What is Selenium

Last updated on - November 14th, 2018

Hello Techies, welcome to this new article where we will discuss what is Selenium, its uses, and features.

“Selenium” is a very famous term nowadays that you must be hearing almost every day especially if you are working in an IT industry. You must be at least knowing about it if you are in the testing field.

So, let me ask you a simple question what is Selenium and what it does?

Any thought about it. Take a minute and try to recall all you have heard or knew about Selenium. Think about it.

If you are not sure about it don’t worry. This article is all about discussing Selenium and its features.

So, if you want to know the answer to these questions then continue reading this article. That will also lead you to other topics that come in the way of learning Selenium.

It’s worth spending time here to start learning Selenium. Happy Learning!

What is Selenium

Before we move ahead with its features and uses, let’s understand what is Selenium and history of Selenium.

What is Selenium

Selenium is an automation testing tool.

Now, most of you must have recollected, oh yes I knew it. Isn’t it?

Yes, you know it. However, Selenium is NOT an automation testing tool. Confused?

Let me clear your doubt.

Selenium is an open source and popular UI automation library (Not an automation tool).

Selenium allows testers and developers to automate their interactions with Web Application Under Test (WAUT).

In other words, we can say Selenium is a collection of APIs (Application Programming Interface), which supports developers and testers to automate their web testing activities.

Selenium is NOT an Automation Tool

Yes, you read it right.

Selenium is NOT an automation testing tool. Even Selenium official website unintentionally refers to Selenium as an “automation tool”.

Selenium is like a tiny piece of a bigger set of tools that are required to perform automation testing.

When combined with other third-party libraries such as Apache POI (to read data from excel) and JUnit / TestNG / NUnit, you can build your own test automation framework powered by Selenium WebDriver.

This is one of the most asked questions in interviews and most of the candidates answer it wrongly.

Brief History of Selenium

Jason Huggins in 2004 developed Selenium to test an internal application at ThoughtWorks.

Further, In 2006 an engineer at Google named Simon Stewart started work on a project called WebDriver.

2008 was the year of merging of Selenium and WebDriver.

New Library suite designed with the merger of Selenium and WebDriver called Selenium WebDriver or Selenium 2.

As of now, we have four components of Selenium and of course with different features.

I have highlighted important points for each component. You can refer to each link below to know more about it in details from their official website.

1. Selenium IDE

  • IDE provides record and play option
  • Cannot support the larger project
  • Can only be used as a Firefox add-ons
  • Can not use complex logic

2. Selenium Remote Control (RC)

  • Supports multiple OS, Browser, and language
  • Works with the browsers which support Javascript
  • RC inject Javascript program called ‘Selenium core’ into the browsers to perform actions.
  • Remote Control (Server) should be up and running
  • It is slow in execution
  • RC cannot support the headless browser
  • Selenium RC is now deprecated. WebDriver has taken it over

3. Selenium WebDriver

  • It was introduced to overcome the limitation of selenium RC
  • Javascript injection is completely removed
  • Directly interact with the native code of the browsers
  • No server is needed, like RC
  • It also supports iOS and Android platform

4. Selenium Grid

  • Grid support parallel execution
  • Designed to distribute test cases to the different machine to share the load.
  • It uses hub and node to share the load equally.

Selenium WebDriver is the popular one nowadays to automate web applications. 

To move ahead in your journey, learn how to download and install Eclipse IDE and create a project in eclipse.

I hope this article helped you to learn automation testing using selenium and its overview. You can also check other Selenium articles.

Let me know if you have any questions, by commenting below or send an email directly to me at sureshdubey24jun@gmail.com

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About Suresh Dubey

I am Suresh Dubey working as an automation test engineer. I am passionate about playing with automation testing and tools. I got a chance to work on Selenium, UFT, PowerShell, Jenkins, CI-CD, Maven, Cucumber, Git etc. I believe in 'Knowledge Sharing'. My mantra for success is 'Learn Something New Everyday'.

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