7 Open-Source Test Automation Frameworks

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Test Automation

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As we enter the last quarter of 2017, TestProject’s team decided to round up the best open-source test automation frameworks out there, to help you choose the right one for you! Here are the pros and cons of 7 different open-source test automation frameworks.

1. Robot Framework

Robot Framework (RF) is a test automation framework for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). This framework is written in Python, but can also run on Jython (Java) and IronPython (.NET), and therefore is cross-platform (Windows, Linux, or MacOS). Pros:
  • It simplifies the test automation process by utilizing the keyword-driven testing (KDT) approach, which helps testers create readable tests that are easily made.
  • Has easy to use test data syntax.
  • Has a rich ecosystem around it consisting of various generic test libraries and tools that are developed as separate projects.
  • Has many APIs that make it highly extensible.
  • Although it’s not a built-in ability, RF enables to execute parallel tests via pabot library or Selenium Grid.
  • It’s not easy to customize HTML reports.
Bottom line: This cross-platform framework is highly recommended if you are targeting for KDT automation with a wide range of libraries and extensions. If you want to add new keywords (via RF test library APIs), a basic knowledge in Java/Python/C programming language is required.

2. JUnit

JUnit is a framework for unit testing of Java applications, used to write and run repeatable tests. Pros:
  • Tests are written in pure Java which is known as the leading programming language worldwide.
  • Supports test-driven development (TDD).
  • Enables you to create your own unit test case suite.
  • Integrates very well with other tools (for example, Maven) and with IDEs (for example, IntelliJ).
  • Has history – so it has a large user base that makes it easy to find documentation on it.
  • If a mocking ability is required, one needs to add Mockito (or some other mocking library).
  • Tests are not readable by non-technical people, since for example the methods names in JUnit are constrained by Java conventions.
Bottom line: If you’re looking to write unit testing for your Java application, it’s probably the best choice. However, for functional testing or non-Java applications, you should consider other solutions.

3. Spock

Spock is a testing and specification framework for Java and Groovy applications. It is based on JUnit. Pros:
  • Creates readable tests and supports plain English sentences, making it easy to read.
  • Provides the surrounding context, so it easily enables you to understand how to fix a failure.
  • Has built-in mocking and stubbing capabilities.
  • Supports data-driven-tests (DDT).
  • Requires a basic knowledge of the Groovy programming language.
Bottom line: If your application is based on JVM and you are targeting for BDD test automation with DSL, this framework is just for you!

4. NUnit

NUnit is a unit testing framework for all .Net languages. Originally inspired by Junit, it is written entirely in C#, and has been completely redesigned to take advantage of many .NET language features. Pros:
  • Quick initiation and test execution.
  • Comes with assertions and annotations.
  • Enables parallel testing.
  • Supports test-driven development (TDD).
  • It is not cross-platform as it is used only for .Net languages.
  • It doesn’t integrate into the Visual Studio ecosystem, so using it means more maintenance.
Bottom line: A nice open-source framework for C# unit testing, with a long history and good reputation. However, in case you’re already using .NET languages, you may consider MSTest.

5. TestNG

TestNG is a test automation framework for Java that is inspired by JUnit and NUnit, but includes improved and new functionalities (NG – Next Generation). It is designed to cover all the test automation categories: unit testing, functional test, end-to-end, integration testing, etc. Pros:
  • It is easily integrated into the Maven cycle.
  • Gives the developer the ability to write flexible and powerful tests.
  • Supports Data Driven testing (DDT).
  • Annotations are easy to understand.
  • Test cases can be grouped easily.
  • Allows you to create parallel tests.
  • Only supports Java, so you need to have at least a basic knowledge of the Java programming language.
  • You have to invest time in framework setup & design.
Bottom line: If you use Java, are looking for end-to-end test automation framework and willing to invest some time in framework setup – you should definitely consider using TestNG.

6. Jasmine

is a JavaScript unit testing framework. It is also known as a Behavior Driven Development (BDD) testing framework for JavaScript. It’s suited for websites, Node.js projects, or anywhere JavaScript can run. It is mainly paired with AngularJS. Pros:
  • Additionally to JavaScript, it can run in Python and Ruby, which can greatly assist you if you want to run your client-side tests alongside your server-side ones.
  • Is supported by many CIs (Codeship, Travic, etc.).
  • Has built-in syntax for assertions.
  • In most scenarios it requires a test runner (such as Karma).
  • Has difficulties with asynchronous testing.
Bottom line: Jasmin might be a perfect fit for your needs if you’re searching for a unified (client-server) unit testing solution.

7. Mocha

Mocha is a JavaScript unit testing framework, that runs tests on Node.js. It is mainly paired with ReactJS. Pros:
  • Has its own test runner built-in.
  • Supports asynchronous testing.
  • Allows flexibility since you can use any assertion library (Chai, expect.js, Must.js, etc.) that fits your needs (as a replacement to Node’s standard ‘assert’ function).
  • Relatively new to the field (developed in 2012), which means it’s still changing and its user base and support might be lacking in some aspects.
  • Provides just the base test structure, thus requires additional setup and configuration (may be an advantage for some).
Bottom line: If you are looking for JavaScript stand alone unit testing framework, Mocha is your go-to framework!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Open Source Test Automation Frameworks

What are the key factors to consider when choosing an open-source test automation framework?

When choosing an open-source test automation framework, you should consider several factors. Firstly, the framework should be easy to use and have a user-friendly interface. It should also have a strong community support for troubleshooting and updates. Secondly, the framework should be compatible with various platforms and browsers. Thirdly, it should support multiple languages and have good reporting capabilities. Lastly, it should be scalable and maintainable, meaning it should be able to handle increasing amounts of work in a capable manner and be easy to update or modify.

How does the Robot Framework compare to other open-source test automation frameworks?

The Robot Framework stands out due to its keyword-driven approach to automation testing. This makes it easier for testers to understand and write test cases, even without extensive programming knowledge. It also supports a wide range of technologies, including web-based, mobile, and desktop applications. However, like any other tool, it has its limitations. For instance, it may not be the best choice for load or performance testing.

What are the benefits of using open-source test automation frameworks?

Open-source test automation frameworks offer several benefits. They are free to use, which makes them cost-effective. They also have strong community support, which means you can get help and advice from other users. Additionally, they are customizable, allowing you to modify the framework to suit your specific needs. Lastly, they are regularly updated, ensuring that they stay relevant and effective.

Can I use multiple open-source test automation frameworks for different projects?

Yes, you can use different open-source test automation frameworks for different projects. Each framework has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best one for your project depends on your specific needs and requirements. For instance, you might choose one framework for its strong support for a specific language, and another for its excellent reporting capabilities.

How can I contribute to the development of an open-source test automation framework?

There are several ways to contribute to the development of an open-source test automation framework. You can contribute code, write documentation, report bugs, suggest new features, or help with translation. Before you start contributing, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the project’s contribution guidelines, which are usually available on the project’s website or GitHub page.

What are some common challenges when using open-source test automation frameworks?

Some common challenges when using open-source test automation frameworks include a steep learning curve, lack of professional support, and compatibility issues with certain platforms or technologies. Additionally, because these frameworks are developed by a community of volunteers, updates and bug fixes may not be as frequent or timely as with commercial software.

How can I learn to use an open-source test automation framework?

There are many resources available to help you learn to use an open-source test automation framework. These include online tutorials, documentation, forums, and even courses. Additionally, many frameworks have active communities where you can ask questions and get help.

Can open-source test automation frameworks be integrated with other testing tools?

Yes, many open-source test automation frameworks can be integrated with other testing tools. This allows you to leverage the strengths of multiple tools and create a more comprehensive testing strategy. For instance, you might integrate a framework with a continuous integration tool to automate the testing process.

Are open-source test automation frameworks suitable for beginners?

Yes, many open-source test automation frameworks are suitable for beginners. They often have user-friendly interfaces and extensive documentation to help you get started. However, some frameworks may require a basic understanding of programming.

What is the future of open-source test automation frameworks?

The future of open-source test automation frameworks looks promising. With the increasing adoption of agile and DevOps practices, the demand for effective and efficient testing tools is on the rise. Open-source frameworks, with their flexibility and cost-effectiveness, are well-positioned to meet this demand. Additionally, advancements in technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are likely to bring new capabilities to these frameworks.

Dan GreenbergDan Greenberg
View Author

Senior Software Test Automation Engineer and Contributing Author at TestProject.

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