What is Selenium Framework? And How to Get Started
September 28, 2021

What is the Selenium Framework? How to Get Started

Open Source Automation

The Selenium framework is a popular framework for testing. Get a complete overview of the Selenium framework in this blog! 

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What is the Selenium Framework?

The Selenium framework is a portable suite of tools for automating testing of web applications. One of the most well-known and accessible platforms, Selenium is compatible with all major browsers and operating systems.

Selenium is an open-source web testing framework currently on version 3.142.6 with version 4.0 in beta. The suite is not a single framework. Rather, it can be built out into many different frameworks. It has various tools and customizations, making it the best automated testing framework needed for many use cases. Read on to get answers to all your Selenium Framework questions.

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What Are the Selenium Framework Features?

Selenium Framework is compatible with all major programming languages, browsers, and platforms. It has a myriad of customization options and the ability to function with other frameworks or dependencies. Selenium also has a massive online community that is happy to support and assist in learning. 

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What Are the Benefits of Selenium Framework?

Selenium Framework is a tool designed to repeat testing the same way each time while being easy to read. The options within the framework allow for more replicable and repeatable testing, fewer person-hours, and cross-platform testing. Selenium Framework is also open-source, which means it is low cost, there is a lot of community support for it. You can also have confidence it will be continually updated due to its open-source nature.

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Which Tool Types Does the Selenium Framework Consist of?

Selenium is comprised of three tools that also lend to the benefits of this framework.

1. The Selenium IDE toolset is for recording test cases and results. It’s ideal for situations where test cases are straightforward and have an expected outcome in mind. Some examples include web forms, search engines, or login pages. As tests become more complex, developers might find WebDriver to provide a more effective solution. 

2. Selenium WebDriver provides a code library to work with while programming your tests. WebDriver also has the bonus of treating the browser like an object. It provides digestible syntax and contains functions for client behavior like driver.get(url) to navigate the browser to a specific URL or driver.findElements() to locate CSS Selectors on a page. 

3. Selenium Grid is the last major component in the Selenium Suite. It allows asynchronous programming to perform parallel tests across the different cases across various operating systems and browsers. 

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Selenium Framework FAQs

What Do You Need to Be Successful With Selenium Framework?

When starting with Selenium Framework, you have to start with the basics, choosing a programming language that you and your development team can all use. If you will be using Selenium IDE with your framework, you will also need to know Selenese. While Selenium Framework has many tools to offer, you need to keep a few things in mind when choosing the ones you need as one. Selenium is a host of tools, not a single program. Selenium Framework is the suite of tools.

Is Selenium Framework for Beginners?

Selenium IDE is a code-less automation tester, which is why it is ideal for beginners or those making tests without solid coding skills. The integrated development environment allows third-party plug-ins to record and play back test cases and results. Though IDE is going to be easy for members of your development team that know less about coding. 

What Do You Need to Know to Get Started with Selenium?

When designing testing in general, it would be a massive advantage to be familiar with CSS selectors and Chrome Dev Tools. These selectors and tools will allow you to find elements needed to define objects, such as the ID, Name, CSS, or XPath. You will need to test your code with accuracy and identify bugs in the code should the test fail.

You will also need some familiarity with analytics and reporting tools. While Selenium Framework’s tools are handy, it can create more testing data than a human can manage by themselves. There are a significant number of cloud services that offer storage space for backup and redundancy. You will need to make sure you have the plans ready for the excess data you will create with the targeted tests. Data aggregation is critical as your web applications and tests continue to grow.

Which Tests Can You Run with Selenium?

The different tools within the Selenium suite make the Selenium Framework ideal for a large variety of automated test setups and test cases. There are three main types of testing frameworks Selenium Framework is a popular choice for; Data-Driven, Keyword Driven, and Hybrid test frameworks. The suite is designed to make maintaining your code an easy task. 

1. The Data-Driven Framework testing is meant to make the data set and test case entirely separate; in this set up you can edit one without affecting the other. 

2. The Keyword Driven Framework is meant for speed. First, you would build out your keywords in an Excel sheet. This requires way more forethought, but it is easier to maintain once complete than a Data-Driven Framework is. In this set up you can also construct test cases before development concludes. 

3. The Hybrid Test Framework is the result of mixing the Data and Keyword Frameworks. Both the keywords and data are maintained outside of the tests themselves. This framework type is usually used for manual testing by those with less code language knowledge and practice.

More specifically Selenium framework is suitable for the following test types:

  • Acceptance Testing, 
  • Performance Testing, 
  • Regression Testing, 
  • Test and Behavior Driven Development Testing (TDD and BDD).
  • Smoke Testing

What are Common Issues with Selenium Framework? Which Modifications  Can Help Address These Downfalls?

Selenium Framework has difficulty handling multiple tabs, captchas, barcodes, pop-ups, changing user-specific information, and moving selectors. It is also designed for automated testing. It is possible to run manual testing with the Selenium Suite, but it is laborious and tedious to maintain.

Complex testing using Selenium Framework is possible, but it runs the risk of excessive data creation. Tests can also become riddled with excessive bugs or failure points, making debugging a nightmare.

This suite is also currently only designed to support non-mobile platforms. Selenium does not support mobile testing currently. However, this will likely change in the future. Selenium Framework’s comprehensive support of the most popular desktop drivers also means that you will not have to maintain the browser drivers on your own. The browser drivers are maintained by their respective vendors.

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Selenium Framework Best Practices

The Selenium Framework does have some scenarios that are pretty common. One is having the need to slow down the code execution due to load time—factors such as internet speed and hardware function factor into your automated tests. You can slow down the tests using sleep commands like time.sleep in Python. Another option is the implicit or explicit delay tools within Selenium. 

An important note; time.sleep, or Java’s thread.sleep() can be messy and create problems down the line, so many developers recommend against using them.

Pop-up windows are a common issue that Selenium Framework struggles with. WebDriver does have the ability to operate in multiple windows, though; you can initialize the switchTo method to handle these issues. 

Selenium Framework also struggles with user-specific content or dynamic content. Dynamic content can be planned around, but you may have to manually test some dynamic features or disable them in the testing environment. There are also plug-ins you can add to your test environment to handle some features.

While some of the issues within the Selenium Framework can be overcome, some cannot. For example, CAPTCHAs cannot be done through a test. It would completely ruin the purpose. CAPTCHAs are to prevent the very automation that bots utilize. You can disable captchas in the testing environment or create a call to skip it in testing. 

Codeception can take care of the multiple tab issue, and it operates as a wrapper around Selenium. As for pop-ups, if you are expecting it, you can use a try/catch block to see if it exists and close it if it does.

As previously mentioned, the data aggregation could create an issue when using Selenium Framework to scale your applications. This can be managed, but you have to plan for it. 

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Next Steps

Selenium Framework is a well-supported and comprehensive framework and suite to use as a whole or in part. After running your tests in Selenium, scale them in BlazeMeter for better reporting, performance and easier script creation.



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