Selenium is a widely used set of open-source testing automation tools for functional testing of browsers. The support of many programming languages, browsers. and operating systems have made it the number one automation testing tool for the majority of companies, including Google, Netflix, and HubSpot. Its biggest advantage is that it also allows testers with varying programming expertise to test web applications with it’s user-friendly tool suite.
The Selenium testing automation tool suite consists of three main parts:
- Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE) – Allows developers to write and edit various test cases. Selenium IDE works like a plugin that records your activities in the browser, translates them into Selenium’s language which can be later exported in other programming languages like Java, Python, or Ruby.
- Selenium WebDriver – Selenium WebDriver is a programming interface that developers utilize to create and run tests. As mentioned, Selenium is beloved among the tech community because it allows you to execute test cases across many languages and operating systems.
- Selenium Grid – Selenium Grid enables parallel testing. What does this mean? The simultaneous execution of different tests on multiple machines and in multiple environments. This functionality allows testers to evaluate the performance of the system on various browsers and setups. It saves a lot of time.
You should also be familiar with the Selenium Remote Control , which is a framework that facilitates the automation of UI tests for web applications and optimizes the testing processes. As mentioned earlier, it helps users pick their preferred programming language to actually perform the testing. Supported languages include Java, PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, and more. This versatility is extremely important in today’s dynamic software space.
Benefits of Selenium Testing
Here are some of the benefits of implementing Selenium Testing today:
- Open-source – Not only is Selenium a tool that provides automation with different operating systems and programming languages but it is also free and open source, with all the benefits that come with it. Although it does not offer a short learning curve for beginners and startups, Selenium is recognized as one of the industry-leading tools for non-functional software testing automation.
- Agile – Selenium is inherently agile and facilitates the Continuous Delivery (CD) pipeline. Firstly, it provides flexibility by running on various operating systems and browsers with different languages. Secondly, Selenium integrates with a plethora of development platforms like Maven or Jenkins. Finally, parallel testing provided by Selenium Grid shortens the feedback loop and accelerates testing workflows.
- Rich collection of extensions – If you go on GitHub and look for Selenium plugins and extensions, you will see a big list of different options for platforms like Eclipse, Jenkins, and others. There are also official extensions like Appium and Selendroid that allow for mobile testing. Appium is cross-platform and provides tools for iOS, Android, and Windows devices, whereas Selendroid works only with Android.
- Large community – With 27.5% of the market share in software testing, Selenium has attracted thousands of dedicated supporters and contributors. Having a big community means continuous growth and evolution of the technology such as releases of updates and new features. More than 55,000 companies are using Selenium, from big players like Google and Netflix to small startups.
Although Selenium is not the only tool available, it is the only one that is free yet can compete with expensive software due to its cross platform and cross browser testing capabilities. More and more job descriptions for QA team members require Selenium as the number one skill. eLearning platforms like Udemy and Coursera realized its potential and importance and started offering many courses on Selenium.
Disadvantages of Selenium Testing
The biggest downside of Selenium is its high complexity that demotivates many beginners. The learning curve is quite steep which makes the integration of the tools difficult for startups. Besides that, many users feel that the browser interaction is not quite realistics and provides inconsistent results. Also, Selenium Testing requires the Selenium RC Servers to be up and running at all times. Another technical hurdle.
It’s also important to mention that because of its open-source nature, support is limited to the online user communities. There is no dedicated support team to approach.