Pros and Cons of Commercial and Open Source Test Automation Tools

Amid the rising competition in the market and the pressure of releasing quality software in a short time, organizations are introducing testing early in the software development phase.

But there is always confusion about whether to select commercial test automation tools or open-source test automation tools.

This article focuses on the pros and cons of commercial and open-source test automation and how they can be used effectively. Both have their fair share of advantages and limitations, but in the end, you will be able to make the right choice.

Pros of Commercial Test Automation Tools

Here are some of the key benefits of using commercial test automation tools which compel more and more organizations to take leverage:

A strong in-house Skill Set is Not Required: One of the best advantages of commercial test automation tools is that you don’t necessarily require a high skill set to set up and run your test automation. Most of the commercial tools are built in such a way, that you can set up and start running your test scripts really quick.

Better Reporting Capabilities: Most commercial automation tools have an in-built reporting feature with added customization which helps you analyze your test results easily.

Better Support & Documentation: Commercial tools generally come up with in-built support and documentation. The documentation provided is well written and easy to read and follow.

Along with this, they provide better customer support which helps the team to reach them anytime in case of any issue regarding the tool.

Cons of Commercial Test Automation Tools

High Cost: One of the major disadvantages of commercial test automation tools is the high cost.

As most of the commercial tools are license-based based subscription models, they charge a high amount on a monthly or yearly basis. This high cost is not feasible for a lot of small organizations.

Lack of Flexibility: Lack of flexibility is another concern in commercial automation tools. As they are designed to do specific tasks, you can’t use them to do something which is outside those specific tasks.

Pros of Open Source Test Automation Tools

Cost-Effective: The best advantage of using open-source test automation tools is that you don’t have to buy a license in order to use them. Some of the most common open-source tools such as Selenium is free to use.

So if you are a small organization and want to keep the operating costs to a minimum, utilizing open source technologies is a great option

Flexibility: Another factor is the flexibility of open source tools as they are supported by large communities and have large libraries and approaches built by engineers. This flexibility is missing in commercial tools.

Support Multiple Languages: Open source technology supports multiple languages which allows you to utilize the most popular technologies to support the automation frameworks built-in open source.

Example: Selenium offers support for most of the popular programming languages including Python, C#, Java, Javascript, etc.

Cons of Open Source Test Automation Tools

Though open-source tools have developed a lot since the 80s and have very much to offer, there are always two sides to a coin. Here are some drawbacks of using open source automation tools that need to be considered too:

Technical Barrier: Most open-source tools require a specific set of skills to build and maintain the automation suite which becomes a technical barrier for some, especially freshers.

There is a level of investment required in terms of time and skills to gain a better understanding of the open-source technology.

Maintenance Issue Due to Lack of Automation Professional: If a team does not have a dedicated automation professional, then the framework will be poorly written which can create maintenance and support-related issues with an open-source automation tool.

Security Issues: Open source tools are not developed in a controlled environment and as hundreds of developers work on the same software, there is a security-related risk. In closed software, only the vendor and developers can see or make changes in the code which is why they are safer.

Balanced Approach: The key here is to adopt a balanced approach by blending both the open-source tools and the commercial tools to get the best out of both. Adopt test automation practices where both types of automation tools are blended together in a customized framework.

There are some commercial automation tools that also allow the intake of some open-source tools, for example, Ranorex also allows you to use Selenium frameworks within their framework.

Testsigma, an Artificial Intelligence-driven test automation tool, allows you to use Selenium and JS-based custom functions to meet all your custom requirements.

It supports parallel development by allowing the users to build a customizable solution that is reliable and can be easily scalable using Selenium.

Best Test Automation Practices: It is important for an organization to strike the right balance between open-source and commercial tools, especially for those who are just starting with automation for the very first time.

Some of the key things to look at before devising your automation strategy are:

  • The skill set of your team members
  • Budget to be spent on the automation tools
  • Automation requirements for your end goals

If you don’t have highly skilled programmers in your QA team and are flexible with the budget, it is wise to go with a commercial test automation tool.

You can easily set your test automation up and running with the commercial tools and it would be easier to reach your goals with respect to the software quality and deadlines.

At this time, you might be having a better understanding of what open source automation tools and commercial automation tools bring to the table, considering both the pros and cons associated with each.

With this, you would be able to make smart decisions for your business.