What is Protractor?
What is Protractor?
Most importantly Protractor has been abandoned by its maintainers and is end of life Summer 2023. Given its 8.8k stars on Github and its heavy usage by certain parts of the Angular community, it is still worth understanding. Protractor is an opensource end to end testing automation tool built by Google, for Angular and AngularJS applications. Although it might be expected that the tool can only be used for Angular applications, it can also be used for non-Angular applications. The testing is automated on an actual browser.
An Automated Testing Tool for Angular
Angular is by its nature famously strongly opinionated. It is one of the more powerful, but also more complicated frontend framework to code with. Having a test tool written by the same team really does make a lot of sense, and integrating Protractor based tests into Angular is generally both quick and powerful.
Protractor is used for End to End tests and can work with frameworks like Jasmine. Protractor runs its tests directly in the browser.
Advantages of Protractor:
This testing automation tool has various advantages to offer:
- As with most other testing automation tools, Protractor also has an easy installation and setup process.
- It works seamlessly with Jasmine framework to create the test scenario.
- Protractor supports test driven development (a process relying on software requirements being changed to test cases before the software is fully developed.)
- It has automatic waits, and the tester does not need to add waits and sleeps to the test
- Protractor supports parallel testing through multiple browsers. If a tester needs to use a lot of browsers for testing, it allows this; hence there is no need to go ‘to and fro’ with the testing.
- The testing speed is commendable, and the added advantage of auto synchronization makes Protractor one of the most sought for testing framework.
Is Protractor Better Than Selenium?
Protractor is specially designed for Angular applications, so within the community it is preferred and generally much faster to work with.
How Does Protractor Work?
Like most other testing frameworks, Protractor helps test Angular applications that run on varied browsers. It works in combination with Selenium, to provide the test interface simulation as required by the user.
Below are a few simple steps to help understand the working of a Protractor:
- The first step is to install the test automation framework, which is self-explanatory.
- Next, the tester should write the tests, which can be done with the help of open-source testing frameworks like Jasmine, Mocha or Cucumber.
- After the test code is written, the test can be run with the help of a Protractor, also known as the test runner.
- To manage the browsers during the test automation, the Selenium server is used.
- Lastly, the browser APIs are invoked with the help of Selenium WebDriver.
Comparison Between Protractor and WebDriverIO:
|End of Life Summer 2023||Well maintained|
|End to end web automation testing||End to end web as well as mobile device automation testing|
|Opensource testing framework||Opensource testing framework, so user need not spend anything|
|Previously it had large community support||Compared to Protractor, the support is less for this tool, but it is accelerating|
What Is Selenium?
Selenium is now one of the most popular free (open source) automation tools and automates the browser to perform the many actions that would have previously been done manually. As mentioned, it records; has playback, and highlights errors while testing web apps. It can run multiple scripts across several browsers.
It supports various operating systems and works across various browsers (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, IE, Edge, Safari, Opera) and devices.
It is easy to install and provides constant updates. It has multiple simple and easy navigation tools to assist writing test cases without requiring scripts.
What Is Watir?
WATIR is an acronym for Web Application Testing In Ruby and is pronounced the same as the word ‘water’, it is a simple and flexible tool. It is an open-source family of Ruby libraries for automating web browser testing, and the Watir WebDriver (the modern version of the Selenium based Watir API), it drives/supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari browsers. It is a simple and flexible tool and facilitates the writing of automated tests which are easy to both read and maintain.
It interacts with a browser the same way a person or a manual tester would do, in effect it mimics a real person, it logs in, clicks on links, fills in forms, validates text and so on.
It also runs in headless mode (HTMLUnit).
What Is Webdriver IO?
Webdriver is an open-source project on GitHub which has been around since 2013. It has over 7k stars since the time of writing and is well maintained. Due to the ease in managing and with a respectable number of followers, this project has seen a growth in its popularity in recent years, in part due to the ease with which it can be managed. Its simpler architecture means it is faster than heavier frameworks like Selenium.