Selecting a Programming Language for Selenium Automation Testing

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Selecting a Programming Language for Selenium Automation Testing

There's a great big world of programming languages, and many are supported by Selenium. Which will you choose?

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Programming languages

So many language to learn, so little time.

As people are shifting to automation from manual testing, they prefer to go with the best-suited testing framework for them. When we talk about a popular automation testing framework, most people immediately think about Selenium. Selenium is one of the most reliable, portable software testing frameworks for web applications. It comes with one test domain-specific programming language Selenese for writing automation scripts, but it also supports other programming languages like Java, Python, Ruby, Javascript, PHP, and C#, which makes it a good choice.

While moving to automation testing with Selenium, everyone who tests has to face a question: Which programming language should you use for writing test automation suits?

Will it be the one which your team is using in software development, or will it be one in which the software tester or QA team itself is more experienced? That would create the need to learn a new language to write automation test scripts more efficiently and execute automation tests.

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Before looking at the factors which should be considered while selecting a programming language for Selenium automation, I want to come up with a clear picture of data and facts. Though there are many programming languages in existence and many are being created every day, the majority of the concepts are the same for all scripting languages.

If you are clear with basic program design, control structures, data structures, and operation of a programming language, then you can apply the same while writing scripts with an entirely different language. Also, some of the common Selenium commands translate easily from one programming language to another. Selenium Webdriver API helps to simplify the process of porting test knowledge of one language to another.

Almost all the action commands follow the same format in all programming languages. But while writing a complete test automation suite, differences are apparently visible among the scripting languages. So, let’s have a quick look at the major factors to consider before selecting any programming language for automation testing with Selenium.

Factors to Consider

1. Usability

Programming languages for writing automation scripts should be high-level and have the ability to manage all the memory management tasks. And if you are selecting a new language for Selenium automation, the learning curve should be lower and easy to adopt.

2. Simplicity

Translating a test case to codes is a primary step for writing a hundred pages of automation script for web automation testing. This translation should be easy and clear. Programming language syntax nomenclature should be easy to understand. Also, the automation script should be intuitive and concise.

3. Test Framework Support

If you have long testing cycles, thousands of repetitive tasks, or long automation scripts, then you will need the automation test framework to manage all the test cases and prioritize the testing flow. This becomes a very important factor to consider before selecting a programming language for Selenium automation.

4. Command-Line Strength

For continuous integration, where automation tests cannot be launched manually, it is very necessary to have a good CLI for launching tests easily.

5. IDE Support

Programming language for Selenium automation scripts should have an integrated development environment for writing and managing test cases. Notepad and vim are not sufficient for writing long automation scripts.

6. Industry Adoption

Selecting a programming language is also dependent on which programming language is most popular among the industry, since a language which is used by most developers should have a better community for support and updated packages and frameworks as well.

Which One I Would Recommend?

This is a tough one for me. If I would be forced to recommend or choose a language, I’ll say to go for a script-friendly language like Python or Ruby. You can learn to write Selenium test scripts with minimum code and time using a scripting language. Personally, I would suggest Python to start with in Selenium automation if you are a beginner or have experience in Selenium.

Since Python works on Windows, Linux, and Mac, and because it has a very gentle learning curve, it has always been my go-to programming language for writing Selenium automation scripts. And many developers are using Python in their software projects, which is a plus if you are going to write long scripts.

Python is far less voluble and easy to use than any other programming language. Python APIs authorize you to connect with the browser for web automation through Selenium.

Selenium Python bindings provide a simple API to write functional automation tests using Selenium WebDriver. It is very intuitive to access all the Selenium web driver functionalities of Selenium web driver using Python API bindings.

Let’s look at some of the characteristics that make Python a great fit for writing Selenium automation scripts.

Python for Selenium

Multi-purpose language: Python is a general-purpose programming language that can be used to solve programming tasks in web app or desktop app development, data analysis, writing automation scripts, automation tasks, and more.

Intelligible code: Python command syntax and codes are very clear and readable, and code reads like the generic English language.

Coding productivity: Less code, more results. As mentioned earlier, Python is a very concise language and it allows you to achieve your testing goals with less code and time.

Script execution: In Mac and Linux operating systems, Python comes preinstalled and you can easily access and run Python script from Linux command line and servers.

Libraries: Rich standard Python libraries help you easily accomplish writing efficient automation scripts for your test automation suite.


These are all about my findings and suggestions for selecting a programming language before starting writing Selenium automation scripts. Hopefully, this article helps to answer the question of which programming language to use for writing test automation suites.

Happy scripting and happy testing!!

Further Reading

Selenium vs. Cypress: Is WebDriver on Its Way Out?

11 Reasons To Use Selenium for Automation Testing

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