July 26, 2022

Testing with the Selenium Framework

Test Automation
Functional Testing

The most critical element in the software development life cycle is testing, which aims to ensure bug-free software and fulfill client requirements. Testing is demanding since it often entails manually running test cases against various applications to find problems and failures; however, its accuracy can be impacted by human error. Automation is therefore essential for a successful software development lifecycle.

This blog will explore the various Selenium framework types, when to use the Selenium framework, and how to get started. 

Table of Contents:

What is the Selenium Framework?

Selenium is an open-source, automated testing tool for web applications used to validate them across many browsers. 

Selenium testing offers the following advantages:

  • Selenium can test web applications against a variety of browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. 
  • Selenium tests can be written in a variety of programming languages, including Java, Python, Perl, JavaScript, and Ruby. 
  • Selenium is platform-independent, meaning it can be deployed on Windows, Linux, and Macintosh.

Why the Selenium Framework Is Popular for Automation Testing

A Selenium framework is a package of JavaScript-based tools for automating software testing. It can execute the tests directly on the target browser, control the interactions on the needed web page, and repeat them automatically.

The Selenium framework help testers because it prevents time- and labor-intensive repeated manual testing. The use of tools and libraries can help to automate many of the tasks involved in test creation and execution.

Selenium, which has been used by more than 41,000 businesses throughout the globe, has a large market share compared to the other modern software testing technologies. Enlyft (previously iDatalabs) research indicates that Selenium had a 28.36% market share in 2019, which was the largest back then!

Selenium's massive popularity has a lot to do with the fact that it is open-source. This not only helps to keep expenditures in control but also guarantees that businesses use a technology that is continuously updated. Other reasons include its versatility in terms of programming languages, operating systems, web browsers, and interaction with other technologies. This expands the scope of reach and test coverage, allowing businesses to develop highly dependable and functional online applications.

Test scripts for Selenium may be written in Java, Python, C#, JavaScript, Ruby, Perl, and.Net. This enables a wide number of testers to use it without language restrictions. It is compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Linux, as well as Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. This allows for comprehensive testing of cross-browser compatibility with robust environment support.

Types of Selenium Frameworks

There are three different kinds of Selenium frameworks. They are built on a functional approach:

  • Data-driven framework
  • Keyword-driven framework
  • Hybrid framework
Selenium frameworks illustration

Data-Driven Framework

The Data-Driven framework in Selenium is a type of testing framework that separates a set of data from code. Thus, the datasets are kept separate from the original script. The script can get a set of data for each query. This allows the tester to correct the script without affecting the data sets, or vice versa, significantly increasing its reliability. Test data comes from external sources such as Excel files, CSV files, XML files, or any database (even full-featured databases like MySQL).

The Data-Driven framework is completely dependent on input test data. It is used when the number of input datasets of the test environment is large. In this case, it becomes very difficult to change this data in the script every time the test is run.

When to use the Data-Driven framework

  • When testing applications with multiple sets of data values ​​during regression testing
  • To separate the test case data from the executable test script
  • When reusing actions and functions in different tests
  • When large amounts of random test data are needed

Implementing data-driven test automation is somewhat different from standard test automation. In data-driven testing, the test is connected to an external data source. The process involves three steps:

  • Selecting a data source
  • Data source connection
  • Result evaluation

Keyword Driven Framework

The Keyword Driven framework in Selenium is a type of automated testing framework that allows you to separate keywords for common functions and instructions. These keywords are written to an external file (like an Excel sheet) independent of the actual scenario. The test code then references these keywords. As a result, users can then easily control and specify the features they want to test, which speeds up the testing process.

Benefits of using a Keyword Driven framework

  1. Manual or non-technical testers can easily write test scripts for automation
  2. Test scripts are easy to read and understand as they are stored in Excel. In this case, the code is not exposed. Keywords and actions are so similar to manual test cases that they become easier to write and maintain.
  3. Testers can start building keyword-based test cases before the application is delivered, as the object repository can be easily set up at a later stage
  4. Testers can reuse components
  5. Testers can reuse code

The main activities involved in keyword-driven testing are: 

  • Step 1. Identifying low-level as well as high-level keywords
  • Step 2. Using the keywords as executables
  • Step 3. Establishing test scenarios
  • Step 4. Writing the driver scripts
  • Step 5. Run the test automation scripts

Hybrid Driven Framework

The Hybrid Driven Framework is a hybrid framework that combines data-driven and keyword-driven architectures. This framework makes use of distinct keywords and data sets, with the input list and functions kept in separate files. As with the data-driven framework, it reuses code across several data sources.

The Hybrid Driven framework is used by manual testers who don’t have much knowledge of programming. They can create test cases manually by just looking at the keywords, test data, and object repository. They don’t need to code in the framework.

The Hybrid Framework includes all the advantages and eliminates the disadvantages of Data-Driven and Keyword Driven frameworks. It can be used to automate the testing of any application. This will reduce the number of manual hours spent on writing automation code; once a framework is created, it can be used to automate multiple applications.

Components of the Hybrid Framework resemble those of the Keyword-Driven Framework in that all Test Data and Keywords are externalized, resulting in more flexible scripts.

In terms of test case execution, the Hybrid framework is almost identical to its Keyword-Driven predecessor, with just a few minor differences.

The following are Hybrid Framework's elements:

  • Function Library
  • Excel Sheet to store Keywords
  • Design Test Case Template
  • Object Repository for Elements/Locators
  • Test Scripts or Driver Script

When to Use Selenium Frameworks

Typically, we save all test data in Excel sheets for use in test runs. Assume we need to execute a test script with numerous test data (say, login test). Manually running the same test with numerous test data sets is time-consuming and prone to mistakes. Therefore, when a large number of data sets must be checked for the web application, it is recommended to choose a data-driven framework that isolates them from the real code.

When the web application requires testing of extra functions. It is recommended that the team use a keyword-driven framework. In this framework, operations are kept in a separate database as keywords. These keywords invoke a certain functional action.

In non-keyword-driven frameworks, the creation and maintenance of test scripts become the primary duty of a small number of automation specialists on the team, while the non-automation experts, who have a far deeper understanding of the product, are excluded. This causes a productivity bottleneck for the testing team. Keyword-driven frameworks assist in eliminating these bottlenecks and establish an environment in which all team members, with or without programming expertise, may participate in the creation of the product's test automation system.

When the number of data sources and functionality is high, employ a hybrid-driven framework to prevent complexity. A hybrid-driven framework is a great way to prevent complexity when you have a lot of data sources and functionality. By using a hybrid-driven framework, you can keep your data organized and your functionality separate. This will make it easier to manage your data and keep your functionality working correctly. In addition, a hybrid-driven framework can help you to reuse code and reduce the amount of code you have to write.

Selenium Webdriver: How to Get Started

If you are a newbie to Selenium, there are a few resources available to help you get up to speed quickly.

Through the use of WebDriver, Selenium provides these frameworks and allows the automation of all market-leading browsers. WebDriver is an API and protocol that offers a language-independent interface for managing web browser behavior. Each browser is supported by a driver, a unique WebDriver implementation. The driver conducts communication between Selenium and the browser and is responsible for assigning tasks to the browser.

This division is part of a deliberate strategy to have browser makers assume responsibility for browser implementation. Selenium utilizes these third-party drivers wherever feasible, but also offers its own project-maintained drivers when this is not possible.

Selenium installation differs significantly from the installation of other commercial solutions. Before you can begin developing Selenium code, you must install the language bindings libraries for your preferred programming language, the desired browser, and the browser's driver.

  • Install your library: Configuring the Selenium library for the programming language of your choice.
  • Configure browser drivers: Set up your system to allow a browser to be automated.
  • Open and close a browser with Selenium: Check how sessions work in selenium and how to start and stop a session with each browser.
  • Create your first script in Selenium.

Bottom Line

Using any of the Selenium framework types discussed in this blog is a great way to get started with advanced automation testing. By learning about the different types of Selenium frameworks and how to use them, you can improve your test automation process and find defects in your code more quickly. Frameworks like WebDriver and Grid make it possible to write sophisticated tests that can automate most of the work of manual testers; however, you need to make sure that the framework you choose is the right one for your needs.

To get started with simplified Selenium scripts, get started with BlazeMeter for free. 

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