All You Need to Know About codeless or Scriptless Test Automation Framework and the Best Tools. List of Top & Most Popular Scriptless Test Automation Tools For Mobiles with Features and Comparison:
This article will give you a complete overview of the Scriptless Automation Framework in simple terms.
The design goals, Implementation requirements, Benefits & Myths of Scriptless Automation are explained with perfect examples for your easy understanding.
While concluding this article, you will get a good insight into all the answers to the ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’, and ‘how’ questions related to this framework.
What You Will Learn:
- Levels of Automation
- General Features For Scriptless Platforms
- Best Scriptless Test Automation Tools
- Design Goals
- Insight Into Implementation Requirements
- Benefits Of Scriptless Test Automation
- Myths About Scriptless Automation
- Scriptless Examples
Levels of Automation
Let’s take a quick look at the levels of automation, before diving deep into the codeless Test Automation Framework.
As the name itself suggests, this requires creating a program/software to automate tests or processes.
Example: If you have to perform unit testing of a particular function or a class, then you would need to create test programs to test your function or class. There is no way to automate your units tests without coding.
In general, if an automation tool or framework mandates the testers to create some code or script for providing test input, execution and reporting of automated tests, then such tools are categorized in this level.
In this level, you do not need any coding or scripting knowledge to create automated tests. However, as a framework, it is a good practice to provide the capability of customization.
For advanced users, customization can be done by writing their own code for covering some unique test scenarios.
#3) Advanced Automation using Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This is the highest level of automation that can be achieved:
- Create test scripts from test case documents (probably using Natural Language Processing technology).
- Auto-correct test scripts based on the application changes for effective regression testing.
- Auto-generate test scripts based on the user actions/use cases on the application under test. This is the advanced version of the traditional record and playback feature.
- Auto-validation of the test results based on Machine learning without user inputs on what needs to be validated and test analytics.
In this article, we would be focusing on the level-2 automation which is Scriptless.
Before that, let's see the list of some of the top Scriptless Automation Tools.
General Features For Scriptless Platforms
Traditionally, Automated Testing requires complex script development, by often requiring strong engineering skill sets. Moreover, these test scripts tend to be “brittle” i.e. they break as the app changes, or as the app executes on different devices.
This is the appeal of Scriptless automation platforms. They offer organizations a low-complexity and cost-effective opportunity to harness the power of Automated Testing, without the associated complexity or cost of script development.
Thus, it is imperative while selecting a mobile Scriptless Automation platform to ensure that:
- Test scripts can be created in an intuitive “no-code” manner.
- The test scripts can execute on a broad array of devices and operating systems without breaking
- The test scripts can be exported in an open standard (eg. Appium) to prevent vendor lock-in.
Fact Check: According to Kobiton, 36% of organizations have spent over $100000 on testing mobile apps last year. This survey with the QA organizations on Mobile App Testing says 84% of testing organizations trust that testing on the real device will give them a better success rate than using an emulator or simulator.
Best Scriptless Test Automation Tools
Comparison Of The Best Scriptless Platforms For Mobile App Testing
|Deployment||Automated Testing||Platform||Free Trial||Price|
|TestCraft||SaaS||Selenium||Tests can be run on multiple platforms.||Available.||Get a quote.|
|Selenium IDE||Cloud Hosted||Selenium||Windows, Mac, and Linux.||--||Free|
|Zap Test||Cloud-based.||--||Cross-platform||Available||Get a quote.|
|Kobiton||On-premise & Cloud-based.||Full support to Appium and Selenium||iOS and Android devices.||Free trial available for 15 days with 50 devices.||Team: $40/month|
Enterprise: Get a quote.
|Ranorex||Windows installed.||Selenium or Protractor||Ranorex Studio: Windows.|
Ranorex Webtestit: Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms
|30 days||It starts at $2990.|
The top tools that fall under this category are stated below for your reference.
TestCraft is a scriptless Selenium test automation platform. Its revolutionary AI technology and unique visual modeling allow for faster test creation and execution while eliminating test maintenance overhead.
Testers create fully automated test scenarios without coding. Customers find bugs quickly, release more frequently, integrate with the CI/CD approve and improve the overall quality of their digital products.
- No programming skills required. Leverage manual testers’ business knowledge and allow them to create codeless automated test scenarios.
- Substantially reduce maintenance costs. Scripts are automatically adjusted to change due to our AI algorithm. Major changes are adapted with a few clicks.
- Selenium-based. Quickly integrate and leverage modules developed by the community.
- It provides immediate time to value. Nothing to install (SaaS). Easy to master.
Simple to use, powerful AI-driven test automation platform.
ACCELQ is the only cloud-based continuous testing platform that seamlessly automates API and web testing without writing a single line of code. IT teams of all sizes use accelQ to accelerate their testing by automating critical aspects of lifecycle like test design, planning, test generation, and execution.
accelQ customers typically save over 70% of the cost involved in the change & maintenance efforts in testing, addressing one of the major pain points in the industry. accelQ makes this possible with AI-powered core to bring self-healing automation amongst other unique capabilities.
Design and User experience focus is at the heart of accelQ's continuous innovation approach with a relentless effort to accelerate testing and improve delivered Quality for its customers.
- Visual application modeling for design and lifecycle automation.
- Codeless API and UI automation in the same flow.
- Automated test case generation and data planning.
- In-sprint automation with multiple abstraction layers.
- Built-in test management and planning capabilities.
- Seamless CI/CD and Jira/ALM integration with natural traceability.
- Power of self-healing with runtime analytic engine for robust automation.
- No vendor lock, extendible framework open-source aligned.
Best for Small to Large Businesses or Start-Ups.
Price: Get a quote for its pricing details.
- The script generated through this platform can be used for a computer, phone, or tablet.
- It can be used for UI and API test automation.
- Test documentation will get auto-generated.
- Test scripts can be created for live applications, mockups, video scenarios, and textual references.
Verdict: The tool will allow you to run scripts automatically on all test environments simultaneously. It will streamline your test automation through video scenarios and textual references.
#4) Selenium IDE
Best for Startups and Freelancers.
Price: Selenium IDE is free and open-source.
Selenium IDE is an open-source tool for Test Automation. It works through record and playback. It is used as a plugin for Chrome or Firefox browsers. It supports cross-browser execution using Command-line Runner for Selenium IDE.
It has the capability to record multiple locators for each element that it interacts with. Test cases you create in Selenium IDE will be reusable.
- It supports control flow structures such as if, while, and times.
- The tool is expandable through plugins.
- It will allow you to create a test suite.
- It will also allow you to customize the test script.
Verdict: Selenium IDE works on the record-and-play-back functionality. Though the tool has limited functionalities, it can be a perfect basic scriptless Test Automation Tool.
Website: Selenium IDE
#5) Ranorex Studio
Ranorex Studio includes a complete set of scriptless test automation tools for desktop, website and mobile app testing. Automate tests in half the time of other approaches.
Key features include:
- Ranorex Recorder: Capture every interaction with your application. Pause and resume recording, edit steps, and add validation actions, right in the capture window.
- Ranorex Spy: Identify UI elements with a single click, then drag and drop them into your test case. Ranorex Studio automatically handles any dynamic web elements.
- Action Editor: Edit recorded steps, add validations, specify conditions for execution (IF statements), and use data from an Excel file or a database – all without coding.
- Build-in Selenium WebDriver. Execute cross-browser tests on WebDriver endpoint, a local Selenium Grid or a cloud-based provider.
- Built-in Test Run Report and video reporting of test execution. If a test step fails, simply replay the video to see what happened. Click on a failed step in the test report to jump directly to the test case and debug it.
- Integrates with leading defect tracking tools including Jira and Bugzilla, CI/CD tools including Jenkins and Bamboo, TestRail for test case management, and more.
Ranorex Studio also has a full IDE so you can extend your test cases with code if desired.
Best for Small to Large Businesses.
Price: Kobiton offers a free trial for 15 days. It has three pricing plans i.e. Team ($40 per month), Organization ($415 per month), and Enterprise (Get a quote). These prices are for annual billing. Monthly billing plans are also available.
Kobiton’s heritage is to offer a comprehensive platform for testing your app on real devices and to manage a device farm.
Kobiton provides a capability in its platform called Intelligent Test Automation which is a Scriptless Appium test automation capability. Kobiton will monitor your manual or exploratory test and offer the option to convert that into an automated test.
These automated tests use Appium under the hood. Additionally, Kobiton uses AI and Machine Learning to fix the problem of brittle scripts i.e. Kobiton is able to dynamically update the Appium locator strategies to find elements on the app even when the x-path changes.
Finally, although you don’t need to know Appium, Kobiton does offer the capability to export your automated tests as open standard Appium test scripts.
- The generated code can be customized, run on a competing device testing platform or can be integrated with your DevOps processes.
- The generated scripts will support app changes, underlying device changes and OS changes.
- Its data centers are also secured and SOC2, SOC3, & HIPPA compliant.
- It can automatically capture the test steps, screenshots, and videos.
Verdict: The generated code can be run on an unlimited number of devices and can be customized according to your needs. Kobiton enables your team to test faster and more efficiently, thereby drastically reducing the time between each release.
Some of the important design goals that should be considered are briefed below.
#1) Input Driven
Any input that needs to be provided to run automated tests should be coming outside the ‘coding’ part of your automation framework. Input can be your test steps, test conditions, test data, expected results, etc.
For every type of input, the framework should support in the form of keywords that are easy to use and thereby understand the context too.
#2) Allow Customization
This clearly means that you should provide options to customize the handling of test scripts for advanced users so that they can include unique scenarios. Advanced users can plug-in their test scripts (in the form of a program) to the framework’s test input.
This is a really important design goal as understanding how to set up, configure and use automation framework it should not become very difficult than coding.
One such example would be to provide a template that has all the required test inputs with default values (but relevant to the context).
In this way, the users would quickly understand how to provide test inputs based on their application needs. Another way would be to provide a high level of abstraction in the test inputs.
Example: Let's consider the button click simulation. Here, as a user, I am only interested in a simple action called click a button.
The framework should be capable of performing that action by internally handling different methods of identifying a button control followed by the action. In fact, this is somewhat related to the Input driven goal where you have to define keywords that are easy to understand as in this example, ClickButton.
#4) Platform Agnostic
Must be capable of running on different PC and Mobile platforms. Different browsers in case of scriptless automation developed for web applications. As part of this goal, you should also consider supporting the common test inputs across different platforms.
#5) Technology Agnostic
In today’s scenario, we all know that technologies are vast and there are a lot of options to develop applications.
No matter what technology is used to develop an application under test (under a given application type such as web or mobile), the automation framework should be capable of testing those applications with some minimal or no changes to test inputs and the framework engine itself.
#6) Test Environment Agnostic
It should be capable of running on cloud and on-premises, virtual environment.
We should provide options to plug-in the other software components to cover complex test scenarios.
Let’s take an example of the e-commerce website which has both front end application and web services and you want to test the functionality of your application along with the performance. This requirement would definitely need plug-ins for tools that can test web services and performance of the website as well.
Insight Into Implementation Requirements
Before taking a look at the specifics of implementation, let us first understand the high-level architectural components of the Scriptless Automation Framework.
There are 3 primary components (of course, the components can be further split into the lower level, but that is not the purpose for now!) that we are going to see to get a big picture of the framework:
#1) Framework Core Engine: This is the core component of the framework that does all the heavy lifting jobs of automation logic, validations, interfaces to the rest of the components of the architecture and third-party apps/scripts for customized test configuration and executions.
All the test input actions are forwarded to the action handler to process the actions on the AUT (Application Under Test). For developing this engine, it is important to choose the right programming knowledge and technology by considering the design goals mentioned above.
Depending on the smart selection of technology, you will be able to meet most of your design goals thereby providing the best possible benefits to the consumers of the automation framework.
#2) Test Input Interface: This is the front end component from the consumer's point of view and this is where you will provide all your test inputs such as test case steps, test conditions, test data, expected results, etc.
Remember the design goal of simplicity, this component should be designed in such a way in which the consumers can quickly adapt and start using your framework. Failing to meet this goal would result in less usage of your framework itself.
The interface to the core engine is the interpreter which typically follows some protocol to exchange information on test inputs.
#3) Test Output Interface: This is the component which is responsible for outputting your test results, test logs, defect logging, reporting, and dashboards. The framework core engine will forward the results to the Output logger which is then rendered by the Output interface.
Out of the above components, the consumers would be typically interfacing with the Test input interface and Test output interface. Hence, we are going to explore these 2 components only.
Test Input Interface
Test inputs can be provided in different ways. However, it entirely depends on what type of consumers are we targeting for this framework.
- Files such as XML, Excel; Schema such as test data fields, test steps, data types and so on would be defined by the framework engine and that has to be followed while providing the test inputs.
- GUI based input where you will provide the relevant test fields so that the consumers can provide all the test details for execution.
- Visual editor based input where the consumers can provide in the form of flow charts (supporting basic logic such as conditions and loops). In fact, this is the most trending way for providing input interface though it is comparatively time-consuming for developing such interface.
The typical feature set that needs to be provided are:
- Ability to group test cases based on test types, test priority and so on.
- Must be able to create custom test suites for running smoke & regression tests, selective tests, etc.
- Test inputs that are platform agnostic.
- Ability to execute a single test case multiple times.
- We should be able to execute a single test case for different test values.
- Ability to launch another executable for a specific test step or test case. E.g. Interface to Jenkins to automatically launch test execution.
- Test configurations for execution and output logging. Example: Timeouts.
- Provision to set up ‘test script library’ for reusability across teams and projects that are deemed as necessary.
- Ability to import test data inputs from templates that are created in the past.
- Provision to import test case documents and map them to the test data inputs. Remember the ‘Extensibility’ design goal. Yes, this is the first step towards the next level of automation!
Test Output Interface
From the Scriptless Automation point of view, you must also ensure that you are able to view the test execution results in a seamless manner without any need to write special code.
The typical feature set that needs to be provided are:
- Ability to view test results, test logs, framework logs, etc.
- Generation of various test reports and dashboards.
- Ability to create custom reports based on specific requirements.
- Must be able to stream test results at run time through GUI.
- Ability to interface with standard test case management tools.
- Should be able to export test results, reports and dashboards in different formats such as Excel, doc, pdf, etc.
- Ability to filter and parse test logs for specific requirements such as Performance test engineering etc.
- Provision to push all test data (results, logs, selective data points) to advanced modules such as analytics. Remember the ‘Extensibility’ design goal. Yes, this is yet another first step towards the next level of automation!
Benefits Of Scriptless Test Automation
Enlisted below are the main benefits of creating Scriptless Framework:
- It is not mandatory for the testers to have any programming or scripting skills.
- Apart from the testers (who are the primary consumers of Scriptless automation), the framework used can be extended to the Product owners (in the Agile world), and Business Analysts as well for setting up and executing the User Acceptance Tests (UAT).
- Quicker development of automated tests that perfectly fit into the Agile process.
- It offers flexibility for both native and advanced users.
- Less ‘test’ related errors as the underlying scriptless framework would have been tested thoroughly. This, in turn, reduces the time spent on debugging and fixing test related issues.
- Easier maintenance of the overall automation suite.
Myths About Scriptless Automation
Given below are a few Myths about this framework.
#1) SAF is 100% scriptless: Actually, this is not 100% true. Though the goal is to make it 100% codeless, it is practically not possible to achieve this feat.
The primary reason for this is the presence of various complexities in the Application Under Test (AUT), technologies and the programming languages that are used in developing the software. Hence, one of the design goals that we have mentioned is about providing flexibility for customization.
#2) For using SAF, the testers do not need any programming or coding knowledge: Again, this is not 100% true. Actually, they do require some basic concepts of programming and logical skills.
When it comes to web or mobile-based applications, the testers also need to know the basics of objects and classes that need to be included as a part of customized scripts.
There are some tools like TestCraft which, in fact, does not need the QA professional to have coding knowledge. Their drag and drop plus on-the-fly features allow for anyone to understand how to run tests.
#3) SAF is all about record and playback which can be relied on: No. Record and playback will just give the user a working script with a hardcoded value of inputs and flows which has to be later customized.
In any way, it does NOT cover all possible scenarios of user inputs and test steps.
Given below are some examples of Scriptless Automation for your easy understanding.
#1) Here is a test execution example
- Enter User in the Username field
- Enter Password in Password field
- Click Login button
Each of the above is the keywords that are supported by Scriptless frameworks.
As a tester, you have to just pass the values as shown below:
Enterpassword dummypwd, mask=true
The words in italics are the keywords that accept arguments to perform actions.
Note: EnterPassword accepts 2 arguments. The second one is the flag to indicate the masking of characters as it is typed in the password field.
#2) Let’s say, you want to automate a Payment Transaction Flow:
- Select Account type
- Enter amount for goods purchased
- Enter PIN
- Print Receipt
EnterPIN 1234, mask=true
PrintReceipt Customercopy=false, Merchantcopy=true
The words in italics are the keywords that accept arguments to perform actions.
Note: EnterPIN accepts 2 arguments. The second one is the flag to indicate the masking of PIN digits as it is typed in the PIN entry field. PrintReceipt also has 2 arguments.
If you notice the flow above, this is a typical transaction flow. You could use the entire flow as a “transaction test template” for various test cases. This is how you make the generation of test steps and test inputs easy for the testers.
Reusability of keywords, group of keywords and flow-based keywords can be done in Scriptless Automation Framework (SAF).
From this article, you would have figured out that developing a code-less or script-less automation framework is a challenging and equally interesting task.
You can develop such frameworks for any kind of application testing i.e. web-based, mobile apps, Web services, GUI, database, embedded device applications, etc.
However, utmost care should be taken to develop a stable, reliable and high-performance tool. This is just a word of caution to choose the right technology and scripting/programming language to develop a wonderful and useful framework.
Do you have any experience in Scriptless Automation? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.