I have a list of GUI testing tools, and I want to separate the tools that are 'based on screenshots' like Sikuli or Monkeyrunner that others that interact directly with the elements of SUT, like Selenium or Appium.

Is there any name for these categories?

4 Answers 4


I don't think there is an official terminology name for this. Suppliers seem to use the term Image based testing as here on the VNC Robot site. Also note SQA.SE already has a tag for image-based-testing, making it the most obvious choice.

But after searching for a while I think I would stick with Image-based Recognition Testing, because its a bit more descriptive and people without testing knowledge might also instantly understand what it is about. As used in this blog by Marcin Zręda in 2010.

Google search results, take your pick:

  • Image based testing: About 15.800 results
  • Image Recognition Testing: About 1.320 results
  • Perceptual diff: About 982 results
  • Image-based Recognition Testing: About 2 results

There is a thing called "Perceptual diff", so I would call it "perceptual".

In order to ensure that code changes do not change the look of previously rendered scenes, the renderer, utilities and shaders are tested by an automated batch process every night. ... A reference frame would be rendered and stored as a canonical image. Then, when any code changes, the new version of the renderer would used to render the scene and the resulting image compared against the canonical. ... This would produce images that are not pixel identical to the canonical but nevertheless correct. The perceptual metric allows us to make such code changes without breaking the automated testing process.

  • Can you add to your answer a bit? What is Perceptual diff? Why is it applicable? Maybe link to a definition?
    – ECiurleo
    Mar 9, 2016 at 14:14

Not sure about any specialized name. I would use something like screenshot comparison tool.

One example of a product that does this is GhostInspector. A commercial product (with a low use free version).

This does automated UI testing and does screen shots for comparison in addition to the actual asserts you build for the test cases.

I've created a basic failed example for you using google. You can see the red difference in the "FAILED" screenshot comparison. I am a former seleniumIDE users and I now use this product. You build test cases and suites in the browser using their web based tools.

enter image description here


I think that will be Visual GUI Testing (VGT). I have read some papers and publications that use that term for tools like SikuliX as you see in here and here

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