Selenium Testing Framework
Selenium is one of the oldest and most famous automation frameworks employed in software testing. However, it has many limitations that require testers to migrate to other frameworks that are better suited to their needs. In this article, let’s look at these limitations and see if there are any tools that would better suit your needs.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is an open-source framework that is widely used for automation testing. It is suitable for cross-browser testing of web applications. When people talk about Selenium, most commonly, they would be implying WebDriver. However, below is a complete collection of components:
- Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment):
This component supports plugins for two browsers, Firefox and Chrome. The record and play capability allows testers to create test cases easily. However, Selenium RC or Selenium WebDriver will be needed for complex test cases. Selenium IDE doesn’t require coding knowledge, although it has some significant limitations. Slow execution speed, poor editability, maintenance, and poor reporting capabilities are among the main downsides.
- Selenium RC (Remote Control):
- Selenium WebDriver:
- Selenium Grid:
Usually used in conjunction with Selenium RC, it supports parallel execution of test cases.
What is Selenium WebDriver?
As seen in the above section, Selenium WebDriver is one of the key components of the Selenium framework. Selenium WebDriver has browser-specific drivers that help execute commands on respective browsers. This helps with automating test cases for web applications. This component also has support for different operating systems like Mac, Linux, and Windows. Some examples of browser-specific drivers include ChromeDriver for Chrome, GeckoDriver for Firefox, and SafariDriver for Safari.
Selenium WebDriver v/s. Selenium RC
- Selenium WebDriver has a simple architecture in comparison to Selenium RC, for which a server needs to be manually set up.
- Selenium WebDriver is faster than Selenium RC.
- Selenium WebDriver’s interactions with the browser elements are more realistic than Selenium RC. For example, if there is a disabled text box on the page, then Selenium RC will be able to enter text into it as opposed to Selenium WebDriver. This kind of behavior tends to give incorrect results.
- Selenium WebDriver has more straightforward commands that are uniform across browsers. This is not the case with Selenium RC.
- Headless HTML browsers that are faster and can be controlled only through code are supported by Selenium WebDriver. This cuts down on load time and makes test case execution faster. In contrast, Selenium RC needs to open the actual browser instance to be able to execute a test case. This can slow down the execution since all web page elements need to be loaded.
Limitations of Selenium WebDriver
- Difficult to use, and you need programming skills to create tests.
It’s crucial to define the right architecture from the very beginning, and employ best practices such as POM, code reusability etc. It is a tedious process where no mistakes should be made. It’s not uncommon for companies to delete the entire framework with months of work and hundreds of test cases and start from scratch – all because the architecture wasn’t done right from the beginning.
- You cannot create cross-platform end-to-end tests with WebDriver.
As the name implies, Selenium WebDriver was designed for web testing, nothing else.
- You need to build various modules from scratch.
WebDriver doesn’t have good reporting built-in, such as screenshots with test results or a way to automate logs. Need image testing? It isn’t supported out of the box either. The good news is that there are ways to configure most of these add-ons, but you need to add them manually – unlike some other tools.
- Test maintenance takes a lot of time.
With Selenium, test maintenance isn’t a very straightforward process. It can often be a tedious daily task, wasting precious time and preventing QA engineers from expanding test coverage.
- Missing customer support capabilities due to being open-source.
Since Selenium is an open-source framework, testers need to refer to various forums and videos to have their queries answered.
How do we combat these limitations?
Let’s sum it up. Selenium might still be a great option if you’re strictly looking for open-source tools, however, be prepared to invest your time heavily. It’s complicated and very time-consuming to build tests the right way, and not everyone can get it done right.
- No coding skills needed, plain English test cases
- No reliance on XPaths or DOM makes tests extremely robust
- Fast speed of test creation (15X faster, to be precise)
- Virtually no maintenance (95% less)
- Built-in reporting and screenshots for each step in real time You might be interested to learn more about it, and decide whether it can be a better fit for your needs.
Though Selenium WebDriver is synonymous with automation testing, its limitations make it imperative to look for other alternatives. These limitations can be overcome with advanced automation tools like testRigor available on the market.