Test Automation Frameworks - What to Know Before You Choose One

DZone 's Guide to

Test Automation Frameworks - What to Know Before You Choose One

Review the major types of test automation frameworks to understand which is right for you.

· DevOps Zone ·
Free Resource

Image title

If you’re planning to use automation testing for your web app testing, then you might know that you need a reliable and robust test automation framework for producing beneficial results. However, if you are performing automation testing for the first time, then you must have a clear understanding of a test automation framework.

There are multiple definitions of test automation frameworks; some position it as a post-test planner, and some consider it a proper guideline for performing automation testing. In general, it is a complete set of both rules and guidelines like coding standards, object repository treatment, data handling, etc. that are created to make your automation testing real and efficient.

You may also enjoy:  A Complete Guide to Test Automation Frameworks

If the testing team follows these guidelines and rules during automation scripting, they will be able to produce more efficient outcomes like higher portability, increase code re-usage, reduced script maintenance cost, and more. The testing framework comprises a combination of test tools and practices that are designed to help testing teams to execute automated testing more accurately.

Benefits of Using Test Automation Framework

A test automation framework is one of the essential parts of an automated testing process, as it enables testers to develop, execute, and report on the automation test scripts adequately. There are various advantages of using a test automation framework, some of which includes:

  • Ease of scripting your test cases

  • Provide scalability for testing scenarios

  • Offers modularity and process definition

  • Allow reusability of test cases with low maintenance requirements

Most developers often use one or more automation testing frameworks for maximum benefit. 

Imagine your testing team comprises of five members, performing automated cross-browser testing for your web app. Now, each one of you might use your own methods to write the automation script. So the outcome will result in a different style of coding. It is also possible that your testing team might not be able to leverage the standard pieces of code and scripts. That’s where a test automation framework helps. If you execute cross-browser testing with a cloud-based automated testing tools like LambdaTest, the results will be outstanding.

With the help of a test automation framework, you can establish a universal standard for testers, maintain your tests easily, eliminate the risk of human errors, achieve continuous testing and delivery, fasten your test progress, and save time, money, and efforts.

So, you see, if a test automation framework is implemented appropriately, it can deliver continuous and stable automated test code.

Types of Testing Automation Frameworks

There are multiple test automation frameworks available to choose from for different types of testing scenarios. But, it is crucial to choose a framework that best fits your needs and meets the testing requirements. Based on our research, we have highlighted the best test automation frameworks in this article.

1. Modular Testing Framework

The first automation framework in our list is the Modular Testing framework, which is based on the popular OOPs concept – abstraction. It is used by testers to split the application into different modules, and then write test scripts for each module individually. This way, you will have different modules for different processes, such as one module for filling information in the forms and another for submitting the forms. Later on, these scripts are combined together to make larger test scripts with the help of a master script to attain desired results.


  • No effect on the entire module, even if changes are made to the application

  • Includes higher-level modularization, which is easy and cheaper to maintain

  • Offers complete flexibility to implement changes only on the affected test scripts


  • Cannot be used for multiple data sets, as the data will be hard-coded into the test scripts

  • Requires efficiency in programming languages for setting up the framework

2. Library Architecture Testing Framework

This framework is somewhat based on the modular testing framework but comes with a few changes and advantages. The library architecture framework divides the application into functions, instead of splitting it into multiple modules so that other parts of the app can also use the functions. These distributed functions are later compiled at one place that can be used by test scripts whenever needed.


  • Includes a high level of modularization that is easy and cheaper to maintain

  • Scalability and maintenance of test cases is also easy and cost-effective

  • Offers reusability of test cases with the library approach


  • Requires a high level of technical expertise to set up the framework

  • Test scripts require enough time to develop

  • Require changes in test scripts for making changes in test data, as the data is embedded into test scripts

3. Linear Automation Framework

Usually considered a basic level test automation framework, the linear scripting framework is available in the form of "Record and Playback" in a linear fashion. In this framework, the test scripts are executed individually for each test case. Each step in the testing process is recorded manually by the tester, and then the script is played to conduct the test from beginning automatically in sequential order. An example of this type of framework is Selenium IDE.


  • No need for test automation expertise

  • It is easy to understand the testing workflow for any party involved in the test process

  • Generate test scripts without much planning and in the minimum time possible


  • Not likely to run with multiple sets due to hard coding and lack of re-usability

  • Impossible to maintain a large number of these tests

  • Any changes in the application require a lot of work

4. Data-Driven Testing Framework

It is possible that during automation testing of your web app, you might need to test a single functionality multiple times with various data sets. In this case, test data cannot be embedded in the test script itself. Data-driven framework separates the data and the test scripts from each other while storing it into external databases like MS Access Tables, MS Excel Sheets, SQL Database, etc. Later on, you can access this data within the test scripts with the help of key-pairs.


  • Reduces the number of scripts for all test scenarios

  • Reduced coding time for the testing team

  • Flexible and easy to maintain the framework

  • Test cases can be executed with multiple sets of data

  • Any changes in the scripts don’t affect test data


  • Not able to perform real-time functionality testing simultaneously

  • Requires creation of test data sources

  • It takes a significant amount of time to set up

  • Requires high technical expertise and knowledge of used programming languages

5. Keyword Driven Testing Framework

An extension to the data-driven framework, this testing framework split the test data from the scripts, but it also keeps the code used in the test script in external files. In this framework, a table format is used to define the keywords for every function or method that you will execute. After setting up the table, you just have to write the code to prompt the required action based on the keywords.


  • Doesn’t require extensive coding knowledge because a single keyword can be used for various scripts

  • The test scripts and keywords are independent of the automation tool used

  • Offers a high amount of code reusability


  • Requires in-depth programming knowledge to write abstract codes

  • Hard to maintain and slow down the development of new sets

  • Requires higher initial investments to set up the framework

6. Behavior-Driven Development Framework

This type of framework is used to create a platform that allows everyone involved in a software project to participate actively. Also, it uses a table of conditions as test input, which are provided by a tester from a row in the table, and the output is expected from the same row. In a behavior-driven framework, non-technical and natural language is used to create test specifications.


  • Doesn’t require any expertise in the programming language

  • Provide a good amount of code reusability


The drawbacks of a behavior-driven development framework are similar to those in the key-driven development framework.

7. Hybrid Testing Framework

A combination of more than one framework is known as the hybrid framework. It can consist of any frameworks mentioned above, which means it can leverage the benefits of all kinds of frameworks associated with it.


  • Can be customized according to your specific needs and requirements

  • Allow you to select the capabilities of each framework as per requirement


There are no such drawbacks of the hybrid testing framework until you have a proper collaboration between testing teams. However, finding a hybrid testing framework that is configured with the required frameworks in the market is a bit complicated.

How to Determine the Best Test Automation Framework

After reading about the above frameworks, you might be confused or curious to understand which automation framework is the best fit for your organization. Well, before finalizing any test automation framework, consider the following questions:

  • What is your application, and what technology is used to build it?

  • How was the web app built, and what’s its user experience?

  • Understand the testing requirements of your web app.

  • Does the application have a complex or a simple workflow?

  • The cost of the test automation framework, and if there is a trial version available before purchasing the licensed version.

  • Evaluate the skills required to use the test automation framework. What skills your testing team already have? Is your testing team capable of setting up the desired automation framework?

To better evaluate every test automation framework, create a scoreboard, and provide marks to each framework based on their functionality, scalability, advantages, and disadvantages. This way, it will be easier for you to make a decision for the best test automation framework.


With the mobile development and software development industry growing at a fast pace, it has become crucial for organizations to have access to a reliable and stable test automation framework. Though tasks like automated cross-browser testing of the web app can be performed with automation tools like LambdaTest, to perform real-time testing or parallel testing, you need a test automation framework set up on your system. In this article, we talked about different types of automation frameworks and how you can identify the best framework based on your project requirements.

Further Reading

OOP Concept for Beginners: What Is Abstraction?

Generations of Test Automation Frameworks — Past and Future

What Is a Test Automation Framework?

automated testing frameworks, selenium testing, test automation, test automation framework, test automation tools, test framework, testing frameworks

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}