How to Choose the Right Open Source Test Automation Tool
Organizations worldwide are adopting open-source software to drive technological innovations. Testers look beyond the obvious benefit of cost while embracing open-source test automation tools. The reliability, transparency, flexibility are added benefits of choosing an open-source test automation tool.
Saving time is saving money! Open-source tools save time reinventing the wheel to build your test automation framework from scratch.
“There is a wide range of open-source test automation tools available in the market today, but which one to choose?”
Most testers do not follow a structured approach when evaluating an open-source automation tool. This article will discuss the factors you need to consider for choosing a test automation tool.
1. DOES THE OPEN-SOURCE AUTOMATION TOOL MEET THE NEEDS OF YOUR PROJECT?
Testers often fall prey to the bandwagon effect and pick a tool just because it’s widespread and everyone else is using it. Choose an automation tool that meets all your testing needs and fulfills the requirements of your project. Be clear about the problems you are trying to solve with test automation.
Perform a competitive analysis of the open-source test automation tools you want to consider. Before making a choice, find answers to the following questions –
i. What features does the tool offer?
ii. Is it easy to install and run?
iii. What competitive edge does the tool have? How is it different or better than other open-source tools?
iv. Does the tool fit into your current testing processes?
v. Does your team have the necessary skill to adopt the tool? If not, what is the learning curve involved?
vi. Can the tool enable every team member to automate regardless of their scripting expertise?
vii. Can the tool integrate with your existing tools seamlessly?
viii. Have you checked the license of the OSS? Does it meet your needs?
Open source tools come with different license types. Don’t miss checking the license type before opting for the tool of his choice.
Execute a POC (Proof-of-Concept) before choosing an open-source tool to determine if the tool is a long-term solution for your team.
2. WHAT IS THE QUALITY OF DOCUMENTATION AVAILABLE?
Documentation is one of the significant factors to consider when choosing an open-source project. When documentation becomes an afterthought, it leaves the users in the dark and prevents them from achieving their goals.
High-quality documentation dramatically increases the likelihood of adopting an open-source tool. Most open-source projects start with a small team driven by developers. Developers enjoy writing code and not documentation. Furthermore, good documentation is time-intensive for a small team of contributors to create and maintain.
Before finalizing an open-source test automation framework, find answers to these questions –
i. Does the project have well-written documentation?
ii. Is the documentation easily accessible?
iii. Is it well structured and easy to understand for everyone?
iv. Are advanced topics covered in the documentation?
v. Does the documentation enable you to be self-sufficient and achieve your goals without hassles in the long run?
Documentation is an ongoing process and has to be updated regularly. Apart from the technical aspects and usage, documentation should provide insights about the current state of the software like open bugs, history of bug fixes, improvements, versions, etc.
3. HOW ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY? WHAT LEVEL OF SUPPORT CAN YOU EXPECT?
Proprietary test automation tools offer premium support to their customers. You can contact the vendor when something goes wrong or if you need some assistance. However, unlike proprietary software, open-source tools are not backed by priority support. You need to rely on community support.
Some open-source tools provide paid support and access to experts to help you resolve your challenges. Hence before choosing any open-source automation tool, evaluate the following –
i. How well supported is the OSS?
ii. How can you get your problems resolved? Is there a ticketing system?
iii. Are there public groups, forums, blogs where the contributors actively resolve user queries and issues? Look at the responses from the community’s contributors to the questions; it indicates the support you can expect from them in the future.
iv. Is the tool supported by experts willing to share their expertise and knowledge with the community?
v. How long does it usually take to resolve the issue? How many open bugs are present?
The community plays a significant role in growing and maintaining the OSS. Look at the ongoing developments and the activities of the community. Figure out –
i. How big is the community? Is there an active support community willing to answer your questions and concerns?
ii. Is there an ongoing development of the open-source software you are considering?
iii. When was the last stable version of the OSS released?
iv. How frequently are feature requests and enhancements rolled out?
v. Does the community strive to share knowledge? What initiatives have they taken?
vi. Learn about the team behind the OSS and their plans. Is there a clear roadmap planned for the tool?
vii. What features can you expect in future releases?
viii. Does the automation tool have a future? What are the risks of the tool going tool being retired due to lack of funding?
ix. Which other companies are using the tool you are considering?
x. What are the reviews about the tool? Does the OSS have a good reputation for its reliability and ease of use?
When you go open source, choosing the correct tool is critical; otherwise, you might face barriers in the future that may prove to be expensive. Consider these factors discussed in this article before selecting an open-source test automation tool. Evaluate if the tool’s capabilities and offerings meet your testing needs and help you succeed with automation.
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