Tool review: Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio is the first testing tool I will review on my blog. Katalon is no longer a new kid on the block, but just recently started to get traction inside the testing community. As I was interested in the tool, I downloaded it and started to play around and check if this is a possible contender to introduce as a new test tool for upcoming projects.

Katalon studio is a free and open source tool that you can download from the developers website. When the download is finished you have a zip file, after unzipping this you can start the software and here is the first negative point of Katalon Studio. They ask you to provide an email address before you can start, which is kind of strange as this is a free software package.

After the setup and following some tutorials on the Katalon website I was ready to create my first testcase in the application. In the software you have several different methods to create testcases, depending on your technical skill level.

Recording star

You can use the recorder, this functionality is started when clicking on the corresponding button. When clicking the button there will be a dialog Web Recorder. Inside this dialog you will have your script and also the settings. You can give in the url were the test is going to start and which browser is being used. The version I used had some issues with Internet Explorer and asked to install an extra patch of software. As I expect when I download a software package this is straight out of the box.

The recorder itself works flawless, it will save all your movement and clicks correctly. The only issues I had when you want to compare values or objects, you will need to go into the recorder and edit the specific step. You will need to select the dropdown list and there is an overview with all the possible functions you could execute. An improvement would be if you just could click a checkbox and the amount of options would be reduced to only comparison functions.

Next to the recording options you can manually add the functions to the script, you only will face the same issues as with the comparison and need to go through the complete list of functions. Possible danger is you just missing features because of the overload of functions you have in the dropdown selection.

The last option is to program the complete test. But for me this is more a nice to have feature, as I personally favor the Java/Selenium/TestNG combination.

Room for improvement

While this sounds like a great new test tool, I have a lot of negative points. When you run your testcases you actually don’t get a clear view if the test failed or not. After we finished the test run we will have a green color, as I associate green with good, I assume the test passed. Only if you go into detail you see that the test failed and get the reason. The only clue you get the test failed, is because the browser is still running. And here we come to a next negative point, Katalon does not close the browsers automatically. This could create a big issue, as your amount of tests grow and some start to fail the amount of opened browsers will just rise. It would be nice if the application would clean-up the browsers and give a better overview of the failed tests.

I also see the application have issues with big projects, as the amount of testcases will rise, you will have no longer a clear overview of testcases. As I used this on a small test project the amount of testcases were limited. But if I would use this on bigger projects with hundreds of testcases it would be a tremendous task to find a specific testcase.

What I found positive is that there is already possibility for integration with Jira and Git (the most common tools I work with). I did not had the time to integrate it with Jenkins as this should be possible.

The verdict

For the final verdict I think the Katalon Studio is good and solid tool for smaller projects with less technical testers on. As the recorder is a nice tool and have a great range of functions to test and go through your software. Next to that the integration of Jira, git and the possibility to add it to Jenkins for continuous integration this is a nice stepping stone to get automation testing up and running in no time. But there are also some issues with Katalon, cleanup of running browsers and not a clear overview of failed tests are setbacks for an overall good piece of test software.

For more information on Katalon Studio you can check there website: https://www.katalon.com/

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