Top 3 selenium alternatives to involve non-technical people in automation

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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.

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

  • Spending 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 3 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

This 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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. 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.

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 your more options to make your automation effort more easier and stable.


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