Desktop Automation Tools

Desktop Application Automation Tools

The best way to choose a desktop application automation tool is to evaluate it on 3 key parameters. Depending on which parameter/s you value most, you can quickly and precisely narrow down your options.

How to choose a "desktop application automation tool" that's best for your specific needs?

Desktop application automation tool selection is not just about the cost of an automation platform. To profitably succeed in desktop application automation, you'll need to take into account the cost of platform setup, customization, maintenance & understand how to execute it with Continuous Integration.

1. Open Source

Open source is what usually comes to mind when most people are getting started with desktop automation. Sometimes an open source tool is what you need but not always.

2. Desktop Application Complexity

Having a desktop automation tool that works for a trivial use case is one thing but setting up a automation platform that can work reliably when you have a set of evolving complex uses cases is an entirely different thing.

3. Implementation Speed

How much time you are willing to spend in setting up and then later enhancing & maintaining your desktop automation scripts is probably the single most important factor to take into account.

Open Source

The most popular open source desktop application automation tool till last year was WinAppDriver. However, its development has been paused and it may not be a good option anymore.

A close second is Winium, a Selenium based tool compatible with many programming languages such as Java, PHP, Python, C# etc. It's a good option if your use cases aren't very complex. The only caution you need to keep in mind is that it's Github library hasn't been updated in years.

Other open source desktop automation tools worth taking a look are: White Framework, AutoIt and Jubula.
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Desktop Application Complexity

What makes desktop application automation complex is - it has multiple moving parts: you need to have separate automation scripts for application's components, automation scripts for the interface through which application interacts with the host environment and thirdly automation for the application's interaction with the user.

And if that wasn't enough, you'll need to ensure that automation works without breaking even when those 3 interaction points change with time.

Making open source tools work for such complex uses cases requires huge upfront investment. A low code enterprise grade paid tool is probably your best shot, if your desktop application is even somewhat complex.
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Implementation Speed

Teams with a lot of free dev resources and sufficient time in hand are better off experimenting with open source tools. For everyone else, you certainly want a desktop automation tool that minimizes implementation time now and maintenance time later.

Essentially, you want to know how your desktop application automation tool fares on following:
1. Does it have a decent library of out-of-the-box automations?
2. Can it easily integrate with your continuous delivery process without too much customization effort?
3. Does it have drag-and-drop features and event-based triggers that you can quickly configure to get your automation up and running?
4. Does it come with powerful & accurate object recognition ability that'll let the automation identify and automate components without any manual intervention when future changes occur.

Sahi Pro was built ground up to minimize the implementation time for desktop automations. It has all the features listed above and many more.
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