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Why are open-source automation tools NOT free?

Updated: Jan 6, 2022


Open source automation tools
Open source automation tools

Automation Testing


Automation testing is absolutely essential and a must-have in the modern software development approach. Organizations have realized that quality delivery this the prime factor to remain ahead of the curve in today's competitive world. Also, it is well recognized that quality delivery is the direct function of efficient software testing, and organizations have achieved competitive advantage through their effective software testing process. And what better to make testing more efficient than automating the testing process itself. However, it is easier said than done and there are plenty of challenges in achieving this automation testing goal.


One such challenge in the automation planning phase is tool selection decision or rather selecting an open-source tool just because it comes for free.



The psychology behind selecting an open-source automation tool


Open-source automation tools are the most common way to approach automation testing in our projects and they are perceived to have multiple advantages. We approach the open-source tools with -

  • trust,

  • knowing the great community support they enjoy,

  • they are popular,

  • skills on these tools give us good market value, and

  • most importantly they come for FREE.


Hence they are a no-brainer! Just download for free and start with them. Happy days.



There are no free lunches


All the above about open source automation tools is true however, there is a catch. The catch is that these tools do a fabulous job only if implemented properly. And this is where the challenge lies - Implementation.


Developing an automation framework is essentially the same process as developing any other software application for business by a team of developers. It is like a development project in its own capacity and should have a strong software development lifecycle (SDLC) standard. Essentially if we are serious to meet our automation testing goal, we will need everything or have to do everything that a development team has or does. These are some of the processes we shall follow to achieve a successful implementation of open source free of cost tool -


  1. Design the framework's architecture well for it to stay and cater to needs for a long time.

  2. Follow coding standards, exception handling, logging mechanism, etc.

  3. Implement a code review process.

  4. Implement a code management tool so multiple automation developers can develop the framework.

  5. Implement branching & release strategy to maintain framework versions and handle enhancements.

  6. Setup a testing mechanism to test the framework.


In addition to all this, we should have the required bandwidth, skillset and the automation developers should also have the same level of competency as that of an application developer. If we expect high-quality output from automation, an in-house developed automation framework should comply with all the good practices of SDLC.