Types of Automation Testing: A Guide for Beginners

What is Test Automation?

Definition of Test Automation

In software development, test automation is the use of automated tools to execute automation tests, manage test data, and use these results to improve software quality. It does not require the presence of humans to be executed. Automated testing is significant in the creation of software by enhancing result efficiency, improving bug fixes and detection, and many more. It is best used for projects going through the initial testing phase and projects that require repeated execution of the same test.

To know more about test automation, check out our article on how to start automation testing from scratch.

Types of automation testing – What to be automated

Types of Automation Testing

Get to know the classifications of software testing

Software testing can be classified into 3, namely: types of testing, phase of testing, and test types.

To determine the best-suited testing for a project, the QA testers perform the two types of testing: Functional and non-functional testing.

  • Functional testing: This type of testing identifies the functionality of the software application, creates input data, determines the output data, executes the test cases, and compares the expected results with the obtained results. For example, an e-commerce site like Amazon or eBay must be able to process transactions between buyers and sellers.

The common types are the unit test, integration test, and system test.

  • Non-functional testing: This type of testing determines the performance or validity of the software application in others to verify the quality attributed to it. That is, it tests the readiness of the application under test. For example, Facebook accessing how many users can simultaneously log onto their system. 

The types among many others are performance tests, documentation tests, and reliability tests.

The testing phase symbolizes the software testing life cycle (STLC). It helps to identify what to be done and how it can be accomplished. The different phases of the software testing life cycle are:

  • Requirement analysis: This is the first phase in the testing life cycle. It requires understanding what is to be tested and analyzing how it is to be tested. The stakeholders (clients, business analyst, system architect, technical leads) play a major role in helping the QA team gain more insight into the testing requirements.
  • Test planning: This is the most vital phase in the testing life cycle. It is where the testing strategy is defined, from the effort and test estimation to defining the objectives and scope of the project. The entire team works together in the creation of a suitable test plan and selects which testing tool is optimal in producing the intended results.
  • Test case development: This phase entails the creation of the test case and script along with corresponding test data. This is reviewed by the test team to determine its effectiveness at detecting bugs and covering most of the requirements on the system under test.
  • Test environment setup: This puts into consideration the hardware and software used in executing the test cases. The testing team is required to set the testing environment completely to imitate that used by the end-users in their work environment.
  • Test execution: This phase deals with the evaluation of the expected and obtained results. The test team executes the scripts based on the strategy put up for the project, documents the test results and errors for an early fix.
  • Test cycle closure: This is the final phase of the testing cycle. The entire team meets for the evaluation of the project based on cost, time, quality, and coverage, in order to give feedback for project approval by the test lead.

Most popular types of automation testing

Most popular types of automation testing

Regarding these types of testing, some of them can be automated with automation tools.

Most popular types of automated tests:

1. Unit tests

Unit Tests are a low-level kind of test, designed to test the smallest part or single function (AKA a unit) of an application. This kind of test does not depend on any database, file storage, or external dependency, It only tests for codes as separate pieces instead of a part of the whole process.

Unit tests are cheap to automate and can run very fast on a continuous integration server. It is one of the easiest tests to write and it increases confidence in the codes; therefore, if a unit test fails, it means that there is a bug present in the test code.

2. API tests

The API, which stands for Application Programming Interface, tests run during the integration phase. The testing of the Application Programming Interface (API) directly enables reliability, functionality, compliance, communication, and data exchange between two different software products.

It aims to determine whether the APIs that are developed meet expectations in terms of validation, performance, test case definition, and security of the application.

3. GUI tests

GUI Tests is a software testing type that ensures proper functionality of the graphical user interface (GUI) of the application and ensures a smooth delivery. It is the toughest form of automation testing due to its subjection to change.

GUI Tests mimic users/human behavior by using the mouse and keyboard to write to objects present on the user interface. By so doing, it allows for earlier detection of bugs.

It is also beneficial for filling up forms that will take too much time if done manually.

4. Smoke tests

Smoke Test is a basic test that verifies the core behavior of a product or service, ensuring that all software services and dependencies are running smoothly. It checks the basic functionality of the application and gives assurance that the major features of the software are working as intended.

It can be useful after an addition to the system or after a deployment, to decide whether or not more tests can be carried out or if the application is running properly in its new environment.

5. Regression tests

Regression Tests as the name implies is a form of iteration in software testing. It is an approach that ensures the quality and performance of test codes remain the same, after every time a new feature is added or a code change.

Regression tests ensure that the system acts the same way after every code change by finding potential bugs caused by said change.

6. Functional tests

Functional Tests are used to test the business logic and functionality behind a software application. It verifies only the output of action without checking the system’s intermediate states when the action is performed.

The testing covers sections like the overall functionality of the application, database, security, user interface, client, or server applications.

Further reading: Automation Testing Types

Automation test frameworks

Automation test frameworks

The generally used automation test frameworks are:

  • Linear Scripting Automation Framework

It is also known as the record and playback framework. This framework allows for the creation and execution of test scripts to be done in a sequential or linear manner. It is used for testing small-sized applications.

  • Modular Automation Framework

This framework allows for breaking down the application under test into multiple modules and creating independent scripts for each. 

  • Data-Driven Automation Framework

It is a technique that allows testers to separate the test scripts and the test data from each other. It depends on the input data fed from external resources such as excel sheets, CSV files, etc. 

  • Keyword Driven Automation Framework

It is similar to the data-driven framework. It is a technique in which all the methods (operations and instruction) to be used are written separately from the test scripts. 

  • Hybrid Automation Framework

It is a combination of two or more frameworks. It uses the strength and benefits of the frameworks combined to manage its test environment. 

Suggested tools for your automated tests

Suggested tools for your automated tests

1. Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio is one of the most potent automation tools that is designed to run by both automation testers and developers. It is built on top of Appium and Selenium, and it has the ability to test across web service/applications and mobile applications.

It combines several rich sets of features and supports almost every platform such as Windows, Linux, SOAP, and macOS. It is free to use.

2. Selenium

Selenium is an open-source web automation tool used for regression testing. It can automate across multiple OSs such as Linux, Windows, and Mac and work well with browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Headless Browsers.

Selenium can be described as a framework for another framework. It combines the data-driven test, keyword-driven test, and the hybrid test frameworks to automate test cases; hence Selenium is mainly for advanced programmers and developers.

3. Appium

The major purpose of this tool is for testing mobile applications. Appium works well with Android, IOS, and all other mobile operating systems.  It provides testing environments that do not require any change to the original app code and produce reliable test results.

4. Protractor

Protractor is an open-source, end-to-end testing framework designed for the angular applications. It performs automated regression tests for normal web applications and allows testing of applications like real users because it runs the test using an actual browser.

5. TestComplete

It is a powerful and highly functional automated test that supports several scripting languages and various testing techniques. TestComplete can be used for desktop, mobile, and web applications.

6. Ranorex

Ranorex is an all-in-one tool designed for desktop and mobile testing. It has reusable test scripts, recording and playback, and GUI recognition; and there is a free trial available to test for users.

7. LambdaTest

LambdaTest is one of the best automation tools that allow cross-browser testing for web apps, which empowers users to perform automated compatibility testing of their web applications across a combination of multiple browsers.


In determining the type of test to use for a project, there are a lot of criteria to consider; from knowing what to be tested, to the testing framework and the perfect tool that will fit the project under test. I hope this guide has helped you with the information needed to choose the right test and tool for your software. Also, do not forget to share this article with your colleagues and anyone that may need it. For a comprehensive automation testing tool that supports all API, desktop, web service, and mobile applications, easy to use for both developers and testers, Katalon is the right choice for you.

Leave a Reply