Top 5 Automated UI Testing Tools to Make Testing Faster in 2023
Testing is an essential part of any software development process. Some companies allocate up to 40% of their software development budget for testing and quality activities to ensure that it works perfectly.
However, testing can be time-consuming and tedious. That's why it's important to use tools to make it efficient and fast.
Automated testing tools can speed up the process and help identify issues that may be overlooked during manual testing. By understanding which automated testing tools are available and how they can be used, you can minimize the time needed and also reduce the impact of regression testing on your application's development.
In this article, we'll discuss five such tools, particularly for UI testing, and what they can do.
What is UI Testing
UI Testing is a process used to check the usability and accessibility of an application’s user interface. It involves using the application and interacting with its components to assess its functions, look, and feel.
Through UI testing, testers will potentially identify issues that affect the functionality of an app, whether it's a broken link, missing content, or incorrect input. Tests must be carried out thoroughly and systematically to identify these issues before releasing the code to production as they could negatively impact the application's functionality and even crash it.
Common tasks that are typically performed during a UI test include some of these:
- Conducting functional tests to ensure the application works as expected
- Evaluating layout design for usability issues
- Identifying typography mistakes
- Checking the consistency across different pages
Manual vs. Automated Testing
In manual tests, testers use their skills to test the look, feel, and operation of a user interface while interacting with the application. They also test how users navigate through different parts of the application or perform tasks to look for any issues or malfunctions. This requires skills in analyzing user flows and identifying issues that may crop up along the way to make sure the test cases cover both common scenarios as well as edge cases.
Automated testing takes this approach one step further by automating all aspects of the test process by using computer programs to simulate user interaction with the application. This allows testers to run tests without human interaction, which can speed up the process and avoid human error. It can be used in a variety of applications, including websites, mobile apps, and desktop applications.
Now that we know a bit more about different options of testing, let’s see why you should use automated UI testing tools in your application’s development.
Why Automated UI Testing
In this competitive industry where shipping time matters, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use an automated UI testing tool. On the other hand, here are the top reasons why you should:
Efficiency - Automated tests can run much faster than manual tests, allowing you to get feedback on new features immediately.
Productivity - Automated tests can help reduce the time needed to test your code, freeing up time for other important tasks.
Reliability - Automated tests can be run repeatedly and easily, making it easy to ensure that your code doesn’t break after new changes.
Consistency - Automated tests can be easily shared and reused across projects, making it easy to maintain a consistent testing approach.
Top 5 Automated UI Testing Tools (2023)
Selenium is a free and open-source web automation project, consisting of Selenium WebDriver, Selenium IDE , and Selenium Grid. Each of them complements the other to carry out automated tests on different browsers and environments.
Among the three Selenium projects, Selenium WebDriver is the core of its automated testing ecosystem. It is an interface to write instruction sets that can be run interchangeably in different browsers as a real human would use them. Once you’ve installed everything, a few lines of code are what you need to get it running.
It supports cross-browser testing on most modern browsers and each of them has a dedicated driver to cater to its capabilities and unique features.
Licensed under the Apache License 2.0, the Selenium ecosystem has several bindings, plugins, and frameworks created and maintained by third parties in addition to the drivers. In June 2018, WebDriver became a W3C recommendation and is supported by major browser vendors like Mozilla, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
✅ Open source (660+ contributors)
✅ Great community support—user group, chat room, and events available
✅ Has browser extensions to record and playback the tests
✅ Multiple tests can be run simultaneously on different browsers, versions, and operating systems
- Internet Explorer
Cypress is an all-in-one testing framework that enables you to set up, write, run, and debug tests fast. It can be used to write all types of tests including end-to-end, component, integration, and unit tests.
Cypress has two products— Cypress App and Cypress Cloud. The Cypress App is a test runner that allows you to write and execute tests in real-time as you build your web application locally while the Cypress Cloud is an optional web-based companion to the app to improve the speed with automatic parallelization and load balancing.
What makes Cypress stands out is its ease of usability and speed. All tools needed are included in the app. You can start writing your first test after installing the package in your project directory and view the errors directly from the browser’s DevTools.
✅ Simple installation, no additional download or configuration required
✅ Readable errors and stack traces for easier debugging
✅ Runs fast as it uses the same run-loop as the application
✅ Network traffic can be controlled and stubbed to test edge cases
✅ Video recorded test results on Cypress Cloud (paid tier)
Puppeteer is a Node library that is open-source and maintained by Google. Different from most testing tools that are built for testing on different browsers, it is developed to provide a high-level API to control Chrome or Chromium over Chrome DevTools Protocol.
The image below shows some examples from jest-puppeteer that shows how to write tests that use Puppeteer and Jest:
Besides running automated tests on a browser, Puppeteer can also be used to test Chrome extensions. Despite that, testing Chrome extensions using Puppeteer has some limitations as it does not support extension popups and content scripts yet (v19.3.0).
✅ Open source (430+ contributors)
✅ Maintained by Google
✅ Chromium-focused: provides richer functionality and higher reliability on Chromium
✅ Headless automated browser testing
- Firefox (Experimental)
4. Katalon Studio
Katalon Studio is a software testing platform that helps teams of any size to plan, author, and execute functional and UI automated tests seamlessly. It is built on Selenium and Appium to fully inherit their testing capabilities.
Katalon Studio makes testing effortless as it is a low-code platform. Despite this, experienced users can still do advanced operations using extensions. On top of that, built-in project templates with ready-made test scenarios, keywords, and object repositories are available, which can help you get started with your tests immediately.
Another selling point of Katalon Studio is the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (AI) in their tests. AI Visual Testing can be added and run in parallel with functional tests to cover both end-to-end scenarios and visual regressions.
One of its capabilities is the ability to spot tiny UI mistakes that can hardly be identified by human eyes, like a component or element that is misplaced by 1 pixel. It is also able to spot crucial changes to the application’s layout and/or content, not to mention that the time needed is significantly shorter too.
✅ Fully inherit Selenium capabilities
✅ Low code but flexible
✅ Built-in project templates
✅ AI-powered functionalities
✅ CI/CD readiness
- Internet Explorer
Storybook is a powerful frontend tool that allows you to design, build, and organize UI components in isolation so that you can render components without interference from the application’s business logic and context.
You can perform various types of tests like visual, accessibility, interaction, and snapshot tests using Storybook to explore a component in all its variations regardless of complexity and it can be integrated with GitHub Actions to create an automated testing workflow upon code changes.
When you open a pull request, the CI (continuous integration) server will automatically run the tests mentioned above and provide a summary of the test results via PR badges.
Storybook makes frontend development easy especially when you need to work together as a team. It is used by frontend teams from top companies like Twilio, Adobe, Peloton, and Shopify to make sure that their testing workflow is productive.
When it comes to cross-browser testing, you can install add-ons on the platform to use popular testing frameworks like Cypress and Playwright. Add-ons make integration with other platforms and tools easy and there are plenty of them available such as Jira, Figma, Google Analytics, and more.
✅ Build and test UI components in isolation
✅ Capture UI variations as “stories”
✅ Auto-generated documentation from stories
✅ Reusable stories across development, testing, and design tools
✅ Integration with various platforms using add-ons
It is easy to automate UI testing when you have the right tools at hand and it can save you a ton of time and effort. Try out one of these tools to make sure your applications don’t break on new updates and see how quickly you can get work done.
They have well-documented guides on their websites and huge community support. So all that’s left for you is to start automating!
If you have other suggested tools, drop them in the comment section of our Twitter post @bannerbearHQ. We’re happy to learn from you as well! 🙌🏻