Introduction: I first wrote this article about automated GUI testing many years ago, but I find that it still holds today.
I just wrote most of the following note on the Apple Mac Java-dev mailing list, and I'd like to share it here as well, because I think it captures my thoughts on the benefits of automated GUI testing and GUI testing software.
I ran automated GUI tests part-time (4-6 hours per week) on a project with 8-12 developers, and saw some good benefits. True, in the 80/20 rule, 80% of the problems were due to UI changes and communication, like “We forgot to tell you we split the Name field into First Name and Last Name,” but with a good automated GUI testing tool, one test may fail, but the rest of the automated GUI test suite keeps running (see Fowler’s continuous integration). Furthermore, with a good GUI testing tool, something like this is also a minor change to get the test running again.