March 19, 2020

What Is Automated Testing In Selenium?

Continuous Testing

Many teams are using Selenium for testing. But what is Selenium? What is Selenium functional testing? Here we cover what Selenium is, how it works, and if using Selenium is a good idea for your team.

Read along or jump ahead to whichever section interests you most:

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What Is Automated Testing In Selenium?

How Selenium works: Selenium is a set of open-source tools that automate web testing in a single interface, allowing you to test in multiple programming languages, including Ruby, Java, NodeJS, PHP, Perl, Python, and C#.

Unlike some tools out there, Selenium is pretty easy to define:

“Selenium automates browsers. That's it!” — SeleniumHQ

It’s really that simple. Obviously, in practice, there’s a little more to it than that. 

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Introduction to Automated Testing In Selenium

Selenium was born in 2004 when Jason Huggins — an engineer at ThoughtWorks — was working on an application that required lots of manual testing.

He developed JavaScript code that could automate control of the browser, greatly streamlining the test process. This code came to be called “Selenium Remote Control” and was open-sourced later that year.

Over the next few years, other developers got involved in the project and a few Selenium-related projects were spawned, including Selenium Grid, Selenium IDE, and Selenium WebDriver. This increasingly powerful set of tools is, as of now, essentially one fully coordinated test framework.


[Related Content: Testing With Selenium]


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How Selenium Works

Now that we've answered the high-level question "What is Selenium?", we will explore in more depth how Selenium works. Selenium is a test automation framework that allows you to automate web app testing. With languages like Java, Python, Ruby, C#, you can write test scripts to run against browsers and VMs. Some teams do this themselves, and some rely on a cloud-based solution.

How Is Selenium Used for Automated Testing?

Selenium is an automated testing framework. The framework executes test scripts against different web browsers, like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

What Cannot Be Automated Using Selenium?

Selenium cannot automate mobile app tests, as it is only for web app testing. Selenium cannot automate captcha. Selenium WebDriver cannot read bar codes. And Selenium cannot automate OTP submissions either.

What Types of Testing Can Be Done Using Selenium?

There are many types of testing that can be done with Selenium. You can do smoke testing, sanity, testing, UI testing, regression testing, and more.

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How Do You Write a Selenium Test?

The Selenium framework supports numerous languages. You can write a test script using Java, Python, Ruby, C#, JavaScript, Perl, or PHP. You may need to import a few packages or statements into your code. You can also use XPath in Selenium to find objects.

When Should Selenium Be Used?

Selenium should be used to automate web tests that occur frequently and are repetitive. If it is time consuming to do manually and the requirements are low risk, then the test should be automated with Selenium.

Related Reading: How to Decide Which Types of Test Cases to Automate

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3 Components of the Selenium Platform

Going a level deeper, there are 3 main components in the Selenium platform.

1. Selenium IDE

The Selenium IDE is a browser-plugin-based GUI tool. It facilitates recording, playback, and testing of user actions in the browser. It’s also a great way to get a feel for what Selenium can do.

Selenium IDE is suitable for creating quick and simple test scripts for bug hunting and basic functional testing.

Quite recently, the Selenium IDE project was redesigned. It now works on both Chrome and Firefox browsers.

2. WebDriver (aka Selenium 2.0)

Often referred to as “Selenium 2.0”, WebDriver expands and improves on Selenium Remote Control. WebDriver does what it says. It drives web browsers at a lower level than Selenium IDE.

WebDriver consists of a set of APIs that allow the tester to control the browser from an OS level. This can lead to much greater efficiencies in more complex automation setups. It supports headless browsers as well, which can also really speed up your testing.

WebDriver is more suitable for more advanced, complex, scalable automation.

In Selenium 4 — WebDriver protocol is W3C compliant. It replaces the older JSON Wire Protocol.



4. Test all Types of Aspects

Selenium is typically associated with functional test automation. However, a winning test strategy must consider all testing types:

  • Functional
  • Nonfunctional
  • Accessibility
  • Exploratory
  • Unit
  • API
  • And more

Ensure that you have allocated time blocks within your development cycle and inside your CI for:

  • Performance testing
  • Accessibility
  • API
  • Visual validations
  • Other relevant scenarios

This is important to maximize quality and mitigate your business risks.

5. Run Your Selenium Tests

Time to see how your tests do!

6. Use Test Reporting

Managing tests and reports is the #1 headache for practitioners — especially in a fast-paced DevOps environment where code is changing all the time. Whether you need enterprise-grade results or just spend less time debugging flaky tests, consider the advantages Perfecto offers.

7. Fix Defects & Repeat

With the actionable insights from your test reporting and analytics, go into your tests, fix any defects you may have found, and repeat.

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Using Selenium With Perfecto

So, what is Selenium? Selenium is the #1 choice for automating testing across different browsers and platforms. And Selenium is here to stay.

You can get more out of using Selenium by pairing it with Perfecto.

Perfecto and Selenium are seamlessly integrated. This allows customers to run their Selenium test automation scripts on real browsers in the Perfecto-secured and enterprise-grade testing cloud. You’ll get all of the benefits of using Selenium — without the drawbacks.

See for yourself how Perfecto can help you maximize Selenium. Get started with a free trial today.

Try Perfecto With Selenium


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