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Top 10 Automated Functional Testing Tools and Frameworks For Your Team

Functional testing comes in all shapes and sizes. 

So do functional testing tools.

top 10 automated functional testing tools for your team

What Are Functional Testing Tools?

Functional testing tools automate the process of validating the functional behaviors of systems under test; their primary purpose is different in the scope of software quality as compared to tests designed to evaluate systems for performance, usability or behaviors under high load/volume.

Given a specific requirement or acceptance criteria, functional testing checks if a critical feature is behaving as expected. While a load test tests how long a login form processes user inputs before a successful/unsuccessful login attempt, a functional test for the same login form verifies the following behaviors:

  • Can a user successfully log in with a valid email and password?
  • Can a user not log in with an invalid email and password?
  • Does a pop-up message display when an invalid email is entered?
  • Can API requests pass and store user credentials for future logins?
  • Does the sign-in link lead to the user profile page?
  • Are all objects visible on the screen: username, password, sign-in button, remember me checkbox, forgot password link and create an account link?
  • Is there a maximum/minimum length for the username and password?
  • Is the UI responsive, rendering in the right layout on the different operating systems, browsers and device versions?

Here’s a side-by-side look at examples of the various software testing types.

Functional Testing

Load Testing

Usability Testing

Performance Testing

1. Verify user login with valid credentials
 

2. Check if product prices update correctly
 

3. Confirm admin can access user management
 

4. Test maximum character limit in text box
 

5. Ensure error message for invalid inputs

1. Test system with 1000 concurrent users
 

2. Assess performance under sudden spikes
 

3. Load balance across multiple servers
 

4. Perform stress test with gradual load
 

5. Run endurance test for 24 hours

1. Evaluate ease of task navigation
 

2. Conduct A/B testing for UI preferences
 

3. Check efficiency of checkout process
 

4. Gather user feedback on font readability
 

5. Evaluate color scheme for accessibility

1. Measure response time for a specific action
 

2. Test system under varying user loads
 

3. Evaluate system scalability
 

4. Monitor resource utilization during load
 

5. Benchmark against predefined criteria

 

3 Options To Consider For Your Functional Testing Tools

When it comes to functional testing (or just any types of testing, really), QA teams usually have up to 3 options, with increasing levels of scalability:

  1. Open-source functional testing tools/libraries/frameworks
  2. Single-point commercial Automation Testing Tool
  3. Software Quality Management Platform

1. Open-source functional testing tools, libraries and frameworks

The first option for your team is selecting a suitable open-source testing library to build a testing framework. This will be the core library, forming the foundation of your framework and providing all of the essential features needed for testing. The aim is to create higher levels of abstraction around the core library’s functionality so that the framework is more user-friendly and versatile.

The brick and cement you use to build frameworks are:

  • Libraries of functions (e.g., Selenium, Playwright, Appium, Rest Assured)
  • Browser drivers (e.g., geckodriver, chromium)
  • Design patterns (e.g., Page Object Model, Screenplay, Fluent)
  • Coding standards (KISS, DRY, camelCasing)
  • Test artifact management structures (e.g., object repositories, helper utilities)
  • Test reports and execution logs (plugins, structure)

Likewise, the way that you author, run, analyze and maintain tests will require some time getting used to.

If you’re opting to build your own testing framework using open-source libraries, you must be well-equipped with extensive coding and testing knowledge. You need to know how to connect all of the “brick and cement” listed above together to form a framework that does simplify your testing activities. 

While it’s an option, implementing your own test framework takes up a lot of setup/build time before the testing part actually begins. However, the reward is that you get an extremely high level of customization with your testing framework, compared to using an off-the-shelf solution built by another vendor. 

This option is also usually free (the only cost is your own time and your expertise), so it is ideal for budget-conscious projects. Sometimes the framework development part is not the most difficult part. The maintenance of the framework and resolving issues encountered at runtime of larger test suites is what creates a lengthy and cumbersome testing cycle.

 

2. Single-point commercial automation testing tools

These are commercial tools i.e. you have to shop around for a suitable one and invest a certain amount in order to get access to the features. As their name suggests, these tools only have to meet a single testing purpose, and we can categorize them based on the purpose they serve:

  • System-under-test (web, mobile, API or desktop testing)
  • Utility (design/run/get reports)
  • Testing types (UI and API testing)  

For example, Postman’s focal point is solely on API performance, security and functionality. If APIs are at the top of your testing list, give it a go. While it is indeed nice to have a tool solely dedicated to a part of your functional testing, there will come a point when you want to have a more comprehensive testing experience. After all, the dedicated nature of these tools also limit their potential for expansion and scaling.

Read More: Top 15 Postman Alternatives You Should Consider For Your Team

In other words, single-point commercial automation testing tools are amazing if your organization only needs to test within the features of that tool. However, as the team scales, and you want to branch out further to test other areas of the software, it is better to go with an entire software quality management platform.

 

3. Software quality management platforms

Katalon diagram official 2023

A software quality management platform incorporates all functionalities needed to automate and view the full picture of quality activities. In a way it is several single-point commercial automation testing tools unified into one, carrying all of the features that the team potentially need. 

After all, software quality management is never a one-off activity: there are up to 6 stages from Planning to Reporting. All of these stages are highly connected with each other, and it does not make sense if we use a separate tool for each of the stage, then spend time trying to connect the insights and data from all of them to get a “comprehensive” view. 

More often than not, this leads to a fragmented view of software quality. 

The key value is that these testing platforms offers software professionals a complete testing workspace where the keyword library is diverse for web, API and mobile-native apps testing. 

Utilities for mapping requirements to tests, author automation scripts and gaining test coverage insights are all ready to use. There is no need to find another single-point tool. There is also no need to integrating dozens of single-point tools together. You have everything in one place.

However, since these platforms are all built with scalability in mind, teams might not utilize all of its features during the earlier stages of adoption. That is why such platforms generally offer their product in a flexible model, and teams can easily scale up and scale down their usage as per their organization’s requirements.

 

Calculate Your ROI When Using Testing Platforms

 

Top 10 Automated Functional Testing Tools For Your Team

To give a non-biased list of tools for automated functional testing, a mix of open-source libraries and vendor solutions are listed below.

1. Katalon: Cross-platform UI and API Automated Functional Testing Tool 

Katalon logo

Katalon is a comprehensive solution for API, web, mobile and desktop digital applications. Commonly used for API, regression and end-to-end testing, over 10K+ product teams have added Katalon tests as quality checkpoints for every new code pushed.

Katalon is best when teams don’t want to go through the trouble of building their own testing framework. To enable testing professionals to test UI and API in one place, Katalon is the complete solution for web, mobile and desktop software quality management. 

Without having to go from tool to tool for different testing types and purposes, you get a full-fledged testing workspace to automate testing for digital products. 

Planning, authoring, executing and analyzing automated tests are the testing essentials Katalon offers. A few of its technical strengths are:

  • Test authoring modes: For teams that just want to get started quickly, or don't have the technical expertise and bandwidth require to create and continuously maintain test scripts, Katalon offers Record-and-playback and a library of keywords for you to craft your tests quickly. For users who want more customization, there is a Java/Groovy scripting mode.
  • Test Organization: all test objects captured during Record-and-Playback sessions are organized in a clear hierarchy in the Object Repository, which can be accessed easily to during test authoring modes, enabling even faster test creation. Test cases are grouped into suites and collections, and you can categorize them with tags you create.
  • Compatibility testing: local and cloud browsers, devices, and operating systems are available to run cross-platform API, end-to-end and regression test suites in parallel.
  • Easy maintenance: An object repository is built-in to store and access all of your UI elements, objects and locators. Easily update tests when the application's UI changes. 
  • Requirements traceability: Native integrations with Jira, qTest and Xray.
  • Test Reporting and Analytics: after test runs, Katalon generates detailed reports in popular formats that you can quickly share to your team and stakeholders to help everyone gain insights on functional testing operations and make informed decisions. Katalon integrates seamlessly with many communication technologies to further enhance collaboration.

Not just that, Katalon comes with all of the frameworks that a comprehensive functional testing tool need, including Data-driven testing (DDT), Behavior-driven development testing (BDD), and Keyword-driven testing. This means you get immediate access to all of the necessary frameworks and can start testing right away.

Even better, Katalon goes above and beyond to pioneer the testing industry and bring cutting-edge, built-in, homegrown AI features to supercharge your functional testing. You can autonomously generate test scripts from a plain language input, or select a snippet of code and choose Explain Code to quickly comment on it for all stakeholders and team members to understand. 

You can even integrate with JIRA, reads the ticket’s description, extracts relevant information about software testing requirements, and outputs a set of comprehensive manual test cases tailored to the described test scenario.

Watch this video from Daniel Knott, one of the most popular software testing influencers, to witness Katalon's AI powers in action:

 

 

Get started with Katalon Studionow

 

2. Selenium: Automated Functional Testing Framework For Web/Web Apps

Selenium web automated testing functional testing tools | Katalon Plaftform

Selenium is a suite of libraries and extensions that can be used to build a framework to automate the testing of web applications. 

Actions that users take on web apps like button-clicking, scrolling and inputting username and passwords are replicated and automated by Selenium interacting with the browser drivers. 

Feature highlights:

  • Locate relative locators: finds web elements using above, below, toLeftOf, toRightOf, and near
  • CDP access: uses Chrome DevTools APIs to mock network request and responses, and debug tests on the fly
  • Smart object detection: findElement() method to find locators like ID, Name, ClassName, TagName, LinkText, Partial Link Text, XPath and CSS
  • WindowHandlers multi-window/tab: getWindowHandle and getWindowHandles methods to open/close browser tabs

 

No time to build frameworks? We build. You automate tests. Try Katalon banner

 

3. Cypress Framework: Web Unit, Integration and End-to-End Testing

Cypress framework end-to-end-testing | Top functional testing tools | Katalon Platform

Cypress is not new to front-end developers using TDD/BDD for JavaScript-based frameworks. With Mocha as its underlying framework, Cypress looks primarily at solving waits and time issues present in Selenium WebDriver. 

Feature highlights:

  • Automatic waits: no async/await functions needed to wait for commands and assertions
  • Cross-browser: support for Firefox, Edge and Electron browsers
  • Dashboard service: parallel and cross-platform execution, load balancing and quality insights
  • CI/CD integration: CircleCI, GitHub Actions, GitLab CI, Bitbucket Pipelines and AWS CodeBuild, or call third-party plugins from code
  • Snapshots and videos: review previous states of the DOM to find out what went wrong

Website: Cypress

Pricing: There is a Free version for you to try out the features of Cypress. Paid plans start from $67/month, and there is also an Enterprise tier for custom quote. 

Read More: Katalon vs Cypress: A Detailed Comparison

 

4. Playwright: Web API and End-to-End Testing

Playwright web api and end to end testing | Functional testing tools | Katalon Platform

Built by Puppeteer developers themselves, Playwright was developed to widen browser selections for web cross-browser testing. Playwright open source web automation library provides APIs to let developers interact with Chromium, Firefox and WebKit with their JavaScript code. 

Feature highlights:

  • Reusable authentication states: Reduce repetitive steps of logging in
  • Codegen: Record-and-playback actions a user would take on a UI
  • Trace Viewer on local or CI: View recordings of performed steps and actions called, their DOM snapshots, action logs, source code location, network logs and metadata
  • Test reports: HTML format and logs in the terminal for headless browsers
  • Selenium Grid integration: Parallel executions
  • Cross-browser: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera and Safari
  • Language support: TypeScript, JavaScript, Python, Java and .NET

Website: Playwright

Pricing: Open-source

 

5. Appium: Mobile UI Automated Testing Library

Appium mobile UI automated functional testing tools | Mobile functional testing tool | Katalon Platform

Appium is a Node.js library that can be used to build testing frameworks to automate native, web and hybrid mobile testing. It uses the Selenium WebDriver and JSON protocols to communicate with iOS and Android applications. 

Many language bindings already exist for it. This makes getting started with using Appium much easier since you do not have to write all of the code from scratch. Appium also has excellent built-in capabilities for handling gestures and touches so that you can automate all types of user interactions with your app.

Feature highlights:

  • Record-and-playback: records user interactions for different scenarios into runnable test scripts.
  • Cross-platform execution: test native, hybrid and web apps without repeatedly recompiling code. Create tests on Windows, iOS and Android platforms using one API.
  • Cloud environments: integrations with cloud services like Sauce Labs, BrowserStack and Testdroid.

Website: Appium

Pricing: Open-source

 

6. Tricentis Tosca: Enterprise Functional Testing Tools

Tricentis Tosca as a top functional testing tool for enterprise

Tricentis Tosca is an extensive automation tool tailored for conducting automated UI and functional testing across various domains, including web, APIs, mobile applications, and desktop software. It employs a distinctive model-based testing methodology, enabling users to examine an application's user interface (UI) or application programming interfaces (APIs) to formulate a test model that mirrors real-world business processes. This approach simplifies the process of creating and maintaining tests.

Highlight Features:

  • Codeless test creation leveraging the model-based approach. This enhances test asset reusability, reducing redundancy and maintenance efforts.
  • Tricentis Tosca incorporates intelligent test design and prioritization based on risk assessment and requirements. This helps in optimizing functional testing efforts by focusing on critical areas.
  • Service virtualization capabilities to simulate the behavior of interconnected services, even when they are unavailable or under development.
  • Comprehensive support for various API technologies, allowing users to scan and test APIs effectively
  • Supports parallel testing and offers cross-platform testing capabilities
  • Seamlessly integrates with other testing frameworks and CI/CD tools, promoting automation and efficiency within the testing and development pipeline.

Website: Tricentis

Pricing: Contact sale

 

7. TestComplete For Functional Testing

SmartBear-TestComplete-functional-testing-tool

TestComplete is a robust automated functional testing tool designed for conducting functional UI testing across desktop, mobile, and web applications. It boasts native support for over 500 different controls and also extends compatibility to third-party frameworks. This allows TestComplete to effectively interact with and recognize dynamic user interface (UI) elements within a wide array of technologies and application environments.

Highlight Features:

  • Test results are displayed in the Test Log, which contains a complete record of test actions.
  • The log includes messages about the success or failure of each test operation.
  • Results can be filtered and reviewed for analysis.Recording tests is the easiest method and doesn't require knowledge of an application's internal objects.
  • Recorded actions can be modified and extended with additional operations.
  • It recognizes control types and automatically adds relevant methods and properties to program objects.
  • Tests can be run as individual items or within larger test suites.
  • Tests can be started from the Project Explorer panel or by running the entire project or project suite.

Website: TestComplete

Pricing: There is a 14-day free trial, and after that users can choose 2 pricing plans: Fixed and Floating

 

8. Karate DSL: API, UI and performance testing

 Karate DSL api, ui and performance testing | Functional testing tools | Katalon Platform

Karate DSL is designed for non-technical personnel and developers to test APIs in BDD scenarios. Using Gherkin as its main programming language, Karate DSL eliminates the need to add extra Java step definitions and keeps test code shorter. 

Feature highlights:

  • BDD syntax: Pre-written test definitions in TestRunner class, script JSON expressions in feature files
  • Validate API responses: Ready-made HTTP, JSON, GraphQL and XML assertions, “match” keywords
  • Data-driven testing: Test against JSON and CSV files
  • Debugger: Fix failed test scripts while it reruns
  • Reporting: standard HTML reports. Consolidates logs when running parallel tests

Website: Karate DSL

Pricing: Open-source

 

9. Rest Assured: Web API testing

Rest assured web api testing

Rest Assured is a Java library for testing REST APIs and RESTful (XML and JSON) web services. Similar to Karate DSL, Rest Assured also supports writing in the Given-When-Then syntax and Java for further customization. 

Feature highlights:

  • API service assertions: XML and JSON assertions 
  • Validations: Status code, status response, headers and body responses
  • Data-driven testing: XML as well as JSON data files
  • Build tools integrations: Any source code management tools (Ant, Maven)
  • Easy maintenance: Put tests in independent Java file to upload all tests at once
  • Unit testing: Separate runners to run Java-based unit test frameworks (JUnit, TestNG)

Website: Rest Assured

Pricing: Open-source

 

10.XCUITests: iOS mobile UI testing

XCUITests ios mobile ui testing | Functional testing tools | Katalon Platform

XCUITest was built targeting iOS developers. As a sub-framework from the XCTest framework, users can validate mobile UI behaviors through test classes, methods and test targets.

Feature highlights:

  • Quick setup: integrates with XCode IDE
  • Parallel testing: run tests in batches across macOS environments
  • Test reporting: Document UI test failures by calling methods to take screenshots or record every action

Pricing: Open-source

 

How is Functional Testing Done Using Tools?

With all of the functional testing tools listed above, you can now start improving your testing activities and streamlining the entire process:

  • Leverage the test script creation features those tools provide to create test cases faster, more accurately, without having to worry about technical expertise or coding experience
  • Run test scripts on environments, browsers, devices, and OS of your choice
  • Usually most functional testing tools also allow you to compare the actual outcomes of the application with the expected outcomes specified in the test scripts. Any inconsistencies will be flagged as defects for you to investigate further.
  • Reports can be generated with detailed analytics that your team can use to make data-driven decisions.
  • Integrate the tools with your CI/CD pipeline to automatically trigger tests whenever new code is pushed to the repository, catching issues early in the development process.
  • If the tool is AI-powered, don't forget to leverage those cutting-edge features to make your functional testing more autonomous i.e. more self-driven by the system and not intervened by humans.

Can Functional Testing Be Automated?

Examining if an application works as initially designed takes tremendous time if done manually. While manual testing is still an option for cases like user acceptance testing, inputting test steps into reusable automation scripts would help shorten a team’s testing time. 

Tests that are best for automation testing often are:

 

Check Out Top Automation Testing Tools Offering Free Trial

 

Who Does Functional Testing?

The responsibility for software quality is shared across every member. From functionality, security, and performance to usability, testability is ensured by both the developers and quality engineers.

Developers write unit tests before their code develops more dependencies. 

Quality engineers expand out to testing methodologies like behavior-driven development (BDD) and data-driven testing (DDT).

 

Selecting The Right Functional Testing Tools

The worthy tools for functional testing, of any kind, is when it’s chosen for:

  1. Its core strengths based on the current intent/needs.
  2. The planned strategy of tests that will be applied by the team.

This means there should be a match between what your team needs and what the tool offers. Several important criteria that you need to take into consideration includes:

  • Test Automation Capabilities
  • Scripting Language (is your team familiar with the language the tool supports?)
  • Cross-environment testing capabilities
  • Application compatibility (web, mobile, desktop, etc.)
  • Record-and-playback features available
  • Integration seamlessly with the CI/CD pipeline
  • Reporting and analysis features
  • Test types supported
  • Support from community
  • Customization

If your current application has a desktop version but will be transformed in the near future to a web application consisting of browser-based access on mobile devices and desktop browsers, then take Katalon’s comprehensive platform for web, mobile, API and desktop out for a spin.

Out of those criteria, it is important to take note of two:

1. Integrations

consider integration ecosystem when selecting the right functional testing tools

Testing isn’t a siloed process.

The integration between functional testing tools with the developer ecosystem like CI/CD and build tools, test management and defect tracking solutions, cloud infrastructure providers and container solutions are key.

When connecting with external parties and tech stack, choosing between open-source frameworks and software quality management platforms also makes a difference. 

Open-source functional testing tools provide more freedom to customize what and how you’d want to work other solutions. For example, your team wants to code the functionality to log and link automated tests to Jira issues. In contrast, commercial functional testing tools and software quality platforms remove the need to build such features, but teams won’t be able to access the vendor’s codebase and add code changes.

2. Regular cadence of improvements and updates

Back in 2017, Selenium IDE Firefox extension stopped working due to the Firefox 55.0 release. Or just recently, Internet Explorer (IE) has gone end-of-life. Browsers, platforms or any piece of software are always continuously improving.

In the event, your functional testing tool would also need to be fixed. Using open-source solutions often equates to relying on the community themselves to make these updates.