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One of the main problems with manual tests in our organization is:

  • There are test cases that needs to be performed on part of our new developments (or software change) - now, I know this sounds like it should be automated but ROI analysis shows it isn't so.

One proposed solution was to use a macro recorder (for windows desktop) and to repetitively perform these testing whenever needed, we've tried to use AutoIT's macro recorder but the result was a complete failure since it required code re-touch on every recorded script (of almost every aspect, desktop resolution & etc.), it's a complete waste of time.

So, the questions are:

  1. Do you know of any practice of using such macro recorder? and if so, which one do you recommend and why?
  2. Any better solution for the above problem?
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There are other recorders for windows Desktop application. like:

  • Coded UI, specially good with the MS .Net desktop applications
  • Ranorex, biggest independent commercial automated test supplier

Personally I do not like the "records and playback", it leads to fragile scripts that easily break. You will notice that maintaining tests like this will costs a lot of time and is frustrating. Still if the time investments is shorter that executing it manually it might be worth your time.

Most UI-test tools also offer a way to hand-code the tests, combining this with PageObjects will give a maintainable, extendable and a better ROI in the long term, although you will be much slower in the short term.

You do not give enough context, but it feels like you are trying to apply test automation from the UI only. Testing from the UI should be maybe only 10% of your whole test automation suite. For reasons as these test are hard to maintain, expensive to build and they run very slow. Better is to focus on service and unit-tests aswell. Read about the test pyramid to find the right balance between test types.

Other reads:

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Do you know of any practice of using such macro recorder?

and

the result was a complete failure since it required code re-touch on every recorded script (of almost every aspect, desktop resolution & etc.), it's a complete waste of time.

We make good use of macro recorders, as they allow a very fast creation of test cases, even for non-programmers.

A good record & replay solution is Sikuli for automating desktop applications or Kantu for Chromium for automating websites. Both tools are screenshot-based and use advanced computer vision algorithms, so changed desktop resolutions, changed fonts or moved buttons will not break the recorded scripts. In other words, we often transfer scripts from one PC to another PC or VM, and they do not break.

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