What is Headless Browser Testing, When (and Why) to Use It

What is Headless Browser Testing, When (and Why) to Use It

What Is Headless Browser Testing? Headless browser testing improves both the effectiveness and efficiency of your testing process while integrating quality assurance with software delivery. If performance or stability are the reasons you’ve been avoiding end-to-end UI-based testing, headless browser automation may make it possible for you to add end-to-end tests to your testing process.

Headless browser testing improves both the effectiveness and efficiency of your testing process while integrating quality assurance with software delivery.

In the end, the only tests that matter are end-to-end UI-driven tests. These are the tests that begin and end with the application’s interfaces and prove that the application—with all of its events, queues and microservices—allows the stakeholders to meet all of their goals.

But there are some inherent problems with UI-driven testing. Stability is one: Even when the application is working correctly, UI-driven tests occasionally fail when interacting with the browser. Performance is the other issue: UI-driven testing is sloooooooowwww compared to other kinds of automated testing.

What Is Headless Browser Testing?

There’s a solution: Headless browser testing. Headless browser automation uses a web browser for end-to-end tests but skips loading the browsers’ UI. That means the HTML page being tested isn’t rendered (so everything runs faster) and your tests bypass interacting with the page to manipulate the browser more directly (eliminating failures due to UI-related interactions). Your end-to-end tests are both more efficient and more reliable. If performance or stability are the reasons you’ve been avoiding end-to-end UI-based testing, headless browser automation may make it possible for you to add end-to-end tests to your testing process.

But headless browser testing shouldn’t be thought of as just a replacement for UI-based testing. Headless browser testing creates new opportunities by letting you adopt “shift-left” design thinking and move toward integrating Quality Assurance (QA) into your software delivery process (what’s referred to as “QAOps”). The net effect is that “headless browser testing” not only makes your testing more efficient, it also makes your testing more effective.

And, by the way, “headless browser testing” is a mouthful. Let’s just use “headless testing.”

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