Selenium after a decade and the changed environment
It was almost a decade ago that I looked deeply into the eyes of Selenium, but was drawn to the newcomer, namely Google WebDriver. I had joined a project team and one of the activities that we were trying to push was automated web application development. Initially the team looked at Selenium record-and-playback, by recording actions using the provided Firefox browser plugin. But, as the customer had mandated use of Internet Explorer. This presented two problems. The first problem was of sign-off. If we tested the application on Firefox, it would not be an acceptable test and we obviously could not sign off behaviour on Internet Explorer. The second problem was that the record-and-playback plugin was not available for Internet Explorer. IE plugins were typically written as ActiveX controls and none was available for Selenium WebDriver.
While looking for possibilities, I came across Google WebDriver - the new kind on the block, which had equivalent functionality as compared to Selenium. The biggest drawback of WebDriver was that it did not have any plugins for record-and-playback. But to its advantage, it was available as a Java library and that was the key.
So, I did the next best thing and implemented an automated web application testing tool based on Google WebDriver. Due to WebDriver being available as a Java API, it would have been difficult for testers to use for. Hence I defined an input format that was based on YaML (Yet Another Markeup Language) and JSON.
To use the tool, the tester was expected to define her test steps in an input file. For example, to connect to a web page, the command was something like
By incorporating log4J, the application also generated an execution trace that could be used as "proof" of testing.
Using the tool proved difficult. There was a learning curve associated with tool usage and also the fact that testers would have to look at the web page elements while defining the test cases. But the major hurdle was attitude. Usage of the tool would have resulted in reduction of team size by a few people and the prevalent attitude about a decade ago was "importance is driven by the number of people in the project".
A few days ago, I came across a project team who has used Selenium to create a web application testing framework. Almost a decade later, Selenium is still going strong and Google WebDriver has been folded into it. Most importantly, the attitude of project managers and organizations is undergoing a change.
Now, the focus is on productivity, tool usage and margin improvement. Due to these criteria, automation is gaining traction and has become a necessity for survival.
Tags: selenium, google webdriver, automation, testing
Re: Selenium after a decade and the changed environment
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