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Software review: What is Katalon?

One of my friends was looking for an end-to-end testing framework to integrate with his stack, and suggested that Katalon was something that he had been considering.

Let us take a quick look into it and deduce some of its advantages as well as disadvantages.

 

Tl; dr;

Katalon will not be my first choice when it comes to E2E testing. I think if I have a choice to rewrite my end-to-end testing code, I would choose a framework like cypress or puppeteer. Mainly because I am heavily tech oriented.

Some pros that I uncovered:

  • Non-technical oriented.
  • What you see is what you get.
  • Can use different browsers (Firefox, Chrome, etc.).
  • Less work to create test cases to start testing.

And some cons, of course:

  • Usage of versioning to keep track of updating/creating test cases are not straightforward. I have more thoughts into this below.
  • Big application size.
  • Unknown backward compatibility for created projects.

 

Installation

Katalon is free to download and use. You can easily get it from https://www.katalon.com.

This step really takes me back to the old day when software applications didn’t come with an installation file, instead they came with just a zip archive and after extracting the file. Boom!!! You got the ready to run software.

Only thing that I personally feel a bit uneasy is the size of the software. The archive file is about 331.5MB, and after extraction, the whole thing takes approximately 500MB. Big application size can sometimes slow down your CI/CD process, since it takes some time to download and therefore delays other dependent tasks to run.

 

First look

Katalon first look

Looking quite simple. To start using Katalon, you just need to open the application, and create a project. Then, click on Record web button to start working on your first test.

 

“Writing” your test

Not really writing though, the brilliance of Katalon is that you can interact with the website normally, and it will record all your activities, step by step. Then you will need to add your own conditions into the test to verify that the workflow is doing what you want it to do.

Let’s see a simple workflow below.

You can see that just in a few clicks, I already have a simple test case to test whether the login failed text displays. This is super useful for non-technical background people, since they can just interact with the website and do little editing, they can already test the website.

 

Some thoughts…

The documentation seems to be detailed. Most of the information that I need to have a quick look-around is in there. They clearly have spent quite a bit of time into documenting and make our lives easier.

Workflow is simple and visual. Personally if I am not technical oriented, this will be my first choice to learn about E2E testing. However, comparing to other frameworks like cypress or puppeter, we need to commit the whole project and note down the version of Katalon so that we can replicate the project in another machine. This can cause incompatibility and inconsistency. With other frameworks, we can create a git repository and simply push all test cases code to it. With npm, it is easy to reinstall in another machine.

Imagine that you created a project in version X, then later on decided to upgrade Katalon to version Y. There are unknown compatibility issues that may happen, which we will need to read the actual test cases code to resolve the problems. I think it defeats the purpose if we need to actually write/edit the code for Katalon, even though they offer an option to do so.

 

Epilogue

Well that is my 5 cents on Katalon, and how would I use it to test a website. There are so many features that I have not touched yet. There is a high possibility that it offers something extraordinary that defeats other frameworks. However for a quick look, it does not appeal to myself as a technical person.

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