Selenium IDE vs. WebDriver
February 23, 2022

Selenium IDE vs WebDriver: Main Differences for Testers and Developers

Open Source Automation

Selenium IDE and Selenium Webdriver are part of the same Selenium suite. The two tools offer solutions for testing web applications, UI design features, and other structural functions. However, the two products answer different testing needs. 

This blog post will compare Selenium IDE vs Webdriver and when to use each one.

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Selenium IDE vs WebDriver

The difference between Selenium IDE vs WebDriver is that Selenium IDE is a browser plug-in designed for recording and playing back tests. Selenium WebDriver is a code library of APIs for controlling browsers. Selenium IDE offers simple installation and is easy to learn, while Selenium WebDriver is more powerful and flexible at a higher cost.

Both client toolsets are open-source and used with great frequency, together or apart. Both assist in creating and executing automated web testing with many different frameworks and environment builds. Both have a variety of dependencies that can be packaged together to create a unique testing set-up.

So what are the differences? Selenium IDE is an accessory to your testing environment, acting as an extra set of tools for certain testing functions such as log ins, user interface buttons, and search queries. Selenium WebDriver, on the other hand, is a complete system you can use to build your application test requirements.

ūüďē Related Resource: Learn more about What Is Selenium IDE? + 7 Important Selenium IDE Tips

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Who Can Use Selenium WebDriver and Selenium IDE?

A critical difference between these applications is the need for coding skills or experience. Selenium IDE is a very accessible tool for members of your development team that are not coders. It is also a popular choice for Quality Assurance teams when new features or functions are in development.

WebDriver is not as convenient and is far less beginner-friendly. Its primary design centers around more complex tasks. You need solid code language knowledge, but luckily many code languages are compatible with WebDriver.

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Selenium WebDriver Features

Selenium WebDriver has many options and features available to you. Its object-oriented API is very useful when more dynamic elements that need to be tested. With Selenium WebDriver, developers and testers are able to target exact elements on the page, to increase both the speed and accuracy of the testing.

Additional features of Selenium WebDriver include:

  • Broad language support - Allowing your team to use the language they know best, without additional training needed.¬†
  • Multi-browser compatibility - Allowing for testing on multiple browsers to accommodate all possible users, as well as different user systems.
  • Open-source - This means you have vast stores of knowledge and tools that have built up over the years to solve any and all problems.¬†
  • Community support - Giving you the support you need when you encounter problems, have questions, or need additional tools and innovations for your tests.
  • Easy implementation - Selenium is easy to install and set up, so you can implement and start using it quickly.¬†
  • Compatible with a multitude of frameworks and other testing systems - You can plug in features you want into the framework you are already using.

There are a lot of options available when using Selenium WebDriver. It is a great tool to know and consider for the automated testing needs of your applications. 

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Selenium IDE Features

  • Acts as a plug-in for your browser¬†
  • Has point and click accessibility.
  • Provides the ability to build out tests into a grid for parallel test execution.
  • Provides the ability to execute testing remotely. This provides a significant advantage when testing multiple setups for the same test cases.
  • Able to record user behavior and play it back for reviewing and QA purposes.¬†
  • You can record interactions within the application as test steps.
  • The application will test multiple locators before failing a test. The test can take longer, but it does work.
  • Uses Selenese to test broken links and run tests.¬†
  • Has a codeless setup for test creation.¬†
  • Less complicated than WebDriver. This is great for the members of your team that do not have higher level programming experience.¬†
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Do Selenium WebDriver and Selenium IDE Have to be Used Together?

There is no need to use these two tools together. Most people tend to use one or the other and marry the applications with other systems. Selenium IDE is a great place to start with the Selenium Suite. You can also use Selenium IDE to run smaller scale tests before building the larger scale version into your WebDriver setup. 

WebDriver is a tool you will have in the suite, but you do not have to use both together. They serve different functions altogether; they can absolutely be used together to make a great testing environment. For example, Selenium IDE can execute tests within the WebDriver server, speeding up execution. 

Both tools can also be used for checking each other to an extent; using the different test cases can help you identify issues within the build in one or the other. It is most common to use them separately, one or the other. Selenium IDE and Selenium WebDriver are very different toolsets. Both can add to how you and your team handle testing, data, testing accessibility, and quality assurance.

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Selenium IDE vs. WebDriver Comparison Table


Selenium WebDriver

Selenium IDE

Prominent Feature

API Library

Records and plays back test data

Set Up

More complex framework setup and more file and dependency involvement 

Quick installation as plug in

Coding Proficiency

Requires knowledge of at least one major coding language

No coding skill required

Prior Knowledge

None, but requires training and research

Requires knowledge of ChromeDev tools or XPath

Browser Support

Can be used in any browser and treats the browser as an object

Plug-in for FireFox and Chrome

After running your tests in Selenium, you can scale them in BlazeMeter for better reporting, performance and easier script creation.



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