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Open Source vs Commercial Test Automation Tools

HR Professional discussing on the tasks to be Automated

Open Source Vs Commercial Test Automation Tools, which one to choose? This has been the most often discussed aspect in the software development process. Open source and commercial test automation tools have some handful of reasons on why to prefer, which purely depends on the business use case. But you may be surprised as which approach gives you the advantage which you'll learn here.  

What is Open-Source Software?

“There may be someone who can develop your idea better than you”

“There may be someone who can join me to develop my idea”

“I want to create a software that everyone can use it for free and extend if it requires”

These points explain the origin of open source software in the industry and why it has been beneficial to the development community at large. 

Open Source is a software-licensing model where software is free to use and even the source code is open to the individual programmers, for enabling them to conduct the development process with more added functionalities. It’s a collaborative development between multiple independent contributors. Anyone can download, study, change or update and use software for any purpose. So, you/company can download and extend for your internal use.

As per the World Intellectual Property Organization, “Open Source” is a software-licensing model where the source code of the software is typically made available royalty-free to the users of the software, under terms allowing redistribution, modification, and addition, though often with certain restrictions.


  • No initial discussions about buying software
  • No need to worry about licenses. It’s free to use
  • The code is open and so we can extend based on our needs
  • More reachable because it's free
  • Managed by open source community
  • Attracting more customers by giving competitive pricing


  • Security
  • Less resource availability in the market
  • Time is taken to develop
  • An employee with that tool knowledge leaving the company
  • Not all the features available
  • More time required to get code issues fixed

What is Commercial Software?

Commercial software is a pay to use software that is developed by a dedicated team and supports the exact requirement of what the industry is looking at. The commercial software provides access to the software code to those users who had purchased the license or procured an agreement to use it. Usually, commercial software, users will be charged based on licenses or number of users. Here too, users are provided enough support if users are having any difficulty with the software usage.


  • Business focused
  • Full Featured and target based that will have all features as a package
  • Mostly all in one olution (Includes Test Development, Management, Tracking and so on.)
  • On Time / Quick Support
  • Secured and reliable
  • Avail training services or step-by-step documentation
  • Quick fixes


  • Expensive
  • Some companies even charge separately even for support
  • Limited platforms
  • Cannot customize
  • Increased dependency
  • Less reachable

How to Choose Test Automation Software?

The Global Test Automation market will rise at a solid 15.4 percent CAGR between 2017 and 2025 to be worth $109.69 billion by 2025 from $30.45 billion in 2016."

- A report by Transparency Market Research

In the process of choosing the right automation test tool for enterprise, the following three parameters are critical:

  1. Features
  2. Support
  3. Cost


  • Secure, Reliable, Flexible, Scalable and Easy to Use
  • Good performance when executing tests
  • Be able to test multiple technologies
  • Support more programming languages for creating test cases
  • Integrate with development environments
  • Support existing and new technologies in the market for testing
  • Multi-Platform testing support
  • Integrate with test management tools and bug tracking tools
  • Excellent reporting and analytics features


  • A good number of expert resource availability in the market
  • Updates as per Changes in Market
    • On Time Support for the issues
    • Support Search Library


  • Within the project budget
  • In case of expensive, it should reduce the cost of the resource
  • The cost should have all included features
  • Check for support and features in case of free and open source tools

Apart from the above-mentioned aspects, one should also consider below points that are explicit to the project requirement:

  • What is the technology of the application to be tested?
  • Is the requirement only for one project or to have a common automation tool for varied projects of the company?
  • How many skilled resources are available in the company with the desired test automation tool?
  • On how many platforms the application needs to be tested?
  • Is the tool vendor providing training?

Why Prefer Open Source Test Tools?

So far we have seen the pros and cons of both open sources as well as commercial software. Both have their own proven abilities and specific business use cases. Despite all these, open source software has a greater edge over commercial software. It’s not just they are free, there are many other reasons why to choose open source. Here are some handful of reasons to help you understand why to prefer open source test tools are:

  • Reduce cost of software licensing
  • Customize and create a tailored solution
  • Attract more customers by giving competitive pricing
  • Integrate into in-house software
  • No need to worry about the software setup when team size increases

Why Choose Selenium Over Other Open Source Tools?

Software Testing professionals analyzing reports generated by Selenium tool

Selenium is the portable open source web application testing framework. Compared rest of the open source automation testing tools, Selenium has an edge.

  • There are many experts available because it is in the market for more than a decade and many companies are using it.
  • It is highly secure.
  • It is maintained by a reliable team (Google and some other companies are also involved).
  • Strong support is available through many ways (Blogs, Selenium GitHub Issue section, Online Forums, StackOverflow site, Expert Freelancers).
  • It is not having all features like IDE to develop tests, Framework, Reporting…etc.
  • There are Open Source IDE’s, Frameworks and Reporting Utilities available in the market which can be integrated to Selenium.
  • It takes more time to develop tests when compared with some commercial tools like UFT.
  • But it gives parallel and distributed test execution features which are not there in many commercial tools.

Key Features of Selenium

Some of the key features that make Selenium most popular are: 

  • Selenium WebDriver has become a default for web testing and is now a W3C standard.
  • Other commercial tools which are in competition are integrated and integrating with Selenium.
  • Almost every commercial tool vendor providing cloud test execution feature for Selenium tests.
  • Vendors like Micro Focus, Ranorex, BrowserStack, Sauce Labs, Experitest are sponsors for Selenium.
  • The marketing strategy is changed and commercial vendors are now providing services to opensource tools.

Selenium Guide

Topics: Automation Testing, Software testing, Selenium Testing Tool, QA TCOE, Commercial Test Automation Tools, Selenium, Open Source Software

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