Understanding the Limitations and Benefits of Visual Studio Coded UI Tests

Understanding the Limitations and Benefits of Visual Studio Coded UI Tests

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

When transitioning to automated testing, selecting the right tool can significantly impact your workflow and efficiency. If you are considering Visual Studio Coded UI Tests for automated regression, it’s essential to understand its limitations and benefits compared to other popular tools like Selenium, TestComplete, and QTP.

Key Considerations for Choosing Coded UI Tests

Before diving into a feature-by-feature comparison, consider the following factors to determine if Visual Studio Coded UI Tests align with your project needs:

  • Minimize Abstraction Layers: Aim to reduce the abstraction layers between test code and product code. For instance, if your primary development is in C++, consider writing your test code in C++ for consistency and ease of debugging.
  • Language Familiarity: Use a language your developers are comfortable with. This facilitates code reviews and debugging, enhancing collaboration between developers and testers.
  • Tool Integration: If your team is already using TFS and Visual Studio, utilizing Visual Studio’s test tools can streamline your Continuous Integration (CI) cycle.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Coded UI Tests can be used for both web and Windows applications. While Selenium is excellent for web projects, it may not be suitable for Windows applications.
  • Support and Community: Consider the availability of support and community resources. Both Selenium and the C# community offer substantial support, which can be invaluable when troubleshooting issues.
  • Extensibility: Evaluate the ability to extend your tests using custom wrappers, P/Invoking Win32 APIs, or the new WinRT APIs. This flexibility can significantly enhance your testing capabilities.

Comparing APIs: Coded UI vs. Selenium

When comparing the APIs of Coded UI and Selenium, the following points stand out:

  • Strongly Typed Elements: In Coded UI, elements are strongly typed, such as an HtmlHyperLink for links. This contrasts with Selenium, where all elements are IWebElement. Strongly typed elements make IntelliSense more useful and reduce runtime errors.
  • Object-Oriented Syntax: The syntax of Coded UI, such as HtmlHyperLink myLink = new HtmlHyperLink(...), is more intuitive and follows standard object-oriented practices compared to Selenium’s IWebElement myLink = webdriver.FindElement(By.CssSelector(...)).
  • Hierarchy Navigation: Coded UI provides methods like GetChildren, GetParent, and GetDescendants, which can simplify navigating the DOM hierarchy.

Limitations of Coded UI Tests

Despite its benefits, Coded UI Tests have some limitations:

  • Maintenance Complexity: Maintaining scripts can be challenging, especially with frequent changes in the application. A significant upfront effort is required to create a robust framework.
  • Integration with SharePoint: Testing against SharePoint can be complicated, and alternative tools like Selenium with SpecFlow might be more suitable for such scenarios.
  • Default Object Repository: The default object and step repository in Coded UI can be cumbersome, requiring abstraction to manage effectively.


Choosing the right automated testing tool depends on your specific requirements and existing tools. Visual Studio Coded UI Tests offer seamless integration with TFS and Visual Studio, strong typing, and intuitive syntax, making it a viable option for many projects. However, consider the maintenance complexity and specific application needs before making a decision.

For those seeking a no-code solution for mobile app testing, Repeato is an excellent choice. As a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android, Repeato enables fast creation, execution, and maintenance of automated tests. Leveraging computer vision and AI, Repeato simplifies quality assurance, making it accessible and efficient for teams of all sizes.

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