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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Selenium?
3.
Importance Of Selenium
4.
History of Selenium
5.
Features of Selenium
6.
Use of Selenium
6.1.
1. Web application testing
6.2.
2. Cross-browser testing
6.3.
3. Regression testing 
6.4.
4. Load testing: 
6.5.
5. Integration testing 
6.6.
6. Continuous integration and delivery: 
7.
Tools in Selenium
7.1.
1. Selenium IDE
7.2.
2. Selenium WebDriver
7.3.
3. Selenium Grid
7.4.
4. Selenium Remote Control (RC)
7.5.
5. Selenium TestRunner
7.6.
6. Selenium IDE Formatter
7.7.
7. Selenium WebDriver Playback
8.
Exception in Selenium
9.
Frameworks in Selenium
9.1.
Data-driven framework 
9.2.
Keyword-driven framework
9.3.
Hybrid-driven framework
10.
Commands in Selenium
10.1.
Actions
10.2.
Accessors
10.3.
Assertions
11.
Need of Selenium Framework
12.
Applications of Selenium
12.1.
Web Application Testing 
12.2.
Regression Testing
12.3.
Cross-Browser Testing
12.4.
Performance Testing
12.5.
Web Scraping
13.
Advantages of Selenium
14.
Disadvantages of Selenium 
15.
Limitations of Selenium
16.
Frequently Asked Questions
16.1.
What is Selenium?
16.2.
What is the use of Selenium?
16.3.
What are the advantages of Selenium?
16.4.
How to use Selenium tool for testing?
17.
Conclusion 
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
Medium

Introduction to Selenium

Author Tashmit Kaur
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Introduction

Introduction to Selenium

Selenium is an open-source tool that is used for the automated testing of web applications. It uses a browser-specific driver to control and execute user actions. Developers write scripts with the help of Selenium API to define test cases and run them on various browsers. Selenium also supports headless browser testing, which allows tests to run without a visible browser window. It is used in software development to make sure that web applications are appropriately working.

Selenium also comes with additional essential components, such as Selenium Grid, which simplifies distributed testing by allowing test scripts to execute simultaneously on several devices and browsers. Without the requirement for coding knowledge, automated tests can be created with the Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Additionally, Selenium works well with well-known development tools like Jenkins, Maven, and TestNG, as well as a number of testing frameworks.

In this article, we will study about Selenium, including its history, features, components, and applications. We will also discuss about uses and tools used in Selenium. We will see exceptions, frameworks, and commands in Selenium. In the end, we will understand the advantages and disadvantages of Selenium and the need for the Selenium framework. It is really important to understand about the limitations, so we will discuss the limitations of Selenium too. Whether you are new to Selenium or an experienced user, this article will provide valuable insights into the tool and its capabilities.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an automated testing framework. It is used for testing web applications. It is an open-source framework. It allows developers to write scripts that simulate user actions and interactions with a web browser, such as clicking buttons, filling out forms, and navigating between pages.

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Importance Of Selenium

Selenium holds the utmost importance in the software testing world. It excels in automating web application tests across diverse browsers and platforms, enhancing efficiency by automating repetitive tasks. Selenium seamlessly integrates with various tools, provides comprehensive reporting, and is budget-friendly as an open-source solution. Its versatility and community support further cement its importance in the field of test automation.

History of Selenium

Selenium was initially developed by Jason Huggins in 2004 while working on a web application that required frequent testing. He created a JavaScript program called "JavaScriptTestRunner" to automate the testing process, which later became the core of Selenium. The tool was released as an open-source project in 2004 and quickly gained popularity in the software development industry due to its ability to automate browser testing.

Then, Selenium evolved and expanded to support various programming languages and web browsers. Later, Simon Stewart made the WebDriver API which was the main interface. Nowadays, Selenium is the most used web application for testing. New features are constantly added for its improvements.

Features of Selenium

Selenium offers a range of features that make it a popular choice among developers and testers. Here are some of the key features of Selenium:

  1. Cross-platform compatibility: Selenium provides cross-platform compatibility. It can be used on different operating systems such as Windows, Mac, and Linux.
     
  2. Support for multiple programming languages: Selenium supports various programming languages such as Java, Python, C#, Ruby, etc. This flexibility enables developers to choose the language they are most comfortable with.
     
  3. Browser compatibility: Selenium supports various browsers. For example, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera. This allows testers to run tests on different browsers and make sure that the application works correctly.
     
  4. Record and playback: Selenium enables testers to record and playback test cases. This feature is very useful for automating repetitive tasks and saving time.
     
  5. Parallel testing: Testers can run multiple tests simultaneously. It saves time and speeds up the testing process.
     
  6. Integration with other tools: Selenium can be easily merged with other tools such as Jenkins, Maven, and Git. This enables testers to incorporate testing into their existing development and deployment workflows.
     
  7. Open-source: Selenium is an open-source tool, which means that it is free to use. A large community of developers contributes to its development and support. This also means that there are plenty of resources available online to help testers learn how to use Selenium effectively.
     
  8. Easy to use: Selenium has a simple syntax that is easy to understand and implement. This makes it easy for testers to write and run test scripts without needing extensive programming knowledge.

Use of Selenium

Some of the main uses of Selenium in software and web applications are:

1. Web application testing

Selenium is basically used for testing web applications. It enables testers to automate repetitive tasks such as clicking on buttons, filling out forms, and navigating through pages. This can save time and reduce the risk of errors that can occur when performing these tasks manually.

2. Cross-browser testing

Selenium helps testers to run tests on multiple browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera. It ensures that the application works correctly on all browsers.

3. Regression testing 

Selenium is ideal for performing regression testing. It involves re-running tests after changes have been made to the application.

4. Load testing

Selenium can be used to perform load testing, It involves simulating heavy user traffic on the application to see how it performs under stress. This helps to identify any performance issues and ensure that the application can handle high volumes of traffic.

5. Integration testing 

Selenium can be used for integration testing, which involves testing how different parts of the application work together. This is critical for ensuring that the application functions as intended and that there are no issues with how different modules or components interact.

6. Continuous integration and delivery

Selenium can be integrated with continuous integration and delivery tools such as Jenkins and Git to automate the testing process and ensure that new changes are tested and deployed quickly and efficiently.

Tools in Selenium

The tools available in Selenium include:

1. Selenium IDE

It is a browser plugin that helps us to record, edit, and debug tests. It supports various programming languages like Java, C#, Python, Ruby, etc., and generates code for various languages.

2. Selenium WebDriver

 It is a tool for automating web applications. It provides a way to interact with web elements using various programming languages. WebDriver provides a rich set of APIs for automating testing with web elements like buttons, links, forms, and dropdowns.

3. Selenium Grid

It allows users to run tests in parallel across multiple machines and browsers simultaneously. It enables testers to test their web applications on different environments and browsers. Thus, it helps to identify issues related to browser compatibility and functionality.

4. Selenium Remote Control (RC)

It is a tool that allows us to write automated testing for web applications. It provides a way to interact with web elements using multiple programming languages.

5. Selenium TestRunner

It is a tool that allows us to run tests written in Selenium.

6. Selenium IDE Formatter

It is a tool that helps us to format Selenium code in various programming languages.

7. Selenium WebDriver Playback

It is a tool that allows users to playback Selenium scripts in different browsers like Google chrome, internet explorer, and safari.

 

S.No.

Tools and Description

1

Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

The Selenium framework is a user-friendly record and playback tool known as Selenium IDE. It makes it possible for non-programmers to construct automated tests by capturing their interactions with online apps.

2

Selenium Remote Control (RC)

Selenium Remote Control (RC) is a discontinued Selenium framework component that allowed Selenium tests to be run on distant workstations using a client/server architecture. 

3

Selenium WebDriver

Selenium WebDriver is a strong Selenium framework component that offers a programming interface for automating browser interactions. It enables developers to manipulate browsers and replicate user behaviors by writing code in their choice of programming language.

4

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid is a component of the Selenium framework that provides distributed testing by allowing tests to run concurrently on different workstations and browsers. It serves as a central hub for handling and routing test requests to various nodes.

5

Selenium TestRunner

Selenium TestRunner is not a standard term; it likely refers to tools like JUnit or TestNG that execute Selenium test scripts.

6

Selenium IDE Formatter

Selenium IDE can format (export) recorded test scripts into programming languages like Java or Python for integration with Selenium WebDriver.

7

Selenium WebDriver Playback

Selenium WebDriver playback is the execution of scripted browser automation tasks, allowing you to interact with web elements and validate results as per the script's instructions.

Exception in Selenium

In Selenium, exceptions are errors that occur during the execution of a test script. These exceptions can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as an element not being found, a timeout, or an invalid input. Handling exceptions is an important aspect of writing robust and reliable automation scripts in Selenium.

Selenium handles exceptions through try-catch blocks. When an exception occurs, the catch block is executed, and we can specify the actions that need to be taken to handle the exception. There are two types of exceptions: checked and unchecked exceptions. 

  1. Checked Exceptions: In checked exceptions, the exceptions are checked at compile time. They need to be declared using try-catch blocks. Some examples of checked exceptions in Selenium are IOException, InterruptedException, and TimeoutException.
     
  2. Unchecked Exceptions: In checked exceptions, the exceptions are not checked at compile time. It is not necessary to declare these exceptions using try-catch blocks. Some examples of unchecked exceptions in Selenium are NoSuchElementException, StaleElementReferenceException, and InvalidSelectorException.

In addition to the built-in exceptions, we can create custom exceptions to handle specific errors that might occur in our test scripts.

Frameworks in Selenium

In Selenium, a framework is a set of guidelines, best practices, and tools used to organize and structure test automation code. It provides a standardized way of writing and maintaining test scripts, making them more efficient, reliable, and reusable.

Data-driven framework 

This is one of the most used frameworks in Selenium. In this framework, the test cases are separated from test data. Therefore, the test data is stored in a separate location, such as a spreadsheet or database, and is given to the test script as input. It allows us to test multiple scenarios with different sets of data. We can test our scripts without writing separate test cases. This makes our test automation more efficient and reduces the amount of code we need to write and maintain.
The Data-Driven Framework consists of three main components:

  1. Test Script: It's the code that interacts with the web application being tested. The test script is used to read input data from an external source, like a spreadsheet or database.
     
  2. Test Data: It’s the set of input data that is used to run the test cases. The test data is stored separately from the test script.
     
  3. Data Driver: This is the component that reads the test data and feeds it into the test script. The data driver can be implemented using different tools, such as Apache POI, JExcel, or TestNG.

Keyword-driven framework

Another commonly used framework in Selenium is the Keyword-Driven Framework. In a Keyword-Driven Framework, test cases are written in a tabular format that includes keywords, actions, and parameters. The keywords represent the actions that need to be performed on the web application. While the parameters represent the input data for those actions. 
The advantage of using a Keyword-Driven Framework in Selenium is that it allows us to create test cases without requiring extensive programming knowledge. Test cases can be written in a simple, easy-to-understand format that can be understood by both technical and non-technical team members. The Keyword-Driven Framework consists of four main components:

  1. Test Cases: Test cases are written in a tabular format that includes keywords, actions, and parameters. The keywords represent the actions that need to be performed. While the parameters represent the input data for those actions.
     
  2. Keyword Repository: It is a collection of keywords and their associated actions. This can be a spreadsheet, a database, or any other type of data source that can be easily modified and updated.
     
  3. Test Data: It is the set of input data that is used to run the test cases. The test data is stored separately from the test cases, allowing us to modify and reuse it.
     
  4. Driver Script: The Driver Script is the component that reads the test cases, test data, and the keyword repository and executes the test cases on the web application being tested.

Hybrid-driven framework

In the Hybrid-Driven Framework, test cases are written in a tabular format that includes keywords, actions, and parameters, similar to the Keyword-Driven Framework. However, instead of having a separate keyword repository, the Hybrid-Driven Framework includes reusable components and functions that can be called from within the test cases, similar to the Data-Driven Framework. The Hybrid-Driven Framework consists of the following components:

  1. Test Cases: Test cases are written in a tabular format that includes keywords, actions, and parameters, similar to the Keyword-Driven Framework.
     
  2. Reusable Components and Functions: The Hybrid-Driven Framework includes reusable components and functions that can be called from within the test cases. These components and functions are designed to be flexible and reusable, allowing us to write more efficient and maintainable test automation code.
     
  3. Test Data: Test data is the set of input data that is used to run the test cases. The test data is stored separately from the test cases, which allows us to easily modify and reuse it for different scenarios, similar to the Keyword-Driven Framework.
     
  4. Driver Script: The Driver Script is the component that reads the test cases, test data, and the reusable components and functions, and executes the test cases on the web application being tested, similar to the Keyword-Driven Framework.

Commands in Selenium

In Selenium, there are three main types of commands: Actions, Accessors, and Assertions.

Actions

Actions are commands that interact with the web page by performing some action, such as clicking a button, filling out a form, or scrolling the page. For example click(), sendKeys(), submit(), selectByVisibleText(), moveToElement(), and doubleClick(). Actions are used to simulate user interactions with the web page.

Accessors

Accessors are commands that take information from the web page it collects data like the text of an element, its size, or its location. Some examples of accessors in Selenium include getText(), getAttribute(), getSize(), getLocation(), and isDisplayed(). Accessors are used to verify the state of the web page and to extract data.

Assertions

Assertions are commands that compare the expected result with the actual result. It fails the test if the comparison is not true.For example assertEquals(), assertNotEquals(), assertTrue(), assertFalse(), and assertNull(). They are used to verify that the web page behaves as expected and to ensure that the tests are accurate and reliable.

Need of Selenium Framework

There are several reasons why a Selenium framework is necessary:

  1. Scalability: As the number of test cases grows, it becomes difficult to manage them manually. A framework helps to organize the tests into logical groups which makes it easier to run them selectively or in parallel.
     
  2. Reusability: A framework promotes the reuse of code and test data, reducing the time and effort required to develop and maintain tests. This also ensures consistency across the tests, which reduces the risk of errors and makes it easier to update the tests when the application changes.
     
  3. Maintainability: A well-designed framework makes it easier to maintain the tests over time. This includes features such as error handling, reporting, and logging, which help to identify and troubleshoot issues quickly.
     
  4. Collaboration: A framework provides a common structure and language for the entire testing team to follow, improving communication and collaboration between team members.
     
  5. Integration: A framework can be integrated with other tools and technologies, such as continuous integration (CI) systems, test management tools, and bug tracking systems, to streamline the testing process and provide a comprehensive view of the testing results.

Applications of Selenium

Some of the common applications of Selenium include:

Web Application Testing 

Selenium is commonly used for testing web applications, which can be time-consuming and error-prone if done manually. With Selenium, testers can automate the testing process, reducing the time and effort required to test web applications across multiple browsers and platforms.

Regression Testing

Regression testing involves testing the application after each new release to ensure that the existing functionality still works as expected. Selenium can automate this process, allowing testers to quickly run tests and identify any issues that may have arisen due to the changes made.

Cross-Browser Testing

Web applications may behave differently on different browsers and platforms. Selenium can be used to automate cross-browser testing, allowing testers to run the same tests on multiple browsers and platforms simultaneously.

Performance Testing

Selenium can be used to simulate heavy user traffic and load on web applications, allowing testers to identify any performance issues that may arise under such conditions.

Web Scraping

Selenium can be used to extract data from websites automatically. This is particularly useful for gathering data from multiple sources, such as competitor websites or social media platforms.

Advantages of Selenium

Here are some of the advantages of using Selenium:

  • Cross-browser compatibility: Selenium can automate web browsers across different operating systems and browsers. This helps to ensure that your web application works well on all platforms.
     
  • Open source: Selenium is an open-source tool that makes it free to use and can be customized as needed.
     
  • Multi-language support: Selenium supports multiple programming languages, including Java, Python, C#, and JavaScript.
     
  • Large user community: As Selenium is so widely used, there are many resources and forums available to help users troubleshoot issues and learn how to use the tool.
     
  • Integration with other tools: Selenium can be integrated with other testing tools and frameworks. This makes it a versatile option for automated testing.
     
  • Continuous integration: Selenium can be used as part of a continuous integration process. It allows for automated testing to run alongside other development activities.

Disadvantages of Selenium 

Here are some disadvantages of using Selenium:

  • Steep learning curve: Selenium can be difficult for beginners to learn, particularly if they are not familiar with programming languages.
     
  • Slow execution: Selenium tests can be slow to execute, particularly for large or complex web applications.
     
  • Limited support for mobile testing: Although Selenium can be used to automate mobile web browsers, it has limited support for native mobile apps.
     
  • Maintenance overhead: Maintaining Selenium tests can be time-consuming, particularly if the application being tested changes frequently.

Limitations of Selenium

Here are some limitations of Selenium:

  • Limited support for desktop applications: Selenium is primarily designed for testing web applications and has limited support for desktop applications.
     
  • Flakiness: Because Selenium relies on browser automation, tests can sometimes fail or produce unreliable results due to browser issues or unexpected changes in the application being tested.
     
  • Difficulty with testing dynamic web content: Selenium can have difficulty testing dynamic web content, particularly content that is loaded asynchronously or relies heavily on JavaScript.
     
  • Lack of built-in reporting: Selenium does not provide built-in reporting features, which can make it difficult to analyze and communicate test results.
     
  • Dependence on browser behavior: Selenium tests can be affected by differences in browser behavior, particularly when testing across different browsers and operating systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an open-source testing tool that allows developers and testers to automate web browsers and test web applications.

What is the use of Selenium?

The primary use of Selenium is to automate web browsers for testing web applications. It can be used for functional testing, regression testing, and load testing, among other things.

What are the advantages of Selenium?

Some advantages of using Selenium include cross-browser compatibility, multi-language support, open-source availability, a large user community, integration with other testing tools, and continuous integration support.

How to use Selenium tool for testing?

To use Selenium for testing, first install Selenium WebDriver, then choose a programming language for scripting, like Python or Java. Write test scripts that interact with web elements, configure browser drivers like ChromeDriver, and then execute tests while analyzing results and handling exceptions.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, Selenium is a widely used testing tool that provides many benefits to developers and testers. It allows for the automation of web browsers and testing of web applications, which can save a lot of time and improve the quality of the software. While there are some limitations and disadvantages to using Selenium, its advantages, such as cross-browser compatibility and open-source availability, make it a popular choice for many organizations. With its large user community and integration with other testing tools, Selenium continues to be a valuable asset in the software development and testing process.

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