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Selenium Automated testing: Why is it so alluring?

Selenium Automated testing: Why is it so alluring?

abstract image of testing for web applications and technology

A web application is developed in many stages and a lengthy procedure is involved in developing it and bringing it to reality. Testing is generally the pen ultimate state of a typical web application development process. Once your web application has been developed, it’s time to test whether it’s functioning seamlessly across multiple platforms & web browsers, whether it’s responsive to multiple screen sizes, or whether it’s bug-free or not.

These testing processes are generally carried out in an automated way and more and more companies are now opting for automated testing over its traditional form which is manual testing. Test automation has come up to be the most favored and effective way of testing web applications for a variety of reasons the most significant and obvious ones being the repeatability and the speed of execution of these tests which manual testing can hardly achieve.

Test automation means using a software tool to run repeatable tests against the application to be tested. There are many tools available for automated testing but the most widely used open-sourced testing tool is selenium. Selenium is free and open-sourced automated testing suite for web applications across multiple web browsers and platforms, focusing on automating web-based applications. Selenium is not a single tool but a collection of four different tools, a suite to be precise, with each tool catering to a different testing need of an organization. The four components of selenium are:

  • Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  • Selenium Remote Control (RC)
  • WebDriver
  • Selenium Grid

WebDriver and Selenium RC merged together and are collectively called Selenium 2 with WebDriver at the core. Selenium 2 is still being fully developed and is the future of the selenium project.

gears and testing

Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

The Selenium IDE has the simplest framework and is the easiest to learn among the four components. It’s basically a prototyping tool for running test scripts. Being a Firefox plug-in, it’s easy to install and provides easy to use interface for the development of automated tests. There is a record feature in Selenium IDE which records user actions and then exports them in reusable script formats for Selenium RC and Web Driver.

Selenium Remote Control (RC)

Selenium RC also called selenium 1 is the previous version of the selenium project. It was cross-browser and cross-platform with faster execution than Selenium IDE. It can perform looping and conditional operations with support for data-driven testing. However, it is now deprecated and is supported only in maintenance mode. As of version 2.25.0, RC can support the following programming languages:

  • Java
  • C#
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Perl
  • Ruby

WebDriver

WebDriver also called Selenium 2 is the advanced version of the selenium project and is the newest addition to the toolkit. It has a more modern and stable approach towards automated testing by not relying on JavaScript for automation but directly communicating with the browser by itself. It is a much more robust automation tool with a cohesive and object-oriented API offering maximum flexibility.

It supports the same languages as Selenium RC.

  • Java
  • C#
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Perl
  • Ruby

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid is used together with Selenium RC to run parallel tests, i.e. it runs multiple tests across different machines and different browsers at the same time. By using parallel processing Selenium Grid saves a lot of time. Also, it can manage large test suits by dividing them for testing in multiple grids thus boosting performance substantially.

Selenium has many advantages over its counterparts such as HP’s UFT which makes it highly favorable even though UTH has more to offer.

Summary: Automated testing is the most favored mode of testing a web application nowadays. Of the many testing tools, Selenium automated testing is mostly used and is highly favored over others like UTH. There are four main components of selenium, namely

  • Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  • Selenium Remote Control (RC)
  • WebDriver
  • Selenium Grid
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