Table of Contents
Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications: Introduction
To reach a broad audience, businesses develop their digital presence by building web applications. This causes the rise of competition between the old and new web applications.
The new ones are trying to hit the market and get their segment of the audience. Their older competitors have to release new features to retain their customers by enhancing their digital experience. For testing engineers, this means repeated release cycles with tight deadlines and the growing demand for automated tests in QA engineering. According to the report, the global test automation market is expected to grow from $12.6 in 2019 to $28.8 in 2024.
In this article, we will speak about automation testing for web applications. We will consider the most frequently used web automation testing types and will study the most popular automated testing tools used.
The basics of web automation testing
A web application is a client-server application with a browser as a client and a web-server as a server. The main part of the app is located on the server-side. The server processes the client’s queries according to the product business logic and sends a response to the customer. At this stage, the browser transforms the received query into a graphical interface displayed to the end-user.
Web application testing is ensuring product quality by testing if the application works as intended. It helps you find and fix the bugs at the earliest stage of software development. Testing is important since even a minor change in the code can cause further issues in other parts of the app. The earlier the bug is found, the cheaper it will be to fix it.
Test automation takes over the repetitive and tedious tasks. The QA engineer has to write the automated testing and scripts and the machine launches the repetitive tests. By launching automation testing, the tester can focus on exploratory testing or other tests that require human intelligence.
There are different testing cases and test scripts that you can automate depending on your business goals. There are several types of tests that can be automated in web app development.
1. Unit testing
Units are the smallest components of the software. Unit testing implies writing tests for each separate function or method. It helps to make sure that the code change doesn’t lead to mistakes in already tested code and helps to find and fix such bugs.
2. Smoke testing
This is a type of functional test determining if the application is stable and ready for advanced testing. It defines the overall product quality of automated software test and helps to find the most critical defects.
3. Integration testing
The software consists of different programming modules written by different developers. With integration testing, modules are tested as a single system. The goal of this continuous testing of type is checking data exchange and determining the bugs during the interaction of several modules.
4. Regression testing
Regression testing is a set of tests aimed at finding the defects in already tested parts of the application. This data driven testing is done for spotting and fixing regression mistakes that emerge while adding new code to the existing build or fixing the other bugs. So, the goal of regression testing is to make sure that bug fix didn’t lead to the appearance of new ones in already tested code.
5. API testing
API is a set of queries helping the application to connect with its part. For example, with the help of API requests the user interface communicates with the server that performs the necessary operations. API testing is held based on the business logic of the software product. Since API testing is a part of integration testing, it allows spotting the mistakes in the interaction between the modules.
6. Security testing
Security testing is used for checking the security of the system and for mitigating the risks associated with hacker attacks, malware and unauthorized access to confidential data. The goal of security testing is to fix all the existing weak spots in the application that can lead to data leaks, financial and reputational loss of the company.
7. Performance testing
Performance testing imitates the work of a big number of business users on a shared resource. Its goal is to define the working capacity, stability, resource consumption in different user scenarios. Performance testing helps to find the possible vulnerabilities and to prevent their malicious impact on software.
8. Acceptance testing
Acceptance testing is held on the final stage of delivering software testing the product to the customer. Its goal is to determine if the product is ready for use. During acceptance testing, the QA team checks the product with testing scenarios built based on the specification of requirements.
5 Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications
Now that we have spoken about types of web automation testing tool, let’s consider the five most popular automation testing tools for web apps.
Selenium is an open-source test automation framework for testing web applications in browsers. It supports numerous programming languages like Ruby, Java, C#, Python, all existing operating systems, and browsers. This is not a single instrument, but a set of tools covering different web testing tools and needs:
- Selenium WebDriver — for creating browser-based regression automation tests, scaling and distributing them across many environments.
- Selenium IDE — creating scripts for quick bug introduction, automation-aided exploratory testing. It’s convenient for prototyping tasks and doesn’t require advanced programming skills.
- Selenium Grid — for scaling, distributing and launching the parallel tests on different machines. It also helps to manage several environments in a single spot.
Selenium is one of the market leaders across the automation of automated software testing and tools due to the following benefits:
- Free. Selenium is an open-source tool and everyone can download, modify, and use it
- Good integration into the Agile, DevOps, CI\CD principles
- Compatible with mobile testing
- Supports all existing languages, platforms, and browsers
- Huge community. More than 54,000 companies use Selenium
- Great amount of libraries and plugins
Despite all the advantages, Selenium is not a perfect tool and has several weak points:
- Requires strong programming skills
- Doesn’t support desktop testing
- No built-in image comparison
- No tech support
- No test reporting capabilities
Selenium is a good choice for web app test automation tools and was already recognized by huge international companies like Google, Netflix etc.
Appium is an open-source framework for testing web and mobile UI. It validates compatibility, usability, and response time of web and mobile applications. It has a server-based architecture and uses a standard API — so, the code created with this web testing tool doesn’t need much modification.
The tool supports the majority of existing programming languages and operating systems. The framework translates the commands into Android and iOS ones — it allows the testing process not to depend on the operating system.
Appium is a good choice for web application testing due to the following benefits:
- Strong and active community
- Supports end-to-end testing in multiple languages and operating systems
- Doesn’t require recompilation of the app
- Supports test automation on physical devices, simulators and emulators
- Compatible with Selenium
- Can be used by the testers without advanced programming skills
Despite the number of benefits and popularity, Appium also has some limitations:
- It can be a challenge to set up Appium locally
- It is difficult to work with objects in Appium
- Slow test execution
- Performance issues
- Limited support of hybrid apps testing
Appium is a good choice for web automation and API testing.
Cypress is an open-source framework for the end-to-end testing of modern web applications. It is executed inside the browser. It tracks different browser events and never misses any manipulations with page elements. These factors decrease the possibility of floating tests.
Cypress is a relatively new tool, it already has 33.8k+ stars on GitHub. Such a wide adoption is clear due to the following benefits:
- Built-in testing toolset built on Mocha, Chai, Sinon fork
- Cypress automatically expects for the necessary element to appear, the animation to finish, and the network query to execute
- The time machine feature allows cancelling several successive steps of the test
- The ability to write unit tests
- Extensive documentation, an abundance of learning materials
Although Cypress is a strong testing tool, it also has some limitations:
- It can’t be used with two browsers at a time
- Cypress doesn’t support multi-tabs
- It doesn’t support Safari and Internet Explorer
- Limited support for iFrames
Despite several minor limitations, Cypress is an excellent tool for automated web testing tool,, and we definitely recommend considering it for your project.
Playwright is a Node.js library developed by Microsoft for automation testing with a single API for different browsers. The main benefit of Playwright is that it’s capable of interacting with browsers on a level that is inaccessible to Selenium. It supports Chrome and Chromium browsers and is compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS.
Let’s have a closer look at Playwright’s benefits:
- Supports numerous programming languages: Python, Java, .Net, C#
- It also can be integrated with CI\CD tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, Azure, TravisCI etc.
- Supports testing frameworks: Jest, Jasmine, Mocha
- Performs cross-browser testing on complex apps
- Has auto wait feature performing the necessary checks of the element
- Supports execution of simultaneous tests
Although Playwright is a robust testing tool, it has some disadvantages:
- Since it’s a relatively new tool, it doesn’t yet support API
- Doesn’t support Internet Explorer or non-browser platforms
- The documentation and community aren’t as robust as at the other frameworks
Despite some minor drawbacks, we still recommend Playwright for automating your web application.
5) Robot Framework
Robot Framework is a keyword-driven automation testing framework built on Python. With Robot, you can make automated test web use ready-made keywords without the need for Python programming. You only need to download the necessary library for writing the test.
Robot Framework is a multi-functional automated testing tool, with a number of benefits:
- Smooth learning curve
- Supports Web and Mobile testing
- Helps to identify tests with tags
- Good out-of-the-box reports
- Parallel launch
With some minor limitations, Robot is still a strong web automation tool:
- No built-in debugging capability
- Doesn’t allow nesting loops
Considering the strong and weak points of the Robot framework, we think it’s an excellent variant for your business.
What Points to Consider in Order to Select the Right Tool for Web Application Automation Testing?
Every job requires the right tool; the QA field is no exception. On the contrary, the quality of testing and the ease of automation depend entirely on the IT solution you use for your test cases.
However, it’s not just the technical qualities and functionality of the tool that matter in testing. The automation testing company engineer does the lion’s share of the work, so experience and skills outweigh the software. Combining all of these aspects is necessary to achieve top-notch software verification results.
First and foremost, pay attention to the purpose of the toolkit. Although most digital solutions in this field are considered versatile, they perform specific tasks somewhat differently in practice.
For instance, a tool like Postman is better suited for working with APIs, while Selenium allows parallelization and automation of unit testing, performance checks, and more.
You can use a single tool, but it’s better to utilize multiple tools simultaneously for maximum project coverage.Sergey AlmyashevCOO, ZappleTech Inc.
Modern NLP tools have a relatively low entry barrier, making them easier to use. Of course, if you know what and how to do in the context of QA. Traditional platforms or utilities require more experience, such as knowledge of programming languages, algorithms, methodologies, and so on.
Accordingly, if aQA expert is sufficiently qualified, they can apply almost any toolkit effectively. However, if skills are lacking for a complex tool like Selenium, it’s better to choose simpler programs and test software using them.
Different testing toolkits are employed depending on the type of software, its purpose, functionality, and more. Corresponding tools are necessary for more specific tasks, like working with blockchain, payment gateways, or distributed systems.
Theoretically, even a single tool could cover 100% of a project’s needs. The question is whether its effectiveness aligns with industry standards and whether it ensures the quality of the digital solution.
Global Differences Between the Tools Provided in This Article
All the mentioned IT solutions perform one task: automate the testing process. Some require exceptional skills and algorithm understanding, while others only need a scenario description.
This is, in fact, what distinguishes one tool from another. The working principles and engineer interaction methods with the framework or platform, product purposes, and pricing. You can choose practically any combination of these parameters, even among these five tools.
Methods of Usage
Taking a closer look at the described IT solutions, you can immediately see the contrast. The same Robot Framework combines RPA mechanics with NLP, making it a powerful combination for creating large-scale automated testing algorithms.
Interestingly, unlike more traditional tools, it’s somewhat easier to use. However, its maximum potential is realized only in experienced hands.
Like the rest of the IT solutions on the list, it’s applied for comprehensive web program testing.
In this regard, there is no significant difference between the mentioned tools. In any case, you’ll have to use all of them for comprehensive project coverage in QA. As for more specific solutions, the conditional Postman is used for working with APIs, while universal programs, although performing similar functions, are less effective for niche tasks.
A quality tool costs money. This axiom applies to the QA segment as well.Mikhail BodnarchukCDO, ZappleTech Inc.
Some programs are more expensive to use, while others are more budget-friendly. There are even free solutions that don’t compromise on features compared to pricier options.
The essence of tool selection (and its cost) lies in its efficiency, or how much faster, easier, and more efficiently you can perform your work with its help. Your income also depends on it, so cutting costs here isn’t entirely reasonable (unless in the early stages of team development).
Why Choosing the Right Tool is So Important?
A QA professional’s toolkit is their:
- Process complexity
- Testing speed
- Work efficiency
There’s a linear dependence between a tester’s skills, tools, efficiency, and earnings. The higher the skills and the better the tool, the less time an expert spends on testing and the better their results.
Accordingly, work efficiency increases, routine decreases, and earnings improve.
Imagine a typical situation where you’ve created a comprehensive automation algorithm, but it doesn’t work. Correct code, logic, structure, and even a well-configured environment, but it doesn’t run. You’ll need time to troubleshoot and get it working, right?
Another case is when you can’t create a comprehensive script due to several limitations, so you have to automate testing in parts.
For both examples, it’s true that an inefficient toolkit results in time loss, which is often scarce in QA projects.
Are you confident in the results of your testing? Do you trust the tool you’re using for verification? Probably yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s truly effective or versatile.
Let’s take the conditional Selenium, almost an industry QA standard. It’s used for massive projects where both testing speed and accuracy are crucial.
Opting for a cheap (free) alternative over it risks obtaining a lower testing quality, which could lead to reputational and financial problems.
How much time do you need to implement an algorithm and a corresponding test case? If you can’t answer this question or simply don’t want to, then it’s a lot.
With a suitable tool, you’ll need significantly fewer resources and efforts, as it’s adapted for quick testing scenario implementation.
Balancing Costs and Resources: The In-House vs. Outsourced Dilemma in Web Testing
According to Research And Markets, the outsourcing services market is expected to grow to $904.95 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 5.54%. This tells us that successful companies are increasingly delegating projects to external contractors, including QA.
In fact, this is justified by the fact that hiring a QA team is much more cost-effective and efficient than maintaining an in-house team of experts. Therefore, there are several reasons, such as:
- Access to the expertise and skills necessary for the project.
- Avoidance of additional expenses for offices or equipment.
- Self-organization and discipline of the team.
You get qualified assistance on a relatively modest budget by delegating the project.
Tips for Choosing a Good Contractor
It’s not always easy to distinguish between good and bad professionals. Both will try to convince you that only their services suit your project and that the quality of work and its cost are perfectly balanced.Mykhailo PoliarushCEO, ZappleTech Inc.
To avoid falling into the trap of dishonest QA service providers, follow our next tips.
Experience in Your Segment
Always consider whether the candidate has experience in your industry and the type of software. This determines both the project’s quality and its speed of implementation.
Cost of Services
Perhaps your budget allows you to work with the most expensive teams in the world. But is it practical? Considering that the QA process is part of the SDLC, you will need QA experts multiple times. You can avoid these additional costs by signing a contract with one partner.
Platforms like TrustPilot, DesignRush, or G2 are popular among IT teams and their clients. Find the company’s profile on these sites and see what previous clients have written about them. This way, you’ll better understand whether to trust the project to the contractor.
Why Is It Better to Order This Kind of Service in Company Zappletech?
If you need a team specializing in QA for over 10 years and boasting a 99% successful project rating, you’ve found it. ZappleTech provides a comprehensive range of web test automation services and guarantees their quality.
Want to be sure of our expertise? Look at our portfolio, client reviews, or talk with our manager. We’re confident that a fruitful and long-term partnership awaits us ahead!
Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications: Conclusion
Upon reading this article, you know everything about web automation testing and the most used web automation tools. If you have a need in automating the tests of your web application, please feel free to contact our team. We will give you a free consultation and explore the best options for free automation testing tools your project.