An Introduction To Codeless Selenium Test Automation

An Introduction To Codeless Selenium Test Automation
Codeless Selenium

The unimaginable growth of technology is familiar to everyone. There is hardly any action you perform that has nothing to do with something related to the tech world. Starting from the mobile you use to the vehicles you travel in, everything has some direct or indirect dependency on technology. And, as the number of users is constantly increasing, the pressure of handling larger databases with efficiency is becoming a huge concern. But, the good news is that all the operations can run smoothly just after conducting an efficient testing process.

What Is Testing? And, Why Should You Automate It?

To know in-depth about “Software Testing'', you can surely check out this amazing article “What Is Software Testing?” However, we have discussed some specific bits of the same here.

Testing is one of the most crucial parts of the journey of every tech product. You may concentrate a lot on maintaining high standards in the development part of your product and eventually become successful in building a product with awesome features. But, all that will be of no use if those features keep crashing and your users get a terrible experience while using your app. And, such a scenario is easily possible because when you include a lot of features, some basic issues arise such as -

  • The code gets complicated.
  • The load on the server increases.
  • The actions of the users can never be absolutely predicted.
  • The app may not be compatible with different environments i.e. different browsers, operating systems, etc.
  • Ensuring proper performance of the functionalities can hamper the design experience.

These are some of the most significant issues that can be caused by not properly testing any application. Hence, whether you are adding too many functionalities to your app or not, you must ensure that the ones you add must perform at their best.

Now, as you got a good idea about the importance of software testing, it’s time to explore why it is preferred to automate your test suites. Well, as mentioned before, both the number of users and the size of the database are always increasing. Along with that, users are always expecting more useful and efficient features that make their job easier. So, to cope with that pressure and to fulfill users’ demands, numerous complex apps are always being developed. Hence, testing so many applications becomes cumbersome in traditional ways. That’s where automation comes in as the savior.

Any discussion about test automation certainly brings the name “Selenium” into focus. It holds immense popularity in the testing domain. Hence, let’s check out what it is and how it adds magic to codeless test automation.

What Is Selenium?

Selenium is a type of testing framework that lets you enjoy the efficient testing process along with providing the common people with the regular features that they receive in Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. No matter which language you are an expert in (like Python, Java, C#, etc.), Selenium provides you the independence to write codes for it, load web pages, and perform other amazing actions to achieve the expected results. All these things combined make Selenium an essential tool for testing if any web application or web browser has properly working features such as clicking buttons, typing into new fields, etc.

Selenium provides a lot of benefits that make it one of the most preferred choices for testing. A diverse range of compatibility is one of the most significant ones among them. That means -

  • Selenium can be used on the go as on your laptop from an IDE like Visual Studio Code.
  • Virtual machines are also not an issue. Selenium can run on them as part of a Continuous Integration setup such as Jenkins.
  • Being compatible with running on commercial services like BrowserStack or Sauce Labs smoothens the way for massive parallelization.
  • You also don’t need to worry about running Selenium tests on license-free Selenium Grid servers on your own network or in the cloud.

Importance of Selenium Testing

We have already discussed the enormous growth in the number of tech products. And, every user is looking for better efficiency and features. Without a nice automation framework, coping with such a huge number of tests will become almost impossible. On top of that, the tech world is always competitive about achieving a faster time to market. All this calls for automating repetitive tests like regression tests so that the consumption of resources can be reduced and the CI/CD pipeline remains stable to develop and deliver products within tight deadlines.

Selenium testing easily solves all the purposes mentioned above. But, what is the reason behind such remarkable capabilities of this testing framework? For that, you need to know the following benefits of using Selenium -

  • It is an open-source platform.
  • Its services are free of cost.
  • Enables you to automate the testing process for any application irrespective of its underlying technology.
  • Easy integration into the DevOps process.
  • Consists of a highly extensible and powerful programming network.
  • Great compatibility with all browsers and operating systems.
  • Easily supports both real and virtual devices of various types.
  • Parallel operation is a cup of tea for it. You can stay assured while running much automation flows in parallel.

Selenium is also known for its remarkable capability of providing programmers with “raw” access to the browser. But, that also creates some limitations that allow only experienced programmers to write and access easily maintainable codes. Hence, if you are looking for truly no-code testing experience, you are only left with efficient no-code test automation tools like PreFlight.

Another major drawback of selenium is that it only operates on the browser and is incapable of recording the test runs or reporting the results. To make up that void, programmers need to integrate the Selenium code with an Application Lifecycle Management system such as Azure DevOps. But, whereas even programmers having less experience may end up creating a mess while testing with Selenium, anyone without any coding knowledge can also execute all types of tests using PreFlight. Hence, to get rid of the dependency on programmers, get started with booking a demo first.

Uses of Selenium

Selenium has been used for various testing requirements for a long time now. One of the prime reasons behind its popularity is its unbelievable capability of testing web applications developed using a wide range of programming languages starting from Java, Python, and Node.js to Windows-based .NET platform.

Its use cases are so huge because it's easily compatible in dealing with plain HTML to advanced client-side JavaScript frameworks such as Angular.js. Its versatility makes it a great choice for automating the testing process for massive web-based enterprise applications like Oracle, ServiceNow, Salesforce, etc.

How To Use Selenium

As we saw, sometimes Selenium can really turn out to be complicated. However, using it is also not that easy. Its use consists of a long process that can be divided into the following 7 steps -

Step 1: Creating A Remote WebDriver Session

You have to create an instance of Selenium’s Remote WebDriver class for true utilization of the Selenium WebDriver API. Then, the Remote WebDriver classes need to be instantiated with the URL of the server or service you want for your tests.

The next part in this step requires you to define the capabilities of the users. The browser option classes in recent versions of Selenium are designed in a way that users have W3C WebDriver-compliant capabilities. The configurations set on those classes either ensure that you get the session as you want or you become able to set the behavior as you want in your session. The options that are used to set the behavior are of the following types -

  • Common Options: Page load timeouts, insecure certificate behavior, etc.
  • Browser Options

Step 2: Navigate to a Web Page

To proceed with navigating to a web page, you have to call the get method on your WebDriver by using your assigned variable name. Along with this, you have to pass an argument i.e. the URL of the web page containing the element you want to test.

Step 3: Locate An HTML Element on a Web Page

Our goal is to test those parts of a web page that an end-user will interact with and anyone with some knowledge of the development process knows that everyone interacts with the HTML elements that are added to a web page. Hence, as soon as the test script starts operating on the page under test, it needs to find the HTML elements that an end-user will interact with.

Finding an element on a web page requires one of the common actions in coding. Well, it is not writing scripts. It is right-clicking on the element that you are interested in and selecting the “Inspect Element” option from the context menu.

But, Selenium exempts you from the hassle of using the conventional methods of inspecting an element. It lets you identify an element through the following methods -

  • By specific attribute values. For example, the value of name and id.
  • By tag names of the element. Example: div, nav, button.
  • Visible text of anchor elements.
  • By CSS selector like [placeholder = 'username']. We also recommend using CSS selectors because Selenium 4.0 prioritizes most of the supported CSS selectors to convert into CSS. Hence, using them will be advantageous for you.
  • By an XPath expression like //input[@placeholder="Username"].

Finder Methods

The WebDriver API finder method needs you to pass your locator method as an argument. The find element method will then search the DOM (Document Object Model) of the current web page and will return the element being searched when it finds a match. However, regardless of the language being used, changing the name of the method from “element” to “elements” will search the entire DOM and return all matching elements rather than one.

Synchronization Strategies

Synchronization is an essential method to ensure that the app is ready for the element to be located. The two docs-1.1 approaches to synchronization, implicit and explicit are explained below.

Implicit Waits

It comes to use when Selenium executes a find element call but the driver cannot find it. In such a case, an exception is thrown immediately. That’s where the implicit wait does its job by telling the driver how long to wait before throwing the exception. If the element is located right away, the value of the implicit will be of no use. However, we recommend not using an implicit wait. Though this one-line code change can potentially reduce the number of failed tests, it is some kind of a crutch rather than a long-term solution. However, if you are somehow bound to try an implicit wait, make it a small value, set it with the Browser Options when creating the session, and then don't change it.

Explicit Waits

An explicit wait uses some form of while loop to handle the synchronization in the code itself. While using it, if the desired condition is met, the test can continue, and only if the condition is not met after the maximum wait time, an exception will be thrown. Implementing this approach is slightly different in each language. For example, Java and Python have Expected Condition Classes. Regardless of programming languages, the recommended approach at this point is to use a lambda expression.

Implicit and Explicit waits should never be mixed or it can cause unpredictable outcomes. It is another reason behind our recommendation for not using implicit waits.

Step 4: Perform Actions on Located Elements

You have already located the element that you want to test. Now, it’s time to simulate possible users’ interactions with it. For that, you need to perform an interaction method on an instance of the WebElement interface. Examples of some basic interactions are -

  • The "click" method replicates a mouse down action on an element.
  • The "clear" method to clear entered text from an input field.
  • The "submit" method to submit a form.

Submitting a form can be differently performed by a user. Hence, we recommend clicking the “Submit” button to actually test it.

Step 5: Assert A Result

Every successful test must have assertions. Each test must have an objective to proceed with. That means its testing objective must be clearly defined and at least one explicit line of code to ensure that its functionality is working as expected. Executing a successful test and analyzing the success properly takes good design knowledge and docs-1.1 knowledge rather than technical knowledge.

Step 6: Report The Results

Tests are meant to identify problems in tech products. And, for that, the test results must be minutely analyzed. For that analysis, testers focus on collecting a wide range of information about the test results. This is the stage where all those parameters of the test results are reported and analyzed to figure out the ways of improving the product.

Step 7: End The Test Session

Anyone with some knowledge of technology knows how beneficial and sometimes essential it is to end the ongoing processes in any electronic device before shutting it down. Similarly, it is extremely crucial to close the browser when the test is completed. And, this proper closing system involves calling the quit method on the Remote WebDriver instance.

This is how a perfect test is executed through Selenium. Though the steps are pretty straightforward, not having proper knowledge of the additional measures can really make it complicated for non-technical people to properly plan and execute the tests. Yeah, you read it right. Knowing only the steps of the testing process is not enough to ensure the proper use of Selenium as a test automation tool. So, let’s check out the additional aspects that need to be taken care of so that non-technical persons can also easily maintain the test scripts in a massive enterprise environment.

Great Understanding of Code Versioning With Git

You must know what importance a smooth CI/CD pipeline holds in a technology business. And, that smooth flow can only be achieved if the members of the product team can efficiently merge their work with the main flow of the product’s journey. That’s where code versioning comes in. It enables every member of the product team to merge their individual code/work with the main branch of the code as many times as they want. Hence, you must have good knowledge of code versioning with Git to make better use of Selenium as a test automation framework.

Setting Up Suitable Test Environment

If you don’t have a clear idea about the best-suited environment for your tests, you can never achieve the best performance for your tests. That’s why no matter how complex and time-consuming the process is, every member of your product team irrespective of coding knowledge, must know how to set up a suitable test environment and maintain the tests that use that environment.

Creating Efficient Solutions For Reporting and Monitoring

As you know that Selenium doesn’t have an in-built system for reporting the test results and monitoring them, a solution must be created to solve those purposes. And, your team must figure out the best solution for that.

Though you can see that Selenium allows you to execute tests on a wide range of tech products, you must remember that it cannot operate on desktop applications. It can only deal with the applications/functionalities that are displayed on a browser.

Hence, if you are willing to test a non-web-based application, you have to either use Selenium in coordination with other automation tools or use a different efficient test automation tool like PreFlight.

Testing With Selenium or Something Better With No-Code

Selenium’s capabilities can be technically described as follows -

  • It has amazing cross-browser capabilities. That means you can stay relaxed about navigating through your application on different web browsers.
  • It can easily interact with dropdown menus, fields, buttons, and other elements present on the app’s interface.
  • Reading and writing text, numbers, and other types of data is very easy with Selenium.
  • Operating on different types of databases is a cup of tea for Selenium.

Despite all these advantages provided by Selenium, it is a suitable choice for technical people only. That’s why the modern world is accepting truly no-code testing tools like PreFlight to let all the non-technical members of the product team work hand-in-hand with the technical people. And, when we say it, we absolutely mean it. You can check out why PreFlight is the best alternative to Selenium.

What Makes PreFlight The Best Choice For Everyone?

If you get a chance to create and execute tests by using a simple interface, would you prefer to make enormous efforts for writing codes? Also, creating tests through coding excludes all the non-technical members of your product team from taking an active part in the product’s journey. On the other hand, PreFlight lets your entire team collaborate on every aspect of building and deploying the product irrespective of the involvement of technology. We are jotting down below how PreFlight makes it to achieve the position of being one of the most renowned names as a No-Code Test Automation tool.

Faster Test Creation

Creating a test with PreFlight is even faster than filling a virtual form. You just need to navigate through your application by operating the functionalities you want to test and voila! You are done with creating your test.

No Extra Installation

Usually, developer tools and testing tools need a lot of other software, frameworks, etc. to be installed for setting up the environment for their operation. And, that will become a nightmare for you if you are looking for a faster testing process, or having a low-end system. But, PreFlight is a simple browser extension that can be easily added to whichever browser you use and you will be ready to create your desired tests within seconds. It exempts you from the hassle of installing any extra tool, framework, or software.

Simple Interface

Well, you can even call PreFlight a part of your application when you start using it. It does not require a separate interface to test your application. You just need to add it to your browser and start performing actions on the functionalities that you want to test. PreFlight will keep observing your actions and creating your test. All that will be done within seconds and you will feel like you are navigating through a smooth social media page.

Auto-Recording of Tests

In many cases, the issues in an application cannot be detected by observing once. That’s why it becomes essential to have recordings of the tests to analyze them multiple times and if required, rerun them too. Now, if you have to initiate recording the tests every time you execute them, no such thing as efficiency will exist there. But, PreFlight lets you get rid of that headache. It automatically records every bit of your created tests while you are creating them or running them for the first time.

Setting Assertions

Tech products are developed according to efficient designs that ensure the best performance of every functionality of the product. So, if any of the features and functionalities starts malfunctioning or its design breaks, the user experience of the complete product can be harmed. That’s why PreFlight enables you to set visual and text assertions on various important portions of the application to ensure that they are performing as expected. And, the best part is that all this is done by dragging and dropping assertion flags on those points.

Randomize Variables

Successful tests require running numerous test cases with different databases. And, creating such huge databases with different data sets is naturally a very cumbersome task. On top of that, you will easily freak out if you have to concentrate on generating random emails and use their inboxes to verify them. PreFlight saves you a lot of time and resources by providing you with the allowance to generate random emails and use their inboxes on the same page during the tests.

An Efficient Dashboard

No matter how easy the testing process actually is, if you have to face an immense struggle in accessing the features, you will eventually lose interest in using it. To prevent such a situation, PreFlight provides you with a smooth and efficient dashboard that allows you to view and access every feature within no time and without the hassle of complex navigation processes on the dashboard.

Cross-Browser and Different Screen Performance

There are numerous electronic gadgets available in the market that have completely different physical characteristics from each other. Also, people use a number of different browsers as per their convenience. And, to reach a bigger portion of the market, your application must perform its best in every browser and every screen size. PreFlight provides you with that versatility against a wide range of browsers and screen sizes so that your app can easily achieve the top position in terms of versatility.

Advanced Code Editing and AI Methods

PreFlight is always on its toes to stay more advanced in this fast-paced tech world. You can get benefited by the amazing AI methodologies like context awareness, OCR, etc. that make PreFlight overtake all of its competitors. It also allows QA engineers to add some advanced JS codes if they wish to.

So, you can clearly see how these amazing features make PreFlight a much better alternative to Selenium. Just check out our tool and book a demo to become a fan of the awesome experience. For more information, you can always contact us or visit our website. Also, if you are an enthusiast of interesting tech articles, do check out our blog page.