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Low Code vs No Code Test Automation: What is preferred?

By Neha Bharati, Community Contributor -

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Since the beginning, software development has always been a developer-centric field. Developers responsible for building applications are supposed to have deep knowledge about design systems and coding languages. But today the tides are changing. There are low-code and no-code platforms that provide an opportunity for people with no coding experience to build applications. These platforms help to visually develop, collaborate and deploy applications faster with no coding required.

This new technology uses a visual approach with drag and drop interfaces to help both developers and non-developers interact with the software under-development easily. The no-code platform has all the necessary features built-in that make it easy to build applications with no coding knowledge.

But why are low-code or no-code platforms gaining popularity?

As per a survey, done by Forrester:

  • 80% of respondents spend half of their time reworking
  • 78% feel that the business is out of sync with project requirements and stakeholders should be more involved
  • Only 55% feel that the business requirements are clear to them
  • Less than 20% feel that the business need is properly described in the requirement process

The above takeaways from the Forrester survey clearly show that there is a gap between the business needs and the product requirements. There is a growing feeling that both development and business stakeholders need to collaborate better to build a product efficiently. This has been the approach behind the BDD (Behavior Driven Development).

The idea of collaboration between the development and business stakeholders in software development forms the foundation of low-code/no-code platforms. It helps bridge the technical gap between users and helps collaborate better with developers.

What is Low-Code Test Automation?

Low-code is a way for developers to test applications quickly, by planning, generating, and executing end-to-end tests. Low code tools require little coding knowledge and are more useful for developers. These platforms allow the user to automate processes in the application with little coding knowledge, unlike the mainstream test automation frameworks that are based on test scripts.

Although there are visual elements to test such applications via low-code automation platforms, still coding is required when there are more specific and complex interactions involved.

While only about 10% to 15% of companies are using these platforms to test software, as opposed to traditional coding, the market and adoption rates for these tools are growing rapidly. It is estimated by Gartner that 65% of all app development functions will be performed on low-code platforms by 2024.

Reasons for using Low-Code platforms

While low code platforms are gaining traction in the market, there are multiple reasons to use low-code platforms:

Advantages of Low-Code Test Automation

  • Ease of use: Since less coding knowledge is required, it’s easier for citizen developers to use.
  • Improves productivity: The drag-and-drop interface takes less time to build processes and achieves faster results.
  • Improves agility: Since it is easy to build and amend changes, agile changes to processes can be made without having to worry about changing complex code.

Limitations of Low-Code Test Automation

  • It is slow because there is a dependency on developers for complex test scenarios
  • Depending on the platform, there are limited options for customization

What is No-Code Test Automation?

No-code is a software testing approach where test automation is achieved without writing a single line of code. These platforms cater to testers, QA specialists, Automation Engineers, or any non-technical users who may not know any actual programming languages but want to test an application for specific use cases.

No-code automation platforms allow both technical and non-technical users to automate processes through interactive graphical user interfaces instead of traditional computer programming. It involves drag and drops that imitates a user’s interactions. Platforms like BrowserStack require No-Code to test web and mobile applications.

Try No Code Testing on Real Devices

Reasons for using No-Code platforms

With no-code platforms gaining popularity among non-tech people, there are multiple reasons to use no-code platforms:

  • Quicker turnaround while building software products
  • It is possible to build products without any engineers
  • Users control their product outcomes without depending on developers
  • It is easier and more affordable, since, no-code platforms provide a visual interface for development on a single platform

Advantages of no-code test automation

  • Easy automation: When automation is designed with visual UI workflows, all code is generated under the hood making automation easy to learn and implement. A tester can start automating cases as soon as UI development is completed without wasting time going through complex coding practices and frameworks.
  • Low maintenance and high scalability: Automating tests with visual UI workflows, inherently following current business rules and best practices, make it easy to scale.
  • Minimal resource allocation: When testers don’t have to spend much time automating their regression tests by writing code, they have more time for exploratory testing of the application. With codeless automation, there’s no need to involve developers in the creation of UI tests, which is more cost-effective.

Limitations of no-code test automation

  • Software functionality is limited to what is provided by the platform
  • If tests aren’t modular or readable then maintenance becomes difficult

Low-Code vs No-Code Test Automation: Differences

Coding knowledgeLow-code is designed for developers and a little coding is required to use them. The platform offers a means of automating things faster, but only for people that have tangible coding skills.No-code is designed for business executives and no coding knowledge is needed for them. 
AutomationLow-code still relies on some coding for designing automated processes.No-code platforms allow the end-user to dictate the automation process design through simple drag and drop manipulation.
Developer dependencyLow-code allows users to handle automation upto a certain point. So at some point a technical person or a developer will need to step in to finalize the automation project.No-code platforms give absolute independence to the user since he or she doesn’t need any technical knowledge to operate the platform.
App complexityCan create complex applicationsCan create simple applications 
CustomizationCan be completely customizedOnly pre-built templates can be customized

One simple reason why low-code/non-code is preferable is because of the pressure to build quality products quickly. Gartner predicts that by 2023, over 50% of medium to large enterprises will have adopted a low-code or no-code as one of their strategic application platforms and that low-code will be responsible for more than 65% of software development by 2024.

Choosing a low-code or no-code platform depends on many factors. No-code test automation tools enable testers to write and manage tests without many skill requirements. But low-code test automation platforms provide more flexibility, customization and help achieve higher test coverage.

Low-code and no-code have their own pros and cons. These platforms provide a lot of flexibility to technical and non-technical users. Both provide a real-time experience for detecting bugs and improving the product experience. They are yet to reach their full potential in the time to come. These platforms will evolve and widen their scope with the help of powerful technologies like AI.

Among the prominent no-code platforms, BrowserStack simplifies test automation, through interactive visuals. This allows users to seamlessly integrate their test suites in a few simple steps. BrowserStack Automate helps run automated tests using multiple frameworks across 3000+ browsers and devices. Ultimately the low-code/no-code approach has helped many businesses automate their repetitive, error-prone processes and increased productivity immensely.

Moreover, with its secure real device cloud, BrowserStack enables users to test on 3000+ real devices and browsers. This helps users test their apps under real user conditions and identify the bottlenecks in the user experience beforehand. All of this with no code makes it a viable option to test mobile and web applications.

Try No Code Test Automation with BrowserStack

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