top of page
  • Writer's pictureCraig Risi

The Pros and Cons of Different UI automation test tools - TestComplete

I started off this series looking at some of the bigger commercial tools, before then moving on to some of the bigger open-source tools. I’m coming back to another popular commercial test automation tool Smartbear’s TestComplete. And while it might not be as prestigious as Tosca or UFT, it packs in an impressive set of features and is equally as capable for companies that are looking to have one testing tool that is capable of interacting with every part of their application.

TestComplete is actually one of the oldest test automation tools, having been created back in 1999 and the tool has continued to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of the software industry. As with any tool that has been around for so long, you benefit from its expertise in being one of the best in the business having experienced and worked with many clients and applications over time. However, it does mean that the foundation of its architecture might be a little old than some of the modern tools coming out at the moment and may offer more modern solutions and architectures that are better adapted for modern applications and the rigors of rapid software development.

That doesn’t mean you should discredit TestComplete or what Smartbear is doing with the tool. Not only does the tool offer one of the most comprehensive object recognition tools and a list of test reporting features, but SmartBear has also integrated with some of the open-source tools to try and bring some of those modern features into its toolset. Combined with its own defect/test management tool in QAComplete and it's integrations with CrossBrowser Testing and Jnkins and you have tool that covers every aspect companies are looking for. Additionally, what it lacks in modernity, it makes up in reliability and stability, as it offers teams a comprehensive set of features that will work well on almost every type of application and platform.

And then there is also the familiarity it brings to many of its trusted clients. SmartBear has made an effort to not mess with the things that work for its clients and so even if is not the most innovative testing tool out there, you know what you are getting and companies looking for an automated solution they can trust – sometimes that is all they need and a justification enough to spend money on it.

Here is a brief history of TestComplete

  • TestComplete was initially introduced by AutomatedQA Corporation in 1999 as a functional testing tool for Windows applications. It provided testers with a platform for creating, executing, and managing automated tests.

  • Over time, TestComplete expanded its capabilities and support to include web applications and various technologies beyond Windows, such as Java, .NET, and Delphi.

  • In 2008, AutomatedQA Corporation merged with SmartBear Software, a leading provider of software quality tools. SmartBear continued to enhance and develop TestComplete, incorporating it into its comprehensive suite of testing solutions.

  • With subsequent versions, TestComplete expanded its platform support to include mobile applications on Android and iOS, enabling testers to automate tests across multiple devices and operating systems.

  • TestComplete evolved with additional features, including enhanced object recognition, record and playback functionality, integration with popular development tools, and advanced scripting capabilities.

  • TestComplete introduced support for cross-browser testing, allowing testers to verify the compatibility and functionality of web applications across different browsers and versions.

  • SmartBear continued to release regular updates, introducing improvements in test management, reporting, and collaboration features. They focused on making TestComplete a versatile and comprehensive solution for automated testing in various environments.

Pros of TestComplete:

  • Versatility: TestComplete supports a wide range of technologies, including web, mobile, desktop, and hybrid applications. It can be used for testing applications built with different programming languages and frameworks.

  • Cross-platform testing: TestComplete allows you to perform automated testing across various operating systems such as Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. This flexibility is useful when targeting multiple platforms.

  • Object recognition and scripting: TestComplete provides robust object recognition capabilities, making it easier to identify and interact with various elements within an application. Its scripting language, based on JavaScript, allows for powerful test customization and automation.

  • Record and playback: TestComplete offers a record and playback feature, allowing testers to record their interactions with an application and generate test scripts automatically. This feature simplifies the initial test creation process.

  • Rich set of test libraries and integrations: TestComplete includes a comprehensive set of test libraries and built-in integrations with popular development tools and frameworks. It integrates well with CI/CD systems, version control systems, bug-tracking tools, and more.

  • Test visualization: TestComplete provides visual logs and test execution results, making it easier to analyze and debug test failures. It offers detailed reports with screenshots and test coverage information, aiding in test analysis.

Cons of TestComplete:

  • Cost: TestComplete is a commercial tool, and the licensing cost may be a barrier for some organizations, particularly smaller teams or individual testers. The pricing model is based on the number of users and required features, so it can become expensive for larger teams. For smaller teams though, it is cheaper than some of the other established tools.

  • Learning curve: TestComplete has a relatively steep learning curve, especially for beginners or testers who are new to automation. Mastering all its features and scripting capabilities may require significant time and effort. The tool may be easier than many open-source solutions like Selnium that require deep programming knowledge to build effectively but requires familiarity with its own in-built features that take a long time to achieve.

  • Only supports Windows: While it may be capable of executing automated tests across different platforms, the tool itself only operates on Windows and doesn’t support usage on Linux or Mac machines which are becoming increasingly more common in the software development world.

  • Maintenance overhead: Like any automated testing tool that features a lot of built-in features, TestComplete requires regular maintenance to avoid tests depending on these from breaking. As applications evolve and change, test scripts may need updating, which can increase the overall maintenance overhead.

  • Limited cloud testing options: While TestComplete allows for cross-platform testing, its cloud testing options are more limited compared to some other tools. If your testing requires extensive cloud-based infrastructure, you may need to consider additional solutions.

When to select TestComplete:

  • When you need an all-in-one automation solution that covers all your different types of applications

  • When you have a team that is varied between coders and non-coders, but you still need everyone to get involved in the automation effort

  • You are a large company willing to invest in your toolset, but still looking for something cheaper than the more expensive tools without jeopardizing too much functionality.

TestComplete is a commercial tool that offers a well-developed feature set and a high level of integration support that makes it a worthy tool worth investing in if you’re looking for an all-in-one automation solution. It may not be as well-known as the big commercial tools, UFT and Tosca, but it's also cheaper (not significantly so though) with comparable support, which makes it a strong tool to consider if you need to go down the commercial tool option.


Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page