Top 15 Desktop Automation Tools for Testing
In the realm of software development, testing plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality and reliability of desktop applications. As desktop applications become more sophisticated and complex, manual testing alone is no longer sufficient to meet the demands of efficiency and accuracy. This is where desktop automation tools for testing come into play. Automated testing involves the use of specialized tools and frameworks to execute pre-defined test cases and verify the functionality of desktop applications. By leveraging automation, testing teams can significantly improve the testing process, increase test coverage, and detect defects early on. In this article, we will explore the top 15 desktop automation tools that can help you achieve your testing automation goals and streamline your workflow.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is a Desktop Application?
- 2 Why Automate Tests for a Desktop Application?
- 3 Top 15 Desktop Automation Tools for Testing
- 3.1 Testsigma
- 3.2 WinAppDriver
- 3.3 Winium
- 3.4 TestArchitect
- 3.5 Ranorex
- 3.6 SikuliX
- 3.7 askUI
- 3.8 Robot Framework
- 3.9 ZAPTEST
- 3.10 AutoIt
- 3.11 FlaUI
- 3.12 Jubula
- 3.13 Pywinauto
- 3.14 Airtest
- 3.15 Appium
- 4 Summary
What is a Desktop Application?
A desktop application is a software program that runs locally on a personal computer or a laptop, rather than on the internet or a web browser. You can use these applications to perform specific tasks or functions, and they are typically installed and stored on the hard drive of a user’s computer.Desktop applications offer a range of features and advantages, including:Features:
- Offline Access: You can use desktop applications without an internet connection, allowing users to work and access their data even when they are not connected to the internet.
- Performance: They are generally faster and more responsive than web-based applications, as they directly access a computer’s resources, such as its processor and memory.
- Customization: Desktop applications can be customized to suit the needs of individual users or businesses, with the ability to add or remove features and tailor the user interface to specific requirements.
Some examples of desktop applications include Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop, and Skype. These applications are designed for specific tasks such as document editing, photo editing, and video conferencing.
Why Automate Tests for a Desktop Application?
Automating tests for a desktop application offers numerous benefits that can significantly improve the software development process. By automating repetitive tasks, ensuring consistent testing, and reducing human error, desktop application testing can become more efficient and reliable.
10 Reasons why you should Automate Desktop Application Tests
Let’s explore the top 10 reasons why automating tests for a desktop application is crucial:
- Time and Cost Savings: Automated testing saves time by executing tests faster and reducing manual effort. It reduces the need for extensive manual testing, resulting in cost savings in the long run.
- Increased Test Coverage: Automation allows for comprehensive testing of various scenarios, including edge cases and different data sets. It helps identify and address potential issues that might be missed during manual testing.
- Improved Accuracy: It consistently executes test cases with precision, minimizing the risk of human error. It ensures that the application behaves as expected in different situations.
- Regression Testing: Automating regression tests helps ensure that new changes or updates do not introduce unintended issues or break existing functionality. It provides confidence in maintaining the stability and reliability of the desktop application.
- Faster Feedback: They provide quick feedback on the application’s behavior, highlighting any failures or issues. It enables developers to promptly identify and fix bugs, leading to faster iterations and shorter development cycles.
- Scalability: Automated tests are easily scalable, allowing for testing across different environments, operating systems, and configurations. It facilitates testing on various platforms and ensures consistent behavior across multiple setups.
- Reusability: Test automation enables the reuse of test cases, making it efficient and time-saving for future testing efforts. It eliminates the need to recreate test scenarios, increasing productivity and reducing redundancy.
- Increased Productivity: It frees up testers’ time from repetitive manual tasks, allowing them to focus on more complex and exploratory testing. It enhances productivity by automating mundane and repetitive tasks.
- Consistency: Automated tests ensure consistent execution of test cases, minimizing the impact of human factors. It eliminates variations in testing approaches and guarantees consistent results.
- Integration with Continuous Integration (CI) Pipelines: They seamlessly integrate into CI pipelines, enabling continuous and automated testing. It supports frequent builds, and deployments, and ensures that the application remains stable throughout the development process.
Top 15 Desktop Automation Tools for Testing
There are several types of desktop automation tools for testing available, each designed to automate specific types of tasks or workflows. Some examples of desktop automation tools include:
- Regression Testing: These types of desktop automation tools ensure that previously validated functionality remains intact after changes or updates.
- Compatibility Testing: They help verify the compatibility of desktop applications across different platforms, browsers, and configurations.
- Load and Performance Testing: Tools assist in testing the application’s performance and scalability under varying workload conditions.
- User Interface Testing: They validate the consistency and usability of the application’s graphical user interface.
- Security Testing: Tools aid in identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities and ensuring robust security measures.
- Data-Driven Testing: Tools enable the execution of test cases with different datasets to validate the application’s behavior.
- Localization Testing: These desktop automation tools assist in verifying the correct functioning of desktop applications across different languages and locales.
Let’s have a look at the top 15 Desktop Automation Tools for testing in the market.
Testsigma is a test automation tool that comes in two versions: a cloud-based premium version and an open-source version. You can create and run automated tests for desktop applications without the need for programming skills. It uses a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create test cases quickly and easily. It also supports keyword-driven testing, which allows users to create tests using natural language keywords instead of complex code. Testsigma is equipped with numerous features that make test automation easy and efficient.
Key features of Testsigma:
- Easy Test Automation: Testsigma provides an intuitive way to automate tests in simple English, making it accessible to non-technical team members. Users can start test automation in just minutes.
- Multi-Platform Support: It allows users to automate their tests for web, mobile, API, and desktop applications from the same platform, eliminating the need for multiple tools.
- AI-Supported Features: Testsigma includes built-in features that use AI to help users save time on test maintenance, such as automatic script maintenance, bug reporting, and test optimization.
- Cloud Execution: It offers easy and efficient test execution on the cloud, allowing users to run their tests from anywhere at any time. The platform also offers scalability.
- Debugging Made Easy: Testsigma provides several debugging features, including the ability to capture screenshots, videos, and logs during test runs. It also includes a built-in debugger that allows users to step through their test scripts to identify and resolve issues.
- Customizable Reports: It provides customizable reports that you can tailor to specific needs. Users can choose which metrics to report on and how to format the reports. The platform also offers real-time reporting.
- Collaborative Setup: It makes it easy for teams to collaborate on test automation efforts. Users can set up review and collaboration processes on the cloud, and the platform integrates with popular CI/CD tools.
- Parallel Testing: Testsigma supports parallel testing, allowing users to run multiple tests simultaneously.
- Testing on Local Devices: It allows users to test their apps on local devices, enabling more accurate testing and ensuring that the app performs as expected in real-world scenarios.
- Data-Driven Testing: Testsigma supports data-driven testing, allowing users to test their apps with various data inputs.
- Image Recognition: It includes image recognition capabilities, which can help identify visual changes to an app.
- 24/7 Support: Testsigma offers round-the-clock support to users.
- It is available as both an open-source and a premium version on the cloud.
Testsigma’s natural language approach makes it easy for anyone to create automated test cases without needing to write any code. The platform’s AI-powered engine takes care of the technical details. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use and powerful desktop automation tool for testing, Testsigma is the solution for you. Start automating your desktop applications, in minutes, with Testsigma.
WinAppDriver is a free and open-source test automation tool developed by Microsoft for Windows desktop applications. It uses the Windows Application Driver to automate the testing of Windows applications on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and later.
Features of WinAppDriver
- Supports automation of both Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and classic Windows (Win32) applications.
- Provides robust support for the Appium automation framework, making it easy to integrate with existing Appium tests.
- Enables automation of various user interactions, such as mouse clicks, keyboard inputs, and touch gestures.
- Allows users to inspect the UI elements of Windows applications using the Appium desktop inspector.
Limitations of WinAppDriver
- It has Limited support for older versions of Windows and Windows applications.
- Limited support for advanced automation scenarios, such as complex workflows and conditional logic.
- Limited support for non-Windows applications and cross-platform testing.
WinAppDriver is available for free and does not require any licensing fees. However, users must ensure they comply with Microsoft’s licensing terms and conditions when using the tool for commercial purposes.In conclusion, WinAppDriver is a powerful and flexible test automation tool that can help organizations automate their Windows desktop applications. While it has some limitations, it offers a variety of useful features and is available at no cost to users.
Winium is a free and open-source automation framework that is specifically designed for testing Windows desktop applications. It allows testers to automate the testing of applications across different versions of Windows and provides a set of tools for interacting with the application’s user interface.
Features of Winium:
- Supports automation of desktop applications built using different technologies, such as WinForms, WPF, and UWP.
- Provides a set of libraries for interacting with the application’s UI elements, such as buttons, text fields, and menus.
- You can integrate it with popular testing frameworks, such as Selenium and Appium, to enable cross-platform testing.
- Offers support for different programming languages, including Java, Python, and C#.
- Provides a set of APIs for controlling and managing the test execution process.
- Requires a deep understanding of the Windows desktop application development environment to use effectively.
- The documentation and community support are not as extensive as other automation tools.
- Some users have reported issues with stability and reliability during test execution.
Winium is an open-source tool and is available for free, with no licensing fees or restrictions.In summary, Winium is a powerful open-source tool for automating the testing of Windows desktop applications. While it has some limitations, such as a steeper learning curve and potentially lower stability, it can be a good option for those looking for a free and flexible automation solution.
TestArchitect is a comprehensive test automation tool designed specifically for desktop applications. It supports the automation of applications built on various platforms such as Windows, Java, .NET, and WPF. The tool features a user-friendly interface, allowing users to easily create, maintain, and execute automated test cases.
Key features of TestArchitect as a desktop automation tool:
- Multi-platform support: It supports the automation of desktop applications built on various platforms such as Windows, Java, .NET, and WPF.
- Codeless automation: It allows users to automate tests without any coding knowledge. This makes it easier for non-technical team members to involve in test automation.
- AI-assisted testing: It includes AI-powered features such as self-healing tests and dynamic object recognition, which can help users save time and effort in maintaining their test cases.
- Cross-browser testing: It supports cross-browser testing, allowing users to test their applications on different browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
- Test reporting and analytics: It provides customizable reports and dashboards, allowing users to track their testing progress and identify areas for improvement.
Limitations to using TestArchitect
- Limited support for mobile application testing: It is primarily designed for desktop application testing and has limited support for mobile application testing.
- Limited scripting capabilities: It has limited scripting capabilities compared to other automation tools, which may limit its flexibility for some users.
- Pricing: TestArchitect is available only as a paid tool, which may not be affordable for all organizations.
TestArchitect offers a variety of pricing plans based on the number of concurrent users and test cases. Additionally, they offer a free trial so users can evaluate the tool before purchasing.
Ranorex is a popular desktop automation tool that allows users to automate tests for desktop, web, and mobile applications. It offers a range of features that make it a valuable tool for software testing and quality assurance.
Key features of Ranorex:
- Cross-platform support: Ranorex supports testing on Windows, macOS, and mobile devices, making it a versatile tool for cross-platform testing.
- Object recognition: It uses advanced object recognition technology to identify and interact with user interface elements, making it easy to automate tests.
- Test automation editor: The test automation editor allows users to create and edit test cases using a visual editor, making it easy to create and modify tests without needing to write code.
- Data-driven testing: Ranorex supports data-driven testing, allowing users to run the same test case with multiple data sets, making it easier to identify and resolve issues.
- Integration with CI/CD tools: It integrates with popular CI/CD tools, making it easy to incorporate test automation into existing workflows.
- Reporting and analysis: Ranorex provides detailed reports on test results, allowing users to identify and analyze issues quickly and efficiently.
Limitations of Ranorex:
- Limited free version: The free version of Ranorex has limited functionality and is only suitable for small-scale testing.
- Steep learning curve: Ranorex can be challenging to learn for beginners, and it may take some time to become proficient in using the tool.
- Cost: The cost of the paid version of Ranorex can be high, which may not be feasible for some organizations.
Ranorex offers a range of pricing options, including a free version for small-scale testing, a perpetual license for a one-time fee, and a subscription-based model. The cost of the tool varies based on the features and number of licenses required.Overall, Ranorex is a powerful and versatile desktop automation tool that offers a range of features and benefits for software testing and quality assurance.
SikuliX is an open-source desktop automation tool that uses image recognition to automate GUI interactions. It allows users to automate repetitive and mundane tasks, such as filling out forms, clicking buttons, and navigating menus, by simply taking screenshots of the desired UI elements and writing Python code to interact with them. The tool is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, and is widely used in industries such as software testing, QA, and RPA.
Key features of SikuliX:
- Image Recognition: SikuliX uses image recognition to identify and interact with GUI elements, allowing users to automate tasks without having to know the underlying code or programming language.
- Cross-Platform Support: It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, making it a versatile tool for desktop automation testing.
- Easy Scripting: SikuliX provides a simple scripting language that allows users to write scripts in plain English, making it easy for non-technical users to create automation scripts.
- Open-Source: It is an open-source tool, meaning that it is free to use and modify. This makes it a popular choice for organizations with limited budgets or those who want to customize the tool to meet their specific needs.
- Integration: SikuliX can be integrated with other automation tools, such as Selenium, making it a powerful tool for desktop automation testing.
However, like any tool, SikuliX has some limitations.
- Limited OCR Support: While SikuliX is great at image recognition, it has limited support for OCR (Optical Character Recognition), making it difficult to automate tasks that involve reading text.
- Fragile Tests: Because SikuliX relies on image recognition, any changes to the UI elements being targeted can break the automation script. This can make maintaining and updating tests more difficult.
- Steep Learning Curve: While SikuliX provides an easy-to-use scripting language, it can still be difficult for non-technical users to get started with the tool.
SikuliX is a free and open-source desktop automation tool.
askUI is a UI automation tool that allows users to automate UI testing for web, desktop, and mobile applications. The tool is designed to be user-friendly and does not require users to have extensive programming knowledge to use it. With askUI, users can create automated test cases by recording their interactions with the application and generating test scripts.
Features of askUI:
- Cross-platform support for web, desktop, and mobile applications
- Supports multiple languages such as Java, C#, and Python
- Offers object identification through XPath, CSS selectors, and ID, among others
- Provides inbuilt reporting and integration with popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins and Bamboo
- Allows integration with test management tools such as JIRA, TestRail, and qTest
Limitations to consider when using askUI:
- The tool lacks support for some advanced features like image recognition and OCR
- There is no support for parallel testing
- The tool is not suitable for testing complex UI interactions that require custom coding or scripting
askUI offers flexible pricing options that cater to different user needs. Users can choose between monthly and annual subscriptions, and pricing is based on the number of test cases created. There is also a free trial available for users who want to test out the tool before making a commitment.
Robot Framework is a popular, open-source, generic test automation framework. It was originally created by Pekka Klärck at Nokia Networks and is now maintained by the Robot Framework Foundation. Robot Framework is designed to be a flexible, modular, and extensible test automation framework that can be used for a variety of testing tasks.
- Easy-to-use syntax that is both human-readable and machine-executable
- Supports a wide range of test automation libraries and tools, including Selenium, Appium, and JMeter
- Supports keyword-driven testing, behavior-driven development, and data-driven testing
- Provides built-in support for testing web, mobile, and desktop applications
- Offers an extensible architecture that allows users to develop custom libraries and keywords
- Supports parallel test execution for faster testing
- Limited support for desktop application testing compared to some other automation tools
- Requires a decent level of programming knowledge and skills to use effectively
- Limited support for image-based testing compared to some other automation tools
Robot Framework is an open-source tool, so it is available for free. However, users may need to pay for additional libraries or plugins depending on their testing needs.
ZAPTEST is an enterprise-level automated testing tool that is designed to automate functional and performance testing for desktop, web, and mobile applications. It is a powerful and easy-to-use testing solution that can help you improve the quality of your software, increase efficiency, and reduce testing time.
Features of ZAPTEST:
- Cross-platform testing for desktop, web, and mobile applications
- Visual testing with image and text recognition
- Test scripting with multiple programming languages (C#, VB.NET, Python)
- Automated testing for popular technologies (Java, .NET, Oracle Forms, SAP, etc.)
- Support for continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) with integration to popular tools like Jenkins, Git, and JIRA
- Built-in reporting and analysis for test results and trends
Limitations of ZAPTEST:
- Steep learning curve for beginners due to its advanced features and functionalities
- Limited community support compared to some other automation tools
- Pricing can be expensive for small businesses or individual users
ZAPTEST offers a flexible pricing model based on the number of licenses and features required by the user. There is a free trial available, and pricing can be obtained by contacting their sales team directly.
Autolt is a powerful and flexible desktop automation tool designed specifically for Windows GUI testing and automation. It allows testers and developers to automate repetitive tasks, create UI tests, and interact with desktop applications in a fast and efficient manner.
Key features of Autolt:
- Easy-to-learn scripting language
- Support for a wide range of desktop applications
- Image and pixel-based automation
- Advanced window and control manipulation capabilities
- Integration with popular test frameworks and tools
- Rich set of built-in functions and libraries
Autolt also has some limitations:
- It has limited support for web automation.
- Limited support for cross-platform testing.
- Very little documentation and community support.
Autolt is available for free and can be downloaded from its official website. It also offers a paid version with additional features and support options.
FlaUI is an open-source UI automation framework designed for desktop applications. It is a .NET library that is built on top of UI Automation libraries that are included with Windows. FlaUI provides an object-oriented API for automating Windows applications and is designed to work with any programming language that can interface with .NET.
- Provides an object-oriented API for UI automation
- Supports automation of Windows Forms, WPF, and Win32 applications
- Can be used with any programming language that supports .NET
- Provides support for automation of multiple applications running in parallel
- Allows creating and executing automated tests for desktop applications
- Offers a robust set of verification and assertion methods for UI testing
- Limited support for automating non-standard UI components
- The steep learning curve for beginners due to the object-oriented API
- Requires .NET to be installed on the machine where it is used
- Limited documentation and community support
FlaUI is an open-source tool that is free for personal and commercial use.
Jubula is an open-source desktop automation tool that is used to automate functional tests for graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and other systems. It is developed by the Eclipse Foundation and offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for testers and developers to create and run automated tests. Jubula supports a variety of programming languages and can be used to test a range of applications, including web-based applications, desktop applications, and mobile applications.
Features of Jubula include:
- Supports a variety of programming languages such as Java, Python, and Ruby
- Offers a modular architecture for easy customization and extension
- Provides support for automated testing of complex user interfaces
- Allows for test case management and version control
- Supports automated testing of web, desktop, and mobile applications
- Provides an easy-to-use interface for creating and running automated tests
Limitations of Jubula include:
- Limited support for non-Java applications
- Limited support for testing of mobile applications
Jubula is available as a free, open-source tool, and there is no licensing fees associated with its use.
Pywinauto is a free and open-source automation library for Windows GUI applications. It is designed to automate GUI testing and automation of Windows applications. Pywinauto can interact with applications written in various languages such as C++, .NET, VB, etc. It can simulate user actions such as clicks, typing, and reading text from GUI elements. It uses accessibility technologies to access the UI elements of Windows applications.
- Cross-platform support
- Supports multiple programming languages including Python, IronPython, and Jython
- It also supports standard and custom controls
- Supports testing of 64-bit applications
- Can be used for desktop automation, testing, and scripting
- Provides easy-to-use API
- Limited support for non-standard UI elements
- Not suitable for web applications
- Requires some programming knowledge to use effectively
Pywinauto is a free and open-source tool.
Airtest is an open-source cross-platform UI automation testing framework that can be used for testing mobile applications, web applications, and games. It allows you to write scripts in Python, and its unique feature is the ability to create tests without the need for the source code.
- Supports multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, and web applications
- Allows you to write scripts in Python
- Provides a wide range of image recognition tools for easy and efficient test creation
- Offers various testing modes, including single-device mode, multi-device mode, and cloud mode
- Integrates with popular testing frameworks, such as pytest and unittest
- Airtest is primarily designed for UI testing and does not provide support for API testing
- Its documentation and community support may not be as robust as other testing frameworks
- Requires some degree of programming knowledge, as it relies on writing scripts in Python
Airtest is an open-source tool, and therefore, it is free to use. However, some of its advanced features, such as cloud testing, may require a subscription to the Airtest Project service.
- Cross-platform testing: Appium allows testing of both iOS and Android platforms.
- Supports various testing frameworks: You can use Appium with popular testing frameworks such as TestNG, JUnit, and Mocha.
- Allows testing on real devices and emulators/simulators: Appium allows testing on real devices as well as emulators/simulators.
- No need for modifying the app code: It doesn’t require any modification of the app code to test it.
- Supports various app types: Appium supports testing of native, hybrid, and mobile web applications.
- Limited support for testing some native mobile features: Appium has limited support for testing some native mobile features such as GPS, camera, and battery status.
- Lack of support for testing some third-party applications: It doesn’t support testing some third-party applications that require system-level permissions.
- Complexity: Appium setup and configuration can be complex, especially for beginners.
Appium is an open-source tool, which means it’s free to use. However, if you need support or additional features, you may have to pay for them through a third-party vendor.
In this article, we have discussed various desktop automation tools that can be used for automating the tests of desktop applications. We started with a brief introduction to desktop automation and then discussed tools such as Testsigma, WinAppDriver, Winium, TestArchitect, etc.Each tool has its own unique features, limitations, and pricing models. Some of these tools, such as Testsigma, offer easy-to-use and comprehensive solutions for desktop automation.Overall, these tools can greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of desktop application testing, leading to higher-quality products and happier customers.Ready to supercharge your desktop automation testing? Try Testsigma today and experience the power of easy-to-use automation with intuitive test creation and management features. Sign up now for a free trial and start automating your desktop applications with ease!