When we say something about Selenium WebDriver means the most important part of the Selenium suite is being discussed. Before discussing much Selenium WebDriver, we’ll first take your attention towards the Selenium test tool.
What is Selenium Tool?
Selenium is the first choice of skilled testing professionals, and it is widely used for web application testing. The tool cannot be used to automate any desktop application since it provides cross-browser support. Due to this property only, Selenium is one of the most demanding tools for testing applications that are used through the internet in the browsers.
Selenium supports Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer browsers. And, it supports Linux, Mac, and Windows OS.
Selenium is supported by various programming languages such as Java, Python, and Ruby, this is why testers having good knowledge of programming easily write code for test cases.
Selenium is made up of four major components – Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment), Selenium RC (Remote Control), Selenium WebDriver, and Selenium Grid.
Selenium IDE, also known as record or run tool, is an extension for both the browsers Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The tool is named as record die to its functionalities of recording and playback. Means it records and replay test cases to quicken the testing process. To use it, no programming language expertise is required.
If you are planning to use Selenium RC, make sure you have sound knowledge in any programming language. This choice of scripting language is necessary and will help you to create test cases. Selenium RC has two key components – client libraries and servers. It has a complicated architecture and defined boundaries.
Selenium WebDriver is just the modified form of Selenium RC. It addresses many issues that Selenium RC failed to resolve due to its limited design. Although it is an upgraded form of Selenium RC yet, in terms of architecture, both are entirely different. Since this tool also comes with programming language support and provides the flexibility of writing test cases hence, before using this tool, make sure you are good in any programming language.
Selenium Grid tool is used to execute concurrent testing means multiple tests at various operating systems, and browsers are run simultaneously. Selenium Grid is available in two versions – Grid 1(Old Version), Grid 2(Current Version).
I think this is enough for you to understand briefly what Selenium tool is. Now let’s discuss in detail about Selenium WebDriver and how you can use it easily.
An Introduction to Selenium WebDriver and its use
Selenium WebDriver is a framework that provides you an opportunity to run the test cases for applications running in browsers. Mean, by using this tool; you can automate web application testing and check that apps are functioning correctly.
To develop a test script in Selenium WebDriver framework, you must be aware of any programming language. Although it has removed the boundaries of Selenium RC, this tool is not useful for automating desktop application tests.
Do you know the architecture of Selenium WebDriver?
The key components of Selenium WebDriver include – Selenium Client Library or language bindings, JSON wire protocol over HTTP, browser drivers, and browsers. Now let’s discuss each of them in detail.
Selenium Client libraries
Selenium developers have developed language bindings to make the tool supportable for different programming languages such as – Java, Ruby, PHP, etc. Suppose you have good knowledge of Java language, you can then choose Java Bindings or any other as per your choice from Selenium official website.
JSON wire protocol over HTTP
JSON is like Representational State Transfer (REST) API and responsible for information sharing between HTTP servers.
Selenium offers a dedicated driver to each browser type. The browser driver sets up a secure connection with the browser and starts communicating without giving any details of how it functions. These browser drivers are also compatible with programming languages such as Python, PHP, Java, and so on that are used to create test cases.
Download Selenium driver in your preferred programming language and configure it.
During the execution of the test script, multiple tasks occur in the background. For each Selenium command, An HTTP request is created and sent to the browser driver. The browser driver receives the HTTP request through an HTTP server. HTTP server decides what all steps to be run. The HTTP server receives the exact execution status and turns back to the automation script.
As we have already discussed that Selenium provides cross-browser support means it is compatible with Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla Firefox, etc.
How to use Selenium WebDriver for automation testing?
Now I will start writing code. I have chosen the Eclipse IDE user interface, python language from Selenium WebDriver client library, and Selenium WebDriver for Google Chrome.
WebDriver driver = new ChromeDriver ();
Driver. get (https://www.xyz.com)
Once you are done with writing the code, click the run button to execute the code. The above code will open the Google Chrome browser and take you to an ‘xyz’ website.
Once you click the ‘Run’ button, all the lines of your script will turn into a URL. This conversion happens due to the JSON Wire protocol over HTTP. After the whole code turns into URL, it is sent to the browser driver. Since I am using Selenium WebDriver for Chrome, the URL will be sent to Chrome Driver. We have chosen Python from the Selenium client library; it helps to translate the code in JSON format and then start an interaction with Chrome Driver.
After translating the code into JSON format, it looks like in below form:
Browser Drivers use HTTP servers to receive HTTP requests. After receiving the URL, Chrome Driver starts processing the request and passes it to the real browser over HTTP. After that, all the code lines that you have written in Selenium WebDriver framework will start executing.
If you have a web application that you want to test, choose Selenium WebDriver test too. But, make sure you have hands-on experience in any programming language because Selenium WebDriver library has various language support. In addition to this, it is compatible with a cross-browser platform as well as the modern operating systems that provide users the flexibility of writing scalable test scripts. Also, the tool is easily available at zero cost, you can use it to integrate with any other system.
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