I've been tasked with locating a software package or single application that can be used to automate the following tasks related to testing our website(s), both english and non-english.

  • run automated tests on a page or site
  • automation should work with ajax enabled pages and content

  • capture full page screenshot(s)

  • compare current screenshot(s) with previous screenshot
  • identify differences between the old and new screenshots

  • capture (dump) the underlying page code (html, css, js, etc)

  • compare current code dump with previous version
  • identify differences between the old and new code dumps

  • the ability to create full text pdfs that can be used to copy and paste text (lowest priority of all wanted features)

The driving factor in the requirements on the list above are un-planned / random changes to website layouts, code or functionality. We have a number of non-english websites that have random issues show up and we are not able to determine where the changes come from or why there was a change. Admittedly, this may be due to the poor coding done originally and the way our CMS (Magento) operates.

The owner wants the ability to do comparisons against a 100% known good version (via screenshot and code dump analysis) and either revert to the ‘correct’ version or be able to point to an exact spot on the page that changed and show a “before and after” the developers can use to correct the issue.

Do you have a single application or software package that can do all the above? If not, do you have any recommendations?

  • 1
    All the big box tools can do this, as can most of the free and lower cost tools. The main issue here is how much you are willing to pay, and how much effort you're willing to put into the automation.
    – Kate Paulk
    May 25 '16 at 15:55
  • @KatePaulk +1, adding: "... and what coding skills you can bring to the table, and where you want your own career to be focused " May 25 '16 at 15:59
  • Thank you for the replies - can you give me the names of "big box tools" that I can check into? Also, just to verify, you think most of the tools will be able to dump the page code (as loaded during the test) and compare it with a previous version? (ps - thanks again)
    – MrMr
    May 25 '16 at 21:00
  • @KatePaulk would you be able to give me several names of the 'bix box' tools that would support these types of tests. Many Thanks!
    – MrMr
    May 26 '16 at 20:52
  • 1
    HP UFT, MS Coded UI, SmartBear TestComplete... There are others. Just search for test automation software.
    – Kate Paulk
    May 27 '16 at 11:48

I've recently started using GhostInspector. It can pass pass/fail on either page content (i.e. HTML specific) or on screenshot differences. It can take screenshots in either case anyway.

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  • I see they have a free account, so I'll sign up and try it out - thanks for the recommendation!
    – MrMr
    May 25 '16 at 21:15

Based on the underlying reasoning for the tool need, you need a process more than a tool. The tool you want will be used to bash developers over the head and facilitate finger-pointing when something goes wrong. Why not catch the problem before it even gets to the Production server?

  • If the CMS is locked down such that only two people can push content to Production (in case one is not available), the problem is largely eliminated.

  • A regular release schedule can narrow down the timeframe for changes, and a code check-in with inspection requests can ensure that at least one person other than the code-changer knows something has changed.

  • If code changes are linked to change requests, the changes are traceable to original requirements.

The downside of doing it this way is that everyone is now responsible for making sure top-notch code goes to Production. Every step of the process is visible to anyone who cares to look. This may cause pushback from those who were causing the problems in the first place, requiring action from Management.

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