Top 10 Functional Testing Tools and Frameworks in 2023
By Sakshi Pandey, Community Contributor - May 10, 2023
What are Functional Testing tools?
Functional testing tools are used to test the functionality of a software application according to a set of requirements that it should meet. These tools test for usability, software quality, and whether the software is able to be utilized as expected.
In software testing, the selection of an efficient functional testing tool is vital since the wrong selection can lead to additional costs, rework, and loss of time. In order to avoid this it’s important to determine and set criteria to evaluate and choose the right tool. The right tool can be very different depending on the programming language, platforms, and environments being used. Additionally the skills required to use different functional testing tools vary a lot, therefore this along with the cost can also be constraints when deciding on a functional testing tool.
Why is the Automation of Functional Testing Vital?
If functional testing is carried out manually it can become very time-consuming to determine whether an application functions and meets its requirements. Automation can help speed up the tediousness that is manual testing by helping testers perform more thorough and rigorous tests for functionality.
Automation testing allows testers to check an application across a multitude of permutations and combinations of browsers, devices, and operating systems that would be otherwise impossible to do. Additionally automated testing greatly reduces errors that may be caused during manual testing due to inattention or other factors.
At the end of the day manual testing is performed by human beings and the human mind is simply not fit to perform tasks such as testing a web application’s functionality across 3000+ devices and browsers. The human mind is better used for more complex problems, this is why automation of repetitive tasks is vital.
Things to consider while Selecting the Right Functional Testing Tool
- Is the tool within your budget? Cost can be a big hindrance when attempting to find the right functional testing tool. Thankfully there are several excellent open-source frameworks available alongside tailor-made powerful tools. By using libraries such as Selenium and Appium alongside trusted drivers such as the geckodriver and chromium testers can develop highly efficient and thorough test scripts themselves and budget efficiently for the paid functional testing tools where needed.
- How well does the tool fit in with your testing strategies? The functional testing tools should be a good fit for the tests planned and designed by the team, and have the corresponding functions required to efficiently test the software according to them.
- Can the tool be integrated and used with the other software and tools being used? Commercial functional testing tools are normally quite versatile and can be used with a variety of different platforms, OS, languages, and software. However open-source tools can be quite powerful if the test engineer has the knowledge and skill required to code features and design customized tests.
- Does the tool have technical support? When using commercial tools it can be frustrating and confusing to figure out certain features. In order for test engineers to get the most out of a tool a technical support team is invaluable. A team which has been working with the tool for years can be a great asset and help test engineers create and execute more efficient, productive tests.
- Is the tool frequently updated? Other software, tools, and environments are always upgrading and improving and in order for a functional testing tool to efficiently function in this continuously changing environment it’s vital for it to be continuously improved and updated.
- Does the tool provide visualization and reporting mechanisms? Being able to quickly illustrate issues and communicate them are very important in the software development life cycle, and therefore when choosing a functional testing tool test engineers should consider whether the tool can be used to generate reports and share them through channels like Slack.
Top 10 Functional Testing Tools
Selenium is a powerful suite of libraries that is open-source and excellent for the automation testing of web applications. Selenium is versatile and supports a large variety of browsers, OS, and programming languages. The Selenium WebDriver is very popular and can be used by test engineers to configure and control browsers such as google chrome, firefox, and safari directly without any intermediate servers making it very fast and efficient.
A browser extension for Selenium called the Selenium IDE offers recording and playback features to better illustrate the bugs which need to be fixed.
Playwright is a popular cross browser testing tool which supports testing on widely-used browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Chromium, Microsoft Edge, and WebKit. It offers better coverage for cross browser testing compared to Puppeteer which supports only Chromium and Chrome browsers. Playwright is compatible with several CI/CD tools as well such as Jenkins, CircleCI, GitLab, Azure Pipeline, and TravisCI. It also supports integrations with test frameworks such as Jasmine and Mocha.
Puppeteer is a node library which is primarily used for automation, currently this tool can only be used for Chrome browsers. It is highly powerful and helps test engineers carry out web scraping and automation highly efficiently. Puppeteer is easy to install, highly efficient, and faster than Selenium, however the downside is that it only supports Node.JS and works only with Chrome browsers.
5. BrowserStack Automate
BrowserStack Automate is a testing platform that can be used with a variety of different automation frameworks such as Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, and Puppeteer to develop comprehensive test scripts. Additionally in conjunction with BrowserStack’s Real Device Cloud testing can be carried out across 3000+ browsers and real devices.
Test engineers can also utilize the programming languages that they are most comfortable with since this platform allows users to use various languages such as Java, Python, Ruby, and Perl. In addition to this it can also be integrated with popular CI/CD and project management tools such as Jenkins, CircleCI, Jira, Travis CI, and AWS Pipeline.
Appium can be used to run tests across mobile, mobile web and hybrid applications with languages such as Python, C#, Ruby, and Java. Appium acts as a good alternative to Selenium with a greater focus on mobile application testing. It allows test engineers to write scripts which can be executed on popular OS such as Android, iOS and Windows; These tests can be run on both emulators and real devices. Appium is most effective when used in conjunction with the Appium Inspector, a GUI tool for locating selectors in mobile applications.
This straightforward open-source tool is easy to use and a great option for simple data-drive tests. It also has great adaptable reporting features. SoapUI is often used for development and simulation as well as testing, making it a multi-faceted tool.
8. BrowserStack App Automate
BrowserStack App Automate is a testing platform that can be used with a variety of different automation frameworks such as Appium, Espresso, and XCUITest to develop comprehensive test scripts for iOS and Android Applications. Additionally in conjunction with BrowserStack’s Real Device Cloud testing can be carried out across real iOS and Android devices. BrowserStack App Automate tests can also be integrated with popular CI/CD and project management tools such as Jenkins, CircleCI, Jira, Travis CI, and AWS Pipeline.
9. IBM Rational Functional Tester
An automated tool for functional and regression testing, this software offers automated regression testing. This object-oriented tool has the capability to record a user’s clicks and movements on a software and then repeat those actions to test an application each time changes or updates are made. This tool is highly reusable, user friendly, and allows test engineers to consistently and quickly perform automated tests across an application.
Watir is an easy to use open source tool that works exceptionally well with the latest popular browsers and is very usable. Watir is very similar to Selenium, however it is supported only for Ruby test frameworks and any test scripts for this functional testing tool need to be written in Ruby.
Run Functional Tests under Real User Conditions
No matter which Functional Testing Tool or Framework you choose, it is essential to run functional tests on real devices and browsers for accurate test results. Testing under real user conditions will help up find bugs that occur in real life scenarios, and hamper the user experience.
It is highly recommended to run Functional Tests on real devices like BrowserStack Automate and App Automate. It allows you to run automated functional tests for web and mobile applications on real devices and browsers.