Is Selenium Still The Best Test Automation Tool?

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Is Selenium Still The Best Test Automation Tool?

It's no secret that Selenium is the most popular tool for test automation, but does that make it the best?

· DevOps Zone ·
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Selenium is one of the most popular and widely-used browser automation tool. This portable software testing framework has enjoyed a loyal user base and a great amount of attention ever since its inception in 2004 as an internal tool at ThoughtWorks. 

However, with changing trends and further developments in the software industry, a lot of competitors of the tool were invented and this forces us to pose a serious question: is Selenium still the best browser automation tool?

Well, the question is subjective and has a lot of aspects to it and cannot be answered simply.

So, let’s dig deeper!

Speaking of Selenium takes us to talking about two of its major versions Selenium WebDriver and Selenium IDE. Both the versions are used for automating the browsers in support of web application testing. Where WebDriver comes in handy while creating browser based regression tests, Selenium IDE is useful for the testing scenarios that involve creating unit tests, exploratory tests and one-off bug reproduction scripts.

Why Selenium Is Popular

Well, there are no doubts about the fact that Selenium is popular. It may be the best browser automation tool or maybe it's not, but there hardly are any doubts regarding its popularity. This free, open-source tool has been the first choice for the majority of software developers and testers for testing interfaces. In fact, the list of its users includes Google and Facebook!

A simple reason behind this can be that once you are done with setting Selenium up, it lays an easy path for generating test scripts, functionality validation, and assists in reusing test scripts in automated testing frameworks.

Although, like all other tools, Selenium also demands a lot of technical knowledge on the part of the tester as well as knowledge about using third-party tools, it still has been able to rule the market for quite a few years. It is extremely easy to use and employ Selenium at the GUI level. Let us dive deep into some other reasons behind the popularity of Selenium.

Advantages of Selenium

1. Open Source Software

Selenium is an open source software. It has no upfront, out-of-pocket costs. You can simply go to the official website and download it free of cost. As if that were not enough, the support for the tool also comes absolutely free from a wide community of users.

2. Supports Multiple Programming Languages

Another advantage of working with Selenium is that you are free to work in any language. Although it has a scripting language of its own, the tester is not restricted to writing in that particular language. Why? Because Selenium is quite robust when it comes to language support and can efficiently support every tester's language bindings. This includes C#, PHP, Java, and JavaScript, among others.

3. Scripts Can Be Re-Run

Selenium supports recording scripts being run in the browser under test run mode. An interesting point to note here is that you may save these scripts and re-run them whenever you want.  Not just that, you may even create Selenium tests manually using web development tools like Firebug.

4. Works On A Lot Of Browsers

Yet another feature that illustrates the robustness of Selenium is that the tests can be run under multiple browsers without any major restrictions. Not just that, but the tool deploys well on multiple environments like Windows, Linux, and macOS. Therefore, whatever browser you are working in on whichever platform, you are able to use Selenium.

5. Integrates Well With Other Tools

Selenium is quite a cooperative tool when it comes to coupling with other third-party tools or software. It puts no restrictions on the tester’s choice regarding any aspect of the testing framework. It integrates efficiently with third-party tools. You can also use Selenium on other cloud-based online grids like LambdaTest.   

Challenges of Using Selenium

1. Test Management Hurdles 

Selenium does not come equipped with any test management facilities. All the test scripts created are saved in a very simple fashion without any attributes.

However, to overcome this, you can integrate Selenium with test management tools like TestNG and JUnit for managing test cases and generating bug reports. These tools are very easy to integrate and use with Selenium. 

2. Requires Third-Party Support 

Probably the greatest disadvantage of working with Selenium is that it is not self-sufficient. Sometimes Selenium requires the support of third-party frameworks, language bindings, and a lot more for efficiently automating the testing of web applications. You can integrate it with different third-party tools like:

  • TestNG and JUnit for managing test cases and generating reports.

  • Jenkins, Maven, and Docker to achieve continuous testing.

  • Sikuli for image based testing.

However, the integration is quite easy and useful.

3. Requires Some Level of Technical Knowledge

Since it is an automation testing tool requiring scripting, Selenium needs testers to have a certain understanding of programming. Employing this tool needs a team with a good skill set which, if developed, can deliver the right results. But it can work with any language and can convert languages into Selenium code in itself. You can use it with Java, C#, PHP, RoR, Perl, and all major languages.

For a lot of users, Selenium is actually the best browser automation tool out there. However, for some users, that may not be the case. 

As far as being objective is concerned, if you want to automate your testing suites without having to deal with the technical and test management issues that come along with a majority of tools, Selenium is the best bet for your firm. 

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about Automated Testing, check out this collection of tutorials and articles on all things Automated Testing.

automation testing tools, cross browser testing tool, devops, selenium, selenium webdriver

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