What is Selenium Automation Testing?

What is Selenium Automation Testing?

The software development lifecycle inevitably includes testing, as you already know. Its purpose is to guarantee that the developed software is error-free and satisfies user needs. However, manually running the test cases against different applications takes a lot of work to find errors and bugs. This is when it will be very beneficial to automate the process.

There are many test automation tools available that developers use to make it happen. One of them is the open-source automated testing tool Selenium, which is used to verify web applications on various platforms and browsers. Before diving into the details of the tool, you should understand why the developers turned to automated testing, leaving behind manual testing.

Why is the Move from Manual to Automated Testing?

You can read about the motivations behind developers switching from manual to automated testing here. Put another way, the difficulties they encountered when making the choice. You know that software testing has traditionally been done manually. Additionally, it can test any application and does not require any knowledge of software testing tools. 

Test cases are manually carried out against applications by the tester, who then compares the obtained and intended results. What separates the two is deemed a defect, and it is corrected right away. After that, the tests are repeated to ensure the application is entirely error-free. However, it has many drawbacks, including:

  • It requires a great deal of time.
  • The likelihood of error is high.
  • It necessitates a tester’s constant presence.
  • It demands that logs be manually created.
  • It has a restricted scope.

All these drawbacks make it imperative to automate the testing process. Now, let us move on to looking into what Selenium is.

What is Selenium?

As mentioned earlier in the introduction, it is a powerful automation tool used to test web applications across various browsers. Jason Huggins, an engineer at ThoughtWorks in Chicago, developed it because he found manual testing tedious and repetitive. He created JavaScriptTestRunner, a JavaScript program that automates web application testing. Thoughtworks employees were the ones who used the new invention at first. But it was made open source and given a new name, Selenium, in 2004. 

Over the course of many years, a suite of tools designed to automate web testing has been developed and refined, leading to the founding of Selenium. The following provides a timeline of the significant turning points in the history of the tool:

2004Birth of Selenium
2005Selenium Core & IDE
2007Selenium RC
2008Selenium WebDriver 2.0
2011Selenium WebDriver becomes W3C
2016Selenium WebDriver 3
2021Selenium 4

It is a suite of tools designed to meet the various needs of an organisation for QA testing rather than just one tool. Here is the list of tools:

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

Sadly, it is limited to testing web apps; desktop and mobile apps cannot be tested. Software and mobile applications can, however, also be tested using alternative tools, such as Appium and HP’s QTP.

Why is it Such A Popular Tool For Testing?

With software applications becoming more complex, automated testing tools have become essential. Selenium stands out as one of the most well-liked and extensively used options among the plethora of testing tools available. Its numerous benefits, which surpass those of other testing tools, have contributed to its enormous popularity. These benefits include:

  • Because it was primarily created in JavaScript, it is simple to use. It doesn’t require the engineer to have in-depth knowledge of the tool.
  • It has proven to be accurate with results, thus making it extremely reliable.
  • Due to its open-source nature, anyone interested in learning testing can get started for free.
  • It has plenty of re-usability and add-ons.
  • It can test web applications on a range of browsers, including Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. 
  • Many programming languages, including PHP, Ruby, Perl, Java, and Python, can be used to write tests. 
  • It can run on Linux, Macintosh, and Windows because it is platform-independent. 
  • It can be integrated with programs like JUnit and TestNG for test management.

Limitations of Selenium Testing

As an essential aspect of learning Selenium, let us understand its limitations, including the following.

  • Due to its open-source nature, it lacks a developer community and, as a result, trustworthy technical support.
  • It is unable to test desktop or mobile applications. 
  • It provides only a limited amount of assistance with image testing. 
  • Since it offers little support for test management, JUnit and TestNG are frequently integrated with it for this function.
  • You may need programming knowledge to use the tool.
  • A built-in system for reporting test results is not included.
  • It cannot manage pop-ups, dialogues, and dynamic web elements.
  • Large-scale testing performance constraints.

For large and small organisations, automated testing is essential to deliver exceptional software and remain competitive. However, getting started can be challenging. So, of the many tools available, Selenium is one of the best software testing tools, used by millions. The adoption of the tool and its growth have accelerated in recent years. 

People occasionally complain about consistency or stability, but the truth is that it is a complex tool that works best when used in tandem with other tools in the ecosystem rather than on its own. For many years, it will remain the industry standard for web automation. So, make the right choice and make an informed decision in light of the information in the article.

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