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  • Writer's pictureCraig Risi

The Pros and Cons of different UI automation test tools - Tosca

In my last post, I started looking at the different pros and cons of UI Automation tools, starting with UFT. Today, I will look at another similar commercial tool – Tosca. The two tools share a lot of similarities in their approach to licensing and trying to be all-encompassing automation tools, but they also differ significantly in their approach and the features that they offer.

Another one of the traditional automation tools that have been around for many years. Over the years Tricentis’ Tosca automation suite has developed into quite a comprehensive tool that offers a wide range of integrations and abilities and much like UFT, tries to cater to almost all types of applications and testing types, while also offering a robust object recognition model for reliable interaction with all sorts of interfaces. It’s very similar in feature set to UFT and although its toolset is probably not as comprehensive, they are not far off and have lately been working on a lot of new features to set it apart from its more established competition.

Where Tosca is different is its overall architecture – which is actually more reminiscent of Selenium in the way it works. This is a good thing as it makes it a little more modular in design, allows for better orchestration of its test runners (the program that actually executes the automated tests against applications), and also means that its scripts are more interchangeable with the popular open-source option. Something which is great for both preventing vendor lock and allowing for quicker adoption and migration for companies who may already have a Selenium footprint.

I’ve written recently about Tosca’s adoption of the ARIA framework which adds a lot of value to automated accessibility testing. Tosca also offers a better mobile automation toolset through its Appium integration that allows it to use that tool's powerful mobile automation features in a useful way – while then also ensuring that these tests can take advantage of Tosca’s superior reporting and cross-platform automation approach.

Below are some of the major releases that have shaped the evolution of the Tosca automation tool:

Tosca 1.0 (2007): Tosca was first released in 2007 by the Austrian company Tricentis. The initial version of Tosca included features for functional testing and test management.

Tosca 2.0 (2009): Introduced a new "model-based testing" approach, which allowed users to create test cases based on a model of the system under test, rather than scripting tests manually.

Tosca 3.0 (2011): Included a new feature called "BusinessVision," which allowed users to define business processes and requirements and automatically generate test cases.

Tosca 4.0 (2013): Introduced a new "Mobile+," which enabled users to test mobile applications across multiple platforms and devices.

Tosca 8.0 (2016): Introduced a new feature called "Exploratory Testing," which allowed users to perform ad-hoc testing and capture defects more effectively.

Tosca 11.0 (2018): Included several new features, such as the ability to test API services, integration with JIRA, and support for SAP GUI testing.

Tosca 14.0 (2021): Introduced several new features, including support for testing web applications built with Angular, enhanced integrations with JIRA and Azure DevOps, and new capabilities for risk-based testing.

Tosca 16.0 (2023): Increased support for new programming languages, objection recognition, and the adoption of the ARIA Testing framework.

A list of the reasons to choose Tosca includes:

  • Comprehensive test coverage: Tosca supports a wide range of testing types, including functional, regression, and performance testing, which allows users to create comprehensive test suites that cover all aspects of the application.

  • Strong integration capabilities: Tosca has built-in integration with many popular testing tools, such as Selenium, Appium, and JUnit, which allows users to leverage the strengths of different tools to create a customized testing solution.

  • Traceability: Like UFT, Tosca offers excellent traceability across test executions, even integrating quite easily with other test management solutions. Something which is great for those companies needing to meet strict audit requirements.

  • Easy to use and re-use: It’s quite easy to set up an automated test script even without a coding background and its modular design is great for re-use, though for best results you will still want to have a coded solution and build a proper framework around the tool.

  • Vendor support and regular updates: Not all companies want to invest time in supporting their tools and Tricentis provides plenty of support and frequent updates to keep things up to date.

  • Strong mobile integration: Through Appium, Tosca has one of the better commercial mobile automation offerings with both reliable on-premises and cloud solutions.

  • Easy to migrate scripts: It is also easier to migrate scripts from Tosca to other testing tools reducing the fear of vendor lock, though some of the bigger reporting and management features are ultimately only part of the Tricentis’ ecosystem, it is easier to migrate everything across to most platforms.

  • Focus on accessibility testing: Tosca offers great accessibility features that make it easier for testers to test certain ARIA configurations and ensure applications cater to a variety of different impairments.

Some of the cons of using Tosca include:

  • High cost: Like UFT, Tosca is a commercial tool and can be expensive for small organizations or projects. It’s perhaps not as expensive as UFT, but it’s a licensing cost that companies will still need to be willing to pay.

  • Maintenance: Its base scripting might be easy to set up, but if you’re not writing your own frameworks, reliant on the core modules, maintenance could be quite a challenge.

  • Big footprint: Its VM footprint for its automation runners remains quite sizeable and not ideal for widespread containerization or cloud usage.

  • Performance: While the tool is no slouch, it's one of the slower automation tools when it comes to object scanning and so its execution speeds are not ideal for regular pipeline execution.

When to select Tosca:

  • If you need your automation to cover a wide range of application types while still supporting traditional open-source tools.

  • If accessibility testing is critical to you, Tosca has one of the best offers in this range

  • When you have the budget for a big integrated testing suite but are wary of long-term vendor lock.

Like UFT, Tosca is a great tool that can consolidate your test automation efforts across different application types in one space. It’s a mature tool with lots of advanced features, exceptional reporting, and accessibility features. In many ways, it's perhaps not considered as advanced as UFT, but its perhaps also not as expensive, and because Tosca is built with a wide range of tool integration in mind, it allows companies to easily transition between Tosca and these other toolsets, reducing some of the risks of vendor lock, so is perhaps a safer option for many companies that feel the need of having a powerful integration automated testing solution, but are not sure if they want the long-term investment in the tool.


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