During the early years of software development, complete manual test cases were the only way to verify the proper functioning of these applications. However, with the advancement of technology and rising complexities, automation testing started to arrive in the industry. Using automation testing the developers can automatically conduct the test cases with the help of automated test scripts.
For comparison, manual test cases took several weeks to complete the testing process however, automation testing can complete all the processes within two days. Currently, there are several frameworks that developers can use to introduce automation testing in their test bench. However, the most popular name that has ruled this segment for almost a decade now is Selenium. In this article, we will learn everything that you need to know to get started with Selenium automation testing.
Understanding Selenium Automation Testing
Selenium is an umbrella project to automate the testing of web applications. This test suite was initially introduced in 2004. Since its first introduction, Selenium has gone through various updates and is currently running on the 4th version. Selenium is completely open source which means that developers can use all of its features without any license fee. A test performed with the help of Selenium is commonly known as a Selenium automated test. Since Selenium is a test suite, it comprises multiple tools that specialize in certain areas of the application testing process. Using Selenium, the developers can also integrate third-party tools and libraries to further improve the quality of the final application.
One of the major drawbacks of Selenium is that the developers can only use it to verify the functioning of modern web applications. This is surprising considering the scope and popularity of other applications that are available in the market.
The Components of the Selenium Test Suite
The components of the Selenium test suite are as follows:
Selenium IDE: Selenium IDE stands for Selenium integrated development environment. This tool was initially developed in 2006 and added with an update to the Selenium test suite. Using this tool, the developers can record the user actions for developing automated test scripts. It helps to improve the testing experience and the accuracy of the test cases as it is completely based on individual user interactions. Selenium IDE is compatible with almost all the popular web browsers that are currently available.
Selenium WebDriver: The Selenium WebDriver is the core of all the Selenium automated test cases. This is because it is responsible for not only introducing the test cases but also executing them in respective web browsers. With the Selenium 4 update, various new features have been added to the Selenium WebDriver. It is interesting to note that Selenium WebDriver was added to the test suite with the 2nd update. Unlike Selenium remote controller, the web driver does not require a core engine to function. This is because it can natively interact with all the components of a web browser.
Selenium Grid: The Selenium grid is responsible for the parallel execution of multiple test cases. It also allows the developers to execute the test cases on different machines and remote servers at the same time. The Selenium grid is also critical for running the test cases on different wave configurations simultaneously. The Selenium grid consists of a central hub that is connected to several nodes. After picking up a test case, the hub will forward it to the respective node for its execution.
Some popular terms related to Selenium Automation Testing are as follows:
While using Selenium automation testing, the developers will come across some common terms. So, they need to know its meaning. The terms are as follows:
Selenium Test Script: It consists of a text file that is written with the preferred programming language and will be used by the server for executing the test cases.
JSON Wire Protocol: It acts as a transfer mechanism for transferring vital data between the server and the client. JSON Wire Protocol is the industry standard for providing multiple web services.
Browser Drivers: Selenium uses multiple drivers that are specific to browsers. This allows the system to create a secure connection with the browser.
How to Install the Selenium IDE
The developers can easily install the Selenium integrated development environment by following the simple steps that are given below:
- For installing the Selenium integrated development environment in Firefox, the developers have to first launch the browser.
- Then, the developers have to access the menu that will be available in the top right-hand corner.
- The next step is to select the add-ons option that will be available in the drop-down menu.
- After this, the developers have to select the find more add-ons option and type Selenium IDE in it.
- The final step in this process is to click on the ‘add to Firefox’ option.
Features of the Selenium IDE
Some of the common features of the Selenium integrated development environment are as follows:
1. Recording the Test
It is possible to record the execution of a test case using Selenium. This process helps the developers to later analyze all the steps and results for debugging processes. One of the major advantages of Selenium is that the recording process begins immediately after navigating to the respective URL. The developers can stop the recording according to their preferences. After this, all the steps and results of the test are converted into the form of a script.
2. Saving the Progress
The developers need to save their work in the Selenium IDE. This is because unsaved work can lead to loss of data and delay the application development lifecycle. To save the work, the developers simply have to choose the save option that will be available in the top right-hand corner of the IDE main window. After this, the developers have to choose a name for the file and its location. The saved file will have a .side extension.
Selenium IDE allows the developers to play back the tests that have already been completed. The playback feature is crucial for analyzing the bugs that have been detected during the testing process. The developers simply have to choose the test and select the play option that will be available beside it. To playback a cross-browser test, the developers have to use the command line runner option.
Writing Automated Test Scripts with Selenium
To write an automated test script with Selenium, the developers have to follow all the steps given below. We will also discuss some of the pre-requirements to begin the testing process with Selenium:
- To begin automation testing with Selenium, the developers must have the latest version of Java and the Java development kit on their system. It is easily available on the official website of Java.
- After this, the developers have to download and configure any Java IDE like Eclipse on their system.
- After this, the developers must choose a directory or a workspace that will store all the test cases.
- The next step is to navigate to the official website of Selenium and download the Selenium WebDriver client.
- Depending on the browser that you’re intending to test your web application, you must download its respective driver to ensure smooth execution.
- The final step in this process is to configure the Selenium WebDriver with the help of the Eclipse integrated development environment. The developers have to finally provide a project name and select a JRE. We would recommend all the developers stick with the default JRE and click on the finish button. After this, the developers can easily write their first Test case with the help of the new class option that will be available in the SRC folder.
Influence of Cloud Platforms in Selenium Automation Testing
Just taking a simple look at the Android segment, we can see that almost 1000 new Android devices are released every year. Considering that this same trend continues in other mobile and desktop platforms, it is simple to understand that maintaining a physical device testing lab is a very expensive process. However, on the other hand, it is not an ideal practice to release web applications after simply testing them on different emulators and simulators. So, the best solution to this problem is using different Cloud platforms that are easily available in the market. These platforms help the developers to test the web application on different real devices that are present on their cloud servers. LambdaTest will be a great example to improve our understanding of this segment:
We can define LambdaTest as a cloud platform to verify the proper cross-browser functioning of modern web applications. For beginners, cross-browser testing is the process of ensuring that a web application continues to maintain its optimal performance irrespective of changes in device version, operating system, or browser type. While using Selenium, LambdaTest can run the test cases on more than 3000 different browser versions. LambdaTest also introduces parallel testing to further improve the efficiency of the test cases. Using parallel testing the developers can run multiple test cases of different configurations at the same time. LambdaTest also supports automation testing in other popular frameworks like Cypress and Playwright. Using this platform, the developers can execute the test cases on multiple emulators and real devices.
So, we can conclude that with the proper knowledge, it is a very simple process to conduct automation testing with Selenium. Selenium also has massive consumer communities that help developers with every problem. All the members of this community are actively working to improve the testing experience while using Selenium. A recent survey shows that only 67% of the application development industry has adopted automation testing. So, the remaining companies need to transition from manual test cases as soon as possible. This is because many industry experts believe that automation testing will continue to gain more importance in future application development processes. Lastly, it is important for the developers to understand that it is very important to use proper automation tools and platforms for improving testing quality.