Pros and Cons of Selenium as an Automation Testing tool

July 4, 2024Renju Jose
pros and cons of Selenium Automation Tools

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“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, by understanding all the Pros and Cons of Selenium ,we will check why it’s time to start looking for alternatives.

What are the Pros and Cons of Selenium?

Below will discuss all the Pros and cons of selenium in detail.

Pros of Selenium

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.

2. Language-Independent

QA working on a particular language don’t need to learn a new language just to automate their Tests using Selenium. Selenium provides official Language bindings with C#, Java, Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, Python. There are a couple of unofficial language bindings for the rest of the languages as well.

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

Selenium supports all the popular web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera e.t.c. And it works on all the available Operating System platforms such as Windows, Mac, and Linux

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.

Cons of Selenium

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 takes a lot of time and this wasted time translates to High Initial Cost if the requirement is urgent.

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

Why Unified Automation Testing tool for Continuous Testing in DevOps

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.

In-sprint test automation for regression testing at DevOps speed

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.

Test Automation by SMEs & QA Analysts for Continuous Delivery & DevOps

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 to understand. Also, sharing the Results with the stakeholders is difficult and we need to introduce a lot of third-party components for that.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Disadvantages of Selenium?

Even while Selenium is an important contributor to the testing community, it has some drawbacks:

  • Less realistic Browser interaction, more difficult to use, and takes longer to develop test cases.
  • It is difficult to set up a test environment. WebDriver’s execution speed is slower.
  • It use JavaScript, and the results are erratic.
  • Nobody can provide dependable technical support.
  • It solely supports Web-based apps….

What are the Challenges of Automation Selenium?

Selenium’s automation challenges include scalability, cross-browser testing, inappropriate event synchronisation, test priority, and communication and collaboration.

What are the Benefits of Selenium Automation?

The advantages of Selenium automation begin with its open-source nature, support for several browsers and operating systems, and testing across multiple devices. Selenium automation testing is preferred for web application testing, functional & regression automation.

Why is Selenium So Unstable?

Your Selenium testing experience may be unstable if:

  • Your test framework’s needless complexity and poor use of faulty locators
  • WebDrivers are not being updated.
  • Having a volatile environment

Why Do Selenium Tests Fail?

Selenium tests are developed in a particular order and the order of responses can only be fixed at times, and sometimes the website’s responses must be in order. As a result of this, the Selenium test case fails.

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