What was your first test automation tool?

@sonali_das’ Test.Bash(); 2021 talk gave an overview of the history and evolution of test automation tools as part of it. Only being in testing for a few years, I hadn’t heard of the earlier ones from the noughties and an intriguing conversation evolved in the chat about what people’s first automation tools were.

I thought it would be interesting to continue that conversation here, so I’d like to pose some further questions

  • What was the first test automation tool you used and when?


  • What did you like about it?
  • Are there any features in these older discontinued tools that you wish the newer more modern tools included?

~1995, C++, using a simple CSV file to test an API.

This kinda places itself before the web was as accessible as it is today, so the test tool we built at the time needed re-writing as it did not have the benefit of all the tester heuristics and knowledge we have today. TestPDRV (Stands for Test-Protocol-DRiVer) was a native menu-driven windows app, which I ended up re-writing to allow us to drive the tool and thus drive the API coverage beyond what was easy to do manually by simply replacing every screen with a line in a CSV file.

I liked T

  1. That is was a dead simple tool which we could publish to customers and not have to document too heavily.
  2. That the tool GUI mapped semantically directly onto the API. All the menus were laid out to follow the workflow, making it intuitive to do things in the right order, but also easy to run steps “illegally” backwards by just starting at the bottom of a menu instead of at the top for example.

The take-home for me 20 years later is that sometimes automation tools are really damn simple to create. And that API testing is easy to do if you have some well thought out tooling support. (BTW I’m no longer an API person. I am an e2e person now. I forgot all I know about API testing in the meantime.)


For me, it was Selenium IDE (not the current one, the original that was a firefox plugin (Selenium IDE - Part I – Source Allies)). I was like yes this is amazing… and then I realized I had to re-record my test every few weeks for the feature we were working on. I also realized 5 months down the road, that I wasn’t making any kind of assertions, which is a common rookie mistake when beginning out in test automation.


Agree Butch. Not having any assertions is sometimes fine in e2e testing, since all you have to do is verify it’s possible to get to the “final screen” of a workflow, if you cannot get to the final step, either the test is fudging it or the app is badly broken.

But agree, it’s important to not put more than bare minimum of assertions into any test fixtures or helpers, rather rely on the test case adding them where they are needed, and on the test case being able to build negative assertions without fixtures assuming success for things like incorrect passwords. Don’t let assertions in your fixtures make negative testing harder than it needs to be.


Selenium with PHPunit :frowning:

It was a nightmare, but it was fun as first experience.


For me it was also Selenium IDE browser extension, it think I first used it 4-5 years ago.

I like that I could save myself some time by automating the repetitive things like user registration for creating test accounts. I think the modern tools have matured a lot since then so I can’t think of any features they’re lacking, compared to the older tools.


I think it was Selenium IDE (or maybe it was called Recorder) back around 2007 to 2008. Before Release 1 if my mind can go that far back. I remember our team then used an early version of Selenium RC to run it on various browsers. Was pretty rudimentary back then yet I seem to remember it helped. I think I made the most of Selenium IDE as an automation in testing tool, to help set up test data e.g. accounts and stuff in the right state for me to then run exploratory tests and regression tests.


My 1st Automation tool i used is QTP 9.2 in 2006

It was able to automate Desktop and Web-based application

Older features are included in new tools and additional features are added in newer tools with the advancement of technology



For me It was Selenium.

As an Automation tester, My first tool was selenium, and still I am working on the selenium tool.

Importantly, Selenium is the most popularly used freeware and open source automation tool. and the good thing is it allows record and playback for web application testing, we can run multiple scripts across various browsers.

  • Selenium supports a wide range of languages such as Java, Perl, Python, C#, Ruby, Groovy, JavaScript, and more.
  • Selenium can operate and support across multiple Operating Systems.
  • It enables constant updates and upgrades.
  • User-friendly interface

I started with the original Firefox Selenium IDE too, it was a big help to have a recorder tool to capture the basic flow of the test, though I learnt pretty quickly I needed to take the raw capture and liberally sprinkle it with waits, not to mention change several of the selectors used by default!


My first automation tool was Rational Robot. I remember that we coded in visual basic and that we kicked off test runs ourselves as we didn’t yet have CI. It was a long time ago!


In the early 2000s I learned how to use Quick Test Pro (QTP). It used the page object model to identify page elements and other things to manipulate and test. However, it wasn’t the most reliable if the object changed, if there wasn’t an easy way to identify an object, and was very painful to maintain the code related to it. As far as I recall, there wasn’t a built in version control, and the UI for the tool was proprietary. It used VB Script as well, which was pretty slow. However, it was a good early grounding in the activities under the hood of a web page, application and browsers.


I first used selenium as a test automation tool and last year I started automation I worked on selenium with java and the experience of using selenium was good. As selenium is open-source, most people prefer selenium as it also supports multiple languages. If we use selenium IDE then wit work on commands no need for language. We can do compatibility testing as well using a selenium grid. And also selenium enables recording and screenshots for testing web applications.


Hi all,

The first test automation tools that I used were all capture & playback tools back in the year 2000. We did a research that time and we investigated SQA-Suite from PS-Testware, Winrunner from Mercury Interactive and Autotester (forgot name organization). We have chosen SQA-Suite because SQA-Suite could also capture from CUI’s and we used that a lot :wink:


In the late 1990s the company I worked for had lots of unit tests but they weren’t being run automatically. I wrote a UNIX shell script that hunted for the tests, ran them, and reported the results. It ran the tests in random order to flush out dependencies between tests (that shouldn’t have existed). It survived for years, but bits were replaced continuously so that none of the first version survived, like Washington’s axe.

I think that the thing I was most pleased with (other than improvements to the quality info that everyone had) was its name: Bug Finder General. It was particularly cool when it became the name that everyone used in normal conversation.

(The second favourite name I came up with was the shrubbery, which was for the main data structure of a big and complicated bit of code - like a tree but bushier. Again, the thing that made me smile was seeing it used in everyday conversation, in the names of functions etc.)


@bobs , If there was a way to give out cake, then this would be it