What is Selenium? All You Need To Know About Selenium

Did you want to know about Selenium? and why it is used? If you want the answer read this article fully and you will get an idea about Selenium. There are many tools like QPT, HP’s, Appium, IBM’s RFT, and many more tools for testing mobile and software applications, but in this article, we are focusing on why Selenium is best for testing dynamic web applications.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an open-source and free automated testing framework to validate web applications using any web browser. We cannot test any desktop applications, or mobile applications using Selenium. The major advantage of Selenium is, there is no licensing cost, hence Selenium is an open-source testing framework.

We can use multiple programming languages like Java, Python, C#, PHP, Ruby, Perl & .Net, to create Selenium testing scripts. Mac, Linux, and Windows OS can be used for testing, and web browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer can be used.

Software Testing

Software testing is of two types Manual Testing and Automation Testing. Selenium is an automation software testing tool.

Selenium Tools List

Selenium Tools List
  • Selenium Integrated Development Environment(IDE)
  • Selenium Remote Control(RC)
  • Selenium Web Driver
  • Selenium Grid

Selenium Integrated Development Environment(IDE)

Selenium IDE is one of the simplest frameworks and it is the easiest IDE to learn. Shinya Kastani donated Selenium IDE to Apache’s Selenium project in 2006. It is a Firefox plugin that can be installed easily for the faster creation of test cases. Selenium IDE should be used only as a prototyping tool. The interactions which the user had with the web browser are recorded by creating a test case. These test cases can be played back at any number of times. To create more advanced test cases, we can either use Selenium Web driver or Selenium RC.


  • Very easy to use and install.
  • No programming experience is required, though knowledge of HTML and DOM are needed.
  • Can export tests to formats usable in Selenium RC and WebDriver.
  • Has built-in help and test results reporting module.
  • Provides support for extensions.


  • Available only in Firefox.
  • Designed only to create prototypes of tests.
  • No support for iteration and conditional operations.
  • Test execution is slow compared to that of selenium RC and WebDriver.

Selenium Remote Control(RC)

For a long time, Selenium RC was the flagship tool of the Selenium project. Selenium RC was the first automated web testing tool and it could be used to write test cases in different programming languages as users choose. Selenium RC supports some of the programming languages such as Python, Java, C#, PHP, Perl, and Ruby.


  • Cross-browser and cross-platform.
  • Can perform looping and conditional operations.
  • Can support data-driven testing.
  • Has matured and complete API.
  • Can readily support new browsers.
  • Faster execution than IDE.


  • Installation is more complicated than IDE.
  • Must have programming knowledge.
  • Needs Selenium RC server to be running.
  • API contains redundant and confusing commands.
  • Browser interation is less realistic.
  • Inconsistent results and uses JavaScript.
  • Slower execution time than WebDrivers.

Selenium Web Driver

In many aspects, Selenium WebDrivers is much better than both Selenium RC and Selenium IDE. Selenium WebDrivers was founded in 2006 by Simon Stewart. Selenium WebDrivers implements a more stable and modern approach in automating web browser’s actions. It was the 1st cross-platform web testing framework, that controls browsers from OS level. This webDriver is much faster than Selenium RC because it controls the browser by directly communicating with the browser.

Selenium WebDrivers supports testing on various browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer and it supports programming languages such as Java, C#, Python, PHP, Ruby, .Net, and Perl.


  • Simpler installation than Selenium RC.
  • Communicates directly to the browser.
  • Browser interaction is more realistic.
  • No need for a separate component such as the RC Server.
  • Faster execution time than IDE and RC.


  • Installation is more complicated than Selenium IDE.
  • Requires programming knowledge.
  • Cannot readily support new browsers.
  • Has no built-in mechanism for logging runtime messages and generating test results.

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid is a tool used in combination with RC to run parallel tests across different browsers and different machines at the same time. The parallel execution is achieved by Hub-Node architecture, that is one machine will be assumed to be Hub and the other will be Nodes.

The features of Selenium Grid are, It saves time enormously, It enables simultaneous running of tests in multiple environments and the Hub acts as a central source of Selenium commands to each node connected to it.

What does Selenium software do?

  • Cross Browser Compatibility: It supports various browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
  • Multiple OS Support: Selenium WebDrivers supports multiple operating systems such as Linux, Mac, Windows, etc.
  • Automated Testing: All the manual tasks are automated in Selenium in larger projects, which reducing the burden and stress on the testers.

Is Selenium easy to learn?

Yes, it is! Selenium is very easy to learn all you need is to have a basic understanding of programming languages such as C#, Java, Python, Perl, PHP, and Ruby. If you don’t know the basic understanding of any of these programming languages, don’t worry, Selenium IDE is a GUI-based tool, you can use effectively.

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