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Getting started with Selenium: Guide to automated UI testing
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Getting started with Selenium: Guide to automated UI testing

UI Testing – Critical to Success

In today’s rapidly evolving software development landscape, automation has become a non-negotiable aspect of testing. With respect to User Interface (UI) testing, automation is nothing short of a game-changer. By automating UI testing with tools such as Selenium, developers can slash the time and costs associated with manual testing while elevating the accuracy and dependability of their test results. We delve into several aspects of automated UI testing, with a laser-sharp focus on harnessing the full power of Selenium automation testing.

What is UI Testing?

UI testing is the cornerstone of ensuring that a software application is visually stunning, easy to use, and free of defects. With the potential to unearth critical usability, accessibility, and user experience issues, UI testing is indispensable. UI testing is either manual or automated. Manual testing involves human interaction with the application’s interface to validate its functionality, while automated testing harnesses the power of tools to automate the testing process.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an open-source tool used for automating web applications. It provides a framework for automating UI testing across different browsers and platforms. Selenium supports different programming languages, including Java, Python, Ruby, and C#.  It has evolved to support a wide range of browsers and platforms, making it an indispensable tool for web application testing. Selenium has several components, including Selenium WebDriver, Selenium IDE, and Selenium Grid.

Selenium testing has been in use since 2004 when Jason Huggins, an engineer at ThoughtWorks, first developed it. He created the tool to automate tests for a web application that he was working on at the time. The tool was initially named “JavaScriptTestRunner” and was used internally within ThoughtWorks.

Later, in 2004, Huggins released the tool as an open-source project under the name “Selenium” in collaboration with other engineers at ThoughtWorks. The name “Selenium” was inspired by a chemical element used as a cure for mercury poisoning, which Huggins found fitting for his tool that helped developers fix problems in web applications.

Since its release, Selenium has become one of the most widely used tools for UI automation testing, with a large and active community of developers contributing to its development and improvement.

Selenium WebDriver enables users to interact with web applications in various ways. It can simulate user actions, such as clicking buttons, entering text, and navigating to different pages. Selenium WebDriver supports browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

Selenium IDE allows users to record, edit, and playback test scripts. It is an easy-to-use tool for beginners who want to create test scripts without having to write any code.

Selenium Grid enables users to run tests on multiple machines in parallel. It is useful for running tests on a large scale and reducing test execution time.

 Read An effective SaaS company can build a feature-rich platform while ensuring a world-class user experience (UX)

How to Automate UI Testing with Selenium?

Here are the steps to automate UI testing with Selenium:

Step 1: Identify Test Cases

The first step in automating UI testing is to identify which test cases to automate. Test cases that are repetitive and time-consuming are the best candidates for automation.

Step 2: Choose the Right Tool

The next step is to choose the right tool for UI automation testing. Selenium is one of the most popular tools for UI testing automation. Selenium supports different programming languages and provides a wide range of features for automating UI testing.

Step 3: Set Up the Environment

After choosing the tool, the next step is to set up the environment for automation testing. This involves installing the necessary tools and software, including the Selenium WebDriver, web browser, and programming language.

Step 4: Write Test Scripts

Once the environment is set up, the next step is to write test scripts. Test scripts are a set of instructions that automate UI testing. Test scripts can be written using different programming languages, including Java, Python, Ruby, and C#. The test scripts should be designed to simulate user actions, such as clicking buttons, entering text, and navigating to different pages.

Step 5: Execute Test Scripts

After writing the test scripts, the next step is to execute them. This involves running the test scripts on the web application and observing the test results. The test results should be analyzed to identify any issues related to usability, accessibility, and user experience.

Benefits of Automated UI Testing with Selenium

Automating UI testing with Selenium provides several benefits, including:

1/ Increased Test Coverage

Automating UI testing with Selenium increases test coverage by allowing users to test more features and functionalities of the web application in less time. This way, QA can cover all critical test cases and reduce the risk of defects in the application.

2/ Improved Accuracy

Improve accuracy by reducing the risk of human error in test execution with automated UI testing. Manual testing can be prone to errors, such as missing steps or incorrect data entry. Automated testing, on the other hand, can improve the overall reliability of test results.

3/ Faster Test Execution

Automated UI testing is definitely faster than manual testing. Developers can execute test scripts can be quickly and repeatedly, allowing users to test the application in a shorter amount of time. This helps to reduce the overall testing time and increases the speed of the software development cycle.

4/ Cost-Effective

Automated UI testing requires fewer resources and less time, reducing the overall cost of testing. Automated testing also helps to identify defects early in the development cycle, reducing the cost of fixing defects in later stages of development.

5/ Scalability

Automated UI testing allows users to test multiple applications simultaneously. Selenium Grid enables users to run tests on multiple machines in parallel, reducing the overall test execution time and improving the efficiency of testing.

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Best Practices for Automating UI Testing with Selenium

To achieve the maximum benefits of automated UI testing with Selenium, it is essential to follow the best practices of automation testing. Some of the best practices for automating UI testing with Selenium include:

1/ Identify the right test cases to automate

It is essential to identify the right test cases to automate to achieve the maximum benefits of automation testing. Test cases that are repetitive, time-consuming, and critical can use automation to save time and effort.

2/ Design test scripts that are modular and reusable

Test scripts should be designed as modular and reusable to make them more maintainable and scalable. Developers can reuse modular test scripts across different test scenarios, reducing the overall testing time and effort.

3/ Use good coding practices

Developers must follow good coding practices to write test scripts to make them more readable and maintainable. Good coding practices include using meaningful variable names, commenting on the code, and following coding standards.

4/ Use assertions to validate test results

Assertions should be used to validate test results and ensure that the application is functioning as expected. Assertions help to identify defects early in the development cycle, reducing the overall cost of fixing defects in later stages of development.

5/ Run tests on different browsers and platforms

A QA Developer should run tests on different browsers and platforms to ensure that the application works as per expectations across different environments. Selenium supports different browsers and platforms, allowing users to test the application on a wide range of configurations.

In Conclusion

Automating UI testing with Selenium is a game-changer for software testing. It slashes the time and effort required for manual testing while boosting the precision and dependability of test results. Selenium has an array of features that allow for seamless automation of UI testing across multiple programming languages, browsers, and platforms. By embracing the best practices of automation testing, developers can unleash the true potential of automation testing and revolutionize the efficiency of their software development cycle. With Selenium as their go-to tool, developers can streamline their testing process, enhance the quality of their applications, and accelerate their time-to-market.

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