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  • Writer's pictureCraig Risi

The Pros and Cons of Different Testing Tools – Katalon Studio

With the popularity of open-source automation tools like Selenium, it has become difficult for many companies wanting to build automation tools for themselves to create enough reason to justify companies needing to license them. This is why so many companies rather than trying to reinvent new ways of doing test automation, build on the base of Selenium rather than try and do something from scratch.  

This is where tools like Katalon Studio cone into the equation it is built on the power of Selenium and Appium, but wraps them up in a superior interface, includes a versatile set of packages that streamline the scripting process, offers a more user-friendly approach to automation scripting and superior reporting to create a reasonably well-priced alternative to other paid automation tools. It might not have as many bells and whistles as the many big commercial players, but given its strong open-source base, the maintenance effort of its tooling is cheaper.

At its core, Katalon Studio is a comprehensive test automation tool for web, mobile, and API testing with a powerful environment for testers and developers to automate testing tasks quickly and efficiently. It allows engineers to write scripts across a variety of different platforms and frameworks and packages them all in one place to bring the framework, execution, and reporting together. Its interface is simple and clean and even though selenium is already quite simple to use, this makes for a far smoother experience that can help reduce the ramp-up time in using the tool and help get more people on board the automation journey.  

Here are some key features and aspects of Katalon Studio

User-friendly Interface: Katalon Studio offers a user-friendly interface with a variety of built-in features and capabilities that make test creation and execution intuitive.

Web Testing: It supports web testing across various browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Testers can record actions, generate test scripts, and execute tests on different browsers seamlessly.

Mobile Testing: Katalon Studio enables mobile testing for both iOS and Android applications. Testers can perform actions such as recording gestures, capturing screenshots, and validating mobile app behavior.

API Testing: It allows testers to automate RESTful and SOAP APIs testing without writing code. Testers can send requests, validate responses, and perform data-driven testing for APIs.

Built-in Test Framework: Katalon Studio is built on top of the Selenium and Appium frameworks, making it powerful for web and mobile testing respectively. It also supports BDD (Behavior-Driven Development) through integration with Cucumber.

Integration with CI/CD Tools: It seamlessly integrates with popular Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) tools such as Jenkins, Bamboo, and Azure DevOps. This enables testers to automate the testing process as part of the development pipeline.

Test Data Management: Katalon Studio offers features for managing test data efficiently. Testers can define and organize test data sets, and perform data-driven testing to cover various scenarios.

Reporting and Analytics: It provides detailed test reports with logs, screenshots, and execution summaries. Testers can analyze test results to identify issues and track project progress.

Plugins and Extensions: Katalon Studio supports plugins and extensions to extend its functionality. Users can customize and enhance their testing workflows by installing plugins from the Katalon Store.

Community Support: Katalon Studio has an active community of users who contribute tips, tricks, and solutions to common challenges. The Katalon Forum and Documentation provide valuable resources for users to get help and support.

Many of these things aren’t particularly unique features, but by bringing both Selenium and Appium into one easier-to-use tool and wrapping it around with a powerful SDK and scripting language it has been able to make an impact in the testing pace and garnered a wide number of users who are now utilizing the tool for their automation needs.

How to Use Katlon Studio

Katalon Studio is fairly easy to use. Writing automated scripts involves several steps, from setting up your testing environment to creating and executing test cases. Here's a basic guide to help you get started:

Install Katalon Studio: If you haven't already, download and install Katalon Studio from the official website.

Create a New Project: Open Katalon Studio and create a new project by clicking on "File" > "New" > "Project" and follow the prompts to set up your project structure.

Set Up Test Environments: Before writing test scripts, you'll need to configure your test environments. This includes specifying the browsers, devices, or platforms you want to test against. You can do this in the "Profiles" section of your project.

Create Test Cases: In Katalon Studio, test cases are organized into Test Suites. To create a new test case, right-click on the "Test Cases" folder within your project and select "New" > "Test Case". Give your test case a meaningful name and click "OK".

Record Test Steps (Optional): Katalon Studio offers a recording feature that allows you to record your interactions with a web application and automatically generates test steps. To record a test case, click on the "Record Web" button in the toolbar, perform your actions in the browser, and stop recording when done. It’s record and playback functionality works well enough, but for robust tests, it’s still best to script everything directly.

Write Test Scripts: If you prefer to write test scripts manually, you can do so using Groovy, a scripting language similar to Java. Double-click on your test case to open it, then switch to the "Script" view. Here, you can write custom test steps using Groovy syntax. You can also use built-in keywords provided by Katalon Studio to perform common actions such as clicking on elements, entering text, or verifying text.

Parameterize Test Data: If your test case requires input data or needs to be executed with different sets of data, you can parameterize your test data using variables or data binding. This allows you to reuse the same test case with different inputs without modifying the test script.

Execute Test Cases: Once you've written your test cases, you can execute them by right-clicking on the test case or test suite and selecting "Run". You can choose to run your tests on different browsers, devices, or profiles configured in your project.

View Test Results: After executing your test cases, you can view the test results in the "Test Explorer" tab. This provides information about the status of each test case, including pass/fail status, logs, and screenshots.

Refine and Maintain Test Scripts: As you continue to develop your application and add new features, you'll need to update and maintain your test scripts accordingly. Be sure to review and refine your test cases regularly to keep them accurate and effective.

Easy scripting but a high level of abstraction

Below is a sample of a basic test case that will open a browser, navigate to a page click a button, and validate the results. It’s not too different from many other tools, but its core libraries help to streamline the scripting process. You will notice a lot of import scripts and all these built-in libraries should give you an indication of the amount of libraries that make the scripts easy to use.

A recommended approach would still be to remove some of that abstraction and layer it into your own framework, using fewer Katalon functions and gaining better control of your framework.

import static com.kms.katalon.core.checkpoint.CheckpointFactory.findCheckpoint
import static com.kms.katalon.core.testcase.TestCaseFactory.findTestCase
import static com.kms.katalon.core.testdata.TestDataFactory.findTestData
import static com.kms.katalon.core.testobject.ObjectRepository.findTestObject
import com.kms.katalon.core.annotation.Keyword
import com.kms.katalon.core.checkpoint.Checkpoint
import com.kms.katalon.core.cucumber.keyword.CucumberBuiltinKeywords as CucumberKW
import as Mobile
import com.kms.katalon.core.model.FailureHandling
import com.kms.katalon.core.testcase.TestCase
import com.kms.katalon.core.testdata.TestData
import com.kms.katalon.core.testobject.TestObject
import com.kms.katalon.core.webservice.keyword.WSBuiltInKeywords as WS
import com.kms.katalon.core.webui.keyword.WebUiBuiltInKeywords as WebUI

// Open browser and navigate to the website

// Maximize the browser window

// Enter search keyword into the search field
WebUI.setText(findTestObject('Page_Example/input_search'), 'Katalon Studio')

// Click on the search button'Page_Example/button_search'))

// Verify search results
WebUI.verifyElementPresent(findTestObject('Page_Example/div_searchResults'), 10) 

// Close the browser

Here's a brief overview of the history of Katalon Studio:

Initial Release (2015): Katalon Studio was initially launched as a free test automation tool, offering capabilities for web and mobile testing. It quickly gained attention from the testing community for its intuitive interface and powerful features.

Version Updates and Enhancements: Over the years, Katalon Studio has undergone several version updates and enhancements, introducing new features, improvements, and bug fixes based on user feedback and industry trends. These updates have helped Katalon Studio stay competitive in the rapidly evolving landscape of test automation tools.

Integration with Selenium and Appium: Katalon Studio is built on top of the Selenium and Appium frameworks, which are widely used for web and mobile automation respectively. This integration has allowed Katalon Studio to leverage the capabilities of these frameworks while providing additional features and functionalities to streamline the testing process.

Introduction of Paid Plans (2018): In 2018, Katalon LLC introduced paid plans for Katalon Studio, offering additional features and support options for users who require more advanced capabilities or dedicated assistance. The introduction of paid plans helped sustain the development and support of the tool while providing added value to users.

Expansion of Features and Integrations: Over time, Katalon Studio has expanded its feature set to include support for API testing, integration with CI/CD tools, test data management capabilities, and more. These additions have made Katalon Studio a comprehensive test automation solution suitable for a wide range of testing scenarios and environments.

Active Community Engagement: Katalon Studio has built an active and supportive community of users, who contribute to forums, share tips and best practices, and collaborate on projects. This community engagement has been instrumental in the growth and adoption of Katalon Studio, fostering a sense of collaboration and knowledge sharing among testers and developers.


  • User-Friendly Interface: Katalon Studio has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for testers to create, execute, and manage test cases without extensive programming knowledge.

  • Comprehensive Testing Support: It supports a wide range of testing types including web, mobile, and API testing, covering various platforms and technologies.

  • Built-in Test Frameworks: Katalon Studio is built on top of Selenium and Appium frameworks, which are widely used in the industry for web and mobile testing respectively. This provides a solid foundation for test automation.

  • Integration with CI/CD Tools: It seamlessly integrates with popular CI/CD tools, allowing testers to incorporate automated testing into their development pipelines for faster feedback and continuous improvement.

  • Cross-Browser and Cross-Platform Testing: Katalon Studio supports cross-browser testing across major browsers and cross-platform testing for mobile applications, helping ensure compatibility and consistency across different environments.

  • Test Data Management: It provides features for managing test data effectively, including the ability to define and organize test data sets, and perform data-driven testing to cover various scenarios.

  • Reporting and Analytics: Katalon Studio generates detailed test reports with logs, screenshots, and execution summaries, facilitating the analysis of test results and identification of issues.

  • Community Support: It has an active community of users who contribute tips, tricks, and solutions to common challenges, providing valuable resources for support and collaboration.


  • Limited Programming Flexibility: While Katalon Studio offers a no-code/low-code approach to test automation, it may lack the flexibility and customization options available with more programming-oriented tools for advanced users.

  • Resource Intensive: Running tests in Katalon Studio may require significant computational resources, especially for large test suites or complex test scenarios, which could impact performance on lower-end machines.

  • Dependency on Third-Party Tools: Since Katalon Studio relies on underlying frameworks like Selenium and Appium, updates or changes to these frameworks may affect the functionality and stability of the tool.

  • Learning Curve for Advanced Features: While the basics of Katalon Studio are relatively easy to grasp, mastering advanced features such as custom plugins, integrations, or complex test scenarios may require additional time and effort.

  • Limited Community Support for Advanced Issues: While the community support for Katalon Studio is active, finding solutions for more advanced or niche issues may be challenging compared to more widely adopted test automation tools.

When to use Katalon Studio

  • You need to augment your existing Selenium and Appium tests into a more streamlined operation under one tool

  • You want a tool that simplifies your automation scripting and easily covers all frontend and backend needs in one place.

  • You need a tool that allows you to put together a wide range of automated tests across different platforms.

As automation tools go, Katalon is pretty comprehensive. It offers a lot of useful features on top of the basic Selenium tooling with a lot of libraries that make automation easier to use. It doesn't offer the level of features that you will find in most of the more expensive tools but is cheaper than many of those tools. Whether it offers enough though to move you away from open-source entirely depends on the maturity of your testing team and the strength of your existing framework approach.


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