What is Selenium? What are the challenges in Selenium Automation?
By 2024 the software automation testing market will be worth over USD 28.8 billion globally. Selenium will be one of the key contributors to this growth story. So, what is Selenium? Nearly every enterprise with a successful test automation strategy in place for their digital enterprise ecosystem, will be aware of the top automation platforms in the market for automation testing. Selenium will occupy the top spot in terms of platform preferences in most cases.
Selenium is a popular open-source test automation tool or platform that offers a framework on top of which software testing professionals can build and execute automated test scripts. In addition, Selenium provides an interface that allows the writing of test scripts in various popular programming languages like Ruby, Node JS, Python, Java, C#, PHP, etc.
What is Selenium Used for?
Selenium testing allows enterprises to validate web applications across different browsers for their functionality and compatibility. Selenium comprises a suite of software tools, each catering to different QA testing needs of an enterprise for their different technology implementations.
Selenium enables you to write test scripts in your preferred programming language. After which it enables its execution on a browser instance in any targeted device like a smartphone or tablet PC or an actual PC. This allows testing teams to save countless hours of testing time, which would have been needed if they had to manually validate every module of an application in an actual run-time environment outside of the development ecosystem.
In the absence of Selenium automation, ensuring the quality of a large enterprise application from an end-to-end perspective could take days or weeks to complete.
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Key Challenges in Selenium Automation
The use of Selenium often leads to challenging situations for enterprises. Poor strategic planning is at the root of many difficulties in test automation. Lack of awareness of how to leverage different functionalities of the test automation tool according to unique characteristics of business applications is a major challenge.
Let us explore four key challenges in Selenium automation.
Handling dynamic web page content
Modern websites are moving away from a multi-page approach and instead are focusing on retaining a single-page version and then pulling various hidden elements into the page dynamically from servers on demand. This can create challenges for test professionals while writing test scripts on Selenium.
Testing for Mobile Operating Systems
Today, Content consumption is more on mobile devices worldwide than on traditional computer screens. Hence, in order to make your web application reliable, you’ll need to test it on a mobile OS browser. Selenium, by default, doesn’t offer too much reliability for mobile browser testing for capabilities such as responsive design.
Validating Dynamic Runtime Elements
For security reasons, most websites today leverage measures such as captcha to prevent unauthorized bot attacks on different subsections in the webpage. End-users can access them only after they solve the captcha. Additionally, there could be system pop-up messages and notifications that can come up from the operating system side, over which, the Selenium testing environment has little interaction whatsoever. From a testing perspective, this can become challenging as Selenium doesn’t have a captcha solving intelligence in its arsenal inherently. It also cannot handle pop-up activities from the underlying OS.
As the application grows in usage and feature additions, the scope and coverage of the testing landscape also increase. Selenium lets you run test builds in sequence over multiple environments. But it may not be very effective as the application size increases. Automation of the software testing stage is effective only when testers can run more tests and cover all possible scenarios. Hence, scalability issues can impact the overall test quality in the long run.
How to Eliminate Challenges in Selenium Testing
The challenges mentioned above may seem like a deterrent for enterprises in trusting Selenium for their test automation needs. However, it is easy to eliminate these challenges with the right approach and strategic configurations, and modifications to the tool. Very few companies have the level of expertise in automating Selenium tests. As a result, they are less likely to succeed in terms of ROI with Selenium automation in their testing landscape. Almost all the challenges mentioned above have workarounds.
So how do you eliminate these challenges?
The issue of dynamic content loading in web pages as well as pop-up and captcha management can be solved by using wait times, both implicit and explicit, in the Selenium framework. It can pause the test execution till all relevant running conditions are met and satisfactory. Selenium offers a tool called Appium to help developers test and validate their mobile apps on iOS or Android. It also allows checking for their compatibility and responsiveness. Finally, Selenium Grid allows the parallel execution of test cases at any scale to help in resolving scalability issues.
Trusting Selenium Automation for Better Quality Assurance
It is important to note that nearly all the challenges in Selenium automation have solutions. But the real problem is the lack of knowledge of enterprises to implement the workaround solution. Selenium testing is one of the most prolific QA innovations. It has made a lasting impact on the way software development standards have improved over the last decade. Having the proper guidance and knowledge on leveraging the various facets of Selenium automation is the real test of faith for enterprises. For this, it is essential to have powerful testing platforms like ACCELQ. With ACCELQ you can create the most strategic success roadmap for automation testing in your businesses.
Director, Product Evangelist at ACCELQ.
Geosley is a Test Automation Evangelist and Community builder at ACCELQ. Being passionate about continuous learning, Geosley helps ACCELQ with innovative solutions to transform test automation to be simpler, more reliable, and sustainable for the real world.