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Is Selenium Dead In The Agile Testing Scenario?

By Author: Diya Jones
Total Articles: 73

From the drawing rooms in Singapore to the beaches in Miami and the dorms in Oxford, Netflix serves its huge fan base with minimal interruptions and high-quality videos. This is made possible by a dedicated team of testers and engineers who offer unparalleled customer experiences by imbuing innovations to their agile testing approach. These innovations are implemented thanks to the all powerful open-source Selenium testing framework. The framework helps to address the challenges that are generally associated with the testing of dynamic web browsers or applications. In fact, Selenium acts as the saviour when it comes to the testing of colossal web applications such as Google, Fitbit, Hubspot, and Netflix.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an open source framework for automated testing that emulates real-time user actions on different web browsers. Since the applications and web interfaces are getting complex over time, the Selenium testing strategy is becoming increasingly relevant and popular as well. It offers a suite of tools to take care of the various testing needs of software applications. Basically, a Selenium suite comprises four different kinds of tools.

1.Selenium RC

2.Selenium IDE

3.Selenium Grid

4.Selenium WebDriver

Today’s digital ecosystem is increasingly using agile application testing to address the inadequacies of manual testing as well as to meet the dynamically changing market requirements. Since this approach gives primacy to automation testing to test applications across the digital touchpoints – browsers, networks, devices, and operating systems, Selenium perfectly fits into the role as the facilitator of agile application testing.

Although this approach has made web testing much easier, the market has seen the advent of various testing tools, which are challenging the hegemony of Selenium. This raises a serious question: Is Selenium still indispensable for agile application testing of browsers or applications? Let us delve into the below mentioned factors to understand.

Needs third-party support

One of the greatest challenges of Selenium is that it needs the support of third-party tools for multi-tab testing, reporting, and scalability:

· Scalability:

The Selenium testing approach offers the flexibility of running tests on almost any operating system and web browser. However, the number of tests it can run at once is still limited. The speed offered by a Selenium testing strategy depends on the node or hub configurations used by the testers. However, with the help of a cloud-based tool and Selenium grid, the testers can test in parallel.

· Limited reporting facilities:

While Selenium has increased the capabilities of automated testing, it does not offer much reporting on its own. However, testers can set up an output folder with processes like execution time, pass/fail count and errors, etc. Also, third-party tools like CrossBrowserTesting can capture the screenshots of web browsers and share different reports through integrations like HipChat and Slack.

· Multi-tab testing:

Multi-tab testing features are available in Selenium but can act as obstacles if testers fail to give the correct commands. For example, if the testers want to open a new tab to perform a specific task without closing the original, they need to go back to the parent tab to control both the tabs. The implementation of the SwitchTo method can help you to deal with such scenarios in web browser testing.

· Pop Up windows:

Windows-based notifications or pop-ups create several challenges for any Selenium testing strategy. When a prompt or simple confirmation notification pops up during the testing process, it becomes difficult for Selenium to close or accept that notification. However, with the help of the SwitchTo method, these kinds of web-based alerts can easily be handled while keeping the browser in the background.

Challenges of flaky tests:

Selenium can generate flaky tests and timeouts for the testers. To eradicate such issues, the testers have to scrutinize the results properly with a head-on approach.

Mobile testing challenges:

Selenium can act on any web browser or operating system but its capability is very limited when it comes to the mobile testing process. For example, it is easier to test the web version of HubSpot on Safari with the help of Selenium but mobile Safari cannot give you the solution. In this scenario, Appium, a rival of Selenium, can serve the purpose of mobile testing. It is no surprise that developers are utilizing the functionalities of Appium for such mobile testing purposes where Selenium apparently fails.


Automation tools like Selenium can encounter several challenges as technologies continue to evolve. However, we cannot deny the fact that Selenium offers us a free open-source environment for agile testing. What would happen if Selenium decides to become a premium paid version? Remember, Selenium is not flawless but certainly helps testers by reducing the effort of manual testing. It still provides opportunities that are aligned with today’s testing narrative such as faster delivery, receiving instant feedback and offering small sections to handle. Hence, Selenium cannot go out of reckoning in an Agile testing scenario.

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