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Automation Testing Tools

Automation testing tools help testers and also developers smoothly and easily computerize the testing phase of the Software Development Life Cycle. These tools also help find defects in a software or a product, thus leading to an improved quality of the final product/ software. The main aim of this blog is to carry out a comparison and understanding the concepts, features, build and functionality of automation tools such as the Ranorex, AutoIt V3 and T-Plan Robot.


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Ranorex is a very popular and powerful UI automation or Functional testing automation tool. It functions purely on Dot Net built API. It is an all-rounder, or one of the most multifaceted tools, since it supports testing of different applications including web-based, desktop and mobile applications that use technologies such as Qt, .NET, Java, HTML, jQuery, AJAX,, iOS application testing, android and many more. It covers a wide variety of operating systems and an umpteen number of browser environments such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox. Ranorex aims in providing the best possible recognition for all types of software applications and uses XPATH expressions for unique identification of UI elements.

Ranorex Recorder is a robust tool for recording and playing back user actions. It has the capability to generate scripts in C#, VB.Net and Python languages which can be edited and customized. It is easy to work on since it does not require one to learn scripting language.

The main features of Ranorex recorder include:

  • Image-based detection capability.
  • Easy to learn in a short time period and has a low cost entry point as compared to the “big guys”.
  • One can optionally specify and change the automation speed at any time in the code
  • Provides unified incorporation for 32 and 64 bit operating systems.
  • Integration of Ranorex repositories for object-based automation.
  • Maintainable recordings via the actions table editor and reusable code modules.
  • Validation mode for use during recording sessions
  • Good support from their ‘support and development teams’, the Ranorex team really cares about its users, and it shows, unlike the big guys”
  • Generates Ranorex report files for every replay
  • Support for execution via command line
  • Permits testers with less programming awareness to generate professional test modules with Ranorex Recorder.

Ranorex supports Data driven testing and variable creations which creates more robust test-cases and test-suites. Ranorex Spy also provides all available information in the info tabs i.e. ‘Overview’, ‘Detail’ and ‘Screenshot’ and generates a well done test report after the test execution which helps the tester in validating results more precisely. 

Ranorex Studio provides an ‘all-in-one environment’ for developing Ranorex test automation projects. It has common IDE features like syntax highlighting, code completion, debugger etc. It integrates all of the Ranorex tools together by blending Ranorex Spy, Ranorex Recorder, Ranorex Object Repository and computes a powerful Ranorex Library in one professional environment.

But it’s not perfect. Ranorex has limitations. While it works well for works for Windows, it does not support MAC and testing of Android web-based and hybrid applications. There is no option available to export the test-script to different languages like Java, VBscript etc.


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T-Plan Robot (formerly known as VNCRobot) is an adjustable black box automated testing tool available in the market. Developed on generic image based testing principles, it was designed to automate user interaction with a graphical desktop. It is carefully designed using Java architecture and supports Java test-scripts as well as a proprietary scripting language, this allows integrating black box GUI tests with a java project code base. T-Plan Robot runs on and automates all major systems, such as Windows, Mac, Linux, UNIX, Solaris, & mobile platforms such as Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, Symbian.

T-Plan robot supports testing web-based, mobile and desktop applications. It also has browser testing capabilities for Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firebox and Safari. This also enables Game testing for Flash, HTML5, FLEX, JQuery & Ajax, Silver Light. It can be used in any operating system, even on the MAC, unlike Ranorex. Users can also test multiple applications at once. For example they can test it on 2 iPhones and iPads together. 

This also has certain challenges. To use T-Plan Robot, testers need to have a knowledge of both – testing and programming/coding. Migration risks are common and result from vulnerability to test environment changes; Migration of a test suite to another test environment usually requires recreating images of GUI components used for verification.  Also as per our experience in understanding the working of tool, it takes more time to learn as compared to Ranorex, thus it is a bit complicated.


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AutoIt v3 is a freeware automation testing tool which uses a BASIC like scripting language which means that most people who have ever written a script or used a high-level language should be able to pick it up easily as is designed for automating Windows GUI and general scripting. While automation tasks, it uses a combination of simulated keystrokes, mouse movement and window/control manipulation. It is used to test only desktop applications.

AutoIt is a small, self contained tool and runs on or supports all versions of windows. It has following features:

  • Easy to learn BASIC-like syntax
  • Simulate keystrokes and mouse movements
  • Manipulates windows and processes
  • Interacts with all standard windows controls
  • Scripts can be compiled into standalone executables
  • Creates Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), including message and input boxes
  • Regular expressions can be used. Scriptable RunAs functions
  • Directly calls external DLL and Windows API functions
  • Compatible with Windows XP / Server 2003 / Vista / Server 2008 / Windows 7 / 2008 R2 / Windows 8 / 2012 R2.
  • AutoIt is fully Unicode and includes X64 version support
  • Works with Windows User Account Control (UAC)

AutoIt comes with some additional tools which help in creating test-cases by recording script and creating them manually. The tools are –

1.   Info Tool – AutoIt v3 comes with a standalone tool called the AutoIt Window Info Tool. Au3Info allows us to get information from a specified window that can be used to effectively automate it. Information that can be obtained includes:

●         Window titles

●         Text on the window (visible and hidden)

●         Window size and position

●         Contents of the status bar

●         Position of the mouse pointer

●         Color of the pixels underneath the mouse pointer

●         Details of the Control underneath the mouse pointer

2.  Au3Recorder – It comes with a recorder that follows our movements as one works on the computer. This allows us to click a Record button, perform a manual task and replay that task any time. To record an action- Go to install\Extras\Au3Record\, and launch Au3Record.exe to record an action that Au3Record will then save as source code that you can use in your scripts.

Comparison of  the 3 tools :

Out of the 3 tools described above, if one wants to go for an automation tool for desktop application without spending on purchasing the tool then AutoIt is a good option available.

If a tester with less programming knowledge wants to create robust test-cases and want a complete package for testing web, mobile and desktop application then the best option available in the market is definitely Ranorex tool which is now being widely used by many big names of the IT industry.

T-Plan is also a good option for automation testing of different applications, and it also supports most of the Operating system but it is only useful if the tester is apt in coding and has some programming experience.

Disclaimer: This is from my understanding and study of the testing tools. For more accurate information please refer to the official website of respective tools.

References  & , AutoIt.chm file downloads when installing application &

Author: Ankita B.

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