Selenium may be a popular software testing tool that's open-sourced and supports most browsers and operating systems. It’s perhaps most popularly known for allowing testers to automate in any preferred artificial language.
The problem is this: Not all testers know the way to program.
If you’re one among those testers or work on a team of testers where automation is required, but only some of you recognize a way to write code, read our blog post-Selenium Automation: what does it require?
In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a summary of Selenium that may offer you a basic understanding of the Selenium tool suite, the pros, and cons of the tool as an entire, and a checklist that may facilitate your evaluation if it fulfills your needs as a tester or testing team.
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Let’s start from the start.
How Selenium came to be
Selenium thus became the primary tool that enabled its users to manage a browser using any artificial language.
A couple of years later, an engineer using the tool at Google named Simon Stewart got bored stiff with Selenium’s limitations. He wanted a tool that may speak on to the browser using its ‘native’ language and software. Hence WebDriver was born.
It took some years for Selenium to merge with WebDriver, but once they did work, it meant taking the most effective of both worlds and bringing an enormous community of the brightest minds in test automation under one roof.
A lot more is going on since then, and additionally, to Selenium WebDriver, the Selenium project has evolved into a tool suite that consists of Selenium WebDriver, Selenium IDE, and Selenium Grid. Selenium remote (RC) was also a component of the toolbox but has since been depreciated, mainly because it absolutely was incredibly slow.
Selenium’s tool suite
We’re not visiting exhaust you with a protracted explanation of Selenium’s tool suite (you can confirm out on Selenium’s own website if you want). Instead, we’ll provide you with a short overview of the tools and their key differences.
Selenium IDE may be a ‘record and playback tool’ that may facilitate your creation and edit test cases and test suites.
IDE (Integrated Development Environment) may be a Firefox plugin that's wont to create and execute test cases. It permits you to create test cases by recording your interactions with the browser. Your interactions are ‘transformed’ into steps in Selenium’s own language. These steps can then be exported in numerous programming languages, including Java, Python, and Ruby, which may then be executed later. the top result's the whole test script in your language of choice.
The downside of Selenium IDE is that it's mainly meant for prototyping and syntax. Not full-fledged testing. some of the restrictions include not having the ability to script with regular artificial language, not having the ability to check dynamic web applications, and not having the ability to import data to support data-driven testing.
Selenium WebDriver may be a programming interface that will be wont to create and execute test cases. WebDriver allows you to check across all the most important programming languages, browsers, and operating systems.
The test cases are created using element locators. you find your elements with one among the eight Selenium element locator techniques and also the WebDriver methods will then allow you to perform actions on those elements. The script you create interacts directly with the browser (which is that the reason it’s much faster than depreciated Selenium RC). There are different drivers for various browsers, which ‘interpret’ the script you write for it.
The downsides of Selenium WebDriver include that it doesn’t generate test reports on its own which there's no centralized maintenance of objects or elements.
Last is the Selenium Grid. Selenium Grid allows you to run multiple tests at an identical time on multiple machines, also referred to as parallel testing.
It’s an environment with multiple systems, but one ‘master’ system (the hub) which controls the kid systems (the nodes). the kid systems can as an example be Child 1: Windows 10 running Chrome, Child 2: MAC running Safari, Child 3: Linux running Chrome, and so on. From your master system, you'll be able to check if your application runs as you wish it to on all the various child systems. The instructions are sent through the hub in your chosen artificial language. This running of multiple tests directly is additionally called parallel execution, and it's achieved in what Selenium calls a hub-node architecture.
The advantages of Selenium
Combined, the Selenium tool suite offers a variety of possibilities for test automation.
On a high level, Selenium can facilitate your test software by automating tests. Automated testing, as against manual testing, is helpful because it allows you to finish testing tasks faster and with fewer errors.
Selenium has become one of the foremost popular testing tools, mainly because it’s an open-sourced framework (making it free and accessible to all), and it enables skilled testers to automate many testing processes, like functional tests and regression tests.
As made clear within the overview of the various Selenium tools, Selenium may be used across several browsers, it supports several operating systems and it works with multiple programming languages, meaning it integrates well with many business systems.
Furthermore, thanks to it being open-sourced, the tool may be modified to the wants of the user, and there's an outsized community of users to be told from and share best practices with.
In sum, the benefits of Selenium are:
- It’s free, as hostile most other automation tools that include licensing costs
- It’s open-sourced, with extension and modification of ASCII text file
- It supports multiple programming languages
- It supports most operating systems
- It supports all major browsers
- It has community support, because of the big network of users
- It has plenty of integration options, allowing e.g. parallel testing and reporting
The disadvantages of Selenium
Although Selenium has many advantages, it also lacks the variety of functionalities to create the final word test automation tool.
First of all, Selenium only allows you to check web applications – not mobile or desktop.
Useful functionalities like reporting and data-driven testing are only possible with the mixing of additional tools.
In other words, Selenium is in no way an ‘all-in-one’ platform.
The biggest disadvantage to testers, however, is perhaps that it requires programming skills to put in writing tests. Although it's going to be considered a bonus to programmers that Selenium allows you to use any artificial language you wish, to the tester, it won’t be a plus, because… well, testers don’t necessarily understand how to develop code.
Although the Selenium community is also ready to help with various coding tasks, testing teams cannot always depend upon this support for larger enterprise projects thanks to the need for privacy and quick resolution time.
Additionally, maintaining a Selenium Grid in itself could be a significant and time-consuming task. It involves continuous monitoring similar to upgrading, patching, etc. Not just for specific browser versions, but also the OS they're running on.
Overall, creating a quick and efficient test automation ecosystem supported by Selenium could be a time-consuming task that needs highly skilled testers to line up and maintain.
In sum, the disadvantages of Selenium are:
- It’s difficult to line up and use, potentially resulting in high start-up costs
- Slow test development as all test cases must be scripted
- It only supports web browsers, not mobile and desktop
- No dedicated support, only user communities
- Requires 3rd party solutions to hide all testing needs
Choosing your test automation tool
With the pros and cons of Selenium described above, you must now have a clearer picture of what Selenium can and can't provide you with.
There is an unlimited number of tools and testing frameworks available for test automation, and there may be a tool that serves you better than Selenium.
If you choose to explore other options, here are some features that, betting on your team’s and business’s needs, you must consider:
- Is it easy-to-use, enabling testers to line up test cases from day one?
- Is it visual, providing you with an honest overview of your test suite?
- Is it collaborative, allowing your team to figure together on the software?
- Is it code-free, enabling all testers to line up and understand test cases?
- Is it adaptable, working across all web, mobile, and desktop apps and technologies?
- Is it trackable, capturing why test cases fail in recorded videos and logs?
- Is it able to fully support an automatic release pipeline without requiring additional coding effort?
- Is it supported, getting you the assistance you wish after you need it?
LEAPWORK: A code-free Selenium
To avoid spending longer and resources than necessary, it's going to pay off to speculate in another test automation platform, like LEAPWORK.
LEAPWORK builds on the success and functionality of Selenium but is far easier to use and doesn’t require any coding skills. It provides you with all the useful features of a test automation tool listed above.
With LEAPWORK, you, and each other tester on the team can be founded and run test cases. The easy-to-use platform hides all the code behind visual building blocks which will be dragged and dropped to line up entire test suites from day one.