Looking to start your career with Selenium? What about having a Selenium guide to take yourself from Beginner level to Advanced? So, we have got you covered as this guide will give you an idea about what Selenium is and how it works to make the life easier for testers. The first thing to say about Selenium is that while it is a browser automation framework, it’s not so much a tool for running tests as it is a tool for building them.
Selenium, an open source and free web application testing tool to automate web-based applications is no doubt a great alternative to paid and commercial tools. Though there are many pros of using this tool over others, it also has its cons as well. In this Selenium Guide, we will explore everything about it and how to become a master in Selenium which can come handy during a project’s life cycle.
Introduction to Selenium
Selenium may be the most important tool in your entire testing toolbox. It’s certainly among the most popular. To get things done in the real world we have to go beyond the Selenium basics. It was initially developed for Firefox and has now expanded to support other browsers as well such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, etc. Selenium enables us to create automated scripts that can be used to test the application in different scenarios, thereby reducing the time needed to manually test all possible scenarios by QA professionals. Furthermore, it can work on any modern browser (including IE) for any type of application, whether it’s a web site, web-service based or desktop software. It does not depend on the language running your application or tests, so there’s no need to change your existing tests or development practices.
Importance of Selenium
Nowadays, businesses are into the digital world. Customers are using online web portals to interact with the businesses. If a business has a website, it’s always under constant testing. There are many tools that help in website optimization but none of them provide the opportunity to test every part of your website thoroughly. You cannot check all elements on your site from one screen. Selenium automates the entire process and gives you the power to do extensive testing, which is time and cost effective.
1. It can be used with CI/CD Pipelines
Continuous Integration helps ensure that a build isn’t broken before it’s even deployed. It is known to one and all how performance testing impacts the development and maintenance of a web application. It pushes through numerous test cases with a representative sample of targeted audience. This is where Selenium comes into work as it allows the team members to easily access the flow and other basic features of the code that they are testing.
2. Cross-Browser Testing seems to be faster with Selenium
Cross browser automation testing is a process that automates the browser testing using selenium webdriver. It is similar to desktop application testing where you make use of software with the help of browsers to automate the testing process. Cross browser automation tests are used for increasing the speed and accuracy of the testing process. There are many tools available in Selenium but Firefox driver, Chrome Driver and Safari Driver are used because they support most of the functionalities for cross browser automation.
3. Helps in easy testing for the Agile Testers
QA automation is a very important practice for companies, because it helps create a self-testing codebase, which improves the overall quality of the software. Testing has traditionally been done manually by the Quality Assurance team. With the Selenium, it becomes easy for the testers to work with the codes. In contrast to manual testing, Selenium automated browser testing tool is easy to set up and use, reduces human errors when doing repetitive testing and improves efficiency in terms of time and money spent.
Components used in Selenium Suite
Selenium has gained immense popularity over the past few years and has become the de-facto standard for automating web applications. Selenium became popular because unlike many other testing frameworks, it allows users to write tests in their local language as they don’t need to learn any domain specific language or platform specific API. The Selenium Suite contains four components and these are:
1. Selenium RC:
Selenium Remote Control, or Selenium RC, was the first product released by Selenium core developers. Since its release in 2004, Selenium RC has gone through a lot of changes. The main advantage of Selenium RC is its ability to handle components like frames, cookies, and meta refresh tags, which were unsupported by other similar products. Moreover, it includes the record-and-playback functionality which means that those scripts can be debugged offline and the test suites can be executed against already recorded scripts.
2. Selenium Grid:
Selenium Grid uses the RemoteWebDriver for communicating between the Selenium Server (Hub) and the individual nodes. It is a multi-threaded server which runs multiple RemoteWebDriver instances with different base URLs to create a grid. The XML configuration files act as a JSON based grammar which helps in creating the nodes and connecting it to the hub. The hub can be configured as a Self-Hosted Selenium grid or you can use any cloud service provider of your choice.
3. Selenium IDE:
The latest version of Selenium IDE supports change bars, set and delete element, selection usability for point, rectangle or text and has support for Screenshot. It plays back the scripts in the command line and there is no option to add pause or wait for a certain time during recording or playback. It is designed for running tests or interactions in a web application. It is also known as the Selenium Record/Playback tool. It can be used to record the workflows/actions in the existing web applications and hence makes the process easier for the testers.
4. Selenium WebDriver:
Selenium Webdriver is an essential tool for web developers because it allows them to accurately and efficiently perform browser-based tests. Postman, Watin, and Puppeteer are a few other popular tools for automating the test process. With its various tools and libraries, it helps in automating web applications for any application programming interface (API). Selenium WebDriver helps in creating automated test cases, test scripts, etc., which can be re-run repeatedly. This component in the suite has been dedicated to make the user’s experience better.
Selenium WebDriver Components
Selenium WebDriver is a web application automation tool. It works across various browsers to provide testers or developers with desired results. Selenium provides one programming language to work with every kind of platform. Before the advent of Selenium WebDriver, all these frameworks had to be scripted with a lot of effort to run functional tests. Though there were other tools that would allow you to script functional tests, they were just as difficult to implement.
Selenium provides many different types of browser drivers. As discussed above, they are basically the communication interface between the script and the browser application. Xpath is an XML-based language that is used across a variety of tools for searching the XML document to select the elements of it. The XPath generally consists of a location path along with an expression. The basic principle of the usage of these drivers is that the functionality of those browsers will be handled by the driver and the rest of functionalities will be handled by Selenium script.
WebDriver is a tool for driving the web. It was initially developed by the Selenium project, however, now it has become a part of the W3C standard. Like any other web automation tool, it covers all aspects of the web page automation and test case execution. Everything on the web requires some HTTP requests to function. So, WebDriver automates those HTTP requests by taking control through the Command line or Interface. Using Webdriver, we can easily automate and test the functionalities of any web applications without having the browser to be present. The only thing needed is a browser driver, which acts as an interface between the Selenium Server and the browser.
Selenium Client Library
Even though the language bindings component is not mandatory by any means, it has become a preferred option by many WebDriver users. The Selenium Client Library discusses more about the language bindings, how they facilitate cross-language and cross-platform support in WebDriver applications and what are some of the pros and cons of using them. Furthermore, the Selenium Client Library keeps things easy for the testers as the scripts can be automated in any language.
JSON Wire Protocol OverHTTP Client
In the last few years, automation of web application testing has gained importance among developers and testers. The reason behind this increasing need is to ensure the accuracy and speed of the application under test. Selenium WebDriver provides a platform, which not only offers rich support to all testing needs but also allows the users to design tests, manage them in one place, and then control execution of the tests through various programming languages. It uses JSON Wire Protocol so that you can automate the user interface of web applications for testing and development.
Testings supported by Selenium WebDriver
Selenium is a third-party commercial web testing tool which is widely being used by the organizations all around the globe to automate their functional and regression test scripts and to make their testing process more convincing. Furthermore, the testing options that it gives to the users is unbelievable. Some of these are:
- End-To-End Testing: To make end to end testing easier, you can use automation testing tools like Selenium. By using Selenium, you can develop a suite of test cases to automate the execution and checking. With the help of Selenium, it is easy to locate links on a web page, find text in a table, fill out forms and check links.
- Performance and Load Testing: Although Selenium is primarily used for testing web applications, it can also be used for a wide range of other test automation, such as performance tests. In most of the cases, you will find Selenium’s ability to simulate a browser environment to be vital in automating your performance test scenarios.
- Unit Testing: Selenium is a great tool for those developers who want to access it in the unit testing as small bugs and errors can be fixed through it and it offers a wide range of features with it. Apart from it, Unit Testing can be a bit monotonous as the tester has to correct the code after each cycle. But Selenium offers easy code reading and is a quick tool that takes much less time as compared to other tools that offer less features for unit testing.
To start test automation on cloud using Selenium, you can choose cloud-based testing platforms like LambdaTest. LambdaTest is the world’s fastest-growing test orchestration and execution cloud that offers manual and automated testing for websites & web applications across 3000+ real browsers, devices, and operating systems. Other than a cloud Selenium Grid, you can also leverage the benefits of manual testing and responsive testing. You can also grab full-page screenshots of your websites, up to 25 different browsers + OS, in a single test session. You can even perform visual regression testing between the screenshots of your web pages for visual mismatches.
Also Read: Automation Testing Using Selenium