Test Automation Framework: Benefits, Types & How to Choose

This article will give you all you need about test automation frameworks, including their benefits and types, examples, and how to choose the right one.

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Testing frameworks are a crucial part of an effective automated testing procedure. They can cut costs for maintenance and testing and give QA teams that want to improve their agile processes a higher return on investment (ROI).

No longer do organizations rely entirely on manual testing. Manual testing has benefits and drawbacks, but it is still necessary, and it's laborious, time-demanding, and requires substantial financial and human effort.

Manual testing vs. automated testing is a topic of heated discussion that has persisted for quite some time. In addition, there are still many misconceptions about what test automation means. 


This article will give you all you need to know about test automation frameworks. To further understand test automation frameworks and their component units, read on. Understanding the value of test automation frameworks and how to pick the right one is also covered. This is a brief overview of the topics we'll be discussing today:

  • What is a Test Framework?
  • Why do you need a Framework? 
  • Benefits of a Test Automation Framework 
  • Types of Test Automation Frameworks 
  • Which Testing Framework Is the Best?
  • 7 Popular Examples of Test Automation Frameworks

What is a Test Framework?

Let's define a test automation framework before discussing the most popular frameworks and their advantages. A testing framework is a collection of principles or standards to create and design test cases. A framework is a set of procedures and resources for quality assurance that work together to improve testing effectiveness.

Read also: Test Automation Strategy: Importance, Benefits & Example

Coding standards, test data handling techniques, object repositories, protocols for storing test findings, and access to external resources are all examples of what can be covered by such guidelines.

Why Do You Need a Framework?

Do you think you can automate a test WITHOUT a framework?

The answer is YES! Of course, you can automate a test without these guidelines.

Even though these guidelines are optional and testers can still script or record tests without adhering to them, employing a structured framework frequently provides testers with additional benefits that they would otherwise lose.

The purpose of frameworks is to offer a common structure so that developers can reuse the given code without having to recreate it from scratch. With the help of frameworks, we can avoid unnecessary work and speed up the process significantly.

Benefits of a Test Automation Framework

Types of Automated Testing Frameworks

Every automation framework has its structure, features, and potential drawbacks. It is crucial to pick the appropriate framework while developing a set of tests. These frameworks include:

  1. Linear Automation Framework
  2. Modular-Based Testing Framework
  3. Library Architecture Testing Framework
  4. Data-Driven Framework
  5. Keyword-Driven Framework
  6. Hybrid Testing Framework

Let's take a closer look at each of these.

Linear Automation Framework

Linear test automation frameworks allow testers to design functions without writing any code, and the steps are recorded and played again in a predetermined order. With this method, the tester documents the procedure, noting any navigation, user interaction, or checkpoints, and then plays back the script to execute the test automatically.

Benefits of a Linear Automation Framework:

  • Since no special coding skills are required, test automation experts can focus on other areas of their work.
  • A test script can be quickly and readily recorded in this manner, making it a viable option for rapid script generation.
  • Since the scripts are organized sequentially, the testing process can be understood by anyone participating in the testing.
  • With a new tool, this is also the quickest route to implementing the automated testing. This approach also eliminates the need for considerable planning, as most modern automated testing systems have record-and-playback functionality.

Disadvantages of a Linear Automation Framework:

  • This framework produces non-reusable scripts. Since the data is embedded in the test script, running the tests with different data sets is impossible, and the test cases must be updated whenever the data changes.
  • Any program modifications will need a lot of effort; therefore, maintenance is seen as a burden. As the scale of the tests increases, this model shows its limitations.

Modular-Based Testing Framework

To use a modular framework, testers will have to break the application they are testing into separate units, functions, or sections and test each separately. After breaking the application into modules, a test script is made for each part. These scripts are then put together in a hierarchical way to make bigger tests, and these bigger groups will start showing different test cases.

Building an abstraction layer is a key part of using the modular framework so that changes to individual parts don't affect the whole.

The advantages of a modular framework are:

  • If you change the application, you'll just need to update the affected module and its related test script; the remainder of the application will remain unchanged.
  • Because test scripts from different modules can be reused, it takes less work to make test cases.

Drawbacks of a modular framework:

  • Since each test is run independently, you can't use different data sets because the data is still hard-coded into the test script.
  • To set up the framework, you need to know how to program.

Library Testing Architecture Framework

The modular framework is the basis for the library architecture framework for automated testing, but it has some extra benefits. Instead of splitting the program under test into the many scripts that must be executed, related jobs inside the scripts are recognized and subsequently grouped by function so that the application is eventually divided by common goals. These functions are kept in a library that the test scripts can use whenever necessary.

Benefits of a Library Architecture Testing Framework:

  • A high degree of modularization, similar to that achieved by the modular framework, facilitates both inexpensive. 
  • This framework can be used more than once because it has a library of common functions that more than one test script can use.

Disadvantages of a Library Architecture Testing Framework::

  • The script still has test data written in by hand. So, if the data changes, the scripts will also need to be changed.
  • You need technical knowledge to write and analyze the common functions in the test scripts.
  • Making test scripts takes more time.

Data-Driven Framework

Using a data-driven framework separates the test data from the script's logic, which lets testers store data outside of the framework. The requirement to re-test the same feature or function of an app with new data comes up regularly for testers. In these cases, a Linear or Modular testing framework would be inappropriate since the test data would be hard-coded in the script.

The tester can keep the input/output parameters for test scripts in an external information source such as an Excel spreadsheet, Text File, CSV file, SQL Table, or ODBC repository by establishing a data-driven test framework.

The external data source is linked to the test scripts, and the scripts are told to read and fill in the needed data when needed.

Benefits of a Data-Driven Framework:

  • Tests can be run with more than one set of data.
  • By changing the data, you can test multiple scenarios quickly and reduce the number of scripts you need.
  • You can avoid hard-coding data so that changes to the test scripts don't change the data used and vice versa.
  • By running tests faster, you'll save time.

Drawbacks of a Data-Driven Framework:

  • To use this framework design correctly, you will need a tester with a lot of experience and knowledge of many programming languages. They will have to find and format the external data sources and write code (make functions) that smoothly connects the tests to those external data sources.
  • Setting up a framework based on data takes a lot of time.

Keyword-Driven Framework

The keyword-driven testing framework, usually considered an expansion of the data-driven testing framework, does more than simply export your test data to a separate location; it also reliably stores the resulting code library. These symbols, also known as "keywords," can be used to modify the test script and draw further conclusions about the test environment. It is also true that any program's functionalities are largely determined by the keywords used to describe them.

Advantages of Keyword-Driven Framework:

  • A minimal understanding of scripting is required.
  • Many test scripts can use the same keyword, so the code can be used more than once.
  • Test scripts can be made without knowing anything about the app being tested.

Disadvantages of Keyword-Driven Framework:

  • The cost to set up the framework is high at first. It takes time and is hard to do. The keywords need to be set up, and the object repositories and libraries need to be set up.
  • You need a worker who knows how to use test automation well.
  • When a test operation grows, it can be hard to keep up with keywords. You will need to keep adding to the repositories and keyword tables.

Hybrid Test Automation Framework

Like other modern testing procedures, automated testing frameworks have begun to merge and overlap. A hybrid framework, as the name indicates, is one that takes elements from more than one of the types above frameworks and combines them in such a way as to maximize the strengths while minimizing the drawbacks.

Testing methods should also vary depending on the type of application being evaluated. Setting up a versatile framework for automated testing is essential, especially as more teams adopt the agile methodology. Best test results may be achieved using a hybrid framework since it is more flexible.

Which Testing Framework Is the Most Effective?

Now that you know what test automation frameworks can do for you, it's time to decide which one to use.

With so many testing frameworks, knowing which is best for you can be hard. And to find the best solution, you must first know your needs. Before you try to find the best testing framework, you should know the basics of your testing process:

Here are some of the best frameworks for test automation that developers around the world use: 

Read our latest article about test automation tools: Top 20 Automation Testing Tools 2022


Selenium is an open-source automation tool that makes test automation easy for modern web applications.

Recently, Selenium 4 has Chrome CDP integration and many more to make testing efficient. That is why many QAs are upgrading from Selenium 3 to Selenium 4.

Advantages of Selenium:

  • Selenium is an open-source technology that significantly reduces license fees.
  • Multiple programming languages, including Java, Javascript, C#, Python, Ruby, etc., are supported.
  • Supports all significant browsers, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari
  • Multiple operating system support Windows, Mac, and Linux-based operating systems
  • Selenium enjoys robust community support since it is utilized by many QAs globally.
  • Simple to learn and implement.
  • Selenium allows Parallel Execution using Selenium Grid, hence lowering the duration of test execution.
  • There are several community plugins and commercial solutions available for Selenium.
  • The Selenium framework is extensible to Mobile Testing.


Playwright came out in 2020, and in just a few years, it had grown and gained many users. This is because of how quickly they release updates and how well their code is explained. It is an open-source tool, but it is linked to the Microsoft brand. It was one of the first to test browsers without a user interface, which makes it popular.

Benefits of Playwright

  • Playwright works with many browsers, including Chromium, Firefox, Edge, Chrome, Safari, and Edge.
  • Playwright works with several programming languages, such as Python, Javascript/Typescript, Java, and C#.
  • Modern frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue can be used with Playwright.
  • No Webdriver Dependency because Playwright runs the command directly on the browser. So, tests are faster and more stable in general.
  • Use Playwright to test Safari on Windows. Usually, the Safari browser can only be tested on macOS, but Playwright gives you a version of WebKit for Windows that is patched to be more like Safari.
  • Playwright lets you run tests on multiple browsers at the same time.


The Appium Framework is a free, open-source tool for testing mobile apps written in Java in an automated way. Users can test native mobile apps made with Android, iOS, and Windows SDKs with Appium. Appium has a useful graphical user interface (GUI) that facilitates code inspection and rapid development.

Benefits of Appium

  • Support for Multiple Platforms Appium offers browser compatibility for Chrome on iOS, Safari on iOS, and the Android built-in browser, ensuring that tests run consistently across platforms.
  • Appium is a free and publicly available library that eliminates the need to pay for a license.
  • Appium is compatible with a wide variety of languages, including but not limited to Java, Ruby, C#, PHP, and Python.
  • Integration between the Appium and Selenium frameworks is straightforward.
  • Allows for the use of both virtual and physical devices
  • With Appium's recording function, even complete newcomers may begin testing mobile apps with minimal effort.
  • Appium may be used with cloud-based testing platforms like Browserstack, etc.
  • Appium's compatibility with DevOps technologies is straightforward.


Cucumber is a free, open-source tool for BDD and unit testing (BDD). SpecFlow for C#, Cucumber for Javascript, etc., are just a few variants of Cucumber available.

Integrating easily into several frameworks is a major selling point for Cucumber. The Cucumber framework is widely adopted nowadays and supported by the most popular automation frameworks. Feature files, written in the Gherkin language, describe the tests themselves, while the implementation is described in a step definition file.

Benefits of Cucumber

  • The test can be written quickly since it is written in a Gherkin-like language.
  • Features and test cases are explained in a way that business teams can grasp.
  • There is no need for technical expertise to attain high reusability.
  • It's simple to transform business needs into test cases.


WebdriverIO is an old framework with a long history in the industry. WebdriverIO uses the Selenium libraries internally, making it similar to Selenium for JavaScript.

Benefits of WebdriverIO

  • Because it is based on the Webdriver implementation, WebdriverIO is compatible with every major web browser.
  • WebdriverIO offers various reporting formats and supports roughly 17 different types of reporters.
  • WebdriverIO's modular design makes it easy to add new functionality via a wide variety of community-developed plugins and packages.
  • WebdriverIO has POI (Page Object Pattern) support.
  • With WebdriverIO, you can open as many windows and tabs as you need.
  • When it comes to doing tests in parallel, no limits exist.
  • WebdriverIO may be used to test native mobile apps.


TestCafe is a NodeJS-based framework that supports Javascript and Typescript right out of the box. Not many people have heard of it. TestCafe is an automation tool that doesn't need any setup, and you only need a few commands to install and run your script. The TestCafe framework is open source.

Benefits of TestCafe

  • Simple to set up, You only need to install TestCafe once, and all the features you need are already there.
  • TestCafe makes it easy and more readable to make tests.
  • TestCafe uses the browser to run commands, which makes tests more stable and faster.
  • TestCafe allows more than one tab or window.
  • TestCafe allows for parallel testing. 


Using the Webdriver Protocol, NightWatchJS is a NodeJS-based framework that helps you test your code. BrowserStack is responsible for Nightwatch maintenance. Using the combination of NodeJS services and the NightWatchJS API, Nightwatch can be used for API testing, End to End testing, integration testing, and unit testing.

The Benefits of NightwatchJS

  • NightwatchJS requires little effort to install and set up.
  • The test scripts in NightwatchJS are easier to understand.
  • It has a variety of testing applications.
  • It's great for testing various browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.
  • Any changes or additions to the NightwatchJS framework are simple to implement.
  • The NightwatchJS framework uses the page object pattern.


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