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Native Chrome Automation with Test Studio R1 2022

Removing barriers between product teams and excellent product releases through stable test automation and continuous testing is the number one goal of Test Studio. Very often the barriers come from unexpected sources, and we must be prepared to handle what the future holds. This is the case with test automation extensions in Chromium-based browsers.

On September 23, 2021, Google announced that effective from January 2023, third-party MV2 extensions (Manifest V2) will no longer be supported and allowed to run in Chrome. Later Google postponed the change until January 2024. There are certain security exceptions in MV2 which enable extensions to plug into web applications. This is how most test automation tools gain access to the application under test to perform actions and verifications with it. Therefore, this major update in Chrome extension policy affects the commercial test automation tools that require the installation of an extension for in-browser automation.

Extensionless Test Automation

The Solution

The Test Studio team has anticipated this change and we’ve been working on extensionless test recording and execution for more than a year and a half. The goal is to provide test automation without extension while keeping and improving the existing feature set and user experience. Extensionless test automation is a fact in the latest Test Studio releases, not only getting ahead of Google’s change but bringing additional benefits to your automation suite.

Benefits of Extensionless Test Automation

Besides providing truly native Chrome Automation, eliminating the need for an extension for test recording and execution in Chrome, the extensionless approach provides automation engineers with a few more advantages.

  • Simplified environment setup
  • The additional step of installing the extension to get started with test automation is now alleviated. Organizations with complex test labs utilizing several remote machines or servers will benefit from the change tremendously, as for them installing an extension typically causes significant testing slowdowns. The prevented delays can be calculated by multiplying the time needed to install the extension by the number of machines tests run on.

  • No security concerns
  • Additionally, installing extensions is considered a security threat in some companies and it may be prohibited altogether or at least restricted, requiring additional approvals and all the legwork around them. The lack of extension removes this concern.

  • Faster test execution
  • Test execution can now be significantly faster—no extension needs to load every time a test or a test list gets executed, and the lack of extension makes each test step execution faster. The time multiplied by the number of machines you run tests on will show you the time savings potential of the new extensionless automation mode.

Switching to Extensionless Mode in Test Studio

Test Studio Extensionless Automation

As of Test Studio R2 2022, released on July 27, the product supports extensionless test automation in Chrome and MS Edge-Chromium.

Introducing the new approach to test recording will change some workflows in Test Studio, while the faster test execution may affect some existing, less stable tests. This is the reason why, for the time being, users will have the option to choose if they want to automate with or without using the extension. To ease the whole process, the extensionless mode will be switched off by default. Users can access it and turn it on through the browser configuration settings as described in this  Configuring Chrome for Test Studio Automation article.

We highly recommend our users switch to extensionless as soon as possible. This will give them time to test the new approach and report any issues or concerns. It will also allow us to fix on time any problems that may surface, making the transition smooth and truly beneficial for the customer.

Next Steps

  • Until September 14, 2022, all new projects will use extensions by default.
  • In the release on September 14, the extensionless recording/execution option will be switched on by default for newly created projects.
  • With Test Studio's release on August 1, 2023, the extensionless option will be turned on for all existing projects. Going forward, extensionless in Chrome and Edge will be the only option.

For a smoother transition, we advise any Test Studio customers to switch to extensionless as soon as possible. If you experience difficulties or need assistance to use the extensionless mode, make sure to get in touch with our support team by submitting a ticket.

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iliyan panchev
About the Author

Iliyan Panchev

Iliyan is a Senior Product Manager at Progress, responsible for the Telerik testing solutions, including Test Studio and JustMock. In the mid ’00s, he started his career in software development as a game tester because he loves video games, and eventually he realized that breaking software is fun. He believes that a good Quality Assurance Engineer should be involved in all phases of the software development process. Iliyan, now as a Product Manager, has a new objective—to relieve the QA engineer of the challenges associated with test automation and help them have more pleasant and rewarding workdays.

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