A detailed comparison of popular JavaScript testing automation tools and frameworks

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JavaScript Automation tools: “Automation” is always the first thing in mind when we talk about technology. Automating the processes make everything easier, quicker, and better. After all, it is an uncomfortable fact that automation can execute a lot of tasks a lot quicker than humans can. 

Whether it is a startup or large-scale business, every company is striving to incorporate automation testing to speed up their product release cycles. When done right, automation can be a fantastic tool for your software testing toolkit. It can help you execute thousands of tests in a single click. That too, without any human error margins. 

As the web development and testing scenario has changed over the years, conventional programming languages like PHP, .NET, Java have also transitioned to new frameworks. Today, JavaScript is ranked as the most popular programming language across the world.

With this transition in the software development and testing world, comes the need for JavaScript testing tools too. Before we dive into the most popular JavaScript testing tools, let us understand the importance of unit testing in JavaScript.

Why unit testing is important?

It is a process of testing the code at the module level and ensuring that the developed modules meet the specified project requirements. The unit tests are written for every module and after completion of every module, the entire test case suite is run to ensure consistent testing results. These tests are extremely crucial as they ensure the responsiveness and usability of the application. The frontend unit tests run on browsers while the backend unit testing framework focuses on business logic and service endpoints.

Testing JavaScript applications

JavaScript has a competitive edge over other programming languages. Most modern browsers work with a JavaScript engine that allows the JavaScript code to be executed in the browser natively. The tight integration between the browser and JavaScript helps in executing basic actions like hovering over text or clicking a button.

framework of javascript test automation tools

For example, if you click a button and want specific changes in the color of the HTML element, Representational State Transfer (REST) request, or display of dialog box. Since users can choose any browser, it is also important to ensure that the application appears and behaves as expected in multiple browsers. The cross-browser computability adds to the requirement of the test framework. All these requirements have led to different types of JavaScript test frameworks:

  • Standardized – Standard API (Application Programming Interface) to ensure the interoperability with multiple browsers, but it can lack browser-specific features support.
  • Non-standardized – It utilizes browser-specific protocols for a more efficient and feature-rich experience.
  • Proprietary – It uses a custom mechanism for browser interaction to ensure a feature-rich and efficient browsing experience. This test framework can have quirky limitations and is more complex.

Types of testing tools

The type of testing tools is categorized according to their functionalities. To ensure the best testing results, it is recommended to use a combination of multiple tools.

  1. Test launchers to launch the test in the browsers (Cypress, Jasmine, Karma, Jest, WebDriver)
  2. Testing structure providers to arrange the tests in a scalable and readable manner (Jasmine, TestCafe, Jest, Cypress, Cucumber)
  3. Generation and display of test summary (Karma, Jasmine, TestCafe, Jasmine, Cypress, Mocha)
  4. Assertion functionality to verify if the test returns according to the expectations or it throws an exception (TestCafe, Jasmine, Chain. Cypress, Unexpected)
  5. Mocks to simulate multiple test scenarios and isolate the tested unit of application from other parts, and link to processes to see if it works as expected (Jasmine, testdouble, Jest, enzyme)
  6. Generation and comparison of snapshots to ensure data structure changes from previously conducted test runs are intended by the code changes of the user (Ava, Jest)
  7. Browser controllers to simulate the actions of the users for functional testing (Puppeteer, Nightwatch, Cypress, TestCafe, Phantom)
  8. Tools for visual regression that are used to compare the site to its earlier visual versions by using the techniques of image comparison (Percy, Applitools, WebDriver)
  9. Generation of code coverage reports understanding the coverage of tests by the code (Blanket, Jest)

There are multiple testing tools in the market. Some are the good old solution that requires extensive configurations and fancy tools that tempts with a five-minute setup and easy documentation. With so many tools and frameworks, here are the most popular JavaScript testing tools.

Selenium WebDriver

Seleniumn WebDriver is one of the most popular open-source frameworks for testing automation. The core strengths of this tool are that it is highly robust, versatile, and can be used with multiple browsers. Besides this, it also has a vast user community that helps in easily finding the answers to your problems over the internet. Moreover, it does not require extensive knowledge to set it up.


  • Large user community
  • Multiple browser support
  • Highly configurable


  • Need a lot of setup time
  • Not as fast as other testing frameworks
  • Steep learning curve


Example of selenium webdriver


Cypress test automation tool is one of the newest JavaScript testing tools, and its popularity is growing steadily. The main reason for its popularity is that Cypress is an all-in-one solution and requires minimal setup. The tool is very user-friendly and not based on Selenium. It offers a minimalistic runner that allows you to watch the tests going through multiple tests, and you can also peek at every step.


  • Convenient runner
  • Well-documented
  • Easy to set up


  • Lacks some useful functionalities
  • Limited support of Firefox and Chromium-based browsers
  • Need to make payment to unlock the full version



Puppeteer JavaScript testing tool is another automated framework that provides an API to control Chrome while overriding the standard DevTools protocols. Many manual tests conducted in the browser can be automated with this tool. This tool has gained immense popularity because it is very easy to set up. It directly calls an API to launch Chrome, open a new tab in the browser, navigate to the desired site for testing, and capture screenshots.
With Puppeteer, you can easily mock resources and thereby, avoid the issues of reliability, speed, and consistency. You can also manipulate external resources like CSS to execute the tests faster. The major drawback of this tool is that it works only with Chrome and if your application demands cross-browser compatibility, you will have to test the application with other testing frameworks.


Karma was developed to bring a full-fledged testing environment where they do not have to worry about configuration. They can instantly write code and receive feedback quickly from the test cases.

This JavaScript testing tool is based on Node.js and you should have Node.js installed in the system. Karma helps you to perform automation testing on real browsers, devices, and even on a headless instance. The entire workflow can be controlled directly from CMD or IDE where you need to just save your files to run the test cases. Also, it supports continuous integration using Travis, Jenkins, or Semaphore.


CodeceptJS tool is one of the most versatile tools on this list. The code written in this testing scenario can be read and understood by non-technical users. And the configuration allows running tests with Nighmatch, Puppeteer, Protractor, and WebDriver. All these tools have the same API and hence, the written code is also the same. Similar to Cypress, this JavaScript testing tool is also very well-documented, and also, there is a test user interface to check the snapshots of every test step to make the debugging process easy.


  • Extremely versatile
  • Easy to write and read tests
  • Structured documentation


  • Small user community
  • Limited to the syntax level



NightwatchJS framework got serious attention when E2E testing was introduced. At that time, the clean syntax and easy setup were the main benefits. Today, the installation is very easy and quick in Nightwatch, but the documentation does not include all the necessary information. It uses Selenium Webdriver to access all browsers without any hassles. This testing framework provides all the necessary functionality but at an average level.


  • Quick and easy setup
  • Multiple browsers support


  • Low documentation quality
  • Slow performance


test automation tool for nightwatch js


Jest is rated as one of the best JavaScript testing tools. This framework was developed by Facebook to test JavaScript codes, specifically for the ReactJS applications. It provides an integrated framework and does not require any configuration expertise. It is a ready-to-use tool and can be easily set up.

jest test automation tool download interface

The major benefit of using Jest is its minimal requirement of configuration and setup knowledge because it comes with an assertion library and support. Just like testing libraries, the test cases are written with a behavior-driven approach, and you can directly put your test cases in a folder to start running them. The testing framework is very well-documented and one of the fastest performing frameworks. Jest can also perform visual regression testing with the help of screenshots. It simply works by recording the screenshot of rendered components. It also updates the screenshots easily in case of any new feature additions. The drawback of Jest is that it does not support much tooling and libraries as compared to other JavaScript testing tools. Also, the snapshot testing of the framework is not compatible with larger files.


Mocha JavaScript automated test framework tests the applications using Node.js. The installation of this testing framework is very easy. You can run a few commands to start using the tool. Mocha is an open-source JavaScript testing tool with extended flexibility. It also supports generators and helps you to map exceptions with the test cases. Since the tool is quite old, it offers many documents and tutorials available online. The drawback of this framework is its overall low performance and lack of inbuilt features.

mocha javascript automation testing tool

The easy setup is one of the main reasons for the popularity of the Mocha framework. Many organizations have switched to Jest as it makes testing significantly faster with little configuration requirements. Although Mocha offers a wide ecosystem, the complexity of the framework is on the higher side.


TestCafe is quite similar to Cypress as it is very fresh in the testing framework domain. This JavaScript testing tool is not built on Selenium and offers a test runner called TestCafe IDE just like Cypress runner. You can easily build tests while skipping to write the code completely. But unfortunately, it is a paid solution after a trial version of 30 days.

The testing tool offers extensive support of multiple browsers, including different mobile versions, and works out-of-the-box. It works with the Smart Assertion Query mechanism, which automatically waits for changes to be implemented and retries with regular checkups. The drawback of this testing framework is that you need to consider JS asynchronicity and syntax while Cypress allows you to write synchronous code.


  • Easy to set up
  • Automatic wait time
  • Support of multiple browsers without Selenium support


  • Expensive full version


Jasmine is commonly used for asynchronous testing and is considered one of the most feature-rich JavaScript testing tools. The framework runs on Node.js and allows flexible and accurate reporting by running the test cases serially. The installation of the application is easy. You only need to set up and configure the test.js file before the execution of tests.

Jasmine Javascript automation testing tool

The major benefit of Jasmine is its extended compatibility across multiple frameworks, which makes it one of the flexible testing frameworks. It also has a large user community to offer support in the form of video tutorials, libraries, and blog posts. With the large community, the learning curve of Jasmine is also quite smooth. The cherry on the top is its effective documentation. The drawback of this framework is that it requires a lengthy configuration procedure.

Make the best choice of the JavaScript testing tool with QAonCloud

Now when you know the pros and cons of popular testing tools, you choose the tool according to your project requirements. From the browser automation frameworks, we looked at, you can choose from Puppeteer and Selenium WebDriver. And if you are looking for a one-stop testing solution, Cypress is the best choice.

Consider these variables while choosing the best JavaScript testing tool:

  • What type of configurations and apps requires support? Frameworks like WebDriver are the most extensible framework.
  • How mature and robust framework is required? Frameworks like TestCafe, Puppeteer, and WebDriver are well-tried and tested.
  • Do you need to conduct testing for desktop as well as mobile? Frameworks like WebDriver support both types of apps.
  • Do you need a framework to manage front-end and back-end testing? Cypress is the best framework for front and back-end testing.
  • How easy and quick do you want to configure and run tests? Frameworks like Playwright and Puppeteer require extensive configuration.

All you need to do is pick the best option and get started. To learn more about application and user interface testing solutions, get a free consultation with QAonCloud today.

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