Table of Contents
- Shortlist of the best web automation testing tools
- Types of Web Application Testing
- Types of testing tools for web applications test automation
- Criteria for choosing an automation tool for web application
- What are the key features you should look for in a web application testing tool?
- Top 10 of the best web application testing tools in 2023
- How do you test web applications? What management tools do you use in your process?
If I was given a dollar for every application that was built without testing… I would get less and less every year. That’s a good thing though (maybe except for my wallet), because businesses tend to leave the “gung ho” path in application development. Testing is recognized not as a time waster, but as a time saver and definitely using proper testing tools for web applications has already saved plenty of companies from going broke. Jokes aside - proper web application testing ensures that the product is functional, usable and secure.
Those 3 areas cover the 6 most used testing types which are as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Compatibility testing
- Functionality testing
- Interface testing
- Performance testing
- Security testing
- Usability testing
We will cover all those in detail later in the article. Basically, a proper testing process aims to check whether the web app of our design works properly, looks as designed and is safe for its users.
In this article we will also cover the significance of choosing the proper tools to execute these processes. It does require a rather big number of man-hours to properly select those, which will fulfill all strategic goals for given application. You need to know that such tool selection varies not only from creator to creator but from app to app.
For example one would definitely use different scenarios and tools for a simple CRUD, that does not even store user data and a completely different set for a SAAS that needs to implement a few different payment systems and sends encrypted data all across the web. In order to set up your own testing environment, that will be task and cost efficient, you will need to check quite a few solutions to cover all bases.
There is an easier way to ensure that your app runs smooth as silk - use our Ultimate Guide on Testing Tools for Web Application.
Shortlist of the best web automation testing tools
A few paragraphs below you will be able to find the criteria we used to rank the 10 tools we consider the best. Do note, that the key aspect of selecting the tool you need is the compatibility with your requirements and assets such as the project itself, the team, the budget etc. It is a strategically important decision to choose the testing platform. It may happen (and it is rather likely) that your security testing tool, api testing tool and the ui testing tool will be three completely different pieces of software.
In order to assist you in that selection we have compiled a list of 10 best testing solutions for web applications and mobile applications in 2023. Each tool has its own UI specifics, features, capabilities and flaws. You may use the following list as a starting point for your research for automated or manual testing processes.
Types of Web Application Testing
Above we have divided testing into 6 branches. Of course testing itself is a term so vast that one can easily find different typologies or even approaches to testing. For the time being let’s stick with those six and describe them in a more thorough fashion.
I can bet nuts versus dollars that “what browser are you using?” is the second most common question asked by web app helpdesks (the certain leader being “have you tried turning it off and on again?”). This question is more significant than this joke suggests. Making sure that your app runs properly on all (or at least on those that cover at least 99% of the market, we will use the term “all” for this article) web browsers, operating systems and devices is crucial to your business.
One of the key subsets of compatibility testing is cross-browser testing. It focuses on checking if all of the apps’ functionalities behave properly on all web browsers. These kinds of tasks are performed with tools that can emulate different real browsers to ensure that all users are able to see and perform all actions as designed. As cross-browser testing seems to be the crucial point for web applications, it is not the only important aspect. Especially for the client base from emerging markets, checking all operational systems is also significant.
We could easily say that functionality testing ensures that the app does what it was supposed to be doing. There is much more to that though. The tester may and of course will rely on different scripts prepared for a given app, but in this aspect one needs to keep an open mind in a continuous testing manner. Think of the unthinkable, think of the least probable or - let’s be honest - the dumbest thing the user may do with your app, and then try to do it and watch what happens.
Will the app allow you to book a car for -2 days? I did it once, my booking was recognized as to be 999 years long and cost more than a yearly budget of a small country. A simple case - called the boundary condition in testers’ slang - that should result in an error notification was not handled properly during functionality testing.
There is more than just flooding forms with random data while using data driven testing. A well designed functional testing tool will assist you in making sure all links are active and redirecting to proper URLs. Those will also check if HTML and CSS are valid as well as test the proper data gathered by cookies.
When it comes to the word interface, one would sense that interface testing has a lot to do with UX/UI. Our typology defines this type of testing as checking whether the connection between the three layers of an app cooperates with each other properly. Those layers are: the application itself, the web server and the database.
The web app testing tools that perform such actions will require feeding with test data as well as test results (especially for database testing). Those tests also check whether proper error messages are displayed if the connections fail. You have to recognize the level of sophistication for interface testing, since all of those need to be able to test applications created in different programming languages.
We have already checked how our app behaves on different web browsers and operating systems (compatibility testing). The time is now to test how it works in various circumstances. Of course from the business perspective we would like to have as many users as possible, but would the app withstand the pressure? How much would the user be influenced by a poor internet connection? From the testers’ perspective - if you like to break things, performance testing will be your favourite.
The term that is most recognized in this matter is stress testing. Basically it means that tools flood your application with a defined number of virtual users at the same time and check what would be the breaking point. Another key piece of information would be - how does the app react to this breakdown? Is it able to recover on its own, or does it require human help? Other tactics include load testing, spike testing or soak testing.
Well now that's a biggie. Long story short - during security testing we need to confirm that your application is safe to its users. Even the simplest CRUD application stores data, which makes it vulnerable to manual and automated attacks. Regardless of the reason behind it, someone wants to interfere or damage your database, using Cross-Site Scripting for example. This has huge business implications for your app - your business image will suffer, you may end up losing money, even your clients may end up losing money if their credit card data is endangered.
Providing security features for your database and payment process is not the only reason behind this type of testing. One will also be required to verify the registration and login processes plus whether the credentials for specific URLs and file downloads are valid and properly used. After the login process is complete, is the user able to perform all the actions he needs to? Even more important - does the app forbid the user from performing tasks that are for example restricted to admins? All of those and much more can be performed by a vast number of available testing tools.
This is the UX/UI testing that requires as much skills as common sense. In this process you check if all the elements are visible properly and are consistent. Tools and manual labour are required to verify if the content is consistent with the copywriters’ work.
This process requires the knowledge of current design trends, your own marketing and communication strategy as well as the industry standards for web and app design. Not to mention that a good tester and a proper testing tool will recognize the design specifics for different markets and cultures.
Types of testing tools for web applications test automation
The easiest way to divide Web Applications testing tools is the level of skills required to run the tests. The current tendency to lower the entry requirements needed to enter the IT environment has reached testing too. There are more and more low-code and no-code tools out there, but let’s come back to the typology.
No-code testing tools - little to none testing background is required to use those, some of those work on drag and drop basis, others ask the testers some simple questions and do the work in the background. The only requirement to use those seems to have some sense about the IT sector such as understanding what a form is etc.
Such tools are great for cross-browser testing. By using the drag and drop feature you can easily set up test scripts that tools like Functionize will use to verify whether your app runs smoothly on multiple web browsers.
Low-code testing tools - those require some level of testing expertise and more thorough understanding than no-code. They usually consist of pre-build templates or modules that the user needs to modify in order to achieve the final, individual testing scenario.
BugBug for example offers an intuitive recording interface. It requires a few minutes to set up but can be reused repeatedly to reduce the number of repetitive tasks within testing your web app.
Advanced code-based tools - the full package. You need to be an actual tester in order to use those. This is the most flexible and individual way of testing apps, but it requires trained personnel and much more time to achieve success.
One of the most popular tools is Selenium. It is an open-source tool that works in multiple programming languages.
Criteria for choosing an automation tool for web application
It is definitely tempting to use the easiest approach possible - more money you have, more sophisticated tools you need to use. This is definitely not the case nowadays. The no-code and low-code software does its job just fine, and financial resources definitely don’t need to be the main factor taken into consideration.
Nevertheless, choosing a testing strategy should be a result of carefully weighing both development and business aspects of an app.
The first aspect is to consider if all 6 types of testing are required for our app. Let’s state the obvious - security testing is a must have. Even while running a simple blog app you need to make sure that the readers’ devices will not be infected while browsing your site. But do the other aspects need to be covered? This is for you to decide.
What we may suggest is to analyse your resources carefully. Do you have an experienced tester onboard? Is he or she familiar with the required tool stack? Do you have the personnel that can do the man-hours needed to perform full-code testing? What stage of the app life-cycle are you currently in? Are you a one man band or is the app created by a big company?
The catalogue of questions that need to be asked is open. The rule of thumb would be - smaller the team and earlier the stage is, you can tend to use the lower-code solutions.
Code vs No-code
This brings us to the deadline of making the final decision on the Web Application testing tool. As mentioned before, the decision has to be tailor made for your app rather than “a guy on the web wrote to use a no-code tool, so this is my choice”. Rather than answering the question for you, let us briefly summarise the pros and cons of both.
No-code and low-code
Ready, out of the box solution, validated by many previous clients
Vastly reduces the time necessary to implement testing scenarios
Tools are well documented, easy to use by non- and low-technical personnel
Definitely cost efficient, some of the tools are free
Limited testing possibilities might not be enough for your app
A rather large amount of tools on the market may make it hard or time consuming to choose the proper stack
Limited cross-platform integration - you may end up choosing a stack of tools that does not cooperate with each other and you start from scratch
Might be insufficient for larger applications
Tailor made specifically for your app
No integration issues
No customer support issues, since it will (probably) be your own employee writing those tests
Require high technical knowledge
Cost much in money and effort
Need to be tested themselves in order to check the credibility
As you can see, both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, proper choice will come with experience and the size of your resources.
What are the key features you should look for in a web application testing tool?
OK, you have the prototype of your testing scenario. You have carefully analysed your needs and resources and decided to go one of the three ways we described (no-code, low-code and full-code). You have successfully reduced the number of tools to choose from by ⅔. But this still is quite a number of tools to go thru.
What should you look for while browsing the haystack? The first answer is not as obvious as you would think.
Let me tell you a secret. The first thing I always check, while testing new service or software is the client support. Imagine you have all the features you require, the documentation is there, their website and social media sites are perfect, you pay the licence fee, you encounter the first issue and the customer care does not care… Selecting a tool is a thing that you should do once per project. If the development process takes a year or so, would you have the patience to wait a couple of days for a ticket to be solved? You can easily validate the client service of a tool - go thru the intro or a trial and ask a few random questions that come to you. Then see what happens. Do this for a few tools at the same time and assess.
If the customer care satisfies you, here are a few other pointers you may use while choosing a web app testing tool.
Check if the documentation is thorough, filled with examples (preferably with multimedia inside) and has a troubleshooting part. If the documentation is translated into your native language, it’s always a plus.
Reporting and analytics module - a good tool will enable you to automate the process of analysing test results. Rather than going case by case, you should receive a set of data predefined by you
Test automation - preferring tools that enable you to save and store test scenarios would be a wise choice
Intuitive interface - say farewell to quadruply nested menus, choose a tool that is easy to use and where you can find all necessary functionalities in a blink of an eye.
Top 10 of the best web application testing tools in 2023
Long story short - BugBug is one of the best web application testing tools. Its very intuitive UI plus a broad scope of functionalities does lower the bar for end-to-end testers or tester wannabes. From the business perspective, the low-code approach helps to create automated scripts in less time and effort than the competitors. On top of that we have the whole fully functional (for free if used locally!) recording interface that enables you to record new steps midway thru your testing suite.
It has all the bases covered by having the following functionalities:
Test recording and replaying
Intelligent autoscrolling and real clicks simulation
Public API and CD/CI integration
Plus many other tools to enable the users testing success and cost saving.
But what makes BugBug special is the pro-user approach that lowers the barrier for team members who are not necessarily qualified testers, but are obliged to create and perform web application testing. I am speaking about product owners, developers and even project managers. All of those (especially who work in start-ups or smaller businesses) are often engaged into tester roles.
BugBug will make your work quicker and easier and honestly - it has one of the best software documentations. With the super friendly interface you are really able to create your first automated test in about 5 minutes. Aaand, BugBug is free!
For quite a while Selenium was THE software test tool and the ability to use it was mentioned in almost every job ad for automated testing specialists. As of now it is a whole ecosystem and an automation framework that is able to perform end-to-end tests of applications based on scripts created in the most popular programming languages.
It is a full code automation tool, so it requires a rather significant set of coding skills to use. From the economic standpoint though, using Selenium is free.
This tool enables users to test web applications in a fun way, the creators have called “Visual debugging”. It means that you can create some automated test scripts and watch them being executed in a split-screen manner. This is not a common feature in the most popular web application testing tools.
- Test Complete
Although this is not a free web application testing tool (far from it, if you click the “pricing” section of their site), it does provide value for the buck you spend. Not only does it automate web tests, but it covers desktop applications, as well as web and mobile ones too. Plus they offer free tutoring on their tool and data-driven testing capabilities. Seems Complete enough to give it a try!
Mabl allows you to quickly and efficiently create your own test suite with much less effort than it would take while using a full code solution. With the newest features implemented, this is now a reliable performance testing tool as well. As stated by the creators, Mabl acts great while testing for agile and post-agile environments.
- Rainforest QA
This no-code automated testing tool gives the flexibility to test any web service both inside and outside the web browser. The creators communicate Rainforest as a go-to solution for startups, so if you are performing the research for such an entity, this should end up on your shortlist.
- Ghost inspector
First of all I need to be clear - I am a great fan of their claim. Catch bugs before they cost you should be a motto of every test engineer ever. But coming back to being professional, Ghost Inspector is a nice automation testing tool that might work as both a no-code and full-code solution. Two features I was unable to find with other tools are email testing and geolocations mocking. If you require one or both for your testing scenarios, do try Ghost Inspector.
Katalon is.. Well… big. If you describe yourself as a quality management platform rather than a regression testing tool it has to mean something. And it does. The testing time is being advertised as one of the top on the market, the whole regression testing practices are listed here as key plus the broad scope of testing solutions can make you dizzy. Definitely a must have on the list of the best application testing tools in 2023, but seems feasible for larger products and teams.
One could joke that TestRigor is a mix of an automated web testing tool and aspirin since they mention that it reduces QA headaches, but let’s keep our focus while we finish our ranking with quite a bang. TestRigor brings the no-code to a new level. You can create tests with just the usage of English language. This user-friendly feature makes it one of the easiest testing tools available.
How do you test web applications? What management tools do you use in your process?
Just to summarize our ranking of tools needed in testing web apps let's agree on the following:
Testing of web applications is crucial since failing to do so will cost you money and/or your company image.
In order to select one of many automated testing tools for web apps, you need to consider your budget, your team (both regarding its' size and qualities) as well as the size of your business
The research may take a bit of time but testing using the best suiting software will be worth the effort.
Modern solutions are easy to use and implement to your CD/CI pipelines.
Do you perform keyword-driven testing? Is a load and stress testing tool something you desire? I hope you are taking care of the web application security. Do you have any different ideas what to look for while choosing a testing tool? Or maybe you think there is something missing in the ranking? Feel free to share those in the comment section.
Remember: test, retest and then test again :)