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What are the Main Types of Testing that Selenium Automation Can Be Used for?

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Software automated testing - Selenium Automation

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Software automated testing is a process that evolves as quickly as the software development itself. Tools and technologies used for automated testing have been significantly improved over the years.

Main Testing Types Supported by Selenium Automation

Selenium Webdriver is often considered as a tool for website testing only. However, apart from the GUI testing, Selenium can be a part of performance testing with JMeter, mobile testing with one of Selenium products – Selendroid as a tool for UI testing on real Android devices or emulators.

Depending of the testing goals, Selenium and its derivatives can be used for the next testing types:

Functional testing:

  • Integration Tests (interaction of a testable application and third-party systems).
  • System Tests.
  • End-to-End flows verification.

Additionally, automated testing with Selenium can be applied for automation of pre-condition steps required for manual functional testing that cannot be fully automated due to some solution or integration points’ restrictions.

Non-functional testing:

  • Configuration testing (cross-browser and responsive testing).
  • Performance and Load Testing
  • Stress Testing
  • Stability / Reliability Testing
  • Volume Testing

Testing related to changes (smoke, regression, build verification and sanity testing).

Functional testing with Selenium

Functional testing for Web applications requires both back-end and front-end verifications. Depending on a project test strategy, the amount of functionality and the frequency of releases with deployments to productions, it’s being considered by a testing team leader or a product owner, if test automation is required and what manual test cases should be marked as test automation candidates. As soon as these candidates are defined, the automated scripts implementation can be started.

Selenium automation is one of the most widely used approaches for Web UI testing. There are several benefits of using Selenium for UI testing:

  1. The tool has a wide community and extensive documentation that can help with any configuration or implementation issues.
  2. Selenium can be used with a wide range of programming languages such as Java, Python, C Sharp (C#), Ruby, JavaScript, etc.
  3. It is a platform independent tool: tests using Selenium can be equally run on Windows, Mac, Linux and even several mobile platforms: Android and iOS with the help of Appium, ios driver, Selendroid and Robotium solutions).
  4. Moreover, Selenium emulates the end user actions in a browser that is being controlled by the Selenium Webdriver. It is useful as with the proper test implementation and visual reporting, a test engineer can analyse why some scenarios failed so he can identify program defects in early stages.
  5. In addition to that, it is a free open-source technology that does not require any extra licenses that should be negotiated with the client security team.
  6. Selenium Webdriver works with all main browsers used by real end users. It supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome and Opera browsers. Apart from that Selenium owns drivers for mobile Android and iOS browsers.

Taking all above into account, it’s needless to say that Selenium is a great tool which is enormously used by test automation engineers. However, as technologies develop over years, more codeless-based tools appear on the market. Selenium requires a quite precipitous learning curve and significant coding background to develop reliable and non-flaky tests. At the same time, these new tools developed in recent years use the codeless testing approach, when the coding part could be skipped.

Thus, more skilled test engineers can grow as developers or DevOps specialists, bringing a lot of value to the software development process itself, and automated tests could be written by manual testers that just use drag-and-drop interfaces and implement scriptless tests using the KDT or BDD testing approaches.

This practice is extensively used by start-ups and small companies who want to use the engineering resources effectively.

Non-Functional testing with Selenium

Generally, Selenium is used for non-functional tests when some UI pre-conditions should be done before the load on a system increases. Except for this, some CSS and DOM elements load time is important for detailed analysis of a system performance and endurance. Sometimes these pre-conditions or non-typical verifications cannot be implemented with the back-end tests only as cookies, tokens for various user roles and permissions could be retrieved from a browser only.

All in all, Selenium as a group of tools is an effective free technology for automated testing which requires solid programming skills and coding experience, that provides a lot of capabilities for cross-platform and cross-browser testing. The basic set of capabilities allow covering various types of tests: integration, system, end-to-end, performance tests. However, Selenium has its limitations as well: it doesn’t have embedded reporting, it cannot analyze test failures in an AI-based manner. Selenium depends upon coding and debugging skills of test engineers. It doesn’t save money and time for clients as skilled engineers are still required to implement high-quality UI tests. Therefore, more cutting-edge automation tools that are based on the codeless approach will replace some still effective but yet limited automation technologies.

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