What Is Selenium?

The Original Selenium and the Selenium Suite

The Original Selenium was developed from the JavaScript TestRunner: In 2004 Jason Huggins, was working on a web application that needed repetitive manual testing. He wrote a JavaScript program that would run these tests automatically, controlling the browser actions that he previously had done manually (e.g. enter username and password, press submit), username and password). He named the program “JavaScriptTestRunner”. He made this open source, allowing other developers to add and change code, add tools etc.

Jason Huggins then worked with Paul Hammant to develop the server component in Java and, the JavaScript TestRunner (the original client-side driver) was ported to Ruby. The server acted as an HTTP proxy and the browser-instance believed the test script and web app being tested were from the same source. This is the Original Selenium; also known as Driven Selenium or Selenium B.

In 2005 the Selenium Remote Control (RC) – also called Selenium 1.0 was developed by Dan Fabulich and Nelson Sproul.

In 2006 the Selenium IDE was created by Shinya Kasatani and donated to the Selenium project.

In 2007 The Selenium Webdriver (Selenium 2) was created.

In 2008 The Selenium Grid was created.

In 2016 Selenium 3 was released.

In 2021 Selenium 4 was released.

Advantages and Benefits of 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.

Selenium Test Scripts / Testing can be written in multiple coding/ programming languages, such as C#, Ruby, Scala, Perl, Python, Java, JavaScript, Groovy and more.

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.

The Selenium Suite

Unlike some other tools, Selenium is a suite of software containing the following components: -

  • The Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
  • The Selenium Remote Control (RC) –now deprecated.
  • The Selenium Web Driver.
  • The Selenium GRID – used for distribution.

The Selenium IDE

  • This is a Firefox and Chrome plugin that logs ‘natural’ interactions in whichever browser is being used, generating its code in the selected programming language (mentioned earlier) as well as Selenese (Selenium’s own scripting language).
  • Recording can be enabled within the IDE and then after the test has been run, the IDE can replay the interactions and highlight errors in red.
  • Whilst the plugin is quick and helpful, the code is more suited to rapid prototyping. For automation test scripts and cross browser testing, it is better to use the Selenium WebDriver.

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