5 July, 2017

Top 5 Open Source Testing Tools

When compiling a top 5 list the biggest difficulty is whittling down the large list of testing tools available under open source licence.  So, forgive me if I have not included your favourite.  Also bear in mind that I have only included open source tools.  There is also a large selection of tools that are free to use but are not released under open source licensing.  Free does not mean it is open source.

Anyway, here is my list of the top 5 open source testing tools.  If you disagree on my selection or would like to suggest other open source tools that deserve to be in this list, I would be delighted to hear from you.


1. Selenium

Selenium is a suite of tools that allow you to automate the testing of web applications.

Selenium WebDriver is the most widely used test tool for browser test automation. It drives a browser as if it was a user and can be run locally on your computer.

Selenium Grid allows you to run selenium web driver testing on remote computers for parallel running on various PC with different browsers installed

One of the main advantages of using Selenium WebDriver over other UI automation tools is that you can write your automated tests in a variety of supported programming languages, such as Java, C#, Ruby, Python and PHP.

Further info can be found on the Selenium website


2 SoapUI

SoapUI allows you to perform functional testing on web applications. It is mainly used to test SOAP and REST (JSON) Web services but can also be used to test messaging layers, databases, Rich Internet Applications.

It makes writing test cases simple and easy by using its drag and drop feature. Additionally, it allows you to run a test in multiple environment just by changing the test setup. Test execution and report analysis are all carried out inside the SoapUI GUI. 

Another feature of SoapUI allows you to to create mock web services which is handy when you are creating tests for a web service which is not yet developed.

Further info on SoapUI can be found at

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3. Cucumber

Cucumber is an automation tool that allows you to test applications. With Cucumber, you can describe behaviour in plain text; write a step definition in a variety of languages; run it; and watch it fail. Having failed the test, you then write code to make the step pass. Then re-run the test step again and see the step pass. You would then continue until all step are passed.

When the code is re-factored or added to the tests can be re-run to ensure there are no regressions.

Cucumber supports a number of programming languages including Ruby, Java, .Net, and Flex. 

If you are doing Behaviour Driven Development, with close collaboration between the business, customer and technology team, then Cucumber allows you to specify the requirements in plain English then take those requirements and bind them to automated tests.

The Cucumber tool aids the collaboration between team members in specifying requirements, guides development, drives automated tests and describes the system.

Further info can be found at


4. VirtualBox 

Today, most applications require to be tested against multiple browsers and operating systems. Instead of having the expense of building physical servers with different operating systems and browsers, VirtualBox allows you to create virtual machines with different configurations.

VirtualBox can be run on any operating system to create virtual machines (VMs).  These VMs can be created and a different operating system and browser installed on them. It even allows you to have multiple VMs with different operating systems, on the same PC, allowing you to test multiple browsers and operating systems quickly and inexpensively. 

Virtual machines can then be stored and run as needed on the host PC at a later date.  They can be reset to remove all changes made when used for previous testing ensuring a clean system when used later. 

Further info can be found at


5. Apache OpenOffice

This may seem a strange choice to include in the top 5 open source testing tools, however, all testers need to write test scripts and may not have the luxury of Microsoft Office installed on their PC.  OpenOffice has a full office suite and their spreadsheet program Calc, can be used as easily as Microsoft's Excel program to write test scenarios and test scripts. 

Also, the word processing application Writer can be used for writing test summary and other reports.  Anyone with Microsoft Office or any other similar suite can open and update the documents created with any of these OpenOffice applications.  If you require to conduct show and tell or other presentations then the presentation application Impress allows you to create and show a multimedia presentation.  Apache OpenOffice even includes a drawing application Draw that enables you to produce diagrams if required.

More information on Apache OpenOffice can be found at




One caveat, you must be very careful when deciding to use an open source tool. Care should be taken when investigating what tool to use. The licensing, user reports and any previous bug fixes should be thoroughly checked before deciding to use it.  Also check the quality of the community using the tool.

Most good tools have a large and friendly open source community and their help can prove invaluable when you come across issues when using the tool. 

At Edge Testing, we have experts in most open source tools and are happy to give advice on the trustworthiness of an application.  We can also provide information on what issues to expect during installation and use of these tools.  We can also advise you on the correct tool to use for your particular testing situation.  So, don't hesitate to contact us for advice.


By Jim McLean, Test Lead at Edge Testing

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