What is Selenium?
Selenium is a suite of web browser automation tools to automate browsers across a range of platforms. Even though it’s capable of much more, Selenium tools are used to automate web apps for testing reasons. Jason Huggins created Selenium in 2004 as an internal tool at ThoughtWorks, and for the past several decades, selenium has been a popular automation testing framework.
Selenium provides a playback tool for authoring tests without the need to learn a test scripting language. It is composed of respective components with specific role assists. You may have heard of these:
- Selenium RC (RC for Remote Control)
- Selenium IDE (IDE for Integrated Development Environment)
- Selenium WebDriver
- Selenium Grid
Selenium RC was a storm as it allowed the developer to control a browser with a software language of user’s choice! You can go codeless with Selenium or get trapped by the problems it brings to your testing automation. Wait, where did that come from?
Is Selenium actually a good tool for test automation?
Apple, eBay, Microsoft, Google – these companies chose to work with Selenium from the very beginning. However, let’s talk about the apparent problems that your company can face when working with Selenium. As one of the most popular tools, it has its pros and cons. Let’s concentrate on its cons first as we are talking about the alternatives here.
Disadvantages of Selenium
- Skills. It is impossible to make any automation progress if you don’t have skilled developers in your team. If you don’t have someone who can write the automated tests, you can’t improve your automation progress. This problem occurs especially if you’re a small company. In this case, it wouldn’t be cool to make developers write tests.
- Lack of knowledge. Often there is not much support for all your questions in the online communities and solving a problem can become a time-consuming process. As an example, support for Selenium using Python is not as broad as Selenium using Java. What are you going to do when the new libraries and updates break the existing tests in your test library?
- Time-consuming test cases. Selenium WebDriver has only a programming interface. Your team will have to spend some extra time writing steps for every task.
- Difficulties with setting up the test environment. Selenium uses various tools and plug-ins that support test automation. You will have to configure them manually (for instance, if it’s a vendor tool like UFT/QTP, you download and install the tool).
Selenium alternatives to keep in mind
With such a long list of the challenges you can face if you choose Selenium, it is a great idea to consider working with an alternative. You may ask yourself: are there any good Selenium alternatives that do not come with the same challenges? Great news – the answer is yes. Selenium is an open-source tool and some free options may work out as alternatives. However, they may not be the ideal ones.
It is a known fact that Selenium tests are not steady and break from time to time. When new Selenium libraries are introduced, your prior tests become susceptible to breakage. So what is the right Selenium alternative? CloudQA is a platform for automation testing and monitoring. It is built on top of Selenium, but the platform gives you the ease and flexibility right from the stage of recording the test case, tuning it, adding assertions, etc. CloudQA has expanded the capabilities of Selenium and provides you with:
- Data-driven testing
- Smart Record & Playback testing with screenshots
- Random data testing
- API testing
- Performance monitoring metrics for workflows of any complexity
- Configurable features monitoring
- Detailed test reporting
- Real browser support – Chrome & Firefox
- Out of the box 3rd party integrations (Slack, PagerDuty, etc.)
Selenium is a robust tool to automate web applications. However, it is not easy to configure. With CloudQA, you get an out-of-the-box solution to support even the most complex web applications developed using JS frameworks like Angular, Ember, React, Backbone, Knockout, Express, ++. Test automation using native Selenium is a big challenge with these modern web technologies.
The Katalon Studio is the best option if you’re looking for a free tool with a wide choice of features. All frameworks, ALM integrations, and plugins are included in a single package for Windows, macOS, and Linux. With Katalon Studio, you get substantial technical support because there are 350K+ automation testers with YouTube channels, GitHub repositories, and Udemy courses dedicated to it. The interface is quite friendly so that you can run your first tests in a few minutes after the installation. Nevertheless, there’s always a “but.” Unlike CloudQA where even a non-technical person can create and run tests, working with Katalon requires some technical skills and knowledge.
It’s another codeless Selenium test automation tool. It provides you with some cool features like Security Testing or Requirements-based Testing, but if you need Test Script Reviews, you won’t find it here. TestCraft customers mention that sometimes random errors appear and they have to refresh the page which is time-consuming. Instead of working on the product’s problems, customers have to solve the problems with a testing tool.
Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Arun Kulkarni, partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Selenium alternatives everyone is talking about – Choose wisely!
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