How Selenium WebDriver Helps in Performing Automation Testing

The early years of the application development industry had apps that were quite basic and didn’t pose many obstacles in the development process. Therefore, the testing phases were also very simple and often completely skipped. However, with the improvement of app technology and the rising demands of end users, companies started to develop complex applications. For instance, a modern app can perform multiple operations at the same time. However, the complex code base is prone to different bugs and errors. So, the developer started to focus more on the testing of these applications. However, the only way to perform testing was through manual test cases. Performing all the test cases on an application using manual testing could take months to complete. So, companies started using automation frameworks like Selenium for testing purposes. Selenium is an automation test suite that uses multiple tools like Selenium WebDriver for testing purposes. 

Automation testing allowed the developers to automatically execute all the test cases using predetermined test scripts. The developers also had the option to configure various parameters of the test scripts according to their requirements. Various repetitive test cases like regression testing, data analysis testing, and unit testing can benefit a lot from automated test cases. Selenium is probably the most popular name in this segment. Among all the other components of Selenium, WebDriver is often considered to be the heart of the testing process. So, in this article, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about the role of Selenium WebDriver for performing automation testing. 

Things to Remember about Automation Testing

Due to the superiority of automation testing, some developers often have the misconception that test automation can eliminate the need for manual testing. However, in reality, certain testing processes are almost impossible to conduct without the help of a human tester. For instance, exploratory testing completely depends on the knowledge and expertise of a human developer. Using exploratory testing, the developers can find errors in the application that are usually overlooked by automated test cases. Similarly, visual testing depends on the keen eye of a human developer to ensure the proper placement of all the visual elements present in a web application. So, the best practice in this segment is to maintain a proper balance between automation testing and manual testing. 

Moreover, the developers must remember that the initial charges of introducing automation testing are quite high. So, companies need to consider the business perspective before moving toward this transition. Currently, a survey shows that only 60% of application development companies have moved to automated test cases. 

What is Selenium

Selenium is a test suite that allows developers to perform automation testing on their web applications. The open-source nature of this tool allows the developers to access all of its features without any licensing fee. Selenium was initially known as JavaScriptTestRunner as it was developed with the JavaScript programming language. It officially received its name Selenium in the year 2004. Since its initial introduction, it has managed to dominate the automation industry for almost a decade. Currently, Selenium is running on its fourth version. All the tools present in the Selenium test suite serve different purposes involved in the application testing process. All the test cases developed with Selenium are popularly known as Selenium automated test cases. 

The only major downside of Selenium is that it is not possible to use it on any application other than web apps. We will learn more about all the components of the Selenium test suite in the latter part of this article. 

The Components of the Selenium Test Suite

Now, let us take a look at the major components of the Selenium test suite and understand their functioning:

  • The Selenium Remote Controller

The Selenium remote controller plays a vital role in improving the reach of the Selenium test suite. This is because, before the introduction of this tool, the developers had to write the test cases using the native Selenese language. However, Selenium remote controller removed this barrier by adding the option to write the test cases using the major programming languages that are currently available. This means the developers can write automated test cases with major options like JavaScript, Ruby, and Python. Removing the proprietary restriction from the developers also helped them to improve the innovativeness of the test cases.

  • The Selenium Integrated Development Environment

The Selenium integrated development environment is an important component for creating the test cases for running the automation process. Using this tool, the developers can analyze the user interactions on a web application and create test cases accordingly. This means the developers have to use the application like a normal user and the system will automatically continue to generate the test cases. With the recent update of Selenium, various new features were added to the Selenium integrated development environment. This tool also plays a vital role in improving the accuracy of the test cases. The Selenium IDE also helps to ensure that the web application is practical considering the standards of modern users. 

  • Selenium WebDriver

We can say that the Selenium WebDriver is a core component of the Selenium test suite. This is because it is not only responsible for initiating the test cases but also executing them on the proper elements of the web application. The Selenium WebDriver also helps to maintain a proper activity log for all the testing processes that are currently running on the web application. With the Selenium 4 update, various new features were added to the WebDriver to further improve its efficiency. Unlike the Selenium remote controller, WebDriver does not require a code engine for its basic functioning. This is because it can directly interact with all the elements present in a web application. 

  • Selenium Grid

The Selenium grid is responsible for performing parallel testing on web applications. Parallel testing is the process of initiating multiple testing processes simultaneously. This process also helps the developers to initiate different configurations of the test cases at the same time. Parallel testing plays a vital role in improving the efficiency of automation testing. Some studies by automation testing experts also show that parallel testing helps to improve the efficiency of the test cases by almost 15 times. The Selenium grid works on the principle of a hub interacting with different nodes connected to it. On receiving an individual test case, the hub will forward it to the respective node for the execution phase.

How Selenium WebDriver Influences the Automation Testing Process

Let us take a quick look at some of the major points to justify automation testing with Selenium web driver should be the priority of all developers:

  • The open-source nature of Selenium WebDriver helps the developers to utilize all of its features without paying any license fee. 
  • It supports all the major programming languages that are currently available. It is also accessible across multiple operating systems like windows, Linux and Mac OS.
  • The Selenium WebDriver helps developers to perform cross-browser testing on web applications. The developers can also improve the efficiency of cross-browser test cases with different platforms like LambdaTest. We will discuss more this the latter part of this article. 
  • It is not only very easy to implement but also comes with massive community support. Therefore, the developers always have someone to refer back to whenever they are stuck. 
  • The Selenium WebDriver allows mouse cursor and keyboard simulation to further improve testing of user introduction on web applications. 
  • It provides advanced browser interactions to further improve the efficiency of test cases. For instance, the developers don’t have to initiate the servers for testing the functioning of web applications with Selenium WebDriver. 
  • All the codes used with Selenium WebDriver are mostly reusable in future development projects as well. This process helps the companies to save a lot of time and resources

Role of Tools and Platforms in Automation Testing with Selenium

Currently, the device market is very diverse and almost thousands of new devices appear in the market every year. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive for companies to maintain physical device test benches. Due to this problem, some companies are restricting their testing processes only to emulators and simulators. However, it is a very risky practice to release the final application by only testing it on these devices as they fail to completely replicate the behavior of a real device. For instance, it is impossible to understand how physical damage or user interaction errors can harm the application performance by emulator testing. 

The most practical solution to this problem is the use of cloud-integrated platforms. Cloud platforms allow developers to access hundreds of devices that are stored on cloud servers. Developers can perform the test cases on these devices by paying only a minimum license fee. Cloud platforms also allow developers to execute test configurations from anywhere around the world. Let us learn more about the influence of cloud integrated platforms by using LambdaTest as a reference point:

LambdaTest is a cloud-integrated platform that allows testers to perform cross-browser test cases on a secure cloud grid. For the new automation testers, cross-browser compatibility testing is the process of ensuring that changes in the device version, operating system, or browser version do not have any negative impact on the peak performance of a web application. LambdaTest provides various features like parallel testing to exponentially improve the efficiency of the test cases. Using parallel test cases, the developers can perform multiple testing configurations without separate test benches. With LambdaTest, it is also possible to test the proper functioning of local web pages. LambdaTest allows the execution of automated test cases from different frameworks like Selenium, Playwright, and Cypress. While using Selenium, it can execute the test cases on more than three thousand different browser versions. 

LambdaTest generates highly accurate test results by combining multiple reports from not only emulators and simulators but also hundreds of real devices. 

The Conclusion

So, we can conclude that Selenium WebDriver is an important component of the Selenium test automation suite. The developers need to be aware of all the components present in Selenium WebDriver to realize the full potential of this test bench. Moreover, after the Selenium 4 update, the rule of WebDriver has become even more significant for performing successful automation test cases. It is also important for app developing organizations to spread proper knowledge regarding the rule of Selenium WebDriver.