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Should I Start Using Selenium for Test Automation?

If you’re running a manual software testing (QA) operation in your company and would like to automate all or part of it, you’ve probably heard of Selenium.

Switching from manual to automated testing is a costly and time-consuming exercise. In this guide, we provide some information to help you reach an educated decision.

Before we get into the specifics of Selenium, we’ll go through a quick overview of the differences between manual and automated testing.

What is Automation Testing?

Automated testing, simply put, is the process of automating the manual testing of web applications. There are many advantages to such automation, however, it requires a tool to creates test scripts and executes them repeatedly without manual intervention. In most cases, the use of such a tool requires coding.

Automated Testing vs. Manual Testing

Both methods have their pros and cons, as shown in this quick table:

Automated TestingManual Testing
Consistent, reliable, and accurateError-prone
Requires coding of test scenarios, as well as adapting testing code every time the application changesCan utilize non-coding testers. Sometimes can even be outsourced to lower cost testers
Fast executionTime consuming
Main cost - purchase of tool, coding and maintenance of testsMain cost - human hours
Allows repeated runs at no or minimal additional costStarts from scratch, requiring same human effort and time in each run
Easy to replicate across different browsers and customer environmentsHas to be redone at same additional cost for each environment
Provides no insights regarding user experienceAllows for a human take on the user experience

Manual Testing is Better for These Test Scenarios

Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing is an unscripted testing of a web application’s software. It focuses on how decisions are made in real time as a user explores various features. A human must be involved to perform this kind of testing (at least until ChatBots will metamorphose into TestBots.)

Usability Testing

Usability Testing looks into how user-friendly the product is. Even though this method of testing is also scripted, only a human user can provide relevant feedback on this.

Selenium Testing eBook

Regression testing is a process that verifies that changes made to the code or newly added features haven’t ‘broken’ the existing code. Since no human judgment is required here, automated testing is preferable due to its ability to run scripts repeatedly every time a code change has been implemented.

Load Testing

Load Testing checks a system’s performance under various conditions, from normal to heavy use. Automated testing was designed specifically for this kind of work, which utilizes the power of automation for precise measurements.

Repetitive Testing

Repetitive testing performs the same task over and over again to verify that the software or web application can stand it without breaking. Again, we are encouraged to take advantage of automated testing for such tasks.

Testing Across Multiple Environments

While ensuring that your application works well on different browsers, mobile devices, etc., the workload quickly multiples if you don’t automate tests.

testing across multiple environments

What is Selenium Testing?

Selenium is an open-source framework for automated web application testing and supports all browsers. It is a widely used tool for QA (quality assurance) testing. Since it is just a framework, it requires code implementation of the test scenarios. Selenium supports most code scripts such as Java, C#, PHP, Python, Ruby, Perl and Groovy.  

Selenium defines itself as a tool that automates browsers. That’s it! What you do with that power is entirely up to you. Primarily, it is for automating web applications for testing purposes but is certainly not limited to just that. Boring web-based administration tasks can (and should!) be automated as well.”

With Selenium Automation Testing You Can:

  • Build and develop automated tests and record actions as they are performed
  • Scale and run tests on multiple environments simultaneously
  • Create browser-based regression automation tests and suites
  • Create bug reproduction scriptsBe More Productive
  • Create scripts to aid exploratory testing

The 2 Best Kinds of Testing with Selenium

Are There Any Disadvantages to the Selenium Testing Tool?

  • You must be able to develop with code in order to use Selenium
  • With Selenium, you can only test web-based applications
  • There is no support for mobile applications
  • In order to generate reports, you’ll need third-party tools
  • Since Selenium is open source there isn’t “customer support”; with that said, there are plenty of communities and forums devoted to Selenium
  • Maintenance requires adapting your Selenium code (scripts) for every change in the application. This may seem minute, but it is the primary cause of failure in Selenium projects.
  • The Selenium framework itself is free, but the developers that operate it aren’t, which can easily add up.

A Few More Reasons to Use Selenium Automation

In no particular order:

  • It’s open source, which means no premium monthly fee
  • The programming language you choose to use in Selenium doesn’t need to be the same language as the system you’re testing is written in
  • Integration with other open source frameworks like TestNG, JUnit, NUnit and more is readily available
  • Tests run simultaneously on different browsers and on different machines
  • Super active developer community

TestCraft Brings Out the Best in Selenium Test

Combing TestCraft with Selenium completely eliminates the main drawbacks of Selenium:

Zero Setup Costs of an All-in-One Test Automation Platform

Instead of dealing with the massive costs of implementing a Selenium framework, TestCraft is a SaaS-based QA testing infrastructure and is immediately available to start your automated testing operation.

TestCraft is an all-in-one testing solution allowing for easy creation and execution of automated tests, including scheduled and CI/CD originated execution. TestCraft also comes with an internal browser lab, but since Selenium is used under the hood, it’s also easy to integrate TestCraft with a more powerful lab from a specializing third party such as Perfecto or Sauce Labs.

No Need for Developer Skills

You can skip the need to hire specialized developers to code your tests. No coding is required to create tests using TestCraft’s intuitive drag & drop interface; TestCraft converts your tests to Selenium code, 100% automatically.

Better, Faster Tests

Tests created with TestCraft are more resilient, significantly decreasing the percentage of breakages due to our proprietary SmartBinding technology. Tests created with TestCraft can be easily run across multiple environments, in parallel if you wish.

Maintenance Made Easy

TestCraft saves you precious time and valuable resources by making it easy to fix and adjust tests to changes in the application. There’s no need to dig into the automation code when a test breaks. With TestCraft’s On-the-Fly binding you can simply point and click the broken element on the screen, and TestCraft re-binds it on the spot.  

TestCraft also offers a powerful re-use functionality. Elements and entire flows can be easily reused across tests. When you adjust an element, the change automatically applies to all other scenarios that use that element.

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Bridging the Gap Between Coding and Manual

The transition to Selenium code automation is a long and costly process for many organizations, a process that requires many organizational changes.

The easier way to transition is to first bridge the gap between coding and manual testing by letting manual testers use such tools as TestCraft. This way, manual testers can continue to be in control while Selenium code is automatically created. If a Selenium developer joins the team, he or she can easily integrate into the development and testing process.

If you want to enjoy all the benefits of Selenium without the pitfalls, try TestCraft.