Why Selenium Is My Favorite Test Automation Framework

Posted by Scott Fitzpatrick in SeleniumSoftware Development & Testing

The move to DevOps and Agile development practices has ushered in an era where automated application testing is all but required. This development has led to the creation of numerous test automation frameworks to help make the lives of software developers and testers easier.

One framework in particular provides significant benefits to a DevOps team testing their web applications. This popular testing framework for automating web browsers is known as Selenium.

Below, I detail the advantages afforded to an organization that chooses to automate with Selenium. Selenium is a particularly versatile framework, which allows it to provide great value to an organization looking to decrease the time it takes to produce test scripts, while significantly increasing test coverage.

The Advantages of Using Selenium for Developers

One of the challenges an organization must address when implementing an automated testing strategy is the time that goes into actually developing these tests. That is to say there is overhead in the design, development and maintenance of these test scripts. With Selenium, however, the cost to create and maintain tests scripts is reduced due to several advantages of the framework. These advantages include:

  • Selenium supports many programming languages. Every developer has a language with which they are most comfortable. And Selenium likely supports it. Bindings for many major languages are available. These include Java, C#, JavaScript, Python, and PHP, amongst others. The benefit associated with this support is two-fold. Developers will be able to work with the language with which they are most comfortable — and due to this, they will find it easier to write and maintain the test scripts they are writing. This means less time getting up and running with a particular test script or set of scripts, and thus, less overhead for the test automation process as a whole.
  • Selenium can easily be utilized with many unit testing frameworks. Let’s say, for example, you choose to work with Selenium and the Java programming language to begin writing your web testing scripts. After making the decision to work with Java, Selenium commands can be easily leveraged within a Java unit testing framework such as JUnit or TestNG. There are numerous benefits that come with this unification, and they are directly related to the benefits that come from utilizing unit testing frameworks. Unit testing frameworks enable us to write simple, repeatable tests that can be organized to run in parallel or as part of a continuous integration strategy. The coherent manner in which Selenium can be utilized within these unit testing frameworks makes the process of repeatable testing efficient and painless, thus allowing an organization to manage their test automation strategy with relative ease.

The Advantages of Using Selenium for the Organization: Increased Compatibility Means Increased Test Coverage

Compatibility is another strength of the Selenium test automation framework. And when it comes to automated testing, compatibility and test coverage have a direct correlation. Consider the following:

  • Selenium maintains support for all major web browsers. Customers expect web applications to run in any browser they choose to use. So it is on the organization to ensure that their web application functions properly in all major web browsers. The Selenium framework can be configured for scripting tests against Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, and Chrome. And because of this, application functionality can be validated in all of these browsers. This provides a distinct value to the organization in the form of test coverage. With the use of one automated web testing framework, the organization can rest assured that their application is compatible with all of the major players in the web browser game.
  • Selenium can be used with the Windows, Linux, and Apple operating systems. Another level to consider in the realm of web test coverage is the operating system on which the user is running the web application. Selenium has you covered there as well. And combining their OS support with the browser support mentioned above, Selenium maintains a pretty robust level of test coverage as it relates to browser/OS combinations.
  • Selenium is supported by Sauce Labs. Sauce Labs is a popular cloud-based test infrastructure provider and a co-developer of the Selenium testing framework. They provide a reliable web testing platform that integrates well with Selenium testing. Simply put, a DevOps organization can write test scripts utilizing Selenium and then have them run in the cloud through the use of Sauce Labs’ web testing service. These tests can be run, in parallel, against as many browser/OS combinations as necessary in an up-to-date environment maintained by Sauce Labs.

The Distinct Advantages of Working with an Open Source Framework

Selenium is open source. As such, it has several advantages. Selenium can be downloaded and used for free. In addition, open source software typically has an active community and quick bug resolution due to its many contributors. Selenium is no exception. Support is easy to find and the framework is consistently improved upon with frequent releases, suggesting that Selenium will be an effective web testing framework for years to come.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the right automated web testing framework for your organization, versatility is key. Selenium is extremely flexible in several important aspects, from its support of multiple programming languages and unit testing frameworks to its compatibility with numerous browsers and operating systems.

To be sure, Selenium is not the absolute best automated testing framework for all situations. But overall, as an automated testing framework that works well for both developers and testers and which supports a wide variety of use cases, Selenium is a personal favorite of mine.

Scott Fitzpatrick is a Fixate IO Contributor and has 7 years of experience in software development. He has worked with many languages and frameworks, including Java, ColdFusion, HTML/CSS, JavaScript and SQL.

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