The 3 different flavors of Katalon Studio
When companies start to explore test automation lots of them don’t have the possibility to invest in expensive tooling. They tend to lean more towards free alternatives, with Katalon Studio being the most popular one. There are many reasons why it became so popular; the simple installation, the intuitive user interface, a record & playback functionality with scripting in manual mode for less technical testers; a built-in IDE for scripting and lots of other built-in features. And most importantly, all this comes for free. Or better, CAME for free: recently version 7 of Katalon Studio was released, which unfortunately included a licensing model. Katalon Studio now has 3 different flavors: the free Katalon Studio, the licensed Katalon Studio Enterprise and Katalon Studio Runtime Engine. Which means that using the full blown Katalon Studio is no longer entirely free (more information on their licensing model can be found here).
An alternative for Katalon Studio?
There are many other free and open-source solutions, but which one is capable of replacing Katalon Studio? Well, TestProject might be the one. It’s a free end-to-end test automation platform for automating web, mobile and API testing. Development begun in 2015 and their first public launch was in April 2018. It’s designed as a web platform, built on top of Selenium and Appium, which means it contains all the possibilities these libraries have to offer. Currently TestProject comes with a “free forever” plan, which mean it’s completely free and gives you a lifetime access to all of TestProject’s features. Of course we will never know how long “forever” might be.
Being a cloud hosted solution makes the installation very simple. You just need to create an online account on the platform and download/install the TestProject Agent. This Agent will take away the pain of installing and maintaining web and mobile drivers to communicate with browsers or mobile devices. Once installed, you’re ready to start using the record and playback functionality to create automated tests. As a technical tester I’m not so fond test recorders, but I have to say, TestProject is the first automation tool where I’m impressed by the record and playback functionality. It’s very user-friendly and has some useful features like editing steps, creating parameters, adjusting the object repository,… all available while recording your test scripts. Even more interesting is the ability to extend your object repository and to create your own steps during recording. Moreover, you can immediately run your manually created steps and verify if they are working as expected.
The recorder also makes it very easy to identify objects while recording with features like an Element Locator (to create and evaluate your own test objects during recording), a Parent Selector (highlights the parents of the selected test object in order to verify if you have selected the right element) and an Element Explorer (which allows you to explore through all the elements on the page).
Minimize the maintenance effort
Automated tests are written against an ever-moving target, the product. This means maintenance is the biggest pitfall when we are not careful in designing our tests. Therefore, every good automation tool must provide in solutions to minimize the maintenance effort. TestProject allows you to assign input and output parameters to your test cases. This makes it possible to call upon these test cases multiple times with different parameter values. And, hence TestProject is a cloud solution, you can create your own team, invite team members and share reusable test cases and object repositories with other team members.
But TestProject goes even further, it also allows you to create your own addons, which are reusable code snippets. The cool thing is that these addons cannot only be shared with team members, but also with the entire organization and even with the global community. There are many universal algorithms within test automation, like finding and clicking a specific cell in a table, choosing a date in a DatePicker widget, etc … With TestProject these algorithms can be implemented, shared as a global addon and used by any TestProject user! There are already quite a few addons available: some of them are focused on a certain application stack (web, mobile, API), others are designed for automating against complex controls (e.g. KendoUI schedulers and grids). This feature makes TestProject a community-driven platform which will keep growing in the future with more and more useful addons in the future. TestProject has its own SDK which can be imported in Visual Studio or Eclipse, this means you can write your own addons using C# and java. More technical testers can script their own test cases using C# and java, and run them from within Visual Studio or Eclipse.
Executing your test cases is very easy, you can run them individually or arrange a set of test cases within a test job. These jobs can be triggered manually, can be scheduled for a one time run, or configurated as a recurring event. The test cases and test jobs will be executed by the selected test agent. TestProject has the ability to install and manage test agents on different machines which gives you the opportunity to create your tests on one machine and execute them on another one.
There are also a few downsides of course, one of them is the fact that there are not so much information and tutorials available. All basic things are explained, but more sophisticated features, like writing your own addons, are not clearly described. On the other hand, you can reach out to them via chat and ask anything you want. My experience with this chat is very good, they usually respond very quickly with clear and helpful information.
The past months TestProject got more and more attention, this might be a result of TestProject being acquired by Tricentis in August 2019. Tricentis is the company which developed the TOSCA test automation suite. And, of course, the fact that Katalon Studio became partially licensed will have triggered a lot of technical testers to start looking for a free Katalon alternative. Whether TestProject will really remain “free forever” is hard to tell, but for now it offers a lot of great features at no cost.
If you want to find out more about TestProject, check out their website.