End of support for Selenium IDE in Firefox 55+. What can you do about it?

Mozilla’s decision to cease the support for Selenium IDE in Firefox 55 has drawn the attention of the testing community to a long-standing problem. We’ve all known for years that old-school record-playback tools underdeliver in the way of usefulness. Thanks to Mozilla, this has become more obvious. End of support for Selenium IDE in Firefox version 55 and newer (image credit: Freepik) Don’t get me wrong, having the UI testing functionality of Selenium IDE in Firefox was super-useful. Selenium IDE certainly deserves credit for doing exactly what it promises. It’s lightweight, it automates UI tests by recording manual testing sessions, and it has been the official Selenium recorder for Firefox since forever. Built in 2006, it has long become the first tool that comes to mind when someone mentions record-playback UI testing. Maybe it’s due to this long history that the news of Firefox dropping Selenium IDE feels so unexpected. So what is the reason for discontinuing the support for Selenium IDE in Firefox? There are two of them, actually. Reason 1. Having ditched the .xpi format used in Selenium IDE, Firefox will move to WebExtensions To keep moving forward, you sometimes have to leave things behind. Cheesy as this... More

Selenium waits: isn’t it time to move on?

How do you make Selenium WebDriver wait for page to load. There’s an important difference between a human tester and an automated UI testing tool. This difference comes down to patience: humans are capable of it, and machines aren’t. When processing a test, an automation tool expects to obtain some result, like a button click. If the button is missing, the test fails, which is what we pretty much expect from it If the button takes too long to load, though, the test will also fail, which is certainly not the result we’re counting on. False positives of this sort are the reason why timeouts exist. With timeouts, we can instruct an automated UI testing tool to “wait” for several seconds before trying to click on the button. This, however, introduces new difficulties. Suites of automated tests are typically synchronized with each other. Let’s say there’s a test called A1, and a test called A2 which depends on A1. If running A1 now takes 2x more time, A2 will fail because its pre-conditions are not met. Therefore, A2 requires adding timeouts as well. Naturally, a change to A2 will affect an A3 down the chain, and so on. Having to... More

Let’s talk about Selenium competitors for UI regression testing

With so many UI testing tools posing themselves as direct competitors to Selenium, which one do you choose? And why opt for a Selenium competitor in the first place? Don’t get me wrong, Selenium is awesome. Well, sort of... Even today, 13 years since its launch, Selenium remains the number-one choice for testing in the browser. It supports the widest range of programming languages, it works with every major browser, and it runs on every major OS. No other testing automation tool can rival the flexibility and the functional scope of Selenium. Besides, none of the competitors is as popular as Selenium. The above doesn’t mean, however, that Selenium is the best solution for every use case that its functionality covers. Namely, you wouldn’t want Selenium for end-to-end regression testing of complex UIs — or, at least, that’s the conclusion we’ve arrived at when testing own product, AjaxSwing. In fact, our scepticism about Selenium grew to a point where we abandoned the tried-and-true framework and started looking at Selenium competitors in search of an alternative. Eventually, this led us to building our own tool for visual regression testing, but that’s a different story. When working with Selenium, we’ve faced three... More

Selenium IDE alternatives for UI regression testing

Most of the QAs I know consider Selenium the number-one choice for UI test automation. I guess this is why Selenium IDE is the first thing that comes to mind when they start looking for a record-playback tool to automate UI regression testing. After all, if Selenium is so great for writing UI tests, it’s bound to have an equally great IDE, right? Well, not quite… If you have any experience with Selenium IDE, you’ll agree that it’s far from perfect. In fact, many testers will argue that Selenium IDE is doing you more harm than good. Reasons? Pick one! Selenium IDE doesn't always record what you expect, and it still requires programming skills (at the very least, the knowledge of HTML and CSS). In a nutshell, the tests produced by Selenium IDE are poorly implemented WebDriver code which ends up being brittle and hard to maintain. Selenium IDE makes you handle timeouts manually which is a major inconvenience. Selenium IDE is no good for projects involving UI elements that change their IDs, location, and/or content dynamically. This means you can’t regression-test the UI of a web app with Selenium IDE. Selenium IDE only works with Firefox and may not work... More

Selenium alternatives for testing automation

If you’re looking for an alternative to Selenium, there are plenty of options out there. Here are the options that our teams at AgileEngine and AjaxSwing used to automate UI testing: UFT (based on QTP) LeanFT TestComplete PhantomJS Jasmine Mocha Protractor Screenster But how do these tools compare? And why search for an alternative to Selenium in the first place? Selenium holds the status of a go-to solution for UI testing automation, and it’s still a must-learn for testing automation engineers in 2018. This said, companies like Google, Kaspersky, and Samsung are already on the lookout for more efficient solutions. So what is the motivation for wanting to move beyond Selenium? Love and Hate with Selenium Spend enough time automating web applications, and you will most likely develop a love/hate relationship with Selenium. The truth is that it’s pretty much the only game in town to drive the browser through the API. That’s where the "love" comes from — you can start writing cross-browser code in your favorite programming language in a matter of hours. Sweet! But spend enough time doing that for a real world application, and you will discover the ugly side of this coin that at times... More
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