Web Development

Best Selenium Frameworks for Automating Unit Testing for Web Applications


Selenium is the most preferred tool of all times when it comes to automating web applications. Selenium supports many unit testing Frameworks based on multiple programming languages like JAVA, C#, PHP, Ruby, Perl, JavaScript, Python; used for executing test scripts on web applications on platforms like Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc. Any successful automation process is based on powerful Testing Frameworks that help the QA team optimize their agile processes, reduce maintenance cost, testing efforts, and provide a higher return on investment.

Selenium Framework and Unit Testing

What is Unit Testing?

Before moving on to the framework in Selenium, let us discuss what Unit Testing means. The term is simpler than what we think it is. It is simply a process where the developer breaks down the entire web application code into smaller units and tests them separately. This process of breaking and testing each unit is often known as Unit testing. Unit testing is the first stage of Web app testing in every Software Development Life Cycle process (SDLC). Some developers skip unit testing which later leads to higher bugs and other problems at the later stages. Early detection of errors always saves users from facing any serious issues later. It is performed before integration testing and ensures that every feature of the app functions as planned. Although unit testing can be performed manually, it delays the final release timelines at extreme levels.

Automation of unit testing has made it easier for the developers to perform unit testing in lesser time. When we speak of automating unit testing, Selenium Automation Testing is considered the most reliable and secure testing framework by the developers. It is a modern automated unit testing framework that creates automated unit tests that integrate quickly with Selenium. Also, as we know that different web apps are built using various programming languages, testers require separate Unit Testing frameworks for each language. The Unit Test Framework used by developers to automate unit tests allows them to validate the code. It follows the following steps in the Unit Testing process:

  • Creating test cases for different parts of the web application
  • Allow reviewing the test cases and rewrite them in case there are any glitches
  • Understanding if every code line is within the scope and as intended
  • Helping in executing the code with the help of Selenium Grid 

Selenium Automation Framework 

What is a framework in selenium? Usually, if users place the code and data in the same place, they can’t reuse or read them so, they use frameworks. Selenium Framework is a code structure that eases code maintenance, code readability, code usage, re-usage, and allows multiple users to work on the same code. Based on the programming language, developers choose a particular Unit Testing Framework. The strategy goes like this – Developer develops the application code; a unit test is created simultaneously for the same code, and the present unit test automatically runs via a chosen Unit test framework on already developed code. It parallelly ensures that the new code is not breaking the earlier one. The entire process is automatic, so it creates more space for the developers to focus on developing new code rather than wasting time manually testing the earlier written code.

Purpose of Unit Testing Framework in Selenium

Unit testing frameworks are the foundation for building different test automation frameworks in Seleniumto automate and perform the following:

  • Control the flow of test case execution
  • Maintain a Separate group system for the test cases.
  • Prioritize which test case should run first in the series.
  • Managing tests in such a way that the same test can run multiple times with different data sets
  • Capable of reading the content from external sources, for example, Excel Files, etc.
  • Saves time by allowing multiple tests to run parallelly
  • Creates text logs to track changes that happened while the tests were running
  • Report generation to analyze test results for each test execution

Different Frameworks in Selenium

Now that we understand the concept, process, and purpose of Unit Testing in Selenium, let’s talk about Unit testing Frameworks compatible with the popular programming languages for Selenium Test Automation.

A. Selenium Framework for unit test automation in JAVA:

The most recognized language for creating dynamic and robust web applications is JAVA. For performing unit testing on Java-based applications, not many frameworks are available in the market. JUnit and TestNG are the most used frameworks as of today.

  • JUnit:

If we look back to history, JUnit was created by Erick Gamma and Kent Beck. It is the most preferred choice of the developers for performing automated unit testing of Java-based applications. Primarily to write and execute repetitive test cases. It can easily integrate with the Selenium Webdriver, strengthening test-driven development approach.

  • TestNG:

TestNG (where NG refers to Next Generation) is another popular test automation framework for JAVA among developers. It is an open-source framework developed by Cedric Beust. The best thing about TestNG is that it covers various types of testing categories like Functional, Integration, unit, end-to-end. It is more robust and reliable than JUnit as it allows developers to create more flexible tests and overcome any challenges of JUnit. It provides additional functionalities like grouping, sequencing, parameterizing, and generating test reports for evaluation of failed tests.

B. Selenium Framework for unit test automation in JavaScript:

JavaScript is one of the most dynamic languages that is used for HTML web applications, and documents like PDFs or Desktop widgets. JavaScript unit testing is performed on the frontend and in the browser. Two of the most used JavaScript unit testing frameworks are:

  • JEST:

JEST is maintained by Facebook and is an open-source JavaScript unit testing Framework. It covers different testing categories but it is often picked up primarily for unit testing; for testing react and react.js applications. It offers a zero-configuration testing feature and its easy-to-use interface makes it a preferred choice for developers.

  • Jasmine:

The Jasmine open-source JavaScript Framework for unit testing was introduced in the year 2010. It is unique because it supports Behavior Driven Development (BDD) responsible for testing a single unit of JavaScript code. Jasmine proves to be the best frontend Selenium JavaScript testing framework for testing web app UI that takes care of the responsiveness and visibility testing on multiple devices. If there is an application not supported by JEST, Jasmine can take over and facilitate the testing of all kinds of JavaScript apps.

C. Selenium Framework for unit test automation in Python:

 Python is the only language that is widely used and known to almost every developer. Generally, Desktop GUI and web applications are developed using Python. The language is growing in popularity daily. It has also been recognized as one of the best programming languages of the year 2020 by the Tiobe index of programming language popularity alongside C++. Hence, the need for python-based automated testing frameworks is at an ever-increasing high. A few of them are as follows:

  • PyUnit:

    This framework is for Python-based web apps, also known as UnitTest. PyUnit’s base class TestCase includes all assertion methods, code cleanup, and set up routines. It can create XML reports using the UnitTest-XML-reporting test runner. Load method and TestSuite Class are used for grouping and loading the tests. It comes loaded with a Python library, therefore it doesn’t need any specific configuration and installation.
  • PyTest:

    PyTest is the second most used open-source Unit Testing framework for Python-based applications, supporting API and complex functional testing. Additionally, PyTest has eased testing databases, UIs and APIs. Its ability to integrate easily with third-party plugins and assert writing has made it a popular choice among the projects like Mozilla and Dropbox.

D. Selenium Framework for unit test automation in C#:

C# is a modern object-oriented programming language by Microsoft. It is a combination of strengths of C++ and visual basic. It resembles the features of Java, and that is why considered for building dynamic web applications. The most important unit testing frameworks in this case are:

  • MSTest:

    It is an automated testing framework by Microsoft Visual Studio. It is used to test .Net-based applications and doesn’t require additional installation on the system. Using TestComplete, a functional automated testing platform, MSTests can easily integrate with the test scripts as a part of the testing process.
  • NUnit:

    It was introduced to overcome the shortcomings of the MSTest framework. It is again an open-source framework written in C# language. This XUnit component can test any type of .Net application. You can differentiate your codes from unit tests by simply adding a class library, which means it doesn’t need a specific project type. However, developers will need an in-depth knowledge of the .Net frameworks to be able to reap the maximum benefits of this framework.

E. Selenium Framework for unit test automation in Perl:

Perl is a general-purpose language developed mainly for text manipulation. It is also used for web and GUI development, system administration, etc., in recent times. Larry Wall created this language; it is very stable and works in a cross-platform scenario. This language is a bit complicated to learn and implement; that is why there are not many unit testing frameworks available relating to Perl. However, PerlUnit is a savior in this game.

  • PerlUnit:

    It is the only framework designed for testing Perl-based applications, now found as a project on SourceForge. It is an open-source unit testing framework, based on the JUnit 3.2 model that smoothly integrates with Selenium Grid to automate testing.

F.  Selenium Framework for unit test automation in Ruby:

Ruby is another object-oriented, high-level language for developing web applications. It is used for data analysis and prototyping. It offers faster development code as compared to other languages. There are many unit testing frameworks for Ruby-based applications, but the most common of all is:

  • Test:Unit

    It is popular for Ruby-based web applications and comes along with the Ruby Library. It was designed by Kent Back to create unit tests, analyze outputs and automate unit testing of web apps. Prior knowledge of using the XUnit framework and Ruby Language is mandatory to make optimum use of this framework.


Unit testing helps the QA team create a competitive end product and ensures its faster release to the market. It also confirms that every unit of the code is thoroughly tested as soon as it is created. In this way, the chances of critical bug issues are reduced and do not impact the later stages of SDLC. There are language-based frameworks for JAVA, C#, PHP, Ruby, JavaScript, Python, available for testing web apps that easily integrate with Selenium Automation Testing. Developers can choose from various options available based on what language the web apps are built-in.

Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Balamurugan, partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Best Selenium Frameworks for Automating Unit Testing for Web Applications

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Dinakar is a Content Developer at pCloudy. He is an ardent technology explorer who loves sharing ideas in the tech domain. In his free time, you will find him engrossed in books on health & wellness, and playing the guitar. He loves the sight of the oceans and the sound of the waves on a bright sunny day.
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