Selenium - Most popular Open Source Automation Tool

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Selenium Testing is the most popular open source automation testing tool for Web-based applications.It supports all types of browsers for automation.Also, it supports to run test cases without scripting languages as well as all common languages such as Java, C#, PHP, Python, Ruby and Groovy scripts.

The demand for this tool is additionally energized by its compatibility to work with multiple browsers and operating systems.Selenium also offers flexibility in terms of writing test scripts. It is not necessary that if the application is developed in one programming language, the scripts should be written in the same language. It is independent of the language in which the website is made.
It is a good tool with some limitations and drawbacks. Its automation engine is based on JavaScript because of which many things become difficult to achieve as browsers have security limitation to JavaScript’s. Mostly need to apply core programming language skills to achieve certain tasks in selenium.

Selenium Automation Tools:

The Selenium tool is one of the best tools for testing web applications.Selenium tools support multiple capabilities catering to various needs. There are 3 major tools that help in developing the automatic testing process for web applications


. Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
. Selenium Remote Control (RC)
. Selenium WebDriver
. Selenium Grid

Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)



Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is the easiest tool for Selenium test suite. It is a Firefox plug-in, that can install like all other plug-ins. However, it doesn’t give many advanced features to tackle complex test cases but it is suitable for a prototyping tool. It will not require any prior programming experience but awareness of HTML is helpful. It can export tests from here to Selenium RC and Web Driver.

  • Very easy to use and install
  • No programming experience is required, though knowledge of HTML and DOM is needed
  • Can export test cases to formats usable in Selenium RC and WebDriver
  • Has built-in help and a test results reporting module
  • Provides support for extensions
  • Cons:

  • Available only in Firefox
  • Designed only to create the prototypes of tests
  • No support for iteration and conditional operations
  • Test execution is slow compared to that of Selenium RC and WebDriver
  • Selenium Remote Control (RC):


    Selenium RC allows writing automated Web application tests in compliant programming languages. It offers programming language options like Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP or.NET.

  • Cross-browser and cross-platform
  • Can perform looping and conditional operations
  • Can support data-driven testing
  • Has a mature and complete API
  • Can readily support new browsers
  • Faster execution than the IDE
  • Cons:

  • Installation is more complicated than with Selenium IDE
  • Requires users to have programming knowledge
  • Needs the Selenium RC server to be running
  • API contains redundant and confusing commands
  • Browser interaction is less realistic
  • Inconsistent results and uses JavaScript
  • Slower execution time than WebDriver
  • Selenium WebDriver:


    Selenium WebDriver is more robust than both RC and IDE. It uses a more stable approach to automate browser actions. It is a cross-platform testing framework that can control browser from an OS level or directly by communicating with it.Selenium web driver can be used to test applications which are rich in Ajax based functionalities.With the web driver, you can create customized test results.

  • Simpler installation than Selenium RC
  • Communicates directly to the browser
  • Browser interaction is more realistic
  • There’s no need for a separate component such as the RC server
  • Faster execution time than Selenium IDE and RC
  • Cons:

  • Installation is more complicated than IDE
  • Requires knowledge of programming
  • Needs Selenium RC server to be running
  • API contains redundant and confusing commands
  • Browser interaction is less realistic
  • Inconsistent results and uses JavaScript
  • Slower execution time than WebDriver
  • Selenium Grid:


    Selenium Grid is a part of the Selenium Suite which specializes in running multiple tests across different browsers, operating system, and machines. It is used with Selenium RC to running of multiple parallel tests across different machines and browsers at the same time.

  • To run your tests against multiple browsers, multiple versions of a browser, and browsers running on different operating systems.
  • To reduce the time it takes for the test suite to complete a test pass.
  • Cons:

  • Cost: Being open source, everyone is free to use it.
  • Flexibility: Wide support for various programming languages and browser versions.
  • Parallel testing: Something that QTP is not able to perform.
  • Benefits of using selenium tool:

  • Selenium is a cost-effective tool as it is an open source tool and its features can be compared with HP Quick Test Pro which is a commercial tool in the same category.
  • Easy to install and configure the Selenium test environment
  • It can automatically generate and execute the scripts in various systems/browsers simultaneously
  • Selenium provides various components that can be chosen depending upon the complex implementation of a web page
  • It provides support for Android and iPhone Testing
  • Conclusion:

    Selenium tools with their interoperability and compatibility among various browsers and operating systems clearly stand out from other proprietary automation tools. With these many features and benefits, selenium definitely offers to achieve more in less time, invariably reducing testing time and operating costs for a client.

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