Pros and Cons of Selenium as an Automation Testing tool
“Selenium automates browsers. That’s it! What you do with that power is entirely up to you. Primarily, it is for automating web applications for testing purposes but is certainly not limited to just that. Boring web-based administration tasks can (and should!) be automated as well.”SeleniumHQ
As SeleniumHQ stated above, the primary use of Selenium has been to automate Web Applications for Testing purposes. And it has been doing the same for a decade or longer. From Selenium RC, it has grown to a full-blown Web Automation framework that supports multiple Platforms.
In this article, let us discuss why Selenium was adopted as the de-facto standard for web automation in the last decade. Also, we will check why it’s time to start looking for alternatives.
Reasons for the adoption of Selenium – Pros
1. Open Source/ No Licensing costs
Selenium has no upfront costs or payments to be made for its usage. It is Open Source which allows for extension and modification of the base framework for one’s personal or professional usage.
3. Third-party Integrations
Selenium does not restrict a QA’s choice of reporting tools, build systems or any other aspect of their Development/Testing Stack. It integrates well with popular tools such as SauceLabs, Selenium-Grid, Extent, JUnit and others.
4. Parallel Testing
Selenium supports parallel Test Executions by integrating with Selenium Grid
5. Cross Browser and Platform Independent
6. Community Support
Selenium is backed by a vast community which actively contributes to the Tool and documentation.
Given above are the reasons which make Selenium a great choice for Automation in Enterprises and SMBs all around the world.
However, as time flows and technology advances, we need to adapt and adopt newer tools to keep pace. Same is the case of Test Automation.
Now, let us look into reasons that demand a better alternative to Selenium-based tests.
Reasons to start looking for another Test Automation solution – Cons
1. High Initial Cost
It is true that Selenium is free and there are absolutely no licensing costs involved. However, when it comes to ROI and Initial Cost, we need to think about a couple of other factors.
Firstly, the setup and configuration of a Test Framework from the scratch
Next, for a Testing team that consists mostly of manual Testers, which provides better value – empowering the experienced manual testers who are Subject Matter Experts to write automated tests or to hire a technical workforce to automate those Tests and train them?
If you are wondering why QAs/ Functional Testers are important in Continuous Delivery, read on to know more – Automated Regression Testing by QA Testers in Continuous Delivery
2. Not an All-in-One solution – requires 3rd party tool bindings
Selenium as a framework is not a complete, comprehensive solution to fully automating the testing of Web Applications. It requires third-party libraries, language bindings and so on to be usable and truly effective.
You need different libraries and a good automation framework such as TestNG wrapping these libraries to make it a complete solution for end to end testing requirements
Read on to know more – Essential Elements of Test Automation
3. The difficulty of managing Local Test Infrastructure
Parallel Testing is very much possible with Selenium Grid – However, is it economically feasible to set up and manage the additional infrastructure(Test Machines) taking into consideration the fact that the requirements for devices vary with projects?
Read on to know more – Benefits of Cloud based Automated Testing Tools
4. Slow Test Development due to the script-based Approach
Creating stable and maintainable tests in Selenium is not easy since it requires expert knowledge in any of the popular programming languages
5. Eventually becomes a parallel development solution
There’s a lot of complexity involved in bringing multiple things together to create an effective and highly functioning test automation ecosystem based on Selenium. It takes huge technical efforts and requires constant updates, improvements, and maintenance of the complete ecosystem. Eventually, it becomes a parallel development project which small and medium-sized companies can not afford in the early stages.
6. Inability to integrate Continuous Testing / In-sprint Automation
With its code-based approach and high dependence on the UI, it is difficult for Selenium-based projects to shift the testing to left, which is required for continuous testing.
7. No participation from non-technical resources
In continuous delivery and DevOps, quality is everyone’s responsibility. But with the cryptic code-based approach, only programmers can create the test cases. And this is not limited to just Selenium-based Automation but all code based Testing solutions.
8. Test Automation is always an isolated process
However much you integrate with other tools in the development cycles, due to the lack of concrete integrations with Test Management and Requirement Management solutions, Test automation is always an isolated process to some extent with lots of manual work that is required to keep the processes in sync.
9. Lack of professional On-demand support for Enterprise Projects
Even though the Selenium community is pretty helping, you can’t always rely on Community support for large scale Enterprise projects which demand utmost privacy and quick resolution time.
10. Low readability of Test Scripts
The Test Script is not very readable for non-programmers and non-technical workforce which hinders their participation in the Test Automation Process.
11. Solving Automation Challenges
There are no inbuilt solutions for specific tasks such as File handling, API Level tasks, OS-based popup handling and Basic Authentication
12. Lack of Synchronization
Due to the heavy usage of AJAX and async programming in modern web development technologies, Tests are not always very stable. Also, programmed Test Scripts make Test Maintenance a bit difficult.
13. No Test Reporting Capabilities
Popular Test automation libraries used with Selenium such as TestNG and JUnit lack intuitive and comprehensive Test Reporting with visual representations that are easier
14. Longer Payback/ROI time
Due to the high initial time, slow test development, payback time is longer and makes it non-viable for small and medium-sized teams.
These are some of the reasons that led us to think about a new tool which can address all of these challenges. And we have been quite successful in delivering the same using Testsigma.
Testsigma is built to address all the challenges with Selenium while delivering the same or more advantages with Selenium.