Like two sides of a coin, writing clear and timely test reports is as crucial as running the tests themselves in Software Quality Assurance (SQA). These reports ensure a high-quality product by informing developers about identified issues, bugs and defects. With this information, developers can fix these problems and improve the product's quality.

Meanwhile, test reports aid project managers and leaders make informed decisions about whether a product or software is market-ready. So, what exactly is a test report?

What is a Test Report?

Similar to a school report card, a test report summarizes the activities performed during the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) and the results. These reports indicate which functionalities have encountered issues, which have successfully passed and pinpoint the location of defects.

As testing can be manual or automated, test reports in manual testing are created in Excel sheets or text documents, wherein testers define the objectives, test case details, test data, and expected and actual outcomes in a standardised format. In automated testing, various open-source test reporting tools are available that can be integrated with the automation technique we follow, such as Allure report, Extent report, ReportPortal, etc.

The Reporting Process

The reporting process starts in the planning phase of the SDLC. In this scope, QA engineers collaborate closely with project managers, development teams and stakeholders and attend every meeting to gain comprehensive insights into the evolving product. This involvement helps delineate what aspects to test and what not to. Real-time reporting is vital in facilitating teams' making justified decisions based on precise test data, ensuring test objectives are met and product standards are endorsed. These reports serve as a medium of communication between different hierarchies of an organization.

Test reports offer a compact overview, allowing anyone keen on product status to get detailed information easily. Test reporting tools use graphs, charts, heatmaps and dashboards to ascertain this. These reports empower organizations to formulate an optimized resource allocation plan, too. Testing philosophy relies on the fact that no software or product is defect-free. Consequently, identifying and mitigating potential risks and errors are the primary motives of test reporting. Therefore, following top-notch techniques to conduct tests is not enough, as a summarized, concise and user-understandable track of tests should be kept. This should encompass suites, scenarios and cases, accompanied by relevant details.

Choosing the Right Test Reporting Tools

There is an abundance of reporting tools available in the market. Some are open-source and platform-independent, some are platform-dependent, and some are proprietary.

Let’s see some of the trending test reporting tools used today.

Extent Report

Extent reporting framework is an open-source, logger-style test reporting tool compatible with Java and C#. It can be easily integrated with testing frameworks such as TestNG, JUnit, and Nunit for automated testing. It uses a logging approach to create tests, generate screenshots, add tags, and design sequential test steps. It also serves colourful HTML and PDF reports with pie charts and diagrams, which can be customized. It offers detailed information on executed tests, such as test duration and screenshots of test scripts. Extent report lets testers run a single test suite with varying test cases and data. The major limitation of Extent Report is its incompatibility with languages other than Java and C#.

Allure Report

Allure is also an open-source automation test reporting tool, built to be agnostic of test frameworks and programming languages. It categorizes defects as product defects and test defects, letting users understand the reason for test failure. This reporting tool has seamless integration capability, improved readability, customizability, historical trend analysis and support for team collaboration. Allure provides a clear visualization of test results making it efficient for technical and non-technical readers to understand.
One limitation of Allure Report is that it cannot generate reports in PDF formats and is incompatible with iOS devices.


ReportPortal is an advanced reporting platform that enhances automated test results and analytics. It is popular for its flexibility, scalability and real-time demonstration of test outcomes. ReportPortal uses Machine Learning algorithms to acquire test results, predict future results, facilitate AI-based decision-making and represent test result patterns. It also has variations in report types, such as SSRS reports and SQL reports.
One drawback of ReportPortal is its initial setup and integration complexity.


ReportNG is an HTML plugin for TestNG frameworks and an alternative to the TestNG default report. It provides a clear, concise and attractive presentation of test results. It produces entirely valid XHTML 1.0 files, and users can tailor the output to their preferences by replacing the default stylesheet with a customized CSS file. It provides a hierarchical view of test results based on the test suite structure. It generates reports in HTML and XML formats.
ReportNG lacks a multi-page reporting structure and has minimal trend analysis features.


Automation engineers working with PyTest can utilize the PyTest HTML plugin for generating HTML reports. PyTest HTML offers a concise overview of test results and supports the inclusion of screenshots and attachments in the report. This greatly helps in failure diagnosis. It also presents information about fixtures used in the tests and enables sorting and filtering test outcomes.
As a plugin for PyTest, it is limited to projects done in other testing frameworks. The generated reports are also not very interactive or beautiful.

Selection of the Best-fit Tool for Your Needs

Learning about the reporting tools and selecting the right test reporting tool is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:

• Compatibility
You should focus on the compatibility of the reporting tool you select with the testing framework, programming language and other technologies used in the software project being developed.

It is essential to ensure seamless reporting tool integration with your project, testing tools, continuous integration systems, and development environment.

Ensure that the reporting tool offers the level of customize you want to implement in your project.

• User accessibility and scalability
Ensure the reporting tool is easy to use and your team members can understand it quickly. Considering the tool’s scalability to meet the growing needs of your testing process and data also plays a significant role.

• Visualization and presentation
Your reporting tool should offer a clean and imperative graphical UI to provide a more appealing representation of your test results.


In short, software developers systematically address reported anomalies, ensuring adherence to code quality standards. They also collaborate closely with QA teams to validate that the product aligns with predetermined benchmarks before release. The test reports generated offer stakeholders and management extensive information, facilitating well-informed business decision-making.

Therefore, after carefully considering the factors above, I suggest you look for the reporting tools that best suit your project structure, needs and cost for quality test reporting!

Thank you for reading this article. See you in the next one.