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Getting started with Selenium Automation Testing

As the world is racing towards Automation Testing, Selenium has come up as one of the most sought-after skills in the industry.

So, what is Selenium? And why it is used? 

It may be a question striking in your mind. So, in this article, I will explain Selenium, Selenium tools and its importance to automation testing.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an open-source automation tool used for automatically testing web applications on web browsers without any human interference. In simple terms, web applications are tested using any web browser. Also, any testing done using the selenium tool is known as Selenium Testing. 

It was originally developed as an internal tool in 2004, by Jason Hugging.

Selenium is a suite of four tools that are developed by four different developers, designed for a different purpose and each catering to different testing needs. The four tools are:

  • Selenium IDE
  • Selenium RC
  • Selenium Grid
  • Selenium Webdriver

Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

In 2006, Shinya Kasatani from Japan created a Selenium IDE. Later on, he donated his Selenium IDE prototype to the Apache’s Selenium project. It is a firefox plugin and the simplest framework in the Selenium suite. It can be installed easily to record and execute tests easily and quickly. The user interactions are recorded, and based on the recordings; test cases are created. These test cases can be playback “n” number of times. 

Selenium RC (Remote Control)

Paul Hammant created selenium Remote Control; he created a server that acts as an “HTTP” proxy to ensure the browser believes that the web application and selenium core are coming from the same domain. It was developed to overcome the issue of SOP (Same Origin Policy). Under the Same Origin Policy, two websites can not be accessed at the same time. SOP prohibits Javascripts code from accessing elements that are hosted on a different domain compared to where the Javascript was launched. 

For example: if a Javascript program uses a code written on any website say, for www.google.com, then SOP allows it to access pages such as https://mail.google.com/, https://docs.google.com/, and more but it prohibits the access to websites such as www.yahoo.com and others. 

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid, earlier known as HostedQA, was developed by Patrick Lightbody. It was initially designed to minimize the test execution time. Selenium Grid was used together with Selenium RC to run parallel tests across different browsers and different machines simultaneously. It uses Hub-Node architecture to support parallel execution of multiple test cases on various systems. In Hub-Node design, one machine will assume the role of a Hub that controls the test cases running on different browsers, and the others will be the nodes on which test cases can be written in a preferred programming language.

Selenium WebDriver

In 2006, Simon Stewart created Selenium WebDriver. This was the time when browsers and applications were becoming dominant and restrictive with Selenium Core. It was the first cross-platform testing framework created to control the browser from the Operating system level. 

Some say WebDriver is a better version of RC, or report an upgraded version as it is way faster compared to RC. It makes a call directly to the browser without the need for any server to interact with the browser. Every browser has its WebDriver to run tests, such as;

  • Chrome Driver
  • Internet Explorer Driver
  • Oper Driver
  • Gecko Driver (Firefox)
  • Safari Driver and
  • HTM Unit Driver

Why Selenium for Automated Testing?

Now, as we are aware of Selenium and the four Selenium tools, let’s find out why to use Selenium for automated testing and how it stands better than other testing tools. 

  1. Support Major Languages: The one major challenge a developer or a tester finds in an automation testing tool is the support of several programming languages. Selenium overcame this issue, and it supports all the major languages like – PHP, Java, C#, Perl, Python, Ruby, and .NET. 
  2. Open Source: As Selenium is an open-source, free testing tool, it doesn’t require any licensing cost. It is a significant advantage over other tools.
  3. Tools: As Selenium has a suite of tools, it caters to several requirements of a developer, and you can use WebDriver, RC, IDE, or Grid, depending upon your requirements.
  4. Browser Support: Selenium supports several browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. So, you can use any of the browsers to perform tests. 
  5. Operating System Support: Selenium also supports various operating systems like – Mac, Windows, Linux, and iOS, and tests can be carried out on any of these OS.
  6. Other Tools Support: For managing test cases and generating reports, Selenium can be integrated with TestNG and JUnit. Also, to achieve continuous testing, it can be integrated with Jenkins, Docker, and Maven.
  7. Community Support: If you have any queries, Selenium provides you an active open community wherein you can discuss and resolve your issues. 

These seven factors make Selenium a step ahead than other automated testing tools and give you a valid point to choose Selenium over other tools.

How To Get Into Selenium Testing?

Did you find Selenium exciting and challenging? And are you willing to jump into Selenium testing?

Sounds good! 

So, to get into Selenium Testing, you can take up an online course as there are several courses available nowadays. Here’s an online course Selenium 3.0 Certification Training offered by Simplilearn. It gives you an in-depth knowledge of concepts, including Selenium Grid, AutoIT, Mobile Testing, TestNG, WebDriver, and Sikuli. The course is designed to train manual testers and developers on how to automate web applications with a robust framework and integrate it.

Conclusion

Selenium has overcome several ongoing issues that a developer had to face in his day to day testing life. It is one of the best automation testing tools that can be used to automate tests on web browsers. Selenium allows you to write code in any preferred language that it supports and efficiently run your scripts to automate testing of an application.

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