Book demo
Start trial
Book demo
Start trial

The LEAP

Automation insights and productivity tips from LEAPWORK.

All Posts

Can Selenium be Used for Desktop Applications?

I Hear There’s a Workaround?

There are partial workarounds, but you are not going to like them. Here’s why.

There are two technologies built right into Windows that are made to automate most types of desktop applications; a new UI Automation technology and a legacy technology called MS Active Accessibility.

While Selenium is considered by many programmers to have an attractive programming model and architecture, UIA and MSAA are both very complex, and unfortunately do not cover all types of desktop applications. For instance, many Java-based desktop applications can only be partially automated with them. There are even serious limitations for certain types of modern applications made with WPF.

You might have read about projects where attempts were made to use the Selenium WebDriver architecture to build extensions for desktop technologies, or to bridge the gap between Selenium and UIA or MSAA.

Here are a couple of links, with descriptions from the respective authors:

  • Desktop is an open source test automation tool for automated testing of Windows application based on WinForms and WPF platforms. 
  •  Twin is a tool for automating Windows graphical applications. The design is based on the web automation tool Selenium/WebDriver, and it can be used in similar ways. 
  •  Jau is a smallish library which makes it easy for a Java program to invoke a separate Microsoft Windows application, and communicate with it via its GUI
  • White is a framework for automating rich client applications based on Win32, WinForms, WPF, Silverlight and SWT (Java) platforms. It is .NET based and does not require the use of any proprietary scripting languages.

Unfortunately, all these (and more) attempts at creating workarounds so that “Selenium-like code” can be used to automate desktop applications are either abandoned open source projects or narrowly targeted at specific use cases.

If you are a professional programmer looking to writing code to automate Windows desktop applications, UIA and MSAA are the only truly good starting points. You’ll unfortunately most likely have to write a lot of extension code on top of it, to make it fit with the application(s) you are looking to automate. However, there is another way.

 

Codeless Desktop Automation

LEAPWORK is a codeless automation platform that works with all popular desktop technologies and allows you to automate tests and processes across desktop and web applications. A visual language, LEAPWORK is powered by native object inspection that works for desktop applications based on all major frameworks. Test cases are built as flowcharts with building blocks, and you simply click UI elements to capture and define operations and flow.

With LEAPWORK you are able to:

  • Run automation cases with automated input from spreadsheets, databases, and web services
  • Call external sources through APIs and HTTP requests and use the results live
  • Enter data sources and dynamic values with visual connectors to instruct LEAPWORK to iterate through records of data while repeating the tests

LEAPWORK allows you to automate tests across technologies, from SAP and web to desktop and Citrix - and even 3D apps - within a single automation flow.CTA-StartTrial-8

Related Posts

[WHITEPAPER] Test Automation: The Codeless Answer

Today, digital transformation affects businesses in every market. Either they are driving it or being driven by it. As new business models emerge and customer demands keep increasing, enterprises everywhere struggle to stay relevant.

[Factsheet] 9 Reasons to Use No-code Automation Tools

In the jungle of automation tools, it can be complicated to select the right one for your enterprise. This is why we have listed 9 reasons to choose no-code automation tools in a factsheet, just for you. No-code automation tools speed up business processes and reduce errors while limiting boring and repetitive work. 

Codeless Selenium: How to automate with Selenium without coding

If you’re a highly skilled programmer wanting to automate web applications, and you love to spend time on writing test scripts, Selenium is probably a good test automation tool for you.