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The Top 6 Selenium Alternatives to Learn in 2019

Selenium has been a popular automation testing framework for the past several decades. But, as applications have become more complex…

By Testim,

Selenium has been a popular automation testing framework for the past several decades. But, as applications have become more complex in the past several years, especially with the use of popular JavaScript frameworks such as Angular.js, Vue.js, React.js and Ember.js for building web applications, Selenium has found it hard to adapt to these technologies. This is why we’ll be taking a look at some Selenium alternatives.

For example– If you are a currently using Selenium, have you ever experienced any of the below problems-

  • Spending the majority of your valuable testing time fixing flaky tests?
  • Unable to make automation progress due to the lack of skilled programmers to write automated tests?
  • Not finding enough support in the open source community when new libraries and updates break existing tests and you have no idea what to do?
  • Need visual validation when a step fails, to visually understand the exact reason for the failure?
  • Insufficient logging information when your tests fail?
  • Finding it hard to seamlessly integrate your automated tests within your CI/CD pipeline?

If you answered YES, to any of the above questions, then you are not alone! According to new Gartner research, “Selenium is the de facto standard for front-end test automation of modern web technologies due to the flexible and powerful browser automation capabilities of WebDriver… It’s a sophisticated tool that isn’t easy to learn. It requires your team to have programming expertise and familiarity with object-oriented languages.

So, Selenium is good if you have the necessary programming expertise in your team, if not it becomes an obstacle.

There is no need to fear as there are good alternatives to Selenium. Below are the top 6 widely used alternatives currently available to give you and your team the flexibility to build robust automation test suites/frameworks.

NOTE:  Selenium is an open source community. People volunteer to make the framework better so the limitations of Selenium is not their fault as it is the responsibility of the user using the framework to extend its functionalities and make it better for his/her own automation needs.

1. Cucumber

Cucumber is an open source testing tool that focuses on BDD (Behavior Driven Development). It emphasizes writing requirements in plain english in the form of Given, When and Then statements. This is commonly referred to as “Gherkin” syntax. You then convert these GWT statements into code using Java, JavaScript, Ruby or Kotlin.  This helps to enforce collaboration and bring more clarity to requirements.

On the flip side, it still needs someone with programming background to write the binding code to convert these GWT statements into usable actions. Also, the GWT format leads to a maintenance nightmare especially when many people collaborate and start making changes to different steps.

Finally, it does not have any visual validation and has insufficient logging features making it hard to troubleshoot errors.

2. SikuliX

This is an open source GUI based automation tool. It uses image recognition powered by OpenCV to automate anything with a UI. This includes desktop and web applications. It supports multiple programming languages including Python, Ruby and JavaScript.

Although this tool has robust UI validation functionalities, it lacks a lot of necessary features that are needed for stable automation such as locating elements based on attributes, creating reusable components and modularizing your tests for easier maintenance.

3. Testim

Testim uses artificial intelligence (AI) for the authoring and execution of automated tests. The focus is on functional testing, end-to-end testing and UI testing. The Dynamic Location strategy used within the tool sets it year’s apart from its competitors.

Testim Embraces Artificial Intelligence

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) underneath the platform in real time, analyzes all the DOM objects of a page and extracts the objects and its properties.

Finally, the AI decides the best location strategy to locate a particular element based on this analysis. Due to this, even if a developer changes the attribute of an element, the test still continues to run and this leads to more stable tests. This is the major advantage of using Testim compared to other frameworks like Selenium which uses static locators.

Also, the “self-healing” mechanism of the AI helps to proactively detect problems in your test and fixes it automatically for you. As a result, the authoring and execution of automated tests are much faster and more stable.

Can I write Custom Logic?

Testim is not a completely code-less tool; you can use JavaScript and HTML to write complex programming logic (if needed) for your applications. This helps to make the automation suite more extensible. It provides easy integration with your CI/CD pipeline and most importantly helps to involve the whole team in automation including technical and non-technical people.

In summary, Selenium has really good capabilities but knowing there are other alternatives out there helps to give you more options to make your automation effort easier and stable.

If you want to learn more about UI testing, definitely check out the Testim blog, it covers various aspects of UI testing.

4. Screenster

Screenster has gained popularity because of its soft learning curve compared with Selenium. The tool supports both coded and codeless tests. Therefore, it’s an ideal tool for technical and non-technical people.

Screenster has been designed in a way that a new user doesn’t require a manual. The goal is that anyone can automate a test case within less than 10 minutes. First of all, the tool is completely web-based so no install is required.

In addition, the Screenster team has spent a lot of time and effort on the design of the tool. The UX has been designed in such a way that every step should be clear for a new user. The tool can automatically extract test case parameters, uses smart auto-selectors, and intelligent timeout handlers.

Can I Test Everything With Screenster?

No, you can’t test everything automatically using Screenster record/playback tool. The idea here is that the testing engineer should be able to automate 95% of the test cases using Screenster. The remaining 5% of the test cases that require more advanced logic should be written in Java using the Selenium API.

How Does Screenster Work?

Like any visual test automation tool, Screenster acts as a record/playback tool. This means that the testing engineer needs to click through the test case while recording this. When you are done clicking through the test case, the testing engineer has actually automated the test case.

The tool is now able to discover the elements itself and try them out with different input and sequences. The only thing the test engineer has to do after recording the case is reviewing if the recorded flow is correct. It’s as easy as that!

Next up, let’s explore EndTest.

5. EndTest

EndTest allows a testing engineer to test the UI of a product on different platforms, devices, and browsers. It even allows the testing engineer to test on different operating systems. This is a great feature as your company does not have to invest in different physical devices and computers to test the UI.

Besides that, EndTest is stuffed with many more interesting features:

  • Test data generation.
  • Unlimited video recordings (playback/record feature).
  • Activity section to keep track of the changes made to the test suite and provides the ability to roll back to a previous state.
  • Export your test cases in different formats and run them locally on your own infrastructure.
  • Codeless – No coding experience required for writing test cases.

Let’s move on to the last tool in our list — Browsersync.

6. Browsersync

Last, I will talk about Browsersync. The tool can be used for free as it is an open source tool for multi-browser testing. This means that it tests on different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, and Safari all at once. Browsersync is a great tool to speed up your web development and provide the development team with faster feedback.

The main advantage of using Browsersync is that it nicely integrates with continuous integration tools and helps to eliminate cross-browser inconsistencies.

At last, the tool executes even faster when your code changes are very small. For small code changes, the tool will just inject the new changes and reload the test cases. Therefore, it turns out to be an excellent tool for agile teams!

Trends Among Testing Tools

We can find a clear trend towards codeless testing tools. Also, artificial intelligence is gaining popularity as it helps to recognize elements on the screen and can automatically generate test cases much faster. This revolution towards codeless tools allows basically anyone to become a testing engineer as almost no coding skills are required.

Another trend we can find is a stronger focus on UI and UX. Many argue that Selenium has become too complex. Therefore, many other tools have been developed that focus on user experience making it very straightforward to develop test scenarios.

In conclusion, this great variety of tools gives testing teams the freedom to pick the best tool that fits there needs.

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