuous delivery, business agility, and DevOps practices has forced organizations to shift their manual testing practices to automation-based testing. There is a higher degree of demand for test automation tools than ever before. However, whether you practice manual testing or automated testing, the right tool selection is critical. The wrong tools selection can adversely impact your project quality, timeline, and even development cost. When we talk to different clients regarding QA tools implementation for web automation, both open source tools and licensed tools are discussed at length. But most of the stakeholders have a dilemma about — which one to choose? In this blog, we try to understand which approach to adopt for test automation tools selection— open source and licensed. Here are our recommendations.

First, Understand Your QA’s Strategic Involvement

Before zeroing on the test automation tools, you should first create a well-defined QA testing strategy. What are your key business objectives, and what are the critical areas you want to improve throughout your quality assurance process? We recommend that you should not see your QA practice abstractly different from your overall SDLC. Instead, you should understand your overall software quality needs while adopting the testing automation tools. This will help you better support your development team and QA team. Ultimately, quality is key, not the tool.

Analyze Your Existing Technical and QA Team Capability

Test automation tools are primarily used by QA teams. Though, many developers also try their hands on these tools during the development phase of a software or application. Therefore, you should consider tools based on the following factors:

  • Consult with your team and take their feedback and opinion
  • Understand their level of expertise on open source and commercial solutions
  • Know how much their dependency on vendors will be to run the tools
  • Will the team able to manage all artifacts such as test preparation and configurations in the code repository
  • How much your team have to rely on developers or technical support to perform automation testing

Based on these factors, you should consider the test automation tools. Open source tools are the natural first choice for QA teams that have little programming background or are comfortable with the tools and custom testing script running strategy defined by the team. On the other hand, many commercial test automation tools these days simply have ‘drag and drop’ features where no or less coding is required to execute automated tests.

Which One Serves Your Purpose: Commercial Support or Self-Support

Another key factor to consider is how much ongoing support you require to address web automation complexity and challenges. Many organizations are more comfortable with the self-support option. Some others rely on commercial support. If you can manage automation testing tools with self-support, open source is the best way to go. It also helps you lower your total cost of ownership (TCO), and even reduce software development and maintenance costs in the long-term perspective. When you use open source automation testing tools, you do not have to worry too much about scripting, tool maintenance, and upgrades as the community takes care of it. Open source automation testing tools have a well-established community. The most common test automation tools are Selenium, Appium, and Apache JMeter. There are many other components that either build on top of these or support common UI frameworks.

In case of commercial tools, you have to rely on vendors to get the support or patches or bug-fixing.

But commercial tools come with an extra license cost per user basis, which can add up or increase your software development cost. However, many commercial tools also support open source tools like Selenium in terms of coding or adding or extending features. Commercial tools have better facilities in training the team, in fact, available in different forms like eBooks, online courses or commerce onsite training.

But it’s more beneficial for organizations to internally create best practices and standards of using the tools based on practical knowledge and real-time experience.

Take the Final Call Based on Usage, Adoption, and Reporting Criteria

While finalizing the automation tools, a comparison of key parameters such as ease of adoption, tools usages, and scripting and reporting capabilities helps you zero in on the right automation tool. The objective should be how it will adapt together with other tools that are already in use. There are a broad number of components, frameworks, and layers that must be woven together, and the individual pieces change frequently. You should consider the following factors while finalizing automation tools:

  • Define the functional requirements of the tool in alignment with business objectives
  • Determine will there be any additional tooling required in automation to improve the test scripts effectiveness with each successive release cycle
  • Analyze features and functionalities of associated tools to assess them on their ability to support the identified activities
  • Assess each of the tools against a set of agreed-upon criteria to enhance testing structure and capabilities

Which QA Tools Are the Most Popular?

As per the industry experts and leading analysts, the majority of automated testing adopters rely on a diverse range of open source tools. The most popular tools in this segment are Selenium, Junit, and Apache JMeter, to name a few. The credibility and usage of open source automation tools are also growing across DevOps practices and toolchains.

The implementation rate of open source automation tools is even higher in mid to large-scale organizations as they are adopting automation techniques much faster than small-sized organizations. In addition, these tools can also help organizations lower license costs and draw more benefits from community contribution. But it demands adequate planning to ensure success without incurring complexity and delay in adoption and usage.

Open source is the dominant software model for leading innovation in the digital economy. The pace of innovation in open source automation testing tools and an increasing number of attractive commercial offerings drive more and more organizations toward open-source automation solutions. It also allows organizations to collaborate with a global pool of creative, talented communities that can release exciting features much faster in the public domain than commercial tools.

What are other factors that has helped you in choosing the right QA automation tool for your project? I would love to know that. Do comment your opinion.

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Manish singh

Co-founder and CEO at Minds Task Technologies. Manish helps businesses bring their digital vision to life by delivering scalable technology solutions.

I am a technologist, entrepreneur, and quester. I have always been passionate about solving problems through technology. I have spent my last 15 years in the IT industry building solutions for various verticals like eCommerce, Manufacturing, Real estate, Food and Beverages, and MLM.