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What is Selenium and what are its tools

Dino Nikolić, Senior Developer

First of all, let me try to explain in a few words what is Selenium?

Selenium is an open-source (free) automated testing framework used to validate web applications through different browsers (Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, etc.) and platforms. To create Selenium Test Scripts, you can use different programming languages like Java, C#, Python.

Tests done with Selenium test tools are usually called Selenium testing. Selenium test tool is not just one tool but a collection of software tools, and each separate tool meets QA test needs.

Perhaps the best words to describe Selenium is that it is an automation framework. Selenium also provides several tools and APIs for automatic user interaction with HTML and JavaScript browser applications.

The last version launched onto the market is Selenium 4 (known as Alpha3 version).

Simon Stewart, who designed Selenium, introduced to the market the latest version of Selenium test tool which is not used only to test web applications but also for Grid and IDE. It is also important to note that Selenium test tool has fully accepted W3C standard.

List of Selenium tools:

  • Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  • Selenium Remote Control (RC)
  • WebDriver
  • Selenium Grid

As we mentioned earlier, Selenium is not simply one tool but a collection of software, each catering to the different testing needs of an organization. Let's explain in few words each of the tools:

Selenium IDE

IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is nothing more than a plug-in for browsers. Since this is a very simple framework, it does not require any additional actions by the developer, such as coding, writing scripts, etc.

To start working with Selenium IDE, you don't need any additional settings except installing the browser extension.

Multiple locators are recorded for each element that Selenium IDE interacts with. In case one locator fails during playback, the other will keep trying until it fails.

Selenium RC

RC (Remote Control) allows developers to code in their preferred programming language. Programming languages supported in Selenium RC are Java, C#, Python, etc. Figuratively speaking, it is a testing framework that enables testers and developers to design test scripts written in corresponding programming languages to automate test cases.

Selenium WebDriver

All actions and activities undertaken by the browser can be automated and controlled using WebDriver. Just like RC and WebDriver, it supports various programming languages like Java, C#, Python, Ruby, etc. It is important to note that WebDriver supports tests on multiple browsers such as Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, etc. The main role of WebDriver is to automate tests through test scripts to verify the correctness of the web application. It is also important to note that each browser has its own driver, and the appropriate one should be selected for each browser.

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Selenium Grid

When testing, RC and Grid are used to perform parallel tests.

Perhaps the best description is that Grid is a proxy server used for parallel execution of tests. Parallel work is achieved by directing commands to remote instances of the browser, where one server acts as a hub, and then that hub directs test commands in JSON format.


Selenium testing tools are user-friendly and intuitive tools, and also, just as importantly, cost-effective and flexible. I believe developers will use them to test their web applications and will be satisfied with how easy these tools are to use and how reliable they are.

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