Scriptless Testing Is Not Just Record and Playback: Top 10 Scriptless Testing Approaches
There's more to scriptless testing than just hitting the record button.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
In traditional software development, testing professionals manually tested the developed software but the need to test redundant scenarios necessitated the use of testing tools that would allow them to execute the same tasks automatically.
The benefit of automated testing was a reduced time to test legacy test scenarios, while the downside was that test automation involved the use of scripts. Testers needed to either learn the supported languages for automation testing or hire new resources who knew to code.
For tasks that can be automated and executed as is with hardcoded values and without any modifications, record and playback tools are the easiest solutions to perform test automation. Record and playback tools can record the user steps and then execute the same steps in the same way in the same conditions any number of times.
You may also enjoy: Why Record and Replay Isn't Enough for Automated API Testing
These tools gave testers the capability to automate almost any scenario they could envisage and the flexibility to make any change in automated test cases at any point of time. The only drawback was that they required the testers to code custom requirements using some programming language.
A major drawback of record and playback is the maintenance of these test cases while keeping up with the changes in the application. There is always a need to do some tweaking to keep up with changes.
A couple other drawbacks include:
Limited possibility of customization: Only when the testers have coding skills and the tool has the option to export test cases to preferred languages can these recorded tests be customized.
May be dependent on screen resolution and size: Sometimes the recording tools record based on the object’s position on the screen which can easily change if the application is resized or the monitor resolution is changed.
As is obvious, record and playback tools are good to automate a small percentage of tasks because most of the testing tasks that need automation require the ability to be executed using a range of test data and on different testing environments in different conditions. Thus, reworking on all of these is not an easy job.
But, record and playback tools are quite easy for beginners in automation testing and can be an ideal solution if the application will not undergo a lot of changes.
“Scriptless automation testing tools” are often confused with “record and playback tools.” They are not ideally the same. Record and playback provides a working script with a hardcoded value of inputs to the user which has to be customized later. With scriptless automation testing, you can auto-generate test scripts based on user cases on the application undergoing tests which is an advanced version of the traditional record and playback feature. Scriptless test automation is a more organized model wherein due to the reusable scripts, users can easily automate a majority of test cases.
Though script-based automation testing tools have captured the market for years, there are a few scriptless testing solutions that are easier to author and maintain in addition to record and playback tools that make the otherwise complex test automation process easy. We will talk about the most prevalent testing methods now:
Different Testing Methods Used by Scriptless and Record and Playback Tools
1. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
The latest entrant in the market for scriptless automation testing are ones that use NLP grammar for test case creation. These tools have made test case automation as easy as writing plain English statements.
These tools have not only made test case creation easy, but saves a lot of time maintaining them because they come with an AI-powered core.
These tools have a low learning curve because the user just needs to know the right grammar used for test case creation and use it for automating simple or complex test scenarios as the case may be.
2. Model-Based Testing
TOSCA has stood out as a unique tool that uses the model-based testing technique. Using this method, a model is created for the application under test (AUT) instead of creating test scripts like most other tools. Here, the three components required for test case automation — technical details of the AUT, test scenario logic, and test data — are stored separately and are merged at the time of test execution.
The central model that stores all the technical details about the AUT gets updated whenever any change in the AUT is detected. Thus, the cumbersome task of test case maintenance according to the changes is handled very easily here.
Along with the model-based testing technique, TOSCA also utilizes a risk-based testing technique to determine the test cases that need to be executed according to the change, making sure to cover all the needed test cases and leaving out the ones that need not be executed.
3. Recording Screenshots
These tools that use “Recording Screenshots” as test steps or test actions are majorly focused on visually testing the application. They report whenever there is any difference between the screenshot and the application under test at the moment visually.
Testim.io records a test case in the form of screenshots taken each time an action done by the user. This tool also provides the option of re-grouping and re-using the test steps. The recorded test case fails if any time the run test case does not match the screenshot taken. The tool aims to maintain the test cases by using AI to recognize and rectify the test case if there is any change in the UI element’s location or name or appearance.
Screenster uses a similar approach where it captures the UI screenshots and DOM snapshots after each user action and terms it as a visual baseline. These screenshots are used for comparisons during test case execution. During testing, Screenster takes new screenshots of the UI and reports any differences with the visual baseline. Screenster also uses AI for test case maintenance. Screenster’s smart selectors automatically locate moved and changed page elements. It discovers and adjusts timeouts and uses AI to wait for the right time to move to the next step.
4. Image-Based Scriptless Automation
Eggplant is one such tool that uses image-based scriptless automation. As in, it uses image-matching technology to recognize any defects or failures in the system under test (SUT).
Eggplant uses a two-model system where one is a controller system from where the tests are created/driven and the other is the SUT that is connected to the controller via a VNC. An English like easy scripting language is used to automate the actions on the UI of the SUT via image-matching.
5. Drag-and-Drop-based Object Mapping
Ascentialtest is a scriptless automation testing tool that allows the creation of test actions via dragging and dropping directly from a website. You just open the application under test in a supported browser and drag and drop all the needed test actions into the testing tool.
These test actions can then be put in a different order with different test data to automate different testing scenarios.
6. Keyword-driven Testing
Keyword-driven tests contain keywords that define actions to be performed. When a test case is automated using these keywords, the maintenance of these tests becomes easier because if there is a change, the keyword will also need changing but the test case will remain the same.
Also, there is no need to learn a scripting language for creating such test scripts. Testcomplete is a popular tools that uses keyword-driven testing for scriptless automationn.
7. Object-Driven Testing
Object-driven testing is yet another way of scriptless testing where objects are identified in the application to test and test steps are created by adding actions to these objects.
Worksoft is one such tool in the market that recognizes an object and then performs actions on them. This tool is one of the leading tools being used for automation of enterprise-level applications like SAP.
8. Visual testing via Flowcharts
Codefuse lets users automate test flows in the form of flowcharts instead of scripts. There are two types of components in the flowchart — condition or action. And multiple flows can be automated in one flow according to different conditions. This does not need a knowledge of any script, just a basic knowledge of flow charts and how flow works there.
9. Recording Tests as Scripts
This is the traditional method of testing that is used by Selenium IDE and Katalon IDE, Ranorex too offers a similar approach.
Selenium IDE and Katalon IDE are available as browser extensions and can only record browser action while Ranorex offers a stand-alone recorder that opens as an app or an integrated recorder that opens with complete Ranorex app and is not limited to testing websites.
These testing tools record all the user actions in the form of commands and selector details. These recorded test steps can be executed as is or can be exported to a supported language. The exported test cases can be further enhanced to add more functionalities and conditions.
10. AI Bots for Test Automation:
These are eliminating the need for any scripting. Platforms like
are one of the first few entrants in the space of using AI bots for test automation. Test.ai aims to understand the user behavior for mobile apps and then test them according to how a user would. This tool is mostly focused on user experience testing and is quite quick to give any feedback related to user experience for mobile applications.
There are multiple tools available in the market using which automation can be done and that too without the need of learning any programming language. Such tools are helping software testing teams reduce the time taken to author, execute and maintain automated test cases with less human intervention.
Published at DZone with permission of Shruti Sharma. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.