Getting Started With Selenium Automation Testing 

Selenium Automation Testing 

Selenium is a comprehensive suite with various tools and libraries. It is a framework that enables its users to perform web automation testing. Selenium permits its developers and testers to automate website testing. It supports multiple programming languages, including Java, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, C#, and Python. 

In this article, you will get to know everything you need to know to kickstart your Selenium automation testing journey, such as what Selenium is, its need and history, major building blocks, which tests can be automated by it, how to configure Selenium, its tips and some of the drawbacks.

What is Selenium? 

Selenium is an open-source and automated testing tool. It is an admired testing tool and very useful for web application developers. In Selenium, there are various tools, each varying to different Selenium automation testing needs.

Additionally, it provides users with extensive browser compatibility with major web browsers, including Safari, Firefox, Edge, Chrome, and Opera. Through its wide range of compatibility, it ensures detailed browser coverage. Its flexibility is enhanced due to its compatibility with automation testing frameworks like JUnit, MSTest, TestNG, etc. Selenium 4 is the advanced and up-to-the-minute version of Selenium.

It is considered one of the finest automation frameworks with consistently evolving features. Its three primary components are Selenium Grid, Selenium IDE, and Selenium WebDriver.

Need for Selenium automation testing

In the process of application development, manual testing plays an important role. Unfortunately, it has many imperfections, such as the process being monotonous and repetitive. An automation testing tool called Selenium overcomes these problems. 

Automation testing with Selenium involves various features. Some of them are listed below:

Open-source

Selenium is an open-source and free suite of tools. It is a cost-effective solution for web automation testing.

Multilingual support

Selenium offers its users the chance to select their preferred programming language. It supports many languages like Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, C#, and Ruby. 

Parallel testing 

To reduce the overall testing time, Selenium involves executing multiple test cases simultaneously. Parallel testing can be performed either locally or on a cloud-based grid, successfully reducing software release cycles.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

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Continuous tests in a CI pipeline can easily be triggered by supporting popular CI/CD tools like CircleCI, Jenkins, and TravisCI.

Comprehensive reporting and documentation 

Selenium makes it easier for teams to track test results by providing detailed test execution logs and reports. It provides communication and collaboration of higher quality among team members by ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the testing process.

Although Selenium is the most widely used framework for automation testing, it doesn’t always need to satisfy your needs. There are other frameworks in the market, and their uses vary based on specific web project needs. Some such tools are LambdaTest, Playwright, and Cypress.

LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that is used to run both manual as well as automated tests at scale. The platform allows you to perform real-time and automation testing across 3000+ environments and real mobile devices. 

History of Selenium

Jason Huggins had set up Selenium in 2004. While working at ThoughtsWork, he developed a web application that requires frequent testing. He used JavaScript to create the program. After using it, he realized the need to curb monotony. At first, he named the program JavaScriptTestRunner but then renamed it Selenium Core. 

Major building blocks of Selenium

As mentioned earlier, Selenium is a tool that supports several various programming languages against web applications. The suite includes the Selenium IDE, Selenium WebDriver, and Selenium Grid. 

Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE is a Firefox browser plugin. It helps in creating automated web application testing. Selenium IDE is a recording tool, not a code generator like its predecessors. 

Testers get the facility of recording their actions on the web application and using it whenever required. It also generates detailed reports for the recorded test, allowing testers to track the results and improve their test scripts.

Selenium WebDriver

Selenium WebDriver automates the testing of web applications. Without any interceder, it directly interacts with the browser. Some of the essential features of Selenium WebDriver are:

  • The speed of Selenium WebDriver is faster than that of  Selenium RC (Remote Control).
  • Commands used by Selenium WebDriver are uncomplicated and easier to learn and execute.
  • Selenium WebDriver supports several browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid is a platform that provides WebDriver management and distribution systems. The recent architecture of the Selenium Grid facilitates three different modes of running the grid- Standalone mode, Hub & Node mode, and fully distributed mode. 

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Selenium for automation testing

Automation testing is a software testing technique that makes the user’s work more efficient and time-saving.

If automation testing is well implemented, it can improve various areas like test coverage. It also increases execution speed and reduces the manual effort involved in software testing. Selenium is one such tool that provides you with these. Its popularity can be credited to the fact that it can test various types of tests and is written in various programming languages.

Which tests can be automated with Selenium?

Selenium can automate the following types of tests:

  • Regression tests: By using this, regression tests can be performed. These tests require significant human resources and are time-consuming.
  • Unit test: Due to its features like reusability and low maintenance costs, it can support Unit tests.
  • Functional tests: Tests can also be made to check whether frameworks and development codebases meet the desired specifications.
  • Integration tests: You can identify integration faults and get a reliable way of ensuring robustness between different modules and interfaces.
  • Cross-browser tests: In Selenium, you can get confirmed by verifying your work across various operating systems, browsers, devices, and resolutions

Getting started with Selenium automation testing

To use Selenium, users must install the language bindings libraries of their preference and the Selenium WebDriver binaries for the browsers they want to test. 

This section deals with how to get started with Selenium automation testing. 

JAVA Installation

Before running the Eclipse IDE, you must install and configure the Java Development Kit (JDK). It can be downloaded from the Java Downloads website. 

  1. Firstly, install the JDK file according to your operating system.
  2. Then, ensure you have set the environment variables. Your installation can be verified if you type Java-version in the command prompt.
  3. Once you have successfully installed and configured JDK, proceed to download Eclipse IDE. Select the version that best fits your operating system. 
  4. After downloading the zip file, you can run the program in the Eclipse folder by double-clicking “eclipse.exe”.

Installation of Selenium library

Now, you must download the Selenium Java Client Driver. You can get it from the official website of Selenium. Go to Selenium Client and WeDriver Language Bindings, and you can start your free testing.

Installation of browser drivers

Here are some browser links that will help you to instantiate your browser:

  • gecko driver — Firefox
  • InternetExplorerDriver
  • ChromeDriver

Now, instantiate the driver instance and proceed with the code execution. 

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For every version update, you will have to follow the previous step. To avoid this, download the driver’s binary file (or .exe files) using WebDriverManager to perform Selenium automation testing. 

How to configure Selenium WebDriver with Eclipse?

Below are the steps to follow to configure Selenium WebDriver with Eclipse.

Step 1: Double-click the Eclipse icon 

Step 2: Open a new Workspace and then click on launch

Step 3: Go to File -> New -> Java Project to create a new project.

A pop-up window will be generated. After filling in the required details click on Finish.

Step 4: You can see the new project in the top left corner. Create a new package for the newly created project.

Step 5: Right-click on the new package to generate a Java class. Select New and click on the class. 

Step 6: Add Selenium Jars to the newly created project and click properties.

In the pop-up window, click on Java Build Path and select Libraries. 

Step 7: Open the folder that contains the downloaded Selenium Client Driver and click on the folder libs. 

Step 8: Highlight all the jar files and click open. Then, highlight the two jar files outside the lib folder, click apply, and close.

Tips to run your Selenium tests successfully

  • Here are some tips to improve your selenium script and help you automate your test more efficiently. 
  • Start by writing simple test cases. Writing simple test cases will verify the functionality of a single component.
  • Always check for the proper working of individual components and keep your tests concise.
  • Try using the Selenium WebDriver API functions.
  • To ensure the smooth functioning of your tests, include timeouts in your test code.
  • Use the Selenium Grid if you want to speed up the execution of your tests.
  • Make sure to run your tests on various operating systems and browsers.
  • Organize your test code nicely so it can be reused and modified.

Drawbacks of Selenium

Selenium being a fantastic tool for automated testing has a few disadvantages as well. The major disadvantage of Selenium is that it does not test anything other than web applications. Also, Selenium cannot automate desktop applications and has no built-in reporting capabilities. One of the main disadvantages of Selenium is its high maintenance, which often leads to fragile tests.

For beginners, sometimes using Selenium can become tough because of its complexity. Also, Selenium IDE is limited to Firefox and Chrome and does not support other browsers.

Conclusion

This article helped you understand the steps for setting up the requirements for running simple tests in Selenium. What are the types of tests it can automate, what are the ways of successfully performing the tests, its drawbacks, and many more.

With this, you can surely have a kickstart on your Selenium automation journey.