Programming language for automation testing should never be chosen based on popularity. There are several factors involved in choosing the best programming language for Test Automation. While some may prefer an option based on the testing team’s skillset, some teams go with the programming language which was used to develop the application to be tested. Are these factors alone enough? Let’s find out as we will be exploring the factors to consider when choosing a suitable programming language for your automation testing needs.
What programming language is best fit for test automation?
We, as an automation testing company have faced this question multiple times from our clients during sales calls. But imagine if this same question is asked to a Ruby programmer, the obvious answer will be “Ruby is an excellent programming language that will satisfy all your needs”. We shouldn’t be surprised with this answer as a person who has been using Ruby for a while will seem to feel that way.
But if we take a closer look at the reality, we will understand that the Ruby, Cucumber, and Selenium combination was very popular among automation testers a decade ago. The lack of community support and the emergence of other programming languages have resulted in Ruby losing its popularity. However, if you use Ruby even now, you will still love it as the aspects that made Ruby great are still there. It’s just the popularity that has gone down and that in no way makes a great language bad.
So let’s jump straight to the point and take a look at the factors an automation testing team should consider when choosing a programming language for automation testing:
1. The Automation Tools in use
If the automation testing tool you’re using is the right fit but supports only a few programming languages, then you would be left without much choice as you would have to choose from the languages that are supported.
The Common factor
There could be times where the programming language used during the development stages would also be supported by the test automation tool and have a lot of test automation libraries that you can benefit from. During such scenarios, it is better to opt for that language.
Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses. So if your company or team has testers with a specific programming background and the tool also has good community support for the language, you can go for that programming language.
Performing this action will definitely help you make a more educated choice that fits your needs. You would have to prepare a checklist of the valid reasons that would justify the choice of not just the programming language, but also of the automation tool. So what you would have in your hand is a report of whether you are taking a biased decision or a decision with the mindset that is unwilling to go out of your comfort zone. Be very point-blank with your justifications to get the best results.
Now let’s go over some of the popular programming languages we have used thus far in our automation testing projects. But more importantly, we will also be seeing what made the language popular and thereby help you have a better insight when making that choice for yourself.
When Selenium and Appium emerged in the market, the trend to write automation tests using Java also picked up. If you go to any Selenium tutorial page right now, you will be able to see the examples using Java in the very beginning. Maven and Gradle are two major value-adds for Java as you will be able to develop some unique test automation framework features using Java if you know the design patterns and Maven capabilities. It is also fairly easy to find an automation tester who is knowledgeable in the Java, Selenium, and Appium combinations.
According to a report, in the year 2020, 29% of the tutorials that were searched for was for Python and 19% for Java. Python’s popularity explosion was very quick and the stats are a clear reflection of that fact. But that alone doesn’t make Python one of the best programming languages for test automation. We, as a software testing company, have started recommending Python to our clients as the support for the tool, the libraries for automation testing, and the talents from different regions also grew in tandem with its popularity.
When Microsoft made the .net framework open-source with (.net core), it enabled the support for Linux & macOS. This is turn resulted in C#’s popularity shooting up drastically. Nowadays C# is used widely for the development of Desktop and Gaming Apps. If your team is using C# for application development, then C# is a great choice for automation testing as well.
You can’t choose a programming language for automation testing by others’ opinion, and that goes for our opinion as well. As a leading QA Automation Services provider, we use Python, C#, Java for multiple automation testing projects. But we do not pick them at random as every project has its own requirement. We never fail to perform the evaluation using the checklist to pick both the automation tool and the programming language.