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The title says it all. I've been using SilkTest for about a year now in my current role. It wasn't my choice to use, and I've never used it, or even heard of it, before this role. There are definitely some downsides to using it, but it has advantages as well (the 4Test language is the best thing about it, I think). Also, basic web searches don't reveal very much in the way of tutorials, sample code, help, etc. compared to much newer tools like Selenium or Watir. Any insights?

DISCLAIMER: I'm not exactly a fan of SilkTest (far from it).

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4 Answers 4

In my personal opinion and observations, a lot of this comes down to cost and knowledge of the product. Many companies have tried solutions like this and QTP (hp Quick Test Pro) thinking that it was going to be a silver bullet for their testing resources but it ended up not being able to deliver what they expected it would (it takes time and knowledge no matter what solution you're using). Those same companies have then tried another, open source or free solution (or abandoned test automation all together), and with what their testers knew after trying to commercial product, were able to make it work somewhat better.

There are also the companies who take a look at the dollar value, and say flat out no. Even if not this, then there is the bundling factor when it comes to cost. Many companies already use HP's products like Quality Centre and Load Runner, and I would assume that there would be a certain discount around putting their own automation framework on top of this. The same is certainly true of Microsoft products. If a company is already purchasing a shwack load of Visual Studio licenses for the developers, why not spend a little extra to also get it for the testers.

To come to your question about 'newer' frameworks, I think that this comes down partially to cost, but also to usability for the testers who have to use the product. Personally, I want to use the combination of products to build my automation suite that I want. In addition to this, the user community for these 'newer' products is quite more diverse than what you'd get with commercial products like SilkTest or QTP. If a user from the community is not able to help you, one of the contributers, with a vested interest in the continuity of the project (even if just out of pride) is probably able to help you out.

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When you compare SilkTest to Selenium and Watir, you are comparing apples to oranges.

If SilkTest were free and open source, you'd find tons of websites devoted to using it, and providing samples, tutorials, etc. But SilkTest is a commercial product.

If you search a bit, you will find places (like SQAForums.com's SilkTest forum at http://www.sqaforums.com/postlist.php?Cat=0&Board=UBB1, for example) which provide lots of free help for SilkTest users. But your primary source for detailed SilkTest information will still likely be the vendor for most commercial products.

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+1 for open source vs commercial products. It seems that commercial products are much more limited in terms of resources than open source equivalents (or similar, at least). –  joshin4colours Feb 1 '12 at 3:51
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No, I disagree! There are lots of resources for commercial products - classes, forums, user conferences, etc. They are usually centered around the vendor which produces the product though, rather than being scattered around the internet. –  Joe Strazzere Feb 1 '12 at 12:59

there are not many tutorial or resources as Watir or Selenium have in the internet. And for Watir and Selenium, it is much easier for us to modify , to add plugin or add features to extend it.

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I would imagine cost is the principle reason you don't find as much. A lot of departments simply don't have budget for tools.

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