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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Selenium IDE, Selenium 1.0, Selenium 2.0, Selenium RC, Selenium GRID, Web Driver and what not... Part 1

Here is my take on nebulous terms (well nebulous for newbie) which are used with Selenium. And what might be your best choice when considering to use Selenium for functional test automation of web applications.

So your client asks for free functional test automation tool and you stumble upon Selenium and first thing you begin to play with is Selenium IDE , Selenium IDE is not so fancy in comparison to QTP IDE or other Automation tools available in market. But then no Test tool IDE is as good as Eclipse, IntelliJ, Visual Studio. (But why to mention them here!) And now you have begun to use Selenium IDE in  firefox browser (Yes you can use it ONLY with firefox) , created tests and test suites and have seen your tests running on Firefox. Then comes the impediments. You realize the need to running your tests with more browsers, parametrize your tests, do DB validation using your tests, integrate your test with CI environment and lot more. You could do a many of these using Selenium IDE plug-ins but solution will not be very maintainable. Primary reason is - Selenium IDE lets you use only one programming language called - Selenese, which follows HTML type syntax. And its language capabilities are extremely limited in comparison to other languages like Java, C# etc.... and then you hear something evil. You hear about Selenium Core

The less time you spend with core the better. Though Core is always available with IDE and RC (What is RC !@#@ft#). Core is js library which should be deployed on same application server where your web application is running (Will you really have liberty to do this?) This is to over come Same Origin Policy which has been biggest imitation while working with Selenium. So you soon realize that you can not use core and need a better option. And then you get to know about Selenium Remote Control (RC).

Selenium Remote Control overcomes two primary drawbacks of Selenium Core -

1. Deployment of core on application server.
2. Same Region Policy (did you click on previous hyperlink for this topic?)
3. Being able to use programming language i.e. java, C#, Python. Perl etc.

So what magic does Selenium RC does. Selenium RC employs a proxy server in middle of your browser and application server. So the browser requests to application server, but before response is directed back to browser Selenium proxy server injects its code and then it is delivered to browsers. Hence browser is fooled in to thinking as if response (original response and code injected by Selenium RC) was all returned by Application Server. And so overcomes the Same Origin Policy. Not only this Selenium RC also let you write tests in a gamut of programming language i.e. - Java, C#, php, python using your favorite IDE i.e. Intellij, Eclipse, Visual Studio etc. There is option to export tests from Selenium IDE in the programming language of your choice. So does Selenium RC solves all the problems. No it does not. Selenium RC is infamous when it comes to dealing with pop up window, file download/upload, drag and drop etc. and What the hack is WebDriver and we have not yet spoken about those mysterious version Selenium 1.0 and Selenium 2.0

Next Blog I would detail about remaining Selenium Terms...

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