10 best Java testing frameworks for 2023
What are Java testing frameworks?
Java testing frameworks are a collection of rules pre-set up with Java to support the design and creation of test scripts. The general rules include multiple functions such as coding standards, test data handling, object repositories, and libraries.
The Java frameworks equip teams with a standardized structure and automation guidelines, which serve as the backbone of an effective testing process, with less manual effort, enhanced testing speed, and efficiency.
Framework vs. library
Following this definition, tools like Selenium, despite its popularity, will not be mentioned in the list, as it is a set of libraries bundled into a suite rather than a framework. These two concepts are oftentimes used interchangeably, but there are some clear distinctions.
Frameworks and libraries are both reusable blocks of code developed by third parties to solve programming problems and optimize the development process.
However, while libraries contain predefined code snippets that can be used for common functions, frameworks are a ready-to-use toolkit for developing applications.
“Inversion of Control” is another key difference. For libraries, developers are in control of the flow and call queries when and where they want them. In contrast, the control is reversed with frameworks, which dictate the flow and call your code.
Read more: Software test automation frameworks | 6 common types
Benefits of Java testing framework?
Upon this well-defined framework foundation, teams can achieve substantial testing benefits, including:
- Efficiency: Utilizing pre-written code and reusable modules eases the burden of rigorous code building and maintenance. Without having to insert new codes for basic functionalities, teams can then channel their focus on the core software logic. The outcome is better allocation of resources and higher efficiency.
- Security: Security remains of the top concerns for the back-end teams. With security with features like cryptography, private transmission, or public key infrastructure, Java testing frameworks help to protect the integrity and functionality of the application’s system.
- Full-scale test automation: As the formatted test suites are built-in in the first place, running tests requires barely, if any, human intervention. This allows teams to eliminate repetitive tasks like executing test scripts while still performing application quality control with high accuracy.
Top Java testing frameworks for 2023
Katalon is a modern software quality management platform for API, web, mobile, and desktop 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.
What differentiates Katalon from other frameworks is its built-in configurations that let developers share the coding effort and allow manual QA to automate their testing. Teams can develop automated test suites faster and expand functional testing coverage with available templates, test case libraries, and keywords.
- Built-in snippets to generate assertions fast for REST, SOAP, and GraphQL testing.
- Record-and-playback, drag-and-drop keywords, and Java/Groovy scripting.
- Automatically capture and store locators in object repositories. Easily update tests when the application's UI changes.
- Native integrations (Jenkins, Jira, XRay, CircleCI, Dockers, etc.)
- Supports multiple testing types like Keyword-Driven Testing, Data-Driven Testing, and BDD/TDD testing
- Limited customization as Katalon is not an open-source framework
Katalon is a powerful alternative to open-source testing frameworks, as it gets you right to uncovering integration, API, UI, and regression defects with little upfront environment set-up. Katalon provides all the essentials for planning, authoring, executing, and analyzing automated tests.
Based on SeleniumWebdriver, Selenide is an open-source framework for writing easy-to-read and maintain automated tests in Java. The framework enhances the attributes of WebDriver, specifically time-out handling with smart waiting.
- Ensures precise and stable tests by solving Ajax issues
- More readable and shorter tests with concise API
- Supports app tests developed using AngularJS
- Automatic screenshots
- Customization workarounds
JUnit is a unit testing framework used to create and run unit tests for Java-based projects. Unit testing refers to the validation of small individual chunks of code before they’re sent to QA engineers/testers. JUnit allows developers to deliver at speed while still maintaining the code build quality, especially when new test code is added later on during a software life cycle.
- Enables simpler and more efficient testing with assertions and annotations.
- JUnit 5 exception handling allows users to identify exceptions timely and precisely
- Ability to create self-verifying tests
- No support for GUI and dependency testing
- Not suitable for dealing with a large number of test suites
Developers can use JUnit for both unit and regression testing.
JUnit follows the Test-Driven Development approach in which test cases are written before the code development. This practice helps detect bugs at an early stage and enhances teams’ productivity and the stability of Java code.
JUnit tests can be written in major IDEs like Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJIDEA.
Inspired by JUnit, TestNG shares some similarities with JUnit but also overcomes its drawbacks with powerful functionalities and reporting. Features such as annotations, sequencing, parameterizing, etc., allow for more flexible configurations and improvements in the testing process.
- Able to extract HTML reports post-test implementation
- Supports dependent test methods for application server testing
- Open and flexible API plugin for users to create custom extensions
- Supported by a wide range of tools such as IDEA, Maven, Eclipse, etc.
- Requires time and experienced resources
- Not suitable if the project doesn’t require test case prioritization
TestNG is of great help in scenarios where there are plenty of test cases to run. In these cases, TestNG is strongly recommended over JUnit or any other framework. TestNG alleviates testers’ workload and provides support for all categories of tests (functional, integration, unit testing, and end-to-end testing)
Mockito is a popular Java-based mocking framework used in unit testing. Mocking is a common technique in unit testing, as it simulates the behavior of dependencies to isolate the test to a specific unit.
With Mockito, teams don’t have to write mock objects explicitly. The framework automatically generates them using Java Reflection API.
- Better void method handling compared to other frameworks like EasyMock
- Annotation report for mock generation
- Safe refactoring as mock artifacts are formed during runtime.
- Does not support final and static methods
Mocking eases the development process with its cost-effective mock generation capability. It enables you to create tests with a simple API that produces clean verification errors. The service Mocking feature also helps you to maximize the benefits of Test-Driven Development.
Cucumber is a behavior-driven development (BDD) testing framework for automated tests. BDD testing framework allows you to create test cases in plain English. Cucumber uses Gherkin, an ordinary language parser that permits writing plain-text functional scripts for the sake of easy understanding.
The framework is also popular for its specification capability. It merges the documentation and specifications into a single report and keeps them updated automatically.
- Provides an intuitive way to describe requirements in natural language
- Code reusability for faster development time
- User-friendly interface to reduce the technical entry barrier
- Complexity arising from the combination with Gherkin
- The given-when-then format can cause unnecessary elaborations
Read more: Automation Testing with Cucumber BDD in Agile Teams
Cucumber is typically used to run automated acceptance tests that verify if the developed features follow the initial requirements. Cucumber is also a go-to tool for agile projects following agile testing methodology. It bridges the expertise gap between stakeholders, allowing teams to modify their tests and products accordingly.
Jbehave is another famous Java testing framework that supports BDD. JBehave is designed with simple language for developers, especially those at the beginner level, to adopt and get familiar with BDD quickly.
- Intuitive and accessible for fresh developers, with a shallow learning curve
- Annotation-based configuration and Steps class specifications
- Extensive user story reporting and documentation (XML, HTML, or Text format)
- Easy integration with other annotation unit testing frameworks such as JUnit
- Relies on effective communication among members as it is key to the success of BDD testing
- Supports stories only
Like other BDD testing frameworks, Jbehave streamlines communication with tests created in a business domain language that can be easily grasped by all members. Through detailed rationale and intuitiveness from the point of view of stakeholders, JBehave not only minimizes misunderstandings but also produces products with superior specifications.
Serenity is an automated testing framework designed for Behavior-Driven Development. This framework allows you to write well-structured and more maintainable acceptance and regression test cases. It expands the attributes of both Selenium WebDriver and JUnit.
- Integrated with multiple automated testing frameworks like Selenium WebDriver, JBehave, JUnit, and Appium
- Rich built-in support for web testing with Selenium
- Highly readable, manageable, and scalable automated testing with the Screenplay pattern
- Regular communication is required to make the most of BDD
- Takes more time to create feature files
Serenity is commonly used for writing and reporting acceptance criteria. It aims to produce powerful living documentation and narrative reports that provide useful feedback not only for testers but also for the whole team.
Spock is a testing and specification framework based on Java and Groovy, which allows Spock to test Java apps in innovative ways that aren't achievable with regular Java code. Spock tests can be written for any language that runs on Java Virtual Machine. Unlike JUnit or JBehave, you can still create unit/integration tests in Spock even if the code is in Java or Scala, etc.
- Compatibility with most IDEs, build tools, and integration servers
- Great code readability and documentation
- Built-in stubbing and mocking
- Simple and expressive Domain-Specific Language (DSL)
- A basic understanding of Groovy is required
Spock's robust DSL, simplistic usage, and user-friendly interface make it one of the best frameworks for behavior-driven development. It also allows QA teams to perform data-driven testing and is often used by developers to build Java enterprise applications.
Geb functions as a testing framework for web/browser automation run in Groovy language. It brings together the best features of jQuery, Groovy, WebDriver, and Page Object Modelling to provide more robust content and web interaction.
- Tests can be run across multiple browsers like Firefox, Chrome, IE, and HTMLUnit
- Allows to automate tests with ease and maximized coverage
- Requires minimal code changes if there are any modifications to the application UI
- Supports Page Objects and Groovy DSL, making tests more readable
- Only support Groovy when running WebDriver via Geb
Geb can be used to automate functional and user acceptance testing. It provides smart integration modules for frameworks like Cucumber, TestNG, JUnit, and Spock. concise, clear, and understandable test specifications that help teams achieve more speed and efficiency.