A Complete Guide to Test Automation Frameworks

A Complete Guide to Test Automation Frameworks

In this tutorial, we learn what a test automation framework, advantages, disadvantages, types of frameworks like Linear Scripting, Test Library ...

Automation testing with the right tool makes multiple types of testing faster, easier, and more efficienty.

The key component of any successful automated testing process is test automation frameworks. Reduced maintenance costs, testing efforts and a higher return on investment (ROI) for QA teams are just some of the key benefits the offer while optimizing Agile processes.

Automation is essential to an efficient testing process for the following reasons as elucidated below:

  • Improved test efficiency
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Minimal manual intervention
  • Maximum test coverage
  • Reusability of code

Executives in the software development domain have fostered an extensive understanding of how implementing an automation framework benefits their business and many in this space have started using the term "framework" quite often, knowing how it can become key to the success of software automation project.

But still, to many, the question remains – what exactly is a test automation framework and automation script? How does it work and what advantages can the framework bring to the testing process?

Defining Test Automation

In any industry, automation is generally interpreted as automatic handling of processes through intelligent algorithms that involve little or no human intervention. In the software industry, testing automation means performing various tests on software applications using automation tools that are either licensed versions or open-source. In technical terms, the test automation framework is a customized set of interactive components that facilitate the execution of scripted tests and the comprehensive reporting of test results.

To successfully build an automation framework, it is imperative to consider the recommendations by software QA experts who help control and monitor the entire testing process and enhance the precision of the results. A carefully-mended automation framework allows testers to perform the automated tests in a practical, simplified fashion.

Different Types of Frameworks

Depending on how you want to approach the creation of a framework and target automation requirements, there are various possible variables you can think of such as:

Tool-Centered Frameworks

Both commercial and open-source automation tools have their own system infrastructure that helps with report generation, test suits, distributed test execution in its testing environment. One example is the Selenium automation framework which has the main component WebDriver that functions as a plugin for the web-based browser to control and operate the DOM model of the application within the web browser. The Selenium test automation framework also additionally has useful coding libraries and a record-playback tool.

Another significant tool-specific framework example is Serenity that is built around the Selenium Webdriver and is an accelerator. In this, to possibly speed up the test automation implementation process, specific components are put together within a common substance by the community.

When it comes to tool-specific frameworks like TestComplete, Ranorex HP QTP and more, it is difficult to make a firm decision since they all are prebuilt with a deployed infrastructure with actions emulators, reporting and scripting IDE.

Project-Oriented Frameworks

Frameworks of this class are customized to enable implementation of automation for specific application projects. Project-specific frameworks support certain target app test automation requirements and are driven by components built from open-source libraries. It creates a test-friendly environment around SUT to run some of the essential functions. These include the deployment of the developed application, running the app, test cases execution, direct test results reporting, and wrapper control for ease of coding. The frameworks focused on specific projects should also have a component to support the test run across various cloud environments on different OS and browsers.

Keyword-Driven frameworks

Keyword-driven frameworks are those designed to appeal to developers and testers with less coding experience. They might be tool-specific or project-focused frameworks and enable the underskilled staff to write and comprehend automation script. The keywords set (such as Login, NavigateToPage, Click, TypeText) for coding are installed as a keyword repository within a codebase. The spreadsheet where testers write scripts based on provided keyword references are passed onto the keyword interpreter, and the test is executed.

Major Components of Ideal Test Automation Frameworks

If you desire to implement a highly functional and superior test automation framework, be it open-source or commercial, you must think of including certain ingredients that form its core. It is not necessary that you include all the components mentioned below in every framework. While some frameworks might have all of them, some will have only a couple.

There is always space, however, to include those not listed here. The major components of ideal test automation frameworks based on various tests are:

Testing Libraries

Unit Testing

Unit testing libraries can be used to shape an essential part of any test automation framework. You need it for:

  • Defining test methods in use via specific formal annotations like @Test or [Test]
  • Performing assertions that affect the end results of automated tests
  • Running straightforward and simplified tests

Whether you run the tests from the command line, IDE, a dedicated tool or CI (continuous integration) system – to make sure that the unit tests run straightforward manner, the unit testing libraries offer test runner.

Usually, unit testing libraries support almost every programming language. A few great examples of unit testing libraries are:

  • JUnit and TestNG for Java
  • NUnit and MSTest for .NET
  • Unit test (formerly PyUnit) for Python.

Integration and End-To-End Testing

While performing integration and end-to-end testing automation, practicing the features provided by existing test libraries is healthy and often recommended. API-level tests that are driven by the UI of an application require components that make interactions with applications under test quite easier as it eliminates the unnecessary burden of coding. Thus, you will not focus on coding efforts for:

  • Connecting to the application
  • Sending requests
  • Receiving resultant responses

Several important testing libraries of this kind are:

  • Selenium (Available for major languages)
  • Protractor (Specific to JavaScript)
  • Karate DSL (Java-specific API-level integration tests)

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)

Libraries dedicated to BDD target behavioral specifics, creating executable specifications in the form of executable code. Here you can convert different features and scenarios of expected behavior into code, though they don’t work like test tools directly interacting with the application under test. They function as a support to BDD process to create living documentation that aligns with scope and intent of automated tests. A set of typical examples of BDD libraries would be:

  • Cucumber (supports major languages)
  • Jasmine (JavaScript)
  • SpecFlow (for .NET)

Test Data Management

The biggest struggle experienced during the software testing automation and tests creation process is harnessing the system of test data management. As the number of automation tests intensifies, there’s always the problem of ensuring that certain test data required to perform a specific test is available or created when the tests are carried out. The challenge is that there is no surefire solution to this, which demands a solid approach for test data management to make automation efforts a success.

This is why the automation framework you use should be equipped enough to offer an essential remedy to enter or create and scavenge through the test data to be executed. One way to resolve this is having a proper simulation tool to make data more simplified, lucid and digestible.

Mocks, Stubs, and Virtual Assets

While exploring and working on many ideas of automated tests, you are likely to come across a situation where:

  1. You want to isolate modules from connected components that are generally experienced in unit testing
  2. You need to deal with cumbersome and critical dependencies as commonly found in integration or end-to-end tests for modern applications

In such cases, you might feel it is essential to create mocks, stubs and virtual assets that mirror the behavioral pattern of connected components. You might find handling mocks and stubs a big-scope, giant task; however, you will realize how crucial it is to opt for useful virtualization tools during the development of automated testing frameworks.

Common Mechanisms for Implementation Patterns

Aside from the automation framework components discussed above, there are a couple of useful mechanisms that help with the creation, use, and maintenance of automated tests such as:

  • Wrapper methods: When you use the Selenium Webdriver component, creating custom wrappers makes error handling more comfortable. As custom wrappers for Selenium API calls are created, you can better handle timeouts, exception handling and fault reporting. It can then be reused by those who create automated tests so that they can steer clear from the concerns of the complicated process and focus on making valuable tests.
  • Abstraction methods: The abstraction mechanism stands for increasing readability and obscuring redundant implementation details. For instance, using Page Objects while creating Selenium WebDriver tests aims to expose user input actions on a web page including entering credential or clicking somewhere on a page. The goal is to accomplish high-level test methods by transcending or bypassing the need to explore specific elements of the page. This method applies to many similar applications and automation tests.

Test Results Reporting

When it comes to selecting a library or mechanism for reporting the test results into an automation framework, you should focus primarily on the target audience that will be reading or reviewing the generated reports. In this area, we can present several considerations:

  • Unit testing frameworks such as JUnit and TestNG generate reports that primarily target receptive systems such as CI (continuous integration) servers that ultimately interpret it and present it in XML format consumable by other software.
  • As we seek tools that have reporting capabilities in a language most understood by humans, you may need to consider using commercial tools that are compatible with unit testing frameworks such as UFT Pro for Junit, NUnit and TestNG.
  • Another option is making use of third-party libraries such as ExtentReports that create test result reports in formats well-interpreted by humans, including visual explanations through pie charts, graphics or images.

CI Platform

For a faster and consistent approach towards application testing, a Continuous Integration platform can help build software and run various tests for the new build on a periodical basis. This approach gives developers and stakeholders an opportunity to draw regular feedback and faster responses regarding app quality as and when new features are developed and deployed and existing ones are updated. A few prominent examples of current CI platform could be TeamCity, CircleCI, Jenkins, Atlassian Bamboo, etc.

Source Code Management

Like manual testing, automation testing also involves writing and storing source code version. Every development company has a curated source and version control system to save and protect source code. Automated tests require a sound source code management system that comes in handy when working on production code. Some typical examples of source code management, as any developer would give are Git, Mercurial, Subversion and TFS.

Create Dependency Managers

The primary intent of dependency managers is to assist in the process of gathering and managing existing dependencies and libraries used in the functioning of automation software solutions. Certain tools like Maven and Gradle simultaneously act as dependency managers and help in building tools. Build tools are meant to help you develop the automation software from source code and supporting libraries and run tests. Other dependency tools include Ant, NPM and NuGet.

The Process of Building and Implementing the Framework

There are a few ways to plan an approach to implementing an automation test solution.

  • Explore the practical suitability of automation from a customer’s perspective. Check if it looks good from all angles and test it on technology under use. It may seem a little unfeasible if, when compared, automation development endeavors outweigh expected advantages by a considerable margin.
  • It is crucial to keep an eye on the technology of the system under test to settle for the most appropriate test automation tool that perfectly emulates user actions.
  • It is advisable to go for a stage-based implementation approach where each stage has the priority of delivering an automated test script while adding framework features to achieve the expected execution of scripts.
  • Before initiating software test automation, to ensure the decision of automation is executed correctly, it is essential to first calculate and estimate the post-implementation ROI, concept proof, time to run the manual regression or smoke test and the number of run cycles per release.
The Inevitable Need for Test Automation Frameworks

Describing and illustrating how software test automation frameworks and scripts complement your testing process does not always mean it will work successfully work for everyone who aims for automation. However, there is no denial in saying that test automation frameworks, if planned and executed diligently, do bring the following perks for a software development and testing company:

  • Minimum time, maximum gains: Any viable test automation framework and automation script is built to minimize the time taken to write and run tests, which gives maximum output in a short timeframe. With an excellent automation framework in place, you feel free from the usual concerns such as synchronization, error management, local configuration, report generation, and interpretation and many other challenges.
  • Reusable and readable automation code: As you use the code mentioned in existing libraries of components, you can rest assured that it remains readable and reusable for times to come and that all related tasks such as reporting, synchronization, and troubleshooting will become more accessible to achieve.
  • Resource optimization: Some companies do not benefit as much from automation implementation as they thought before starting the process. The efficiency you gain from creating automated tests depends on the flexibility of its adoption. If the automation system is flexible and compatible with different teams working on various components, it can provide enormous benefits when it comes to resource optimization and knowledge sharing.
Conclusion

In today’s fast-paced, brutal software development ecosystem, automated tests and scripts play an integral part in maintaining the speed, efficiency, and lucidity of the software testing cycle. With AI being inculcated in software testing, organizations that think of adopting a test automation framework must delve deeper in creating the ultimate framework design before they ever dive into this field. A well-nurtured strategy of framework design and components to be used will prepare the fundamental backbone of the final test automation frameworks.

The best way to shape the mature, sophisticated and resilient architecture of test automation framework is to start small, test and review frequently, and gradually go higher to build an expansive version. You may also find it convenient to prepare the enormous set of automated tests from early on to see the working framework in place sooner and avoid a conflicting or compromised situation later during the test automation phase.

When it comes to implementing a framework for automated testing, one recommended approach is to find a tool that can quickly and easily adapt to your processes and workflows. Look for a tool that is not only flexible but can support a wide range of applications and languages as this enables the QA team to contribute effectively, regardless of their background or skill set.

The guidelines explained above is intended to help software testers, and companies immensely benefit from their successful execution of test automation projects.

Selenium Testing For Effective Test Automation

This article has been republished from pCloudy

While there is a substantial increment in the mobile apps market share, web apps are still prevalent with a significant user base. Enterprises are focusing on the quality at speed when it comes to web apps, before deployment. This is where testing has an important role to play. UI testing is still mostly a manual process unlike some functional testing which can be automated. But it is sensible to automate testing which will save time and effort. When it comes to automation, Selenium testing is the first thing that comes to mind as it is the most popular test automation tool in the world. So let’s learn more about selenium testing.

What is Selenium Testing

Selenium testing tool is open-source and it enables users to drive interactions with the page and test the app across various platforms. It allows users to control a browser from their preferred language like Java, JavaScript, C#, PHP, Python, etc. Selenium has many tools and APIs for automating user interactions on HTML JavaScript apps on browsers like IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.

Selenium Framework is a code structure that helps to simplify and reuse the code. Without frameworks, we will place the code as well as data in the same place which is neither re-usable nor readable. Selenium automation frameworks are beneficial for higher portability, increased code re-usage, higher code readability, reduced script maintenance cost, etc.

What is Selenium Web Driver

Selenium WebDriver accepts commands via the client API and sends them to browsers. Selenium WebDriver is a browser-specific driver which helps in accessing and launching the different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc. The WebDriver provides an interface to create and run automation scripts and every browser has different drivers to run the tests. The different drivers are IE Driver, Firefox Driver, Safari Driver, Chrome Driver, etc.

Selenium WebDriver was introduced to negate limitations of Selenium RC, which offers enhanced support for web pages where the elements on a page change without reloading. Many browsers support selenium WebDriver and it uses each browser’s native support for automation testing. The features are supported and direct calls are made depending on the browser that is being used.

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Getting started with Selenium Automation Testing

Getting started with Selenium Automation Testing

Selenium is an open source tool which is used for automating the tests carried out on web browsers (Web applications are tested using any web browser). Take a look at how you can get going with the most popular automation testing platform

Selenium is an open source tool which is used for automating the tests carried out on web browsers (Web applications are tested using any web browser). Take a look at how you can get going with the most popular automation testing platform

Selenium has become very popular among testers because of the various advantages it offers. When we talk about automation testing, the first thing that often comes to our mind is our favorite automation testing tool. Selenium won the hearts of many testers and developers with its simplicity, availability, and ease of use. With its advent in 2004, Selenium made the life of automation testers easier and is now a favorite tool for many automation testers.

What is Selenium?

Selenium was invented with the introduction of a basic tool named as “JavaScriptTestRunner,” by Jason Huggins at ThoughtWorks to test their internal Time and Expenses application. Now it has gained popularity among software testers and developers as an open source portable automation testing framework. It has the capability to automate browsers with specific browser bindings for automating web applications for testing purposes. It is a suite of four tools designed for different purposes. Let’s get to know Selenium in detail and the different tools that it offers.

Selenium Suite of Tools

Selenium has four major components with a different approach for automation testing which is popular as the Selenium suite of tools. Every software tester or developer choose tools out of it depending upon the testing requirement for the organization.

Selenium RC (Remote Control)

Selenium Core was the first tool in the suite of tools. However, it was deprecated as it had some issues related to cross-domain testing because of same origin policy. So, to overcome that, Selenium Remote Control (Selenium RC) was introduced after Selenium Core. RC turned out to be a solution to the cross-domain issue. RC has an HTTP proxy server which helps in tricking the browser into believing that both the Selenium Wore and web app which is being tested are from the same domain, removing the cross-domain issue.

Selenium RC is divided into two parts which help in overcoming the cross-domain issue:

  1. Selenium Remote Server
  2. Selenium Remote Client

But the major issue with RC was the time taken to execute a test. As the Selenium server communicates using HTTP requests, it was more time-consuming. Because of this limitation, RC also is now largely obsolete.

Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE, earlier known as Selenium recorder, is a tool used to record, edit, debug, and replay functional tests. Selenium IDE is implemented as an extension to the Chrome browser and an add-on in Firefox browser. With the Selenium IDE plugin, you can record and export tests in any of the supported programming languages like Ruby, Java, PHP, Javascript, and more.

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid is based on a hub-node architecture. With Selenium Grid, you can run parallel test sessions across different browsers. The hub controls Selenium scripts running on different nodes (specific browsers inside an OS) and test scripts running on different nodes can be written in any programming language.

Selenium Grid was used with RC to test multiple tests on remote machines. Now, as people find **WebDriver **works better than RC, Grid works with both WebDriver and RC.

Selenium WebDriver

Selenium WebDriver is an enhanced version of Selenium RC and the most used tool. It accepts commands via the client API and sends them to browsers. Simply put, Selenium WebDriver is a browser-specific driver which helps in accessing and launching the different browsers. It provides an interface to write and run automation scripts. Every browser has different drivers to run tests.

  • Mozilla Firefox uses Firefox Driver (Gecko Driver)
  • Google Chrome uses Chrome Driver
  • Internet Explorer uses Internet Explorer Driver
  • Opera uses Opera Driver
  • Safari uses Safari Driver and
  • HTM Unit Driver used to simulate browsers using headless browser HtmlUnit

Selenium Client API

The Client API is the latest tool in the Suite of tools. With Selenium Client API, you can write test scripts in various programming languages instead of writing test scripts in Selenese. The Selenium Client API is available for Java, JavaScript, C#, Ruby, and Python. These scripts can communicate with Selenium with predefined commands and functions of Client API.

Why Use Selenium for Automation Testing?

Since we are now familiar with Selenium and its suite of tools, let’s find out the various benefits of Selenium which make it stand from the crowd as a tool for automation testing:

  1. Open-Source: Since it is an open source tool, it doesn’t require any licensing costs, which give it an upper hand over other automation testing tools.
  2. Tool for Every Need: As mentioned earlier, Selenium has a suite of tools, so it suits every need of the users. You can use various tools like WebDriver, Grid, and IDE for fulfilling your different needs.
  3. Supports All Major Languages: The major challenge that a tester or developer faces with an automation testing tool is the support for languages. Since Selenium supports all major languages like Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, C#, Perl, .Net and PHP, it is easier for testers to use.
  4. Browser and Operating System Support: Selenium supports different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari and different operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac. This makes it flexible to use.
  5. Community Support: Selenium has an active open community which helps you solve your issues and queries related to it. This makes it the best choice as your automation testing tool.

Here’s a quick comparison table of Selenium with other available tools:

Since **Selenium WebDriver **is the most used tool, we’ll be using it to execute some test cases. To understand the complete process on a very simple level, Selenium **WebDriver Architecture **consists of:

Basically, Selenium WebDriver works in three layers: Browser Driver, Remote Driver, and Language Bindings.

Core Components of WebDriver Architecture

Selenium Client Library/Language Bindings

Selenium bindings/client libraries are created by developers to support multiple programming languages. For instance, if you want to use the browser driver in Python, use the Python bindings. You can download all the bindings on the official website.

JSON Protocol Over HTTP

JavaScript Object Notation is used as a data transfer protocol to send data from a server to a client on the web. With JSON, it is very easy to write and read data with data structures like Array and Object support. This wire protocol provides a transport mechanism and defines a RESTful web service using JSON over HTTP.

Browser-Specific Driver

Each web browser has a specific browser driver for Selenium bindings. The browser driver accepts commands from the server and sends it to the browser without loss of any internal logic of browser functionalities. Browser drivers are also specific to programming languages like Ruby, C#, Java, and more for web automation.

Here are the steps when we run any test script using WebDriver:

  1. An HTTP request gets generated for every Selenium command and gets sent to browser driver.
  2. The specific browser driver receives the HTTP request through the HTTP server.
  3. HTTP Server sends all the steps to perform a function, which are executed on the browser.
  4. The test execution report is sent back to server and HTTP server sends it to the Automation script.

Browsers

**Selenium WebDriver **supports all the major browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari browsers.

Setting Up Selenium on Your Local Machine

Let’s understand the steps of how we can configure Selenium in your local machine and running a test in your local browser.

  1. Install Code editor or IDE (like Eclipse or IntelliJ)

Note: We’ll be using IntelliJ code editor for writing Automation script.

  1. Download and install Java Runtime environment in your local system.
  2. Download Java Development Kit
  3. Download and install all Java Selenium Files (Selenium Server Standalone)
  4. Install Browser Specific Drivers ( In this blog, we’ll perform Automation on Chrome, so Chrome Driver for this case)
Sample Selenium Script for Web Automation

Here is the sample automation script which can be run to automate the testing process on the local chrome browser. Since we are using IntelliJ as our code editor, so we’ll write the same in IntelliJ.

Sample Script

import org.openqa.selenium.By;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import org.openqa.selenium.chrome.ChromeDriver;
public class TestSelenium {
public static void main(String[] args){
System.setProperty("webdriver.chrome.driver","C:\\Users\\Admin\\Desktop\\LT Automation\\chromedriver_win32\\chromedriver.exe");
WebDriver driver= new ChromeDriver();
driver.get("https://hackr.io/");
try {
WebElement signup = driver.findElement(By.xpath("//*[@id="navbarCollapse"]/ul/li[2]/a"));
signup.click();
WebElement login= driver.findElement(By.xpath("//*[@id="modalSignUp"]/div/div/div/div/div[4]/p/a"));
login.click();
String windowHandle = driver.getWindowHandle();
WebElement TextBox = driver.findElement(By.xpath("//*[@id="login-modal-form"]/div[1]/div/input"));
TextBox.sendKeys("[email protected]");
WebElement Password = driver.findElement(By.xpath("//*[@id="login-modal-form"]/div[2]/div/input"));
Password.sendKeys("sample-password");
WebElement proceed = driver.findElement(By.xpath("//*[@id="login-modal-form"]/div[4]/button"));
proceed.click();
}
catch (Exception e) {
System.out.println(e.getMessage());
}
}
}

This code will launch a website (here, https://hackr.io/), find “Signup/Login” element, click on the Signup/login button, then go to the login page by finding “Login.” After that, enter the credentials to the login page and click the login button to be redirected to Hackr.io homepage.

Online Selenium Grid

The major challenge in running Selenium on a local machine is the limited number of browsers in the local machine. Since you can have only one version of a particular browser installed in your local machine, if the need comes to test on some downgraded or upgraded version of that browser, you’ll need to upgrade or downgrade the already installed browser in your local machine. Also, you can install only a specific number of browsers in the system. So, if the need comes it becomes almost impossible to test across all browsers and operating systems. That's where an online Selenium Grid can help.

With the help of an online Selenium Grid on the cloud, you can test across all the browsers, browser versions, operating systems, resolutions for cross-browser compatibility. Online platforms which provide Selenium Grids, like LambdaTest, SauceLabs, and BrowserStack, can help you perform cross-browser tests on cloud grid of various browsers-OS combinations.

Common Selenium Command and Operations

While writing an automation script, you will be using many repeated commands and doing various operations. Let’s have a quick look at the most common and used commands in Selenium automation testing.

**Page Visit: **The first thing to do visit a webpage to start automation testing.

driver.get("https://hackr.io/");

**Find an Element: **Find elements to automate them.

// find just one, the first one Selenium finds
WebElement element = driver.findElement(locator);
// find all instances of the element on the page
List<WebElement> elements = driver.findElements(locator);

**Actions on Elements: **Work on found elements.

// chain actions together
driver.findElement(locator).click();
// store the element and then click it

WebElement element = driver.findElement(locator);
element.click();

**Multiple Element Commands: **Common commands to click, submit, clear, input, etc.

element.click(); // clicks an element
element.submit(); // submits a form
element.clear(); // clears an input field of its text
element.sendKeys("input text"); // types text into an input field

**Question Commands: **Check conditions for elements.

element.isDisplayed(); // is it visible to the human eye?
element.isEnabled(); // can it be selected?
element.isSelected(); // is it selected?

**Get your Info: **Commands for retrieving information for an element.

// directly from an element
element.getText();
// by attribute name
element.getAttribute("href");

To Sum Up

Selenium is one of the best automation testing tools to automate web browser interactions. You can perform automation testing by writing code in any of your preferred language supported by Selenium and can easily run your automation script to automate testing of an application or a process. Its ease of use makes it different from other tools and with the help of an online grid you can even run your tests in parallel across more than one browser. So, what are you waiting for? Write a beautiful automation Script and test your website! If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below.

Happy Testing!

Selenium for Test Automation — Yay or Nay?

Selenium for Test Automation — Yay or Nay?

In this article, we’ll look at some of the aspects that led to the widespread adoption of Selenium as the de-facto standard for web automation. We’ll also check the scope for advancement and improvement in a Selenium-based test framework.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the aspects that led to the widespread adoption of Selenium as the de-facto standard for web automation. We’ll also check the scope for advancement and improvement in a Selenium-based test framework.

“Selenium 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.”

As SeleniumHQ states above, the primary use of Selenium has been to automate Web Applications for Testing purposes, and it has been doing the same for a decade or longer. From Selenium RC and Selenium IDE, it has grown to a full-blown Web Automation library that supports multiple browsers and Platforms.

Selenium has been around for a long time, and it is, without a doubt, a great tool. It has been serving Automation Testing needs of testers worldwide for quite a long time.

Pros

1. Open Source/ No Licensing costs

Selenium has no upfront licensing costs or payments to be made for its use since its freely available. It is also an open source project which allows for extension and modification of the base framework for one’s personal or professional usage.

2. Language-independent

Devs or QA Analysts working on a particular language don’t have to learn a new language just to start automating their tests using Selenium. Selenium provides official Language bindings with popular languages such as C#, Java, Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, and Python in addition to the unofficial language bindings available for other languages.

3. Third-party Integrations

Selenium does not restrict a QA’s choice of reporting tools, build systems or any other aspect of their development/testing stack. It integrates well with popular tools such as SauceLabs, Selenium-Grid, Extent, JUnit, and others.

4. Parallel Testing

Selenium supports parallel test executions by integrating with Selenium Grid which helps to considerably bring down the feedback time for test executions.

5. Cross Browser and Platform-independent

Selenium supports all popular web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc. and works on all currently available operating systems platforms such as Windows, Mac, and Linux.

6. Community Support

Selenium is backed by a vast community of developers and testers who actively contribute to the tool and documentation.

These reasons make Selenium a great choice for automation testers in enterprises around the world. However, as time flows and technology advances, we need to adapt and adopt newer tools and technologies to keep pace.

One of the advancements that we can’t ignore is the impact of Artificial Intelligence. AI is being heavily adopted in all of fields and software test automation is one such field that can gain from it. Modern test automation frameworks need to leverage their capabilities better.

Now, let’s look into some other reasons that urge us to look for a better alternative to Selenium.

Cons

1. High Initial Setup time and costs

It is true that Selenium is free and there are absolutely no licensing costs involved. However, when it comes to ROI and Initial Cost, we need to think about a couple of other factors.

  • The setup and configuration of a Selenium-based test framework take considerable time. That adds up to indirect costs.
  • For a team consisting of mostly manual testers, the members need to learn to programme or the company needs to hire a bunch of automation experts to automate using Selenium.

Proposed solution: Codeless test automation tools can help the manual testers step up to the automation game easily. Most of these tools come with zero initial setup time as well since they are hosted on the cloud.

2. Not an all-in-one solution — The requirement for 3rd party bindings

Selenium + TestNG/JUnit is not the complete, comprehensive solution to fully automate the testing of your web applications. You need different libraries(POI API, GSON, Extent Reports) to make it a complete solution for a testing framework. And managing multiple dependencies is difficult and extra maintenance work that everyone wants to avoid.

Proposed solution: A good dependency management tool such as Maven, Gradle or NPM can make this task easier. Ant is outdated now and I wouldn’t suggest it since there are better solutions.

3. The difficulty of managing local test infrastructure

Parallel testing is very much possible with Selenium Grid — however, it is not always feasible to set up and manage a local infrastructure (test machines) since the requirements for devices vary with projects.

Proposed solution: Using a cloud platform (IaaS) for the test environments would avoid the hassle.

4. Eventually becomes a parallel development solution

There’s a lot of complexity involved in bringing multiple things together to create an effective and highly functioning test automation ecosystem based on Selenium. It takes huge technical efforts and requires constant updates, improvements, and maintenance of the complete framework. Eventually, it becomes a parallel development project which small and medium-sized companies can not afford in the early stages.

Proposed solution: Use a ready-to-use solution that delegates the maintenance to an external team so that the QA can spend more time on actual issues or bugs.

5. Inability to integrate Continuous Testing/in-sprint automation

With its code-based approach and high dependence on the UI, it is difficult for Selenium-based projects to shift the testing more to the left, which is required for continuous testing.

Proposed solution: Frankly, I don’t have a solution for this issue with Selenium since the dependency on UI is a fundamental drawback and one of the ways to shift left would be to rely on API Tests from the beginning.

6. No participation from non-technical resources

In Continuous Delivery and DevOps, quality is everyone’s responsibility. But with the cryptic code-based approach, only programmers can participate in the test creation activities.

Proposed Solution: Use a framework or tool that provides highly readable tests (to be read as BDD or TDD) and encourages the collaboration of team members.

7. Lack of professional on-demand support for enterprise projects

Even though the Selenium community is pretty helpful, you can’t always rely on community support for large scale enterprise projects which demand utmost privacy and quick resolution time.

Proposed solution: Something similar to point 4.

8. Solving automation/maintenance challenges

There are no inbuilt solutions for specific tasks such as Flaky Tests due to dynamic UI, File handling, API Level tasks, OS-based popup handling, and Basic Authentication

Due to the heavy usage of AJAX and modern web development technologies, Test is not always very stable. Also, since the Test Scripts are code-based, Test Maintenance is a bit difficult.

Proposed Solution: Adding fallback logic that can handle these challenges with native Javascript code.

9. Limited capabilities

Having no built-in test management, test data management, or test reporting capabilities.

Proposed Solution: Integrate with a third party test management tool and third-party libraries for test data management and test reporting.