In today's fast-paced software development environment, efficient and reliable testing is more important than ever. Selenium is one of the most popular testing frameworks for web applications, offering a wide range of features and capabilities that make it a top choice for developers and testers alike. However, getting the most out of Selenium testing can be challenging with many options and variables. That is where best practices come in.
Incorporating industry-standard practices for Selenium testing can substantially enhance the efficiency and precision of your testing procedures. It guarantees that your applications comply with stringent quality and performance benchmarks. From optimising test scripts and configurations to leveraging advanced automation techniques, there are numerous ways to streamline your Selenium testing and achieve better results.
This blog post provides insights and tips on utilising Selenium to achieve faster and more reliable testing. So, let's delve in and discover how you can supercharge the Selenium testing process with these proven best practices.
Selenium Best Practices For Faster And More Reliable Testing
Selenium is an open-source testing framework that permits automating web browsers' actions to test web applications. Selenium has gained widespread popularity among software testers due to its adaptable, scalable nature and cost-effectiveness. Nonetheless, like any testing tool, Selenium has its own set of best practices that must be followed to ensure faster and more reliable testing.
Here are a few of the best practices of Selenium:
1. Avoid Blocking Sleep Calls
The behaviour of web applications, or websites, is influenced by various external factors, including network speed, device capabilities, access location, and load on the back-end server. Due to these variables, accurately predicting the time required for loading a particular web element can present a formidable challenge. Therefore, it is advisable to introduce a delay or timeout before executing any actions on the web element. This approach will allow sufficient time for the element to load and prevent undesirable errors during execution.
Utilising a blocking sleep call (such as Thread.sleep in Java or time.sleep in Python) results in a delay that suspends the test thread for a given number of seconds. This action will block the thread and the entire process for single-threaded applications. While blocking sleep calls is useful for introducing a delay, the duration of the delay depends on various factors. However, the length of the delay is contingent on several factors, and its functionality is not always guaranteed.
2. Implementing Page Object Model
As end-user expectations continue shifting, websites must adapt and implement changes frequently to improve the user experience. As a result, the locators associated with specific UI elements may also change. This can create a repetitive task for Quality Assurance (QA) teams, requiring them to develop new test cases for the same page, which can be time-consuming.
Implementing the Page Object Model design pattern when creating test scripts is recommended to address this issue. With this design pattern, each web page is treated as a class file, and all class files contain corresponding web elements. This technique effectively eliminates code duplication and simplifies test maintenance. Additionally, QAs can leverage existing code and make minimal modifications when needed.
3. Name the Test Cases and Test Suites Appropriately
In a collaborative work environment, your team members may need to enhance the tests you have written. Upon revisiting a previously written test after a prolonged period, it is possible that its intended purpose may not be immediately apparent, requiring a thorough review of the implementation.
In case of test failures during the execution phase, identifying the specific malfunctioning features can be done promptly by reviewing the test names. To facilitate a timely resolution, it is recommended that test cases be named clearly and concisely, which enables easy comprehension. This practice will save you and your teammates the effort of unnecessarily scrolling through the implementation details.
4. Consider Using a BDD Framework
Behaviour Driven Development, commonly known as BDD, has emerged as a widely accepted development methodology for Selenium Test Automation. This approach facilitates testers to write Selenium test automation cases in simple English. This can be easily comprehended by everyone, regardless of their coding expertise. This, in turn, facilitates seamless collaboration between the business and technical teams and helps to establish a clear understanding of project development. The result is an improved alignment of business and technical objectives and enhanced project outcomes.
Implementing BDD in your Selenium test automation scripting process can enhance the clarity and understanding of test requirements among team members. By creating clear specifications, stakeholders can comprehend test objectives without further explanation, thus saving valuable time. A better understanding of the tests can provide valuable organisational input regarding potential business benefits.
5. Use the Browser Compatibility Matrix
Initiating the process of selecting browsers and operating systems to run automated tests on can be a complex task. One effective approach is to utilise a browser compatibility matrix to assist in managing this undertaking.
A browser compatibility matrix is a valuable tool that leverages critical data from various metrics. It includes browser, device, and OS usage statistics, product analysis, target audience preferences, and other relevant factors. Based on this data, the matrix limits test coverage to a specific set of browsers and devices, focusing on the most appropriate browser-OS combinations. This approach streamlines the testing process and ensures it remains manageable while providing accurate results.
6. Take Automated Screenshots For Failure Investigation
It is common for Selenium scripts to encounter failures during their execution. One of the main challenges is identifying the root cause for such failures, including whether it is an error in the code or a bug in the application under test (AUT).
A recommended approach to tackle this issue is establishing a testing infrastructure that automatically captures screenshots upon test failure. This initiative offers testing teams an efficient and streamlined method of identifying the specific cause of failures, resulting in the preservation of time and resources.
Selenium testing can be leveraged by running on a cloud-based platform like LambdaTest, a cloud-based digital experience testing platform that allows developers and testers to perform manual and automation testing on their mobile and web applications over more than 3000+ real browsers for both desktop and mobile. It is compatible with all test automation frameworks and supports programming languages like Ruby, Python, etc. LambdaTest also offers screenshot testing, which allows capturing screenshots of your full-page website across 25 different browsers and operating systems.
7. Incorporating Wait Commands
Web browsers may experience varying load times for individual web pages due to network conditions, server issues, or system configurations. To address this challenge, Quality Assurance professionals commonly employ the Thread.sleep() method in their automation scripts to pause the script for a specified duration.
It is imperative to acknowledge that there is a more efficient method to address the issue at hand. The website's load time can either exceed or fall short of the specified duration, ultimately slowing down the test execution process. Employing Implicit or Explicit Wait Commands in Selenium is advisable to mitigate this challenge as they offer a better and more effective solution.
8. Use Data-Driven Testing for Parameterization
It is essential to comprehensively test a website or web application across various browser, device, and operating system combinations consisting of multiple datasets. Hard-coding test values in test automation scripts is not a feasible solution. It can lead to unnecessary bloatware and test code duplication, making it difficult to scale the testing process.
One effective approach to achieving data-driven automation testing with Selenium is through parameterization. This method allows for the execution of test cases across various input combinations or datasets, leading to comprehensive test coverage. Employing this approach can enhance product quality and promote sound Selenium testing practices.
9. Planning and Designing Test Cases Beforehand
Quality Assurance (QA) teams must establish a sound test plan before initiating automation efforts. QA engineers must conscientiously consider all possible scenarios and craft comprehensive test cases from the perspective of the end users. Proceeding with automation without a well-defined strategy often impedes subsequent stages.
Quality Assurance professionals often emphasize confirming the successful execution of scripts rather than developing comprehensive test scenarios. However, this approach falls short of guaranteeing thorough and reliable testing of web applications.
10. Designing Tests Before Automating Them
Establishing a comprehensive test design before automating tests is a recommended best practice. Engaging in automation without a proper test design can present significant risks. Therefore, developing a test design with a strategy and plan is essential to ensure success in Selenium test automation. It includes creating a test architecture that outlines the structure of the test program and how it will be managed.
Creating automated tests without proper design indicates a lack of focus on comprehensive testing. It is crucial to consider different scenarios to perform thorough testing. Simplifying the testing scope to ensure the test passes is not prudent. Selenium test automation offers the capability to develop test scripts in various programming languages, empowering testers to create robust testing solutions.
Utilizing Selenium's best practices can significantly enhance the speed and reliability of testing. By implementing these practices, such as optimizing test scripts, reducing test suite run time, and utilizing parallel testing, teams can streamline their testing process and release high-quality software faster. Additionally, regularly reviewing and updating testing strategies and workflows can help teams stay up-to-date and maximize the benefits of Selenium. Ultimately, following these best practices can help teams save time, reduce costs, and deliver better software to their end users.