Why Selenium Is Still the Best Tool for Testing Browser-Based Web Applications
Selenium isn't a new tool, but it still has many advantages for testing web applications.
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The sole purpose behind Selenium is to automate the interaction between browser and web in a way that test cases executed manually by a tester can be executed by an automation script. Although selenium can perform any kind of automation testing, it was originally intended to be used for browser-based testing only. When a web application is being developed, several test case scenarios are executed to check the functionality, accessibility, usability, and security of a web application. Manual testing can be performed for small applications, but when the application is large, the tests become time-consuming and wastage of manual labor. In this article, we shall discuss why Selenium is still the best tool available for browser-based automation testing.
Cross-browser compatibility issues are often found in web applications. A webpage that is rendered fine in Google Chrome may cause breakage in Safari or IE. Following issues are quite common across various browsers.
Mismatch in font size
The browser may not support HTML5
Certain CSS codes are not supported by a few browsers.
Image orientation may cause a problem
The browser may not be compatible with the operating system.
Manually testing these issues usually takes a lot of time. The perfect option is provided by Selenium. WebDriver saves a lot of time by automating test cases for Safari, Chrome, IE, and Firefox. Integrating your testing framework with Selenium will save a lot of time by executing multiple test case scenarios across different browsers at the same time.
Cross-Device Testing Made Easier
Nowadays most people are using mobile devices to access websites. It is very important that your web application is supported by all the devices holding the maximum usage share. To test your application manually across devices will consume a lot of time. Usage of emulator makes testing a bit easier, but there are high chances that a critical bug that occurs in an actual device may not occur at emulator. WebDriver again comes into play. After writing a test script it can be easily configured to execute across different devices. Selenium WebDriver can efficiently run test cases for native as well as hybrid applications for various devices.
The biggest advantage of using Selenium is its portability and the fact that its freeware.
Using an open source testing tool like Selenium is cost-effective for projects where the budget is low to buy enterprise-grade testing tools.
Since it is community-based, the tool is evolved constantly, with new features added to make automated testing easier and faster.
Using a testing tool designed by a specific vendor may be problematic, because it may be compatible only with products designed by the same vendor. As long as Selenium has an active community, it will always remain platform independent and constant support will be provided in case of any troubleshooting.
Easy to Implement
A primary feature of an automation testing tool is that it should be easier to implement. Often in projects using Agile methodologies, when an automation tool is introduced suddenly to the team, quite some time is taken to get the team trained and familiarized with the tool. That is not the case with Selenium. It offers a user-friendly interface that allows users to create and run test cases efficiently. The tool being open source also allow users to create extensions and manipulate certain customizable actions.
Platform Independence and Multi-OS Support
Not only that, but Selenium can also be used across multiple operating systems like Mac, Windows, Linux etc. Using Selenium Solution Suite, the tester can develop a customized testing suite that can be tailored on any platform. It can then be executed similarly upon another platform. For example, a tester can create test cases using Linux OS and once testing on Linux is done, it can be executed again on a system based on Windows.
Disadvantages of Selenium
Like every other tool, certain cons are there with Selenium
Open-source and community support mean that there is no reliable technical support.
WebDriver has no IDE, only a programming interface. It will take some and training and practice before a tester gets used to it.
A tester needs to manually configure the vendor tools and plugins used by Selenium. Sometimes, it gets a bit difficult to set up the test environment.
New features are not tested properly before implementation. So, some of them may not properly.
However, the advantages of Selenium overshadow the disadvantages when it comes to testing a web application across multiple platforms, each with their own browsers. It can undoubtedly say that the platform independence, cross-device and browser support makes it the best automation tool for testing a web application across browsers.
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