Desktop App Automation Tools

A great thread popped up on Slack today about tools for desktop app automation:

  1. WinAppDriver - Windows Applications automation only. Supports only Win 10 machines
  2. Katalon DSL - Version 0.9.5 has an alpha release for supporting Desktop apps automation
  3. SikuliX - A go-to for most of the Desktop apps automation
  4. Kantu
  5. Robot Framework
  6. Appium’s Mac Driver - for automating Mac Desktop apps
  7. AutoIT
  8. FlaUI
  9. TagUI

Do you have any tools you would add to this list?


At our work we use PyWinAuto, which I like because it is based on Python :snake:

A great overview which list a lot of the above is this post from the Automation Guild by Joe Colantonio.

And last point, One must not forget that Robot Framework is NOT for desktop automation automation. It is just a wrapper around an automation engine. I have used it in the past in combination with Selenium.

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Great list assuming that you have access to the code base. For commercial applications like SAP, AX and many other standard desktop applications these tools might fall short. Alternatives for automation on top of standard applications could be:

  • Tricentis Tosca/RPA
  • LeapWork

as discussed here:

Has anyone seen a good solution to desktop automation of a mainframe emulator?

While I’m aware that test automation is more and more a coding activity. It also needs to be viewed from who does the testing and if you are looking into “automation in testing”, ie. supporting the test activity with tools. The tools have to be super user-friendly if it has to provide automation support for testing performed by non-technical staff.

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I’ve been looking for a cross-OS desktop testing solution, and the options do appear to be extremely limited compared to the number of web-testing packages! Further to that, a few of the tools say they do macOS and Linux, but what they mean is you can use their tool/IDE on that OS, but then it has to target a PC and can only actually test Windows apps… (Katalon is one of these, from what I gather from their own website, but please do correct me if you have experience saying otherwise.)

We’re looking more at the recorder-style packages rather than writing tests from scratch as code, and we trialled eggplant a couple of years back and I thought it was great, but the business wanted to go in a different direction. Now, we’re back on the hunt again and I’m surprised to discover it’s still the only one I can find which genuinely does Windows + macOS + Linux applications (plus web and mobile apps, but they’re less of a concern for me).

Another one not on your list, we recently trialled Smartbear, and it looks decent and was pretty easy to get started with, but it can’t detect the custom objects in our application as we draw them ourselves (which is also a common issue we find with desktop app test products), and so whilst it supports a “low-level mode” capturing just mouse and keyboard co-ords, this looked extremely difficult to build something robust and reliable for real desktop application testing.

Tosca, we want to trial and I got the exe yesterday, but the trial facilities on their website appear to be pretty broken just now, and I haven’t had chance yet to chase their support about the missing trial key/account details…

Does anyone here have recent experience with eggplant (AKA “testplant” up until fairly recently) and cares to share your thoughts?

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winium-for winfroms and WPF platforms
jubula-for java applications

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