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June 9, 2019

How to Choose the Right Open Source Automated Testing Tool


Open source automation testing tools are being leveraged by successful developers and QA teams more and more. This includes leveraging both web and mobile testing tools that are open source. Here's what you need to know about choosing open source tools for testing.

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What Are Open Source Automation Testing Frameworks?

Open source automation frameworks include best practices, assumptions, tools, and libraries to use across teams. Frameworks is used interchangeably with tools when it comes to open source.

Selecting the right open source automated testing tool and framework is important. But there are countless open source automation testing tools available. So, how do you choose the right open source automation tools for testing?

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5 Best Open Source Automated Test Frameworks

Here's the five best open source automated test frameworks. Keep reading to learn how to choose.

Use open source testing frameworks in the Perfecto testing cloud >>

  • Selenium
  • Appium
  • Calabash
  • Espresso
  • XCUITest
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Criteria For Open Source Automated Testing Tools

Looking for open source automation tools for testing? Here are 6 things you should consider: 

  1. Ease of script development and execution (supports agile processes and short iterations).
  2. Cross team collaboration capabilities (both QA and Dev can easily use the same tools).
  3. Match app platform with test development language (objectiveC/Swift for iOS, Java for Android).
  4. No platform capabilities gap around testing (support for the latest OS features).
  5. Support for real devices as well as emulators/simulators.
  6. Fully integrated tools within IDEs.

Questions to Ask

What are the application use cases?

What level of complexity needs to be tested?

  • Heavy UI elements?
  • Environment dependencies (Networks, GPS, Camera)?
  • What OS versions and API levels should be supported?

Does the app support multiple platforms — mobile (iOS/Android)? Web? 

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How to Choose Your Open Source Test Automation Tool

You need to choose your web and mobile testing tools (open source) wisely. Here's how to do it. Check out the PPT below or keep reading for the highlights. 


1. Consider Your Open Source Automated Testing Framework Options

So what are the most popular open source test automation frameworks? The following 5 are the most adopted ones. Each of these frameworks are sponsored by a different community. Each one has unique benefits to their target platforms and respective audiences.

Try these open source frameworks on devices/browsers in the Perfecto cloud >>


The leading open source test framework for web app test automation.


Open source test automation framework for mobile native, web, and hybrid apps.


Behavior-driven development (BDD) test framework based on Ruby development language. (Microsoft has discontinued support for this framework beyond iOS 11 and Android 8.)


Google open source test automation framework within Android Studio.


Apple's open source test automation framework within XCode IDE.

Evaluation Tips

General-purpose frameworks cover a broad range of devices. But they often lack late-breaking hardware support.

Frameworks that are device-specific often lack support for different scripting languages and approaches.

It is therefore important to identify what is important to your team and project as part of the selection process. Avoid just selecting a framework based on technical requirements.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as you evaluate frameworks for open source automated testing.

  1. Realize that for your specific need, one framework might not be enough.
  2. There are tradeoffs that need to be acknowledged beforehand.
  3. Decision-making needs to be based on test scalability, as well as existing tool suites and IDEs.
  4. Acknowledge your lab setup, environment, and IT requirements when picking your solution. At the end of day, it's your team that will need to maintain it.
  5. A test framework that is flaky or does not fit your goals, will interfere and delay your schedule. Tests are aimed to run in an unattended fashion via a trigger, CI, or other pre-defined events.

Open Source Frameworks Work Better With Perfecto — Start Your Free Trial Today

2. Compare Capabilities of Open Source Automation Tools

The table below covers the capabilities and limitations of the 5 open source automated testing tools mentioned above.

Open Source Frameworks

Here's a quick summary of their capabilities and who they're best suited for.


The Selenium framework is the best choice for web test automation teams testing for RWD (responsive web design) or stand-alone websites.

It's less suitable for developing unit testing, which makes this framework less appealing for developers. Core Selenium test reports are not highly informative and lack unique mobile insights.

Considering Selenium? Get the essential guide >> 


Appium is best suited to QA teams trying to test the functionality of native, mobile web, and mobile hybrid apps across iOS and Android.

This tool is less suitable for developers who wish to develop and perform unit testing. That's because it uses a different scripting language than the app itself (e.g., ObjectiveC). The generated Appium report is a bit limited from a debugging and fast feedback loop perspective. It does not include videos, network logs, or key vitals information.


Calabash is designed for organizations that work in BDD (behavior-driven development) workflows. The tool offers an easy path to develop the features in parallel with the tests for these features in an easy user-flow based language.

Calabash is appealing for both dev and QA practitioners. The tool provides solid insights and reports to dev and QA teams.

Espresso & XCTestUI

These two tools are are very similar in that they are both designed for target users. Both tools are fully integrated into development IDEs such as Android Studio/Xcode. They offer very easy to develop techniques, including test recorders.

Espresso is for Android and XCTestUI is for iOS.

These tools are fully maintained by Google and Apple (respectively). This assures that they always support the latest OS features (e.g., iOS Force Touch) so developers can stay ahead of the market and test accordingly. And both tools support both unit testing types and functional UI testing.

However, they provide app context only. This limits their abilities to test for user condition scenarios.

Comparison Tips

Remember: the best open source tool for testing is the one that meets your requirements. 

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Example of a Successful Framework + Tools

To have a successful framework and tool for open source test automation, you need the right lab. Here's an example of a successful setup. (And you can try this yourself with Perfecto's cloud-based testing lab.)

1. Lab

The lab is at the heart of unattended automation. It ensures that devices, browsers, and other digital platforms are always connected, available and in a ready state to execute your scripts. If the digital lab is also accessible from the IDE environments, that's even better.

A reliable lab gives you:

  • Flexibility as market shifts.
  • Autonomy across teams.
  • Complete E2E coverage.
  • Unattended testing — to sustain CI and move faster.
  • 0 setup of environments.

Perfecto's cloud-based testing lab delivers all of this — and more.

2. Automation

Your automation framework should support various capabilities and roles. The end-result is greater test coverage and faster dev-build-test cycles. However, open source tools can struggle to fulfill your requirements.

This might included:

  • Visual analysis.
  • Complete system level control.
  • Same day support for new OS versions.
  • Capabilities like network condition simulation, GPS, etc.

Perfecto's platform delivers the automation you need and can't get with open source — including codeless automation.

3. Analysis

Having a lab and test automation framework that match the team's requirements is great. However, at the end of each test execution, you need an efficient way to:

  • Drill down into failures.
  • Identify the root cause.
  • Deliver fast feedback to developers.

That's why having a digital reporting capability is necessary for teams to take action and fix issues faster and earlier.

Perfecto's analytics and reporting gives you efficiency and insight into everything.

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The Best Way to Leverage Your Open Source Automation Tools for Web & Mobile Testing

Not all open source automated testing tools are created equally. 

In fact, they range widely between begin:

  • Specific to platforms, operating systems, or devices.
  • Sponsored by different communities.
  • Based on certain scripting languages.

No matter what tools and frameworks you use, Perfecto can help you overcome your testing challenges. That's because Perfecto has integrations to whichever ones you use, including Selenium, Appium, Espresso, and XCUITest.

See for yourself how Perfecto can help you add efficiency and even more automation to your testing processes. Get started today for free.

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