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Katalon Studio vs. Custom Selenium test automation framework

Although Katalon Studio is a brand-new software test automation framework, it’s steadily becoming a fan favourite. The new framework has garnered attention to become Gartner Peer Insights Customer’s Choice for test automation, ahead of Micro Focus, Microsoft, Parasoft, Selenium and other known tools for the automation market.

After utilizing this powerful tool, it’s easy to see why it lives up to the hype. Katalon is a 100% free tool and offers capabilities only previously contemplated by commercial tools. The framework wins points for offering end-to-end testing, being easy to set up and use, having an active community, requiring no/limited required programming skills, and enterprise support, etc.

One of the biggest advantages that Katalon Studio offers is simple test maintenance. Such an execution is usually a challenge in other frameworks, especially open-source ones (Selenium for instance). Tests can be organized with easy management and maintenance of test cases, test scripts, test suites, data, and keywords. All associated test cases can be automatically updated with test objects, which makes the platform extendable by importing external libraries to improve the automation features beyond Selenium and Appium limits (Winnium, Sikuli, AppleScripts, etc.).

Recently, QA Consultants have begun exploring this new tool for several projects and the solutions and capabilities have deemed fantastic results. Katalon Studio is perfect for cross-browser testing (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE, Edge), API testing (Rest and SOAP), Data-driven testing, parallel execution, SDLC and CI Integrations, TDD/BDD testing, but not limited to the technology itself. With the application of keyword-driven testing, QA Consultants has been able to elevate the synergy between manual testers and automation engineers creating an entirely new level of results. Once manual testers are exposed they can easily use Katalon to build automation despite limited or no scripting skills.

With a ready-to-use mobile automation framework, no time is wasted with setup. Once Katalon is already bundled with required components and pre-built keywords, to start a mobile automation project, it’s a quick and smooth run from then on. It also supports the latest mobile platforms and devices enabled by Appium and offers optimized cross-functional testing, maximizing automation efficiency with reusable test objects and scripts across API, Web and mobile platforms.

Katalon can offer a long list of environments which are compatible: Windows 7+, MacOS 10.11+, Linux, Android 6.x and 7.x, iOS versions 9+, cloud services, Firefox 56+, Internet Explorer 9+, Chrome 58+, Safari 5.1+ on Windows and 9+, on MacOS, Microsoft Edge, and headless browsers.

When building test automation frameworks, it’s important to factor the ease of which integration occurs with other tools or capabilities. For example, a tester would look at integration with existing CI systems such as Jenkins, Bamboo, TeamCity, and Circleci. Depending on the project, a tester may need integration with Jira to track requirement coverage with test case status, including support to BDD; TestRail to keep tests synchronized, mapped and results updated, plus SauceLabs, BrowserStack and Kobiton to ensure that web applications and mobile apps (ios and Android apps) work flawlessly on multiple browsers and mobile devices, on top of integration with GIT, etc. Katalon studio covers pretty much all lists including mobile testing and then some.

Of course, nothing is perfect and Katalon has some limitations or issues that should be mentioned: (1) lack of scripting languages, where only Java/Groovy is supported so far; (2) although it’s a free tool, it’s not open source, which means its code cannot be accessed by a higher number of people; (3) performance issues, depending on which environment is being used. Additionally, lag time may occur.

Katalon offers Katalon Analytics, an online platform to manage automation results yielding quality insights for automation tests. This thoughtful add-on provides a major advantage when compared with other open-source or free tools on the market, as most do not offer similar capabilities. With Katalon Analytics, it’s possible to combine and share entire test execution history, results, log, screenshots, and videos with all of the automation agents, real-time dashboards, and reports. As such, filtering the possibility of eliminating irrelevant tests, and focusing on high-risk areas of the application. Compared with all of the advantages and capabilities offered, Katalon is user-friendly and can be considered one of the best available test automation solutions in the market.