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Selenium: The Cool Kid of the Automation Testing World

Software testing involves the quality check and review of the product being tested and providing that information to the concerned stakeholders. Test techniques comprise the process of executing a program or application with the purpose of finding software bugs. In today´s fast moving world, it is a challenge for any company to continuously maintain and improve the quality and efficiency of software systems development. In many software projects, testing is neglected because of time or cost constraints. This leads to a lack of product quality, followed by customer dissatisfaction and ultimately to increased overall quality costs. This is where Automation Testing comes in.

Automated software testing is a process in which software tools execute pre-scripted tests on a software application before it is released into production. It increases the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of the software testing. Manual software testing is performed by a programmer sitting in front of a computer and going through all the application screens, using the different usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording their observations. Manual tests are repeated often during development cycles for source code changes and other situations, making it a cumbersome process for the programmer. Automation testing eases this process by employing automation methods which considerably reduce the complication and man hours spent in going through the entire code multiple times. It has become critical for any software development project and is used by most organizations these days, instead of manual testing.

One of the most well-known and efficient automation testing tools is Selenium. It automates web browsers and is primarily for automating web applications for testing purposes but can do much more. Selenium is at present the most powerful Open Source Automation tool available. It is based on java scripting to a large extent. It is more suited for the agile methodology of coding and testing. Selenium tests run directly in browsers, just as real users do. And they run in Internet Explorer, Mozilla and Firefox on Windows, Linux and Macintosh. No other test tool covers such a wide array of platforms. Selenium uses a unique mechanism which allows it to run on multiple platforms. Installed with your application webserver, Selenium automatically deploys its JavaScript automation engine, called the Browser Bot, to your browser when you point it at the Selenium install point on your webserver. Selenium uses JavaScript and Iframes to embed a test automation engine in your browser. This technique should work with any JavaScript-enabled browser. Because different browsers handle JavaScript somewhat differently, we usually have to tweak the engine to support new browsers.

If you want to create robust, browser-based regression automation suites and tests, and wish to scale and distribute scripts across many environments, then Selenium WebDriver, a collection of language specific bindings to drive a browser, is the tool for you. If you want to create quick bug reproduction scripts and create scripts to aid in automation-aided exploratory testing, you can opt for Selenium IDE, a Firefox add-on that will do simple record-and-playback of interactions with the browser. The biggest advantage is that since Selenium is an open source tool, there are no Licensing costs associated with it and it can be customized as per user. Disadvantage would be we cannot be assured of any add-ins which would be required if Selenium fails to recognize objects. Also Support provided for Selenuim would be very less in such case.

The look, feel and performance of a web application needs to be tested across many web browsers to deliver flawless user experience and Selenium delivers amazingly well when it comes to this. Learn Automation Testing with Selenium and see your career soar as a Software Tester. Learn now!

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