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As per the today’s scenario, companies not only desire to test software adequately, but they also want to get the work done as quickly and thoroughly as possible. To accomplish this goal, organizations are turning their head towards Automated Testing!

It not only helps in reducing the efforts for manual testing but also works towards finding the defects which manual testing cannot expose and also towards which manual testing is error prone as it is a time-consuming process. This process is guided by a web of techniques and technologies, but do you what outshines among it all? Well, the answer to this query is Selenium WebDriver!

But before understanding the Selenium WebDriver concept, we need to know about the Selenium first.

What Is Selenium?

Selenium is a free automated testing suite used to automate web applications across different browsers and platforms. It supports various programming languages like Java, Dot Net, PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby etc and various browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer etc.

The major four components of Selenium are:

  1. Selenium IDE
  2. Selenium RC
  3. WebDriver
  4. Selenium Grid

Source: i1.wp.com/qatechhub.com

Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE is nothing just a Mozilla Firefox add-on that allows recording, editing and debugging tests. It was previously known as Selenium Recorder. It is able to record tests as well as playback them in the same plugin. Selenium IDE will not work after the Firefox version 54 as its support is limited to Firefox version 54.

Selenium RC

Selenium Remote Control (RC) is a server that accepts commands for the browser via HTTP. It solves the limitation of Selenium IDE and supports various programming languages.

Using Selenium IDE, we can record and run the script but only in the Firefox browser. But using Selenium RC we can run the same recorded script in any browser but we have to start and stop the server to execute the test scripts.

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid is a testing tool which allows us to run our test scripts on different OS and on different browsers. It is a part of the Selenium Suite which specializes in running multiple tests across different browsers, operating system, and machines. With Selenium Grid, one server acts as the hub and others act as a node.

In Selenium Grid, the hub is a computer which is the central point where we can load our tests into. Hub also acts as a server because of which it acts as a central point to control the network of Test machines. A node can be referred as a test machine which opts to connect with the hub.

What is Selenium WebDriver?

Selenium WebDriver is one of the most powerful and popular tools of Selenium toolkit. Unlike Selenium IDE, WebDriver allows you to execute your tests against different browsers.

It is an extended version of Selenium RC. It aims to provide a friendly API which is easy to explore and understand, easier to use than the Selenium-RC API, which helps to make your tests scripts easier to read and maintain.

Basically, they used to remove the server part from the WebDriver so that the performance does not emerge as an issue in the WebDriver. It means simply write your code and it will directly communicate with the browsers.

The Architecture Of Selenium WebDriver

Source: image.slidesharecdn.com

As mentioned clearly in the above image, Firefox driver (and other browser’s drivers) extends Remote WebDriver class and the Remote WebDriver class implements the WebDriver interface.

FirefoxDriver is a term of class that has been written or designed specifically for the Firefox browser. It includes the use of methods that are implemented and can be instantiated further. It can perform all the methods on the Firefox browser as defined in the interface WebDriver.

Remote WebDriver is an implementation class of the WebDriver interface that an automation test engineer can use to execute their test scripts via the Remote WebDriver server on a remote machine.

WebDriver is an interface provided by Selenium WebDriver. As we know that interfaces in Java are the collection of constants and abstract methods(methods without any implementation). The WebDriver interface serves as a contract that each browser specific implementation like ChromeDriver, FireFoxDriver must follow.

Selenium WebDriver architecture consists of 3 layers:

  1. Language Binding
  2. WebDriver API
  3. Browser Drivers

Language Binding

Language Bindings was developed to support multiple languages.

This term can be defined as a bunch of languages which are developing a framework, interacting with the Selenium WebDriver and working on various browsers and other devices.

Suppose, if you want to use the browser driver in Java, so you need to use the Java bindings for Selenium WebDriver. If you want to use the browser driver for C#, Ruby, Python etc then use the binding for that language.

Selenium WebDriver API

This API is a medium of communication with programming languages and browsers.

This API sends the commands taken from language level bindings interpret it and sent it to respective driver. In short, WebDriver API has a common library which sends commands to the respective drivers.

Browser Drivers

Browser drivers help in communication with the browser. Drivers receive commands directly from the Server and performing the actions on different browsers as per different commands using the remote WebDriver. We have so many browsers like Mozilla Firefox Browser, Chrome Browser, Opera Browser and IE Browser etc. Each browser will contain separate driver and each driver knows how to drive the browser that it corresponds to.

For example, Chrome driver knows how to handle the details of Chrome browser and drive it to do things like clicking the button, going into pages, getting data from the browser itself, the same thing for Firefox, IE, and so on.

Pros & Cons Of Selenium WebDriver

Everything is loaded with some pros and cons, so let’s dig into the advantages and disadvantages associated with the same…

Advantages:

1. Selenium is an open source, freeware, and portable tool.

2. Selenium supports various languages that include Java, Perl, Python, C#, JavaScript, and VB Script. etc.

3. Selenium supports many operating systems like Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Unix etc.

4. Selenium supports many browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari etc.

5. WebDriver is faster, as compared to RC.

6. Unlike RC you don’t have to start a server in WebDriver.

7. You can simulate the movement of a mouse using selenium.

8.It allows you to simulate keyboard key press events using different classes.

9. Find coordinates of any object easily using WebDriver.

10. Integration with the testing framework like JUnit or TestNG is very easy with the WebDriver.

Disadvantages:

1. Selenium does not provide any built-in IDE for script generation and it needs other IDE like Eclipse for writing scripts.

2. Selenium user lacks online support for the problems they face because there is no reliable support from anybody.

3. It supports Web-based Applications only.

4. We can’t automate audio & video related test cases by Selenium WebDriver.

5. No built-in Reporting facility.

With a detailed information of Selenium WebDriver, one can decide the type of relationship required for their project or idea. I am sure even you must have decided for yourself by now. Let me know the same in the comments section below!

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  • Vikas Dhama

    Nicely Explained Tushar. Great job!

    • Tushar Goyal

      Thanks

  • Bimmy Sharma

    You always share good knowledge..eagerly waiting for your next blog.

    • Tushar Goyal

      Thank you and yes I will post my next blog surely.

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