As applications are developed for different platforms, spanning desktop, mobile, and cloud, testing the user interface has become an increasingly complex and risk-prone task. While having its own set of challenges, automating this task can be very rewarding if it is approached correctly. GUI (Graphical User Interface) testing tools help in the automated testing of software and applications that contain graphical user interfaces. These software tools utilize test cases to ensure that the application meets its specification and performs the intended functions.
In addition to checking functionality, GUI testing tools also evaluate other design elements such as font sizes, test boxes, text formatting, buttons, menu bars, toolbars, dialogs, list, icons, images, layout, links content, etc. Incorporating GUI testing early in the software development cycle accelerates development, improves quality, and reduces risks towards the end of the cycle. Automated GUI testing provides a solution for deficiencies associated with manual GUI testing. Automated GUI testing tools can play back all the recorded set of tasks, compare the results of execution with the intended behavior and report the extent of success or failure of the software. Once created, GUI tests can be repeated any number of times and can also be extended to cover additional features at a later time.
How to Choose GUI Testing Tool
GUI Testing is a critical functional testing process and there are many factors that should be considered before selecting an Automated GUI testing tool including:
1. Estimated tool learning curve: Whether the time required in learning the tool is in line with goals.
2. Readability of testing framework: The testing framework needs to support test formats that are understood across the whole team.
3. Support availability: The greater the support available for the tool in the form of forums, bugs database, blogs, and active user community, the better it is.
4. Cost factor: Testers should check for ownership costs, maintenance, per-user license fees, etc.
5. Dependencies/requirements: Operating system compatibility and other packages required for successful deployment should be taken into account.
6. Integration quotient: Whether the tool offers any APIs or has the ability to customize.
7. Regular releases/fixes: Whether the tool is being maintained, regular updates released, and maturity of the tool.
Popular Automated GUI Testing Tools and Their Features
The following tools have been found to serve the purpose of building and executing automated GUI tests effectively.
- Commercial, functional, cross-platform tool for GUI and regression testing
- Capable of testing applications based on a variety of GUI technologies – including Windows, Mac, Java, iOS, Android, Qt, and more
- Squish is developed and maintained by Froglogic.
- Squish IDE, built on Eclipse, provides an integrated development environment for GUI testing including test management, script debugging, and an object spy.
- Offers extensive integration options including continuous integration, build integration, test management, and software project management integrations.
2. Test Complete
- Functional automated testing platform developed by SmartBear Software.
- Contains three modules for desktop, web, and mobile-based applications.
- Offers the option of manual recording, modifying, and automated playback of the recorded test.
- Ability to create own user plugins and extend the Test Complete platform (through SDK) to provide the required specific functionality.
- Other features include keyword testing, scripted testing, distributed testing, bug tracking integration, data-driven testing, and test visualization.
3. Telerik Test Studio
- Windows-based tool for functional testing, software performance testing, load testing, and mobile application testing.
- Telerik Test Studio is part of the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant report for Integrated Software Quality Suites. It has also won awards such as ATI Automation Honors, Best of TechEd, and VS Reader’s Choice.
- eggplant Functional is a black-box GUI test automation tool marketed by Test Plant.
- Provides acceptance testing, data-driven testing, embedded system testing, load testing, and multi-user functional testing.
- Uses patented image-based approach to GUI testing. eggplant can interact with any device (including mobile, tablet, desktop, server, and the Internet of Things) in the same way a user does, by looking at the screen.
- Provides a flexible keyword-driven testing framework, which allows the intuitive test definition language “Sense Talk”, or any language (e.g. Java, C#, Ruby) via the egg drive interface.
- Test from any host operating system – Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux.
- Freeware BASIC-like scripting language which has been designed for automating the Windows GUI and general scripting.
- Utilizes a combination of simulated keystrokes, mouse movement, and window/control manipulation in order to automate tasks.
- Supports complex expressions, user functions, loops, and compatibility with all versions of Windows.
- Contains a combined COM and DLL version of AutoIt called AutoItX that allows users to add the unique features of AutoIt to favorite scripting or programming languages.
- It is freeware and is primarily used to produce utility software for Microsoft Windows and to automate routine tasks.
6. Testing Anywhere
- Enables testing of applications, websites, objects, controls, and GUI front-ends.
- Employed to record, debug, schedule, and run test cases for a wide variety of application types, such as Java, Silverlight, .NET, Mainframe, C++, etc.
- Produced by Automation Anywhere and works on Microsoft Windows operating system.
- Has won the ATI Automation Honors 2012-2013 for the Best Commercial Functional Automated Test Tool12 .
7. Silk Test
- Tool for automated function and regression testing of enterprise applications.
- Has two components: Silk Test Host which contains all the source script files, and Silk Test Agent which translates the script commands into executable GUI commands (user actions).
- Provides keyword-driven testing which automatically creates the test design and saves time and effort during test implementation.
- Silk Test works on Windows, Solaris, and Redhat Linux operating systems and supports .NET, Java (Swing, SWT), DOM, IE, Firefox, and SAP Windows GUI.
8. Tosca Test suite
- Enterprise Agile testing suite that provides functional software testing tools.
- Developed by Tricentis and works on Microsoft Windows.
- Tosca is based on LinearQ℠ Methodology which minimizes the number of test cases to achieve the highest possible risk contribution for each test case, thus providing risk coverage.
- Provides an integrated solution for test automation.
- Offers readable test cases in a customizable interface.
- Incremental test automation.
9. Test Partner
- GUI software testing tool from Micro Focus.
- Applies a visual, contextual approach to capturing business processes and empowers non-technical application users to participate in the testing process.
- Additionally, provides expert testers and software developers with access to Visual Basic for Applications.
- Tight integration with testing and ASQ solution, improves the ability to assess and balance risk, cost, and schedule.
Another popular GUI testing tool is HP Unified Functional Testing (UFT). In conclusion, any organization can make great strides using functional test automation. The important benefits include greater reliability, higher test coverage levels, reduced test cycles, ability to perform multi-user testing at no extra cost, all resulting in improved quality of software.