For those who depended on Selenium IDE, Katalon Recorder, which is actually a Selenium IDE compatible alternative, is a breath of fresh air. With a more dedicated development team, updates with every new Chrome and Firefox browser release, and even more powerful features, it's become the go-to browser automation tool. We'll see just how well the extension performs in this hands-on review.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Katalon. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence even when a post is sponsored.
Overview of Features
One thing that immediately sets Katalon Recorder apart from Selenium IDE is that it's available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. During my review, I installed it on the Chromium-based Brave browser, which worked perfectly.
The entire extension is designed to provide testers with the utmost convenience. The open source and fast recorder allows you to record and export Selenium scripts with ease. The straight-forward UI makes getting started quick and painless, even if you're new to browser automation and testing.
The Selenium Core 3 engine performs tests and automations lightning quick. As you might imagine, it's made to automate boring repetitive tasks on your browser, such as daily tasks in games, creating reports, and filling out forms. But, that's far from all.
Perform data-driven testing by importing CSV and JSON files. You can also create shareable reports using a visible dashboard with data gathered from screenshots, logs, analytics, and more by integrating with Katalon TestOps.
Another wonderful feature is Dark Mode. If you've already toggled dark mode on in your OS, Katalon Recorder switches too. This makes it much easier on your eyes.
All you have to do is install Katalon Recorder to Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. Personally, I was impressed Edge was supported, as most extensions are limited to Firefox and Chrome. Once installed, you can open the UI and get started.
I expected something far more complex. But while it's a powerful extension, the interface itself is approachable, making it incredibly easy to work with. After all, the last thing you need is something so complicated that you'd rather just perform repetitive tasks yourself.
Automating Repetitive Browser Tasks
Automating browser tasks is one of the three main functions of Katalon Recorder. For the average user, this is probably the feature you'll use the most.
As a simple test, I recorded logging in to several social media networks. These are for research and marketing, so I have to open several pages, log in to each network separately, and load the specific pages I need. It's a daily task that would be great to automate.
All I have to do is open Katalon Recorder using the icon in my browser. If you don't see an icon, click the puzzle icon, and pin the recorder icon to your browser for easy access.
I pressed "Record" and went through the entire process. Everything records quickly with no delays. Once you're done, just open the UI again and click "Stop." This creates a test case that you can run whenever you want to automate the task. I can honestly say Katalon went through the process much faster than I ever have. Plus, it doesn't get distracted by the latest posts while jumping from the home screen to what I actually need for work.
What I love is that every single step is laid out clearly. Plus, you can easily edit any step as needed. For instance, if a password changed or an address in a form, you can just edit that step versus re-recording everything. You can also right-click any command to remove it, add a new command, or start your test from that point.
When editing or adding a new command, the drop-down box helps you pick the right command without having to remember everything from scratch. This is also ideal if you're creating a test without actually recording your steps.
Another great option is that you can play a single test, an entire suite (test suites make it simple to group similar tasks), or play every single suite.
If you're not sure where to start, try the Templates. You can edit them as you see fit. I personally found the Conditional and Loops templates to be rather useful, along with the Capture Screenshots template.
Data-Driven Testing Capabilities in Action
I'd be impressed enough with the automation capabilities. After all, they're perfect for gaming, filling out forms, logging into sites, and even searching for restaurants, hotels, and more. But, Katalon Recorder goes a step further with data-driven testing capabilities too.
While a single test is fine, you don't need to create a new test for every similar item. For example, I once had to check if new authors were showing up in Amazon's search results. It was a tedious process.
With this handy tool, I could just run a data-driven test with a quick setup process. I put together a quick list of popular authors just as an example for this test.
Start by recording the process for a single data point. In my case, I searched Amazon for Stephen King to see if his name appeared, which of course it did.
Next, I created a JSON file with several authors so I can add it to my automation. You can also upload a CSV file if you have numerous items to test.
Then all I had to do was upload the JSON file to Test Data, add a new command to the beginning of my test (loadVars) to execute the JSON file, and switch Stephen King to my variable "author." I also added the endLoadVars command at the end.
Instead of just checking one author, the search repeated for the others on my list. It was a much simpler process than doing everything manually. Plus, I didn't have to worry about mistyping names by accident.
To visualize results, you have to integrate with another Katalon product, Katalon TestOps. While a premium version is available, I only used the free version for my review. You can use the same account you created in Katalon Recorder to sign in to TestOps.
Once you have TestOps set up, which is mostly just creating a project and team name, you need to up load your report. Use the Upload Report feature and select the project you created in TestOps during the setup process.
When this loads in Katalon TestOps, you can quickly see which tests you've run, how long they take, and see if the test passed or failed. There are a variety of charts for quick visualizations.
This is ideal for businesses testing data. If a test starts taking longer or fails, it's a clear indication there's an issue. This is the perfect way to test if data is available, if a form is working correctly, and more. Instead of someone having to manually test data, Katalon Recorder does it in a fraction of the time.
I can easily see why there are over half a million users of Katalon Recorder. It's one of the easiest browser automation tools I've personally ever used. Plus, with the support of CSV and JSON files, you can test large amounts of data at once without creating individual tests.
Having the integration with TestOps is an added bonus for visualizing test runs. Overall, it's a powerful, efficient, and useful extension for anyone who wants to automate repetitive tasks and wants a user-friendly interface to make it happen. Give it a try yourself to see how Katalon Recorder can make your life a bit easier.
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