Codeless Test Automation is Irrational

Avoid this doomed-to-fail hype.

Zhimin Zhan
11 min readJan 17, 2022


This article is one of the “IT Terminology Clarified” series.

Update (2022–08–27): new article “Katalon Codeless Test Automation vs Selenium WebDriver by Example” is available.

Since 2018, I have seen a few so-called “Test Automation Predictions” listed “Codeless Test Automation” as the trend forward. Oh well, it hasn’t happened. Frankly, I don’t think it will ever happen, because “Codeless Test Automation” is irrational. The people who promote this do not understand test automation at all.

Table of Contents· Clarify ‘Codeless Test Automation’
· “Codeless Test Automation” is vague
· Why do some people hype “Codeless Test Automation”?
· Why “Codeless Test Automation” won’t work?
Test Maintenance
Test Execution with Quick Feedback
Codeless does not address what it takes to succeed in automated testing
· Coding provides the flexibility that Test Automation needs
· Similar hypes failed before
· “Codeless Test Automation” is not FUN!
· Verify ‘Codeless Test Automation’ tool

Clarify ‘Codeless Test Automation’

“Test Automation” means driving the application with automated test scripts (as opposed to humans in manual testing). The special keyword is “Codeless”, in other words, scripts are not programming code in ‘codeless test automation’, or at least ‘test engineers’ do not need to understand code.

Let me clarify further, automated test execution is based on test scripts. whether we see the actual script or not, regardless of how it was created, there are scripts controlling the execution.

According to ‘Codeless Test Automation’ fans, “Script ≠ Code”. This is wrong and has been proven wrong repeatedly. I have rescued a number of failed test automation using old-fashioned ‘Codeless Automation Tools” such as QTP, IBM Rational Functional Tester, Ranorex, and Tosca. The testers created the scripts using recorders or performing drag-n-drops in the tool, and most of these testers did not have programming skills. As a result, these automation attempts all failed badly. How did I rescue them? By rewriting the test scripts in raw Selenium WebDriver in Ruby. Yes, Code!



Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.