Test Automation 101: Should The Programming Languages of Your Software and Autotests Match?

QATestLab
6 min readFeb 8

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Programming languages are the fundamental building blocks of software. They allow developers to deliver complex applications and services by giving instructions to computers so they can perform logical operations and tasks. As soon as possible in Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), while the product can still be easily changed, QA engineers join forces with developers to identify potential risks and issues that need to be addressed.

Once the software has stable functionality, which should be repeatedly checked after developers add something new to the product, many tech teams start considering test automation. This testing method has proven to be the best solution to save time and manual effort on repetitive checks, expand test coverage, and avoid human error during QA activities. In fact, the 2022 report by an AI software quality platform, Katalon, revealed that up to 63% of the surveyed QA teams had experienced higher testing ROI after setting up autotests.

If you intend to establish automated testing for the first time, you need to expand your team with QA Automation Engineers. When you start thinking about the requirements for your future automation specialists, you may be challenged by an important question — do we have to look for QA engineers who can write test scripts in the same language that our software product is written in? Does it even matter?

Well, that is what the team of QATestLab is here for. In this article, we will explain whether matching the languages of your software and autotests is a must and what else you should consider before embarking on the journey to test automation.

What languages do autotests “speak”?

There are several programming languages that can be used for test automation. Let’s explore some of the most popular of them, along with the benefits they provide for setting up and running efficient autotests.

Python

One of the most widely used languages in test automation is Python. Not only is it easy to learn and use, but its object-oriented approach makes it a great choice for writing automated tests. Furthermore, its expansive library supports a wide variety of different testing frameworks and tools, such as Selenium WebDriver, Robot Framework, and Appium. In addition, Python has a diverse, active, and supportive online community.

JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most loved programming languages for test automation and web development, especially front-end. It offers plenty of open source libraries that facilitate automated testing at all levels, including UI/UX tests using tools like Cypress or Playwright, as well as API-level testing with Supertest or RESTClient libraries. Such frameworks as Jest, Mocha, and Jasmine can further extend the capabilities of JavaScript for test automation purposes.

TypeScript

TypeScript is a strongly typed programming language that builds on JavaScript, so it contains all of JavaScript’s features, but with additional advantages. One of the primary benefits of using Typescript for automated testing is its type safety. This means that QA Automation engineers can ensure that the data used in tests is valid and reliable, and they can avoid errors caused by incorrect data. TypeScript also supports modularity, which allows developers to divide their code into smaller modules, making it easier to read and maintain. This is especially useful for automated tests, as it allows breaking tests down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

C#

If you’re looking for a suitable programming language to use for test automation, you can also consider C#. It is a Microsoft language that was created to be simple yet powerful and flexible. C# is a great choice for test automation because it has many features that make it great for the task. For example, C# supports object-oriented programming and provides strong type checking. This means that the test scripts created in this language will be more reliable and easier to maintain.

Java

Another popular language for automated testing is Java. Even though it has been around since the end of the last century, Java is still one of the most commonly used languages today. It has a large ecosystem with various libraries and tools that make it ideal for creating automated tests quickly and efficiently. Additionally, Java is platform-independent — tests written in the language can be executed on any operating system without modifications or recompilation.

Is It Necessary to Write Autotests in the Same Language As the Software Being Tested?

The short answer is no. Automated test scripts can be written in different programming languages than the one that has been used to build a software product. The only type of automated tests that have to be created in the same language are unit tests, which serve to verify the functionality of a single unit of code. They are typically executed after the code is written by developers themselves. Unit tests are used to verify the behavior of a single function, a single class, or an entire module.

Automating these tests helps to quickly identify any issues with the source code and can also save much time by running multiple checks at once. To automate unit tests, specialists need to use a testing framework, for example, JUnit or TestNG. After verification of the code, QA engineers can move to other, more complex types of tests.

In all the other cases, the thought that matching the language of automated test scripts with the one that the software is built in is just one of many test automation myths. Your testing team can decide which programming language to use depending on the type of checks they need to automate and the framework they plan to exploit. This way, there is always a choice, although there are several aspects that have to be considered when deciding which language your autotests will be written in:

  1. Which programming language is your team most comfortable with?

For example, if your tech team already includes Automation QA Engineers that use a particular language and it suits your current needs and goals of automated testing, then it would be best to use their existing competencies.

  1. Is there a requirement to use a specific language for your project?

If you have already decided to set up autotests with the help of a particular test automation framework or prefer using only open source ones, then testers will be required to create scripts in the relevant language.

  1. How much help will your testers need from the development team to set up autotests?

If the verification of your software presupposes a QA engineer and a developer working in pairs, learning from each other and giving each other feedback as soon as possible, it would be better if these two specialists are able to find a common language. A common programming language, for that matter.

Moreover, sometimes testers require the assistance of developers to build additional libraries for the test automation framework. In this case, matching the language used for building the software and for setting up autotests will also be an advantage.

Conclusion

Test automation is an essential part of modern software development and choosing the right programming language for your project can truly make the difference. Some languages are more popular than others, but each offers its own benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, it comes down to what best suits your team’s needs and the tech stack you would like to use for speeding up your release cycles with automated testing.

Whether you decide to create autotests in the same language as your software product or your requirements for test automation will be more flexible, the team of QATestLab is always ready to meet your needs. Our tech stack includes numerous tools and frameworks to set up automated testing from scratch or review and improve your existing autotest.

Let’s see what could be the best tech stack choice for your product! Leave us a message about your software, and the experts from our Test Automation Department will be quick to get in touch with you and discuss all the details.

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QATestLab

QATestLab is an international provider of independent QA and testing services with 15 years of cross-industry experience. https://qatestlab.com/

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