Each IT company has to consider several factors to make its internet application popular. In addition to optimizing the application’s look, feel and performance, it also needs to make the app compatible with widely used web browsers. As a portable software testing framework, Selenium makes it easier for IT companies to automate browsers for testing purposes. It comes with a set of tools required for automating web browsers across multiple platforms. There are also several reasons why an IT company must use Selenium to test its websites and web applications. Continue reading Why Should IT Companies Use Selenium?
The open source software known as Selenium is used as one of the tools for automation testing of web applications. It certainly provides the testers with a good option for their purpose but one thing that discourages a lot of people when they want to use this is the fact that selenium has quite a number of problems. Often, handling this may be a challenging experience due to multiple problems that may arise, making creation of functional tests an extremely difficult process. In fact, most people complain that the tests can be flaky, sometimes working and sometimes not working. However, the problems should not deter you from using the tool as the advantages are too many to ignore. It is not really unstable or flaky but the main challenge which must be solved to tackle the problem is information. Most of the problems can be sorted out with proper knowledge. Here are some of the problems along with their solutions.
Flaky external services- Relying on such services often lead to failure of all tests. This happens especially when you use production backends or rely on infrastructure that is outside the control of your team. The best way to solve this is not to rely on such services which cannot be controlled by your team. You can start in-process servers by the use of something such as webrick in Ruby or Jetty in Java world. The external services can be spotted by watching the running of tests which will show the actual problem underlying. The flakiness can also be minimized through performing of health check before you run tests. Check if all relying services are running properly or not.
Poor test isolation- This may happen and you may see that the tests are working fine when they are being run alone but during build they fail randomly. To solve this, resources should be isolated as much as possible. Data should be set up within tests so that you do not have to rely on the ‘set up datastores’ step in the build. Try to set up database for each developer or use something such as SQLite or Hypersonic as an in-memory, light-weight and private database. If users are required to log-in for the applications then several user accounts should be created which are reserved just for the tests; provide a locking mechanism as well so that you can ensure that just a single test is carried out with the use of a specific user account.
Identifying elements- Another very common problem in this is the way of identifying XML/HTML elements that must be observed as well as manipulated. While designing, the application should be made for easy identifying of elements through adding of ‘id’ which is well-named and attributes to unique elements; along with class attributes that are well-named for repeated structures such as tables or lists. By virtue of attributes you can refer directly to the interested elements easily. You can also start simplifying the locators by creating locators that rely on the essential parts.
Problems in timeouts- This is a very common problem. There are times when the timeout is not long enough, thus the tests fail under load. For that, the best thing that you should do is not use timeouts at all. When using, they should be used by generous setting or using them together with notification from the UI being tested.
During problems with selenium testing, it is best to do some research as well as analysis to find out the main cause so that you can understand the reason for such behavior. Most often the problem is minor and can be solved through the proper resources. No matter what the problem, these days there are plenty of resources to take advantage of. There are several videos, blogs, documentations, user groups, chat rooms, conferences, forums, books, etc which can aid you so that you can use the tool successfully.
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The choice of web browser varies from one user to another. So an internet application must be accessible on several web browsers to become popular. As a key part of the development lifecycle, programmers have tone ensure that the app will work flawlessly across a set of widely used web browsers. The cross-browser compatibility of an internet application can be checked through extensive regression testing. But regression testing requires additional time and resources.
Therefore, organizations prefer using effective test automation tools like Selenium and Cucumber to avoid expensive and time-consuming regression tests. The tools enable developers to create several fully automated test suites that will run against a set of web browsers. Also, they have option to run the automated test suits as part of the build pipeline or schedules build process. Regardless of the approach, the tools are effective in detecting bugs quickly and along with providing rapid feedback.
Web Application Testing with Cucumber
As a widely used test automation tool Cucumber facilitates behavior driven development. The developers can use Cucumber to describe the expected behavior of the internet application in plain text. Despite being written in Ruby, the tool supports several programming languages including Java, Ruby, C#.NET, Python and FLEX. So it becomes easier for developers to test applications written using any of these supported programming languages.
The entire Cucumber testing process can be divided into six broad steps. But the programmers are not required to write any code while fixing a bug in, or adding a new feature to the application. They can simply describe the expected behavior in plain text. When the feature or bug is tested through Cucumber, the tool will highlight the successes and failures. Based on the failures, programmers can write code to fix the bugs. As Cucumber requires test cases to be written in advance, it helps managers and business analysts to verify if the key requirements are met.
Web Application Testing with Selenium
Selenium provides developers with a set of tools required for testing different aspects of an internet application. The tool is further used widely by developers for browser testing automation. So Selenium is effective in evaluating the performance and behavior of an application across a set of supported web browsers. Selenium also comes with a suite of tools that run seamlessly across widely used operating systems and web browsers. The testers can further control these tools through a number of frameworks and programming languages.
Along with web browser automation, Selenium can also be used to web-based administration tasks. As the tool supports most web browsers, it becomes easier for developers to include the tool as part of the browser’s native components. An organization also has option to choose Selenium IDE, Selenium WebDriver or Selenium Remote Control according to the nature and requirements of each web application development project.
The IDE can be used as a simple Firefox add-on to perform simple record and playback with the web browser. In addition to creating bug reproduction scripts rapidly, the IDE also creates script for automation-aided exploratory testing. On the other hand, the Selenium WebDriver and Selenium Remote Control are used to optimize browser-based regression automation. These suites further help developers in distributing and scaling test scripts across different environments.
A constant increase is noted in the number of organization adopting behavior based development approach. The agile methodology further helps developers in rapidly test how an internet application works across multiple browsers. Both Cucumber and Selenium must be used together to effectively check the application’s cross-browser compatibility. These tools must be used together for automated behavior driven development testing to curtail the overall development cost and time.
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Despite deploying a high quality technical team, enterprises often find it difficult to automate their software testing process. Along with hiring the right testing professionals, an organization also need to pick the best automation tools to identify the bugs, errors and flaws in the application. If you are looking for an end-to-end automation solution for your web application development project, it is a good idea to choose Selenium. Many reports have highlighted the efficiency and effectiveness of Selenium in cutting down regression testing time by 95%. However, there are also a number of additional reasons that makes the essential to set up a test automation framework with Selenium.
What Makes Selenium a Powerful Software Testing Tool?
Most organizations opt for open source tools and frameworks to save money. As an open source automation tool, Selenium can be used without investing any additional funds. Also, each organization has option to avail several Selenium tools including Selenium IDE, Selenium RC, BrowserMob and Sauce RC. So an enterprise can easily set up a customized test automation framework according to the specific needs of individual projects. At the same time, it can also avail the assistance of the large community of Selenium developers and testers to implement the test automation strategy without any hassle.
Support for Major Operating Systems and Web Browsers
The popularity of each web application now depends on its compatibility with major operating systems and web browsers. Therefore, it becomes essential for each enterprise to ensure that the application delivering rich user experience regardless of the user’s choice of operating system and we browser. Along with major web browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari, Selenium also supports major operating systems. The support for major operating systems and web browsers makes it easier for testers to deliver rich user experience by identifying all flaws in the application without putting any extra effort.
Supports All Programming Languages
Similar to major operating systems and web browsers, Selenium also supports a large number of programming languages including Java, C#, Python and Ruby. The feature makes the tool effective in testing all types of web application regardless of the programming language used by code writers. Further, the features make it easier for enterprises to adopt test driven development approach. Under this approach, automated test cases are written before coding starts. So the programmers have option to use a programming language of their choice to complete the coding rapidly.
Multiple Automated Tests Simultaneously
Most enterprisers aim to build a single test automation framework to test several applications. There are also chances that they have to test multiple applications at a time to shorten software release cycle. Selenium comes with a set of test automation tools that enable users to carry out multiple automated tests at a time. As unit, functional and regression testing can be executed simultaneously, the total test cycles can also be reduced up to a great extent.
Easy to Maintain and Reuse Tests
Many enterprises use test automation tools to reuse and modify test cases without any hassle. Selenium enhances the reusability of testing cases. Along with running the same test script repeatedly, the tools further make the scripts reusable for several projects. At the same time, the features also help users in maintain their overall testing process and test cases without incurring any additional cost. They also have option to implement test metrics to strengthen the decision-making process.
Saves Both Time and Cost
A number of reports have highlighted how Selenium is effective in cutting down regression testing time by 95%. Along with reducing regression testing time substantially, an organization can further use Selenium to shorten release cycles and reduce test cycles. Further, the open source nature of the test automation tools helps organization to avoid the expensive frameworks and tools available in the market. The reduction in development time and testing costs along with enhanced product quality will get higher ROI over a longer period of time.
An enterprise can avail several advantages by setting up a test automation framework with Selenium. But it must consider several options to get and evaluate the test data that is 100% accurate and reliable. At the same time, the organization must keep in mind software testing automation best practices and tricks.
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