selenium
May 13, 2020

What to Expect in the Latest Version of Selenium

Automation
Continuous Testing

Selenium, the leading web framework for automation, releases frequently. Here, we take a look at Selenium releases, from a few years back all the way to Selenium’s latest version. And we reveal what’s to come in Selenium 4.

Selenium Latest Version

The latest version of Selenium is Selenium 4.0.0 Alpha 5, released in March of 2020.

Selenium 4 Release Date

The Selenium 4 release date has already come and passed. Originally planned for late 2018, the release date has since been pushed back, just like with Selenium 3. 

However, the Selenium 4 Alpha was released in April of 2019.

As of the time of publishing, we still don’t know the Selenium 4 release date. But we are anxiously awaiting it, and some of the new features it will usher in.

New Selenium 4 Features

Selenium, the de facto web app test automation framework, is comprised of Selenium IDE, Selenium WebDriver, and Selenium Grid. And Selenium 4 offers changes to all of these components.

To start, Selenium 4 offers new standardization. For users, this latest version of Selenium will allow for a more seamless experience. In the past, most Selenium commands did not work across browsers. Now, you will no longer need to modify code to work with different browsers.

Selenium Webdriver will be completely W3C standardized. Since Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Edge will also follow W3C standardization, this means that everything will run in W3C standard protocol.

Selenium IDE can now be used on any browser, not just Chrome. You can use your own locator strategy while easily plugging into the Selenium IDE. The new Selenium IDE runner will be based on WebDriver. The command line runner will be based off NodeJS rather than HTML. 

The command line runner will also now provide information such as the number of pass/fails and the test timing.

Other Updates in Selenium 4

  • Improvements to request tracing and logging with hooks for better debugging.
  • Updated documentation, which hasn’t been touched since Selenium 2.0.
  • Selenium Grid UI improvements, with no need to set up hubs and nodes separately as the grid serves the purpose of both.
  • Capabilities are transitioning from Legacy/JSON Wire Protocol to WebDriver protocol.
  • Chromedriver and EdgeDriver are inherited from ChromiumDriver, which offers predefined access to dev tools for performance measurement.
  • You can work on two different windows at the same time.
  • Get locators relative to any other locator, such as toLeftOf() or above().
  • Selenium 4 will end support for Opera and headless testing with Phantom.

Looking Back on Selenium Releases

Here’s a look at the monumental Selenium releases through the years:

2004: Selenium is launched.
2007: Selenium IDE and Selenium WebDriver launched.
2011: Selenium 2 is introduced.
2016: Selenium 3 debuts.
2019: Selenium 4 Alpha is released.

Below, we break down some of the recent Selenium releases and their key features.

Selenium VersionRelease DateKey Features
Selenium Releases

Selenium 4.0
Alpha 5

March 2020
  • Improves docker support by using unix domain sockets and the DOCKER_HOST env variable.
  • Reuses the same HTTP client instead of creating a client per session.
  • Replaces OpenTracing with OpenTelemetry.
Selenium 4.0 Alpha 4January 2020
  • Chrome Debugging Protocol mirrors latest CDP spec.
  • Adds support for creating and removing virtual authenticators.
  • Adds support to debug virtual authenticators.
Selenium 4.0 Alpha 3

July 2019

  • Adds "relative" locators.
  • Adds ApplicationCache, Fetch, Network, Performance, Profiler, ResourceTiming, Security, and Target CDP domains.
  • Ensures protocol converters handle the new session responses.
  • Moves to new Grid, deleting the old standalone server.
Selenium 4.0 Alpha 2May 2019
  • Adds Chromium-based Edge support, which adds a new Chromium driver to the tree too.
  • Adds extra domains for CDP: Network, Performance, Security, Target.
  • Enables full page screenshots for Firefox.
  • Reworks HTTP abstractions for better support streaming.
Selenium 4.0 Alpha 1May 2019
  • Removes deprecated methods and classes.
  • Grid supports standalone, hub, and node, and completely distributed usage.
  • Supports Docker containers within Grid Server.
  • Adds element screenshotting.
  • New Grid can output logs in single-line JSON format.
V3.141.59April 2019
  • Tests that remoteHost is properly read and set.
  • Fixes displayed content in help servlet.
  • Implement `WrapsElement` by `Select` element wrapper.
V3.141.0November 2018
  • Selenium server distribution package is drastically reduced with HtmlUnit driver and all its dependencies removed.
  • W3C trumps original Actions API.
  • Users must choose a release channel format to use in their tests depending on the browser version they run tests in.
  • Nodes and hubs in the grid can be started in any order.
V3.14.0August 2018
  • Introduces experimental basic JPMS support.
  • Removes the GSON dependency.
  • Adds High Sierra to the platforms.
  • Adds node info to hub status.
  • Allows temporary installation of FF extension.

Perfecto Makes Selenium Better

Perfecto fully embraces open source technology, including Selenium. In fact, it’s one of the top frameworks we support. View all integrations>>

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  • Execute web testing 50% faster than other vendors.
  • Enjoy the scalability of Selenium Grid from the cloud.
  • Scale your tests across multiple platforms.
  • Find and fix bugs quickly with advanced test reporting and debugging.
  • Integrate into your entire CI/CD toolchain.

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