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Top 13 Best Test Automation Frameworks: (Types & Advantages)

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Automated testing processes require testing frameworks to be successful. These frameworks are crucial as they can lower maintenance expenses and testing efforts and also increase the ROI for QA teams that aim to streamline their agile processes.

This article aims to explain the prevalent frameworks used nowadays and outline the pros and cons of each. Suppose you’re a QA expert new to automated testing or need a brief review.

In that case, this article provides an overview of each framework type and its potential contribution to the triumph of any automated testing process.

What are Test Automation Frameworks?

Before we discuss the benefits of the most common types of frameworks, let’s clarify what a test automation framework means. A testing framework is a set of principles or regulations that guide the creation and design of test cases. 

It comprises a combination of techniques and tools to improve the efficiency of QA professionals’ testing activities.

These principles of testing frameworks may include coding standards, methods for handling test data, object repositories, procedures for storing test results, or guidance on accessing external resources.

Although these principles are not obligatory, testers and test automation services which follow an organized framework usually gain additional benefits that would be lost if they merely scripted or recorded tests without adhering to them.

What are the Different Types of Test Automation Frameworks?

Test automation frameworks are an essential part of any successful automated testing process. They provide a structure for organizing test scripts and offer a set of guidelines for test automation.

Test automation frameworks also help to reduce maintenance costs and testing efforts while increasing the return on investment (ROI) for QA teams looking to optimize their agile processes.

Several types of test automation frameworks are available, and each has advantages and disadvantages.

Here are the five most common types of frameworks used today:

1. Linear Scripting Framework

This is the most basic framework, where test cases are executed one after the other in a sequence. It is suitable for small projects with a limited number of test cases.

2. Modular Framework Modular

Frameworks divide test scripts into smaller modules that can be reused across multiple test cases. This framework is more flexible and easier to maintain than linear scripting.

3. Data-Driven Framework

Data-driven frameworks separate the test script logic from the test data, allowing for easy modification and reuse of test data. This framework is ideal for testing scenarios that require multiple data inputs.

4. Keyword-Driven Framework

Keyword-driven frameworks use keywords or action words to describe the steps in the test script. It is useful when testing complex scenarios that require a significant amount of test data.

5. Hybrid Framework

Hybrid frameworks combine two or more of the above frameworks to create a customized framework that suits the specific needs of a project.

When selecting a test automation framework, it is essential to consider factors such as the project’s size and complexity, the testing team’s skill set, and the tools available.

The framework should also be scalable, easy to maintain, and provide reliable test results.

Each framework type has its advantages and disadvantages, and selecting the right framework depends on the project’s specific needs. With the right framework, QA teams can optimize their agile processes and achieve a higher ROI.

7 Powerful Advantages of Using Automated Testing Frameworks

Using a framework for automated testing has several advantages for a team, including enhancing test speed and efficiency, improving test precision, and decreasing test maintenance expenses, which minimizes risks.

There are several critical reasons why frameworks are necessary for an effective automated testing process:

1. Standardization

Frameworks establish a set of best practices and coding standards that help ensure consistency across the testing process. This enables better collaboration among team members and leads to the creation of more reliable and effective tests.

2. Improved Efficiency

 Frameworks automate repetitive tasks and provide reusable components that can be leveraged across multiple test cases. This results in faster test execution and higher productivity.

3. Enhanced Accuracy 

Frameworks reduce the possibility of human errors that may occur during manual testing. They can also detect defects and errors more quickly and effectively, enabling faster resolution and a quicker time-to-market.

4. Cost Savings 

Frameworks can lower the overall cost of testing by reducing the need for manual testing and streamlining the testing process. This results in lower maintenance costs and fewer testing efforts.

5. Scalability

Frameworks can accommodate a variety of testing scenarios, from simple to complex. This ensures that the testing process is scalable and can support growth and expansion in the future.

6. Increased Test Coverage 

Frameworks can provide higher test coverage and more thorough testing of software applications. This ensures all potential defects and issues are identified and resolved before the software is released to end users.

7. Better Reporting and Analysis

 Frameworks can generate detailed reports and provide analytics on test results, making it easier to identify patterns and trends in the testing process. This information can then be used to improve the testing process and optimize the testing strategy.

By selecting the right framework for their needs, QA professionals can optimize their testing process and ensure the quality and reliability of software applications.

13 Popular & Best Test Automation Frameworks

Automation frameworks simplify execution/test development and activities, enabling automation testers to perform their tasks more efficiently.

These frameworks typically offer an environment for executing plans and producing consistent results.

They are tools specially designed to help with various aspects of test automation, such as running tests, recording actions, or testing web applications.

By automating repetitive tasks, these tools can save time and effort, allowing testers to focus on checking quality.

Test automation is a commonly adopted and budget-friendly method to improve software development. Thus, selecting the most suitable automation framework can significantly impact the quality of your test results and the efficiency for processes of software quality assurance services.

With the growing demand for automated testing frameworks, it’s no wonder that there are many options to choose from.

We have compiled a list of 13 best test automation frameworks for 2023, along with their respective features. If you wish to enhance your testing skills, do not hesitate to try these frameworks.

1. Selenium

Selenium is a widely recognized test automation framework and requires no introduction. Over 16 years since its creation, Selenium has become well-known in the industry, such that it is commonly assumed that automation testers are already familiar with Selenium Grid.

However, the Selenium project quickly expanded with the addition of four new components within its first four years as more companies and individuals joined the project.

Its browser-based test automation framework is composed of five main parts:

  • Selenium IDE for test development
  • Selenium Client API for multi-language testing
  • Selenium Remote Control
  • Selenium WebDriver
  • Selenium Grid

 

The latest release of Selenium-4 introduces new and exciting features. For instance, the Relative locator is a new feature of Selenium-4 in which the locator becomes the previous element’s relative rather than the current one.

This is a huge improvement from the past implementation, which was prone to failure when dealing with on-page content (dynamic).

The latest version also marks a significant NetworkInterceptor milestone, which is a significant step towards achieving browser-based automation, among other things.

Notable Features

  • Selenium supports multiple web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer, enabling testers to perform cross-browser testing and ensure the application works uniformly across different browsers.
  • Selenium supports various programming languages, including Java, Python, Ruby, C#, and JavaScript, allowing testers to choose the most comfortable language and easily write test scripts.
  • Selenium provides the flexibility to extend its functionality using plugins or add-ons, allowing testers to customize and enhance the framework’s capabilities.
  • Selenium supports parallel testing, enabling testers to execute multiple tests concurrently, which saves time and improves efficiency.
  • Selenium can be easily integrated with Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tools, such as Jenkins and Travis CI, allowing testers to automate the entire software development process.
  • Selenium IDE, an integrated development environment, allows testers to record and play back their test scripts, making it easier for beginners to get started with automation testing.
  • Selenium has a large and active community of users and developers who contribute to the framework, provide support, and share knowledge and resources.

2. WebDriverIO

WebdriverIO is a highly regarded test automation framework supporting “Webdriver” and “Chrome Devtools” protocols. It is an open-source framework built on Node.js, and WebdriverIO allows users to set Selenium automation testing on their native system or in cloud-based environments like LambdaTest. 

LambdaTest is a cross-browser, cloud-based testing solution that enables software developers to test the performance and quality of their web applications on over 2000 different browser and operating system combinations.

Despite being a relatively recent addition to open source, WebdriverIO has gained a significant following of GitHub users and has amassed an impressive number of GitHub stars and forks. When writing this article, the latest version of WebdriverIO is v7.15.0, with 7.1k stars and 2k forks.

Notable Features

    • WebdriverIO provides comprehensive assistance for the WebDriver protocol and the use of Chrome DevTools in Chromium-based projects, along with Puppeteer integration.
    • The framework is compatible with a wide range of web and mobile applications created with contemporary web technologies and libraries, including Vue and React.
    • It includes a smart selector that enables the selection of specific selectors from a particular library or development framework. For instance, you can use the react$ command to select React components.
    • WebdriverIO seamlessly integrates with Google Lighthouse using the @wdio/dev tools-service plugin, allowing users to measure front-end performance metrics and PWA applications. It also works well in combination with front end frameworks for developers.
  • The framework has an easy learning curve as it provides an interactive surface familiar to users.

3. Cypress

According to its landing page, Cypress boasts of being a testing platform that is speedy, user-friendly, and dependable for any browser-based application, and it has lived up to commitment. Cypress is an open-source framework that provides a comprehensive testing experience with numerous features for conducting Cypress testing automation. It is particularly fast and efficient in front-end testing and is built on Javascript, a widely-used web language today. This is why it is considered one of the top test automation frameworks.

    • Cypress automatically reloads the application as and when changes are made, making the testing process faster and more efficient.
    • With Cypress, you can go back and forth in time to see what happens at each test step. This feature helps in debugging and fixing issues quickly.
    • Cypress waits for commands and assertions to complete before moving on to the next step, eliminating the need for explicit waits and reducing test flakiness.
    • Cypress has built-in debugging tools that allow you to simultaneously debug your tests and application.
    • Cypress provides tools like spies, stubs, and clocks to help you simulate scenarios and test edge cases.
    • Cypress can perform cross-browser testing on multiple browsers and platforms, making it easier to ensure your application works correctly across different environments.
    • Cypress has an easy-to-use command line interface that simplifies setup and configuration.
    • Cypress has a large and active community that provides support and contributes to the development of the framework.

4. Robot Framework

Robot Framework is an open-source test automation framework that is considered one of the best in the field of robot process and test automation.

Initially launched in 2008, the framework has gained a significant following among users and developers. It is coded in Python and can be combined with other framework tools to make a comprehensive and robust test automation system.

To learn more about the subject, you can refer to resources that cover Robot Framework with Selenium and Python in greater detail.

Notable Features

  • The Robot Framework supports Python or Java coded libraries, two popular languages in the software development community.
  • The Robot framework makes use of English language or human-understandable keywords to conduct the test writing process and make it easy for testers.
  • The tests are arranged in a hierarchical structure consisting of suites and sub-tests. The data is saved in files that house these suites, and a nested suite is formed by a directory containing these files.
  • The framework provides detailed reports, including logs, to help testers analyze the issue during a test.
  • The Robot Framework is flexible and extensible, so you can easily customize it to fit your specific testing needs. It can be used for GUI and non-GUI testing and integrated with other tools like Selenium and Appium.
  • The Robot Framework can be used on multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • The framework has a large and active community of developers and testers who regularly contribute to its development and provide support for back end development to users.

5. EarlGrey

EarlGrey is a testing framework for native iOS applications that uses automation testing to interact with the interface. It integrates with the XCUITest framework and requires tests written in Objective-C or Swift. EarlGrey is currently at version 2.2.1, which includes new synchronization for iOS application testers working with XCUITest. When writing this article, EarlGrey had 7.1k Stars and 2k Fork on GitHub, with the current version being 2.2.1.

Notable Features

  • EarlGrey is specifically designed to test iOS native applications, and it provides a range of tools and features to test the user interface of an application.
  • EarlGrey works with the XCUITest, Apple’s official iOS app testing framework.
  • EarlGrey provides synchronization features that allow testers to wait for elements to appear or disappear on the screen before acting. This ensures that tests run smoothly and reliably.
  • EarlGrey’s API is designed to be easy to use and understand, even for testers who are new to the framework.
  • EarlGrey provides detailed logging that allows testers to identify and diagnose issues that arise during testing easily.
  • EarlGrey is open source, meaning anyone can contribute to its development and improvement.
  • EarlGrey is regularly updated with new features and improvements to ensure it remains a reliable and effective iOS app testing tool.

6. Appium

Appium is among the best test automation frameworks widely used for testing native, hybrid, and mobile web applications. The official Appium website states, “Appium is based on the idea that app recompilation or SDK should not be the requirement during native app testing.” This open-source framework is compatible with popular tools and frameworks.

Cloud-based cross-browser testing tools like LambdaTest offer more than just functional UI tests. They also provide innovative technology to support mobile app testing that replicates end-user test scenarios. This is particularly beneficial for native mobile applications because iOS simulators and Android emulators enable cross-platform compatibility, saving significant time and money.

Notable Features

  • Appium supports iOS and Android platforms, making it ideal for cross-platform app testing.
  • Appium allows you to write test scripts in multiple programming languages, including Java, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, and C#.
  • Appium enables you to test mobile apps without requiring access to the source code, which makes it a popular choice among developers.
  • Appium supports native, hybrid, and mobile web applications frameworks, which makes it a versatile testing framework.
  • Appium allows you to test apps on real devices and emulators, providing a range of testing options.
  • Appium supports a range of automation tools, including Selenium, TestNG, and JUnit, which makes it easy to integrate with your existing testing tools and frameworks.
  • Appium is an open-source framework that is free to use and has a large community of developers contributing to its development and improvement.

7. Serenity

Serenity or Serenity BDD is a free-to-use library employed for creating acceptance and regression tests.

Serenity is known for its comprehensive and informative reports that provide detailed information on the tests conducted.

The distinguishing feature of Serenity BDD reports is that they not only indicate the test results but also specify the requirements that are met through the automation tests written.

Serenity is predominantly written in Java; however, it also has a version called SerenityJS, designed for front-end developers. These features make it one of the best test automation frameworks.

When writing this, Serenity had 581 stars and 420 forks on GitHub, and its latest version was v2.6.0, which has JUnit 5 support.

Notable Features

  • Serenity is known for its detailed and informative reports, which not only tell which tests have passed or failed but also indicate which requirements have been satisfied by the automated tests.
  • Serenity is a Java-based framework that supports Java testing tools such as JUnit and TestNG.
  • For front-end developers, Serenity provides a JavaScript version called SerenityJS that can be used to write acceptance tests for JavaScript-based applications.
  • Serenity uses simple and easy-to-understand syntax that makes it easy for testers to write acceptance and regression tests.
  • Serenity can be easily integrated with popular testing tools such as Selenium and Appium, making it a versatile test automation framework.
  • Serenity has built-in test management capabilities that allow testers to manage test cases and requirements, making it a complete test automation solution.

8. Cucumber

Cucumber is one of the top automation frameworks that use BDD language to develop automation tests. The BDD tests are written in a way that resembles the English language instead of calling out the syntax or command. However, the English sentences are converted into pure code in the background. 

The framework was originally developed for Ruby programming language but now supports many languages for Selenium automation testing in addition with Cucumber, making it one of the best automation frameworks available. Additionally, Cucumber’s best practices can be used to optimize the tool’s potential further.

The choices of BDD practitioners are quite different from the data, with Cucumber being the top preference, followed by SpecFlow, which is widely used by TypeScript and JavaScript coders.

Notable Features

  • Cucumber supports the BDD (Behavior Driven Development) language, which makes it easier for non-technical team members to understand the tests and collaborate with technical members.
  • Cucumber supports many programming languages, including Java, Ruby, Python, and .Net. This makes it easy for teams to use their preferred programming language.
  • With Cucumber, tests can be written in plain English, making it easy to understand for anyone involved in the project.
  • Cucumber allows for easy reusability of test scripts, making it easy to maintain and scale the testing process.
  • Cucumber integrates well with various automation testing tools such as Selenium, Watir, and Capybara.
  • Cucumber provides detailed and easy-to-understand reports, making identifying issues easy and tracking progress.

9. Citrus

The Citrus automation framework is distinct from the previously discussed popular test automation frameworks, specifically targeting communication channels and APIs rather than integration, UI, or end-to-end testing. Most testing tools are insufficient for testing communication channels that operate through REST, JMS, or HTTP. However, Citrus is designed to address this issue and can be combined with a broad range of messaging protocols and data formats.

Notable Features

    • Citrus supports many messaging protocols like HTTP, REST, JMS, and many more, making it a versatile tool for testing APIs and other communication channels.
    • Citrus can easily integrate with other popular testing tools like JUnit, TestNG, Jenkins, and Maven, making it easy to incorporate into existing test automation workflows.
    • The tests written in Citrus are easy to read and understand, with a clear focus on testing the communication channels between various system components.
    • Citrus has extensive documentation and tutorials, making it easy for users to get started and make the most of its features.
    • Citrus is built on top of Java and supports both Java and Groovy languages for writing tests.

10. Galen Framework

As an introduction to the Galen framework, one can refer to the first sentence of its landing page, which states, “Automate testing of the look and feel of your responsive web application.” 

This statement highlights the Galen framework’s three key features – automated testing, layout and UI for the looks and feel of the web application, and testing of responsive websites. Galen is an open-source framework, uses its unique language, and built on top of Selenium. When this article was written, Galen had 1.4k stars and 169 forks on GitHub, with the latest version being 2.4.4.

Notable Feature

  • The Galen framework tests a website’s UI and layout look and feel. It uses automated testing to ensure the website’s UI and layout are consistent across all devices and screen sizes.
  • Galen is specifically designed for testing responsive websites. It allows developers to test how their website looks and behaves across different screen sizes and resolutions, ensuring it is fully responsive.
  • Galen is an open-source framework that is free to use and can be customized to meet specific project requirements.
  • Galen uses its language for writing tests, specifically designed to test UI and layout. This makes it easier to write tests specific to a particular project’s needs.
  • Galen is based on Selenium, a popular web testing framework. It is compatible with many web browsers and easily integrates into existing Selenium test suites.

11. Carina

The Carina test automation framework, which is written in Java, is a framework utilized for testing mobile applications (native, hybrid and web), web applications, API applications, and databases.

Carina utilizes object pattern to create test definitions, and these tests can be run on any test platform with support for multiple threads. Furthermore, Carina is an open-source tool that is permanently free to use.

Notable Features

  • Carina can test mobile applications (native, web, and hybrid), web applications, API applications, and databases.
  • Carina uses the page object pattern to define tests, which allows for more maintainable and readable tests.
  • Carina tests can be run on any platform, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Carina supports running tests with multiple threads, which can significantly reduce the time required to execute tests.
  • Carina is an open-source tool that is free to use and can be customized to fit specific testing needs.
  • Carina can be integrated with popular tools such as Jenkins, JIRA, and TestRail, which can streamline the testing process.
  • Carina allows for parallel testing, meaning multiple tests can be run simultaneously, reducing the time required to execute tests.

12. Gauge Framework

Gauge is an exceptional test automation framework for test acceptance that adheres to open-source practices for development. It has a modular based architecture and provides robust language support.

The framework utilizes markdown as its testing language, making it simple to comprehend and write. It also offers excellent support for VS Code and comes with various features. As of the time of writing, Gauge has 2.6k Stars and 300 Fork on GitHub, and its latest version is 1.4.2.

Notable Features

  • Gauge is an open-source test automation framework that is free to use and can be customized to fit specific testing needs.
  • Gauge’s modular architecture allows flexibility and easy integration with other tools and technologies.
  • Gauge uses markdown language as the primary testing language, which makes it easy to read and write, even for non-technical stakeholders.
  • Gauge supports multiple programming languages, including Java, C#, Python, Ruby, and more.
  • Gauge provides an extension framework that allows users to create custom plugins and integrate them into the testing workflow.
  • Gauge supports parallel testing, which enables multiple tests to run simultaneously, reducing the time required to execute tests.
  • Gauge can be integrated with popular tools such as Jenkins, GitHub, and JIRA, which can streamline the testing process.
  • Gauge supports data-based testing, which allows testers to use different data sets to test the same feature or functionality.
  • Gauge tests can be run on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

13. Sahi

The Sahi automation framework is the final test automation framework we will discuss in the listing. You may be wondering why it is last. Well, that’s precisely how Sahi wants it to be.

Sahi’s motto is “When you have experimented with all of the tools available and still haven’t found one that perfectly fits your complex testing requirements, that’s when we step in.”

In essence, Sahi encourages you to try all the other tools and discover how unique and effective it is.

Notable Features

  • Browser automation – Sahi is a browser automation tool that can automate tasks across different browsers and platforms.
  • Sahi supports multiple programming languages, including Java, JavaScript, Ruby, and Python.
  • Sahi uses an object-oriented scripting language, doing writing and maintaining test scripts easy.
  • Sahi uses smart waiting techniques to wait for page elements to load before performing actions, which can improve test reliability.
  • Sahi allows for cross-browser testing, meaning tests can be run across different browsers and platforms.
  • Sahi supports data-driven testing, which allows testers to use different data sets to test the same feature or functionality.
  • Sahi is an open-source tool that is free to use and can be customized to fit specific testing needs.
  • Sahi provides dynamic reporting features that allow testers to view and analyze test results in real time.
  • Sahi allows for record and playback functionality, which can be useful for creating test scripts quickly and easily.
  • Sahi also supports testing web services and APIs, making it a versatile tool for various testing needs.

Final Word

Choosing the best test automation framework can be a confusing process. It’s important to remember that just because a particular framework is popular or trending doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best fit for your organization.

When selecting a framework, it’s important to consider your organization’s current needs and scope.

It can take time to thoroughly analyze and select the best automation framework for your organization. It’s important to weigh the time it takes to decide against the risk of switching to a different framework later on. Switching to a new framework can be a time-consuming and risky process.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to automation frameworks. The best framework for your organization will depend on your unique requirements and circumstances.

It’s important to start the evaluation process by gathering requirements, understanding the scope, conducting a smaller proof-of-concept, and making a final decision.

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