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A comprehensive guide to choosing the right test automation framework

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Making sure software functions properly isn't just the responsibility of one person. Developers work to build the software, and quality assurance engineers and software testers do their share of work to ensure that the software works properly.

So, choosing the right test automation framework is a big deal to make testing smooth and effective.

In some smaller companies, software developers sometimes do the testing—it's like an unwritten part of the job description. But if you're a developer who's not big on test automation or you're an inexperienced tester, how do you even pick a framework?

There are numerous test automation frameworks available, which makes it even more challenging for inexperienced testers to choose the right one.

In this guide, I'll break down some of the popular frameworks and compare each one using criteria such as supported operating systems and compatibility. We'll also explore evaluation factors like performance, project requirements, and community support. This will give you an idea of choosing the right test automation framework for your software project.

Let's dive in.

An overview of popular test automation frameworks

Before we go into details on how to choose a test automation framework for your project, it's important you familiarize yourself with the most popular framework options amongst testers:


Selenium is a test automation framework for testing applications across web browsers. It supports multiple programming languages (Python, JavaScript, Java, Ruby, etc.) and can automate web browsers. Selenium as a framework isn't just a tool; it consists of a set of tools that aid the testing process. Some of the tools include Selenium WebDriver, Selenium IDE, and Selenium Grid.


Cypress is an easy-to-use frontend test automation framework for testing web applications and visually debugging them. It is a JavaScript-based framework that supports JavaScript and TypeScript. It supports end-to-end testing, component testing, API testing, and other types of tests.


Playwright is an open-source test automation framework that was developed by Microsoft. Playwright supports cross-browser and cross-platform automation and supports multiple programming languages such as JavaScript, Python, TypeScript, Java, and .NET. It also supports end-to-end, functional and API testing.


TestComplete is a test automation tool developed by SmartBear. It provides support for desktop, mobile, and web applications and offers features like test recording, playback, keyword testing, and supports other testing types.

Comparison criteria

As a software tester, you have to consider a number of factors while evaluating test automation frameworks to determine which one is best for your project.

Here, we'll compare the test automation frameworks we reviewed based on the criteria listed below. This will give you a general overview of each framework's features and capabilities, aiding your decision-making process.

  • Supported Operating Systems: For this criteria, we'll assess operating systems used in development and the testing environments that each of these frameworks supports.
  • Pricing: Here, we'll consider the cost associated with each framework, including subscription fees and additional costs for enterprise features.
  • Compatibility: We'll evaluate each framework's compatibility with various common browsers to see if it can be seamlessly integrated into any testing environment.
  • Programming or scripting language support: We'll also assess the support for different programming or scripting languages (e.g., Java, Python, JavaScript, C#) to ensure compatibility with the team's skill set and preferred languages.
  • Integration with other tools: During testing, it's imperative that the testing tools are integrated with other tools in the development phase. Some of these tools could be version control systems and continuous integration tools.
  • Community support: Community is a significant aspect of a software framework, and it shouldn’t be ignored during framework consideration.

A framework with a high adoption rate often indicates reliability. A reliable and friendly community means it's easy for users to adopt the framework. So, when choosing a framework, consider its popularity and adoption within the testing community.

To make this easier, we'll visualize these comparison criteria for each of the frameworks in a tabular format:


To get an idea of a framework’s popularity, you can usually look at the number of forks and stars on GitHub.

Of the four test automation frameworks discussed, Selenium has the most forks on its GitHub repository, with a total of 7.9k forks and 29.2k stars. Playwright, with 3.2k forks and 61k stars and 46k stars and 3.1k forks in Cypress GitHub repository.

You can use npm trends to view updated stats for these three frameworks.

It’s worth noting, however, that although some test automation frameworks may be more popular than others, the best testing framework for you will depend on your project requirements and the technologies you are working with, amongst other factors.

Practical Considerations for Choosing a Test Automation Framework

In addition to the comparison criteria listed above, several other factors should be taken into account when evaluating test automation frameworks. They include:

1. Project Requirements

A software project requirement acts as a blueprint for the project because it outlines in detail the objective and what needs to be done to achieve the objective.

Each project has unique goals and objectives, which means it has different requirements. You need to identify those requirements in order to choose an appropriate testing framework.

A project requirement such as the software's functionality, performance expectations, compatibility with existing technologies, the tech stack it is built on, and scalability potential.

So when choosing a test automation framework, you'll have to consider how each framework aligns with the project requirements of the software.

For instance, both Cypress and Selenium WebDriver would be suitable frameworks for a web application project that requires fast and extensive performance testing.

Cypress has fast test execution and real-time feedback, which enable developers to identify and address performance issues quickly. It also includes built-in support for measuring page load times and network requests.

Selenium WebDriver offers flexibility and scalability for performance testing across various browsers. It integrates easily with popular test automation tools like TestNG and JUnit for comprehensive performance testing.

Both frameworks provide efficient options for performance testing, with Cypress prioritizing speed and real-time feedback, while Selenium WebDriver offering flexibility across diverse browser environments.

In a case where the project is focused more on fast and high performance, Cypress would be suitable. However, Selenium would be preferable for a project that requires cross-browser and cross-platform testing.

2. Team Skill Set

Skill set varies amongst team members and so when you're working with a team of testers, you'll need to assess individuals' skills set.

Team members can be proficient in different programming languages, be familiar with different testing tools, have different methods of testing, and different experience levels in test automation.

To assess the team's skill set, you must evaluate their skills with programming languages and testing tools and their experience level with any testing framework. After that, you need to find a suitable framework that aligns with your team's skill and experience level.

You also need to ensure that documentation, resources, and community support are made available for the framework chosen should a teammate have to learn or get familiar with the testing framework or tool.

3. Maintenance Effort

Test automation frameworks, like every other tool or product, require maintenance after development.

When considering the right test automation framework for your project, you need to check if updates or maintenance affect compatibility of the framework. You don't want your tests breaking just because the framework got an upgrade, right?

Plus, you have to check if updates to the framework mean you'll have to modify test scripts.

You must check if the software is stable and well-maintained by its developers and if the framework provides proper documentation regarding updates.

4. Performance

Performance in test automation frameworks is how fast and efficiently the framework runs your tests. A high-performing test automation framework will enable you to run more tests efficiently and provide timely feedback.

In considering the performance of test automation frameworks, it's important to take note of:

  • how quickly the framework can execute your tests - execution speed
  • how the framework utilizes resources like CPU, Memory (RAM), Network bandwidth, etc.
  • if the framework can scale to meet your testing needs as your project grows
  • if the project is stable or reliable.

You should take into account a framework's computational requirements when evaluating performance.

For instance, while Selenium WebDriver's browser interaction requires more CPU and consumes memory, Cypress offers fast execution and low resource consumption and depending on test complexity, other frameworks have different resource requirements.

For example, the computational requirements of Cypress and Playwright are usually lower than those of Selenium WebDriver.

In a situation where you have limited CPU and memory resources, a lightweight framework like Playwright or Cypress would be more suitable, but remember that Cypress supports only JavaScript.

5. Security

Security, in the context of test automation frameworks, refers to the framework's ability to safeguard your test scripts and test data from unauthorized access or attacks. Evaluate the framework's security features against attacks, data breaches, and cross-site scripting.

A secure framework follows security best practices to safeguard software data.

For example, software data has to be encrypted and protected from unauthorized access, so ensure that the framework you're considering has measures in place to secure sensitive data about the software.

A secure framework also allows you to define user roles and permissions and this ensures that only authorized users can edit or run tests.

All these security traits must be considered when choosing a test automation framework for your software.

6. Community Support

How strong is the network of developers, contributors, and users who engage and contribute to the test automation framework you're considering?

When a framework has good community support, people come to share knowledge, ask and answer questions, and offer help.

This is an important factor when choosing a framework because it ensures reliable support and assistance when you encounter challenges or seek guidance. Traits of good community support include things like community forums, groups, online resources, and GitHub issue responses.


Before deciding on a test automation framework for your project, take the time to explore different test automation frameworks available in the market, such as Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, TestComplete, and others.

Consider factors like supported platforms, performance, programming language compatibility, community support, and flexibility.

Making the proper test automation framework choice is an important decision that will have a significant impact on how efficient and effective your testing processes are. You can make an informed decision that suits your project goals and team skills by carefully considering the evaluation factors listed.

It is also important to note that the decision-making process is flexible and may change as new technologies emerge, your team's expertise increases, or your project's requirements change.

Stay adaptable and open to exploring new tools and approaches to improve your test automation process continuously.

MagicPod is a no-code AI-driven test automation platform for testing mobile and web applications designed to speed up release cycles. Unlike traditional “record & playback” tools, MagicPod uses an AI self-healing mechanism. This means your test scripts are automatically updated when the application’s UI changes, significantly reducing maintenance overhead and helping teams focus on development.


Juliet Ofoegbu

Written by Juliet Ofoegbu

Juliet is a developer and technical writer specializing in software development. With a few years of experience in the field, she combines her coding expertise with a knack for clear communication to produce insightful technical articles. Passionate about making technology accessible, Juliet's work aims to break down complex concepts and empower developers of all levels.