Sunday, January 28, 2018

Automated browser testing in 2018

Every now and then I do some research on browser testing. More specifically I try to find and evaluate what kind of ready to use solutions or libraries have emerged since my previous research or if some of the previously tested solutions has come up with something new.

Back in September 2017 I had some extra time on my hands and I used a couple of days to see what are the new and interesting solutions at that time. I came across some tools that I have used in the past and found two new interesting options in which one stood out.

Say hello to TestCafe

The most interesting solution that I found was called TestCafe. It's a open source Node.js library from a company called Developer Express Inc. They also have a commercial product called TestCafe (confusing) which I haven't tried as the open source library provided everything I was interested in and it seemed to be under active development.

The thing that caught my interest at first was that this library doesn't depend on WebDriver i.e. the API used by Selenium. All the browser testing tools that use real browsers and I have tried before have been dependent on WebDriver API meaning that even if the tool itself is e.g. a Node.js library it still needed to run the WebDriver Java API in the background.

Another thing where TestCafe excels compared to it's rivals is it's browser support. Basically all major browsers and operating systems are supported.

Writing tests with TestCafe

As TestCafe is a Node.js library the tests can be written in JavaScript and the library also provides TypeScript support. I've written a example with three test cases that can be found from my github repository, the last one fails on purpose to demonstrate failure reporting.

TestCafe uses a concept called Selectors for selecting DOM elements to test or to execute a action on. In addition it provides a concept of client functions that adds the ability to read data from client side e.g. the current URL of the browser window.

Running tests

Given that TestCafe is a Node.js library the tests can be executed with node as simply as running command npm test. Another option is to execute the tests in a docker container which is a great option for CI servers. I have created examples and instructions of both in my github repository.

Real life experiences

I have been using TestCafe in a work project since November 2017 to run browser tests locally with Node.js and in CI within docker. So far I have been very impressed on how good the performance and stability have been compared to previously used solutions. I'm still going to keep my eyes open for old and new rivals but for now I consider TestCafe to be the solution that I'll be using and comparing others to.

Other solutions to consider

Commercial tool from the same company Developer Express Inc. also called TestCafe. I haven't tried this one so I can't really say anything about it. is another new tool that runs without WebDriver. This one supports only Chromium based browsers and I couldn't get anything but their own examples to run so my experience with this one wasn't so great.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review! Here is an explanation of TestCafe version history: