August 28, 2017

QA Testing Tools Don’t Need to Be Built In-House

Trevor on August 28, 2017 in Articles

Great QA teams know when they need to automate their processes, when they need to build new tools, and how to balance building things in-house vs. getting pre-built tools that are available from a third-party.

Unfortunately, a lot of this knowledge comes from learning the hard way that not everything needs to be built in-house. There are countless QA leader, engineers, and analysts who have spent weeks working to automate their email tests, only to discover that excellent tools already exist to solve their exact problems.

To help make sure that this mistake is repeated as infrequently as possible, we’ve compiled this guide to the QA testing tools that don’t need to be built in-house, under any circumstances.

Why In-House Isn’t Always the Answer

Before we get started, let’s ask a simple question: how do we know that in-house testing tools aren’t always the answer? Well, there are two key reasons.

First, some things are so technically complicated that it’s foolish to try to tackle the testing for them in-house. Building multiple version of web browser testing software requires an incredibly specialized technical skillset. Of course, you could develop those skills, but unless your company is building web browsers, there’s not really a reason to distract yourself with building out that skillset.

Second, it’s highly unlikely that the needs of your company and the software you’re building require advanced customization that only comes with building your own QA testing tools. Even if you’re a machine learning company that is trying to have the most sophisticated training models in the world, there are still third-party tools available that can handle 99% of your needs.

In a nutshell, the reason in-house isn’t always right is because there are people who can build dedicated tools faster and better than you can. It’s not a bad thing: it’s about the specialization of skills.

The Tools Not Worth Building

Multi-Browser Testing

Our first category is full of tools that help automate the multi-browser test. Instead of having to download ten instances each of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera, you can use one piece of software to see how your applications work in hundreds of different versions.


How They Describe It: “Test your website for cross browser compatibility on real browsers. Instant access to multiple desktop and mobile browsers. Latest versions of IE, Edge, Safari, Chrome, Firefox and more on a range of Windows and OS X platforms on a robust cloud infrastructure.”

Where To Get It: Here


How They Describe It: “Accelerate your software development and bring your great ideas to market faster with the world’s largest automated testing cloud for web and mobile apps.”

Where To Get It: Here


How They Describe It: “The easiest way to get started with automated & manual testing on real browsers. Get more testing done with our all-in-one web testing platform. Run parallel automated tests, compare screenshots, and remotely debug on 1500+ real desktop and mobile browsers.”

Where To Get It: Here


How They Describe It: “Real, sandboxed web browsers, as well as a Responsive Design, Mobile, iPhone, & iPad Simulator testing suite which can run offline in your own Windows desktop environment.”

Where To Get It: Here

Multi-Device Testing

Similar to Multi-Browser Testing is the need to test on multiple devices. Instead of purchasing different Android and iOS devices, you would use these tools to quickly see what your applications and websites look like on a wide variety of mobile devices.


How They Describe It: “Find bugs before you ship with automated tests running on the devices your customers use. You can test everything your users can do, from pinching and swiping to double-tapping and scrolling. Find performance problems on any OS automatically with step-by step memory and performance tracking. Beautiful reports make it easy to know when you’re ready for launch.”

Where To Get It: Here


How They Describe It: “Functional Mobile Test Automation. We support your agile development process through our mobile test automation software. Run advanced parallel testing on multiple devices for faster time to market.”

Where To Get It: Here

AWS Device Farm

How They Describe It: “AWS Device Farm is an app testing service that lets you test and interact with your Android, iOS, and web apps on many devices at once, or reproduce issues on a device in real time. View video, screenshots, logs, and performance data to pinpoint and fix issues before shipping your app.”

Where To Get It: Here

Mass Manual Testing

Automated testing only gets you so far: at some point you need the help of real people, using your product in real-life. Of course, finding these people is a challenge. That’s why you can use these testing tools to quickly source the people you need to physically test your software.

How They Describe It: “Understand & Guide Your Users. Pendo extends your product to capture all user behavior, gather feedback, and provide contextual help.”

Where To Get It: Here

How They Describe It: “Website testing on desktop & mobile. Watch users get stuck on your site and hear them explain why.”

Where To Get It: Here


How They Describe It: “Scale up your research with crowdsourcing! The UXCrowd aggregates and ranks usability insights with crowd voting, so you can immediately see which issues were most important to users. Run more tests, find the big issues faster, and take action to improve your website, aided by the wisdom of the crowd.”

Where To Get It: Here

How They Describe It: “Receive high quality videos of your users using your website to identify pitfalls and opportunities for improvement.”

Where To Get It: Here

One Time Password Generators

Our last category is all about making your testing procedures more efficient. Instead of wasting your time building a proprietary password generator to help speed up your signup tests, use a pre-built generator like the ones below.


How They Describe It: “Use the online LastPass Password Generator to instantly create a secure, random password.”

Where To Get It: Here


How They Describe It: “Use the Norton Identity Safe Password Generator to create highly secure passwords that are difficult to crack or guess.”

Where To Get It: Here

What’s Left?

Now, based on this list of tools you may start to feel like there’s nothing left for you to do except to turn on software someone else has built. But that’s not the case.

There are three main things you will always need to focus on, even with the most advanced tools. First, you’ll need to develop testing procedures for how your software is supposed to be tested. Second, you’ll need to write detailed documentation on any bugs, issues, or potential features that come up during your testing. And finally, you’ll need to be able to make full use of these tools through extensible APIs.

When you take the tools above and combine them with those three must-haves for any QA testing work, you’re going to end up spending way more time improving the quality and reliability of your product, and far less time worrying about if your workflows are ideal.