Selenium testing: Code vs. codeless
Most testers consider Selenium to be the “it” framework for their test automation needs. As an open-source and well-known platform used by testers worldwide, QA teams see Selenium as a great way for testers to adapt to companies that are becoming increasingly more agile. In fact, Selenium is still considered the most common open-source code with worldwide adoption and an ever-growing community of users.
But many QA teams find that while Selenium is open-source, using Selenium as a code-based testing framework has other hidden “costs” when it comes to actually authoring, executing, and maintaining tests. This has caused testers to consider other tool options, especially codeless test automation tools, that both utilize the power of Selenium and helps make test automation simpler. This post will delve into the challenges that testers have found using Selenium, and how codeless Selenium has addressed these issues.
Many testers begin facing challenges when doing Selenium test automation from the start of the test creation process. Many prospective Selenium testers often do not have enough coding experience to use it, as Selenium requires at least two or three years of coding knowledge in order to author tests efficiently. This creates a major barrier for software testers, especially manual testers who are tasked with testing web applications quickly and efficiently.
With codeless Selenium, creating tests is as simple as recording a test scenario in real-time. Yet unlike standard record-and-playback tools, using a codeless automation tool creates Selenium test models that you can apply to other automated testing scenarios. Since codeless Selenium is built for test reusability, it can reduce the test creation process from taking hours of time to a matter of minutes.
In addition, test creation is done through a purely visual interface, which makes testing intuitive and accessible to all testers involved in QA, regardless of coding skills. Adding test steps is as simple as pointing and clicking on an element on a web application, plus it allows for adding test steps while a test is running.
Another important issue that many testers have when coding automated tests with Selenium is its scalability. Once testers manage to create scenarios in Selenium, tests are often flaky and break after any small change occurs with the elements under test. This is due to the fact that Selenium only allows for defining objects with a single locator.
Not only do testers find issues with test flakiness, but it also takes longer to resolve these with Selenium code alone. Just as with test creation, it takes considerable coding knowledge to find the right elements that are causing tests to break, fix the code, and then apply this change to other areas of code that might be affected. While Selenium is a very powerful framework for automation testing, testers can find themselves frustrated when they spend more time maintaining existing tests than creating new scenarios.
Codeless Selenium combines the power of Selenium code with a self-healing mechanism that is based on artificial intelligence. This AI-based feature enables tests to correct themselves automatically and overcome changes in the application. In addition, a codeless Selenium solution applies these changes automatically to other test steps that are modified as a result of this AI technology. This not only makes test automation more efficient and scalable, but also provides testers with newfound time and resources to expand their overall testing efforts.
QA teams can also find it challenging to scale Selenium in terms of test execution. To start, Selenium does not natively support testing certain complex test components, such as iFrames or Shadow DOM. QA professionals who wish to test such components need to create custom workarounds. This creates a lot of extra work for testers and makes the tests themselves less resilient.
Furthermore, executing tests with Selenium requires creating an entire framework from scratch. Companies can configure a Selenium testing environment using a tool TestNG Data Provider or directly through an IDE, and either hire another developer or an external contractor to set it up. Companies also need to consider other areas of integration with Selenium, such as reporting and managing new work processes.
Codeless Selenium test automation overcomes these issues by having execution management and reporting built directly into the platform. This makes it easier than ever for a tool that utilizes Selenium through a codeless interface to execute tests directly. Due to the wide range of integration capabilities with codeless Selenium, testers can also execute tests through a built-in CI/CD integration. This allows tests to run on a schedule, with a wide range of customization capabilities.
In addition to the improvements codeless Selenium provides to the technical aspects of testing, codeless test automation also provides a lot of benefits when it comes to teamwork and internal collaboration. With a native Selenium framework, only test developers or testers with sufficient coding knowledge are able to work on automation. With codeless Selenium, anyone involved in QA can be a part of test automation. Since tests are visual and easily understandable, codeless Selenium creates a lot of opportunities for stronger communication and more productive knowledge-sharing.
The advantages of native Selenium testing
In each stage of the test automation process, codeless Selenium offers a variety of benefits that takes Selenium testing to the next level. Testers can create and execute tests easily using a visual interface, all while harnessing the power of Selenium “under the hood”. This gives manual testers the opportunity to focus more on strategizing about test designs and which tests to run instead of spending an inordinate amount of time on repetitive testing.
Yet there are other instances when using Selenium on its own is a more advantageous option. For example, Selenium can be more beneficial for certain types of tests that are not yet supported by a codeless Selenium tool, such as API testing or load testing. The need for codeless Selenium may also depend on the team that owns testing in the company. If a company’s existing team already has coding knowledge and does not plan to add business testers to the team at a later point, then it may not make sense to move from Selenium to its codeless counterpart.
Furthermore, Selenium has a very large user community where testers often support each other in their projects. While testers using codeless Selenium can benefit from that community as well, they cannot use the Selenium community to the same extent. These are all considerations to weigh when choosing a test automation tool, Selenium or otherwise.