WebDriver is a remote-controlled interface that allows the introspection and control of agents used by users. It offers a unidirectional platform and language wire protocol that allows for programs that are not in process to remotely influence users to behave as web browsers do.
However, Selenium WebDriver is a fantastic tool to automatize web applications, however, there are guidelines to be followed to get the most out of it.
Selenium WebDriver is an effective tool that can automate web browsers. But, like every tool, there are some best practices to be followed in order to get the best performance from it. Here, we’ll review 10 of the most effective techniques.
Best Practices You Need To Follow While Working With Selenium WebDriver
1) Make Use of Page Object Model
Page Object Model is a design pattern that makes your code easier to maintain and more understandable. It accomplishes the job by creating an object that is specific to every page within your application. For example, if you run an online store with a home page as well as a product page, and a cart page, you’ll have three pages of objects.
Every page object will include all the relevant information regarding the page, including its URL address, components on the page, as well as the methods required to communicate with these elements.
So, your test program would be much easier, since it will only need to call the functions on the appropriate page objects.
Overall utilizing this Page Object Model is a fantastic way to improve the reliability and readability of the Selenium WebDriver tests.
2) Avoid Hardcoding Test Data
Testing data with hardcoded test data is prone to several issues. First, the tests become brittle and therefore more likely to fail when the software under test is changed.
This also reduces the reusability of your tests. If you’d like to conduct the same test using different data, you’ll have gone into the code and altered the values that are hard coded. This isn’t just laborious, but also risky for errors.
3) Avoid Repeating Code
Repetition of code is not a good decision for a number of reasons. It’s difficult to maintain, more prone to errors, and it can make your tests longer, which makes them slow and less reliable.
Instead of writing code over and over again to reuse code, you should utilize using Page Object Model (POM). The POM is an architectural pattern that can help you organize your code in an easy way to manage and reuse.
With the terms of your POM, design an individual class for each page of your site. Each class will contain all details of the page including your URL and the content that are on the page, and the ways to communicate with the elements.
If you wish to test a particular page, you just create an instance of the page’s class. This provides all the data you require about the page, all in one place This makes your code more efficient and simpler to manage.
4) Keep Your Locator Simple and Short
The primary reason is that the longer locators or complex, they may break easily. A simpler and shorter locator is more likely to not break in this scenario.
Another reason to keep locators as simple as possible is that they could delay your tests. If you’re using an advanced XPath locator, for instance, it could take Selenium quite a while to locate that element within the web page. A simpler search engine would be much quicker.
Finally, keeping locators brief and simple helps your code to understand and read. There’s no reason anyone should have to wade through a maze of complicated locators to figure out what’s happening.
When you’re designing locators, you should always consider if there is an easier way to accomplish it.
5) Make Use Of Explicit Waits
If you choose to use an implicit delay, it’ll set the default time of waiting for every element on the page. This can lead to problems since certain elements might load more quickly than others. If your default waiting period is too long it will mean you’ll waste your time waiting on elements which already loaded.
On the other hand, explicit waits allow you to wait for an element to be present before proceeding to the rest of your code. This is much more effective since you’re waiting only on the specific element that you require and not all the elements on the page.
6) Avoid Using Thread.sleep()
Thread.sleep() is an undefined procedure that triggers the working thread to cease execution for a certain amount of time. Also, it stops your program.
While it may appear to be an effective way to slow down your code so you can observe what’s going on but it’s actually a poor idea. The reason for this is that it’s not safe.
The length of time Thread.sleep() stops your code for isn’t certain to be exact. It may stop your code for a specified amount of time, but it may not. It could cause your code to pause over a long period of time (wasting the time) or it may not be long sufficient (leading to errors).
An alternative is to make use of WebDriver’s built-in wait mechanism. These include implicit waiting as well as explicit waits and smooth waits. Utilizing these features methods, you can be sure the code you write will be able to pause for the right amount of time and that you don’t need to worry about the accuracy of your code.
7) Follow Uniform Directory Structure
When you are working on tests using Selenium, or the Selenium framework, it’s important to pay attention to maintaining the code for the test. A typical project may comprise Test and Src folders. The Src folder may include sub-directories containing pages, Page Objects, and Helper functions and files that include the information about web locators that are used in testing scenarios. The Test folder may contain the actual test execution.
There isn’t a uniform norm for an appropriate directory structure to support Selenium automated testing. Yet, Selenium best practices recommend that we have a directory structure that differentiates testing and the framework for testing. This allows for better organizing the test program.
8) Avoid Using Single Driver Implementation
WebDrivers that are part of Selenium are not interoperable. The scenario of running automated cross-browser tests locally on a machine is different from when the test is run on a continuous build server.
In such a scenario it is not a good idea to presume that the test to follow will be using Firefox WebDriver (or Chrome WebDriver or any other WebDriver).
If integration tests within a continuous-build environment in which case the test will receive the RemoteDriver (i.e., WebDriver for any browser).
9) Make Tests Independent
If your tests aren’t independent and you make a change to one test could affect other tests. The reason for this is that the tests are not separate from one another, therefore a change in one could impact the other.
This could pose a huge issue, since it could cause problems with maintaining your tests. It could also result in a lot of spent time in trying to correct damaged tests.
To prevent this from happening it is important to ensure the tests you run are distinct from one another. That means that every test must be able to operate on its own without relying on other tests.
Another way to achieve this is to utilize an testing framework like JUnit or TestNG which allows you to run your tests independently.
Another method to ensure that your tests are in a separate manner is to utilize a program like Selenium Grid that allows the testing in parallel. This means that every test will run independently thus a change in one test won’t affect the other tests.
10) Leverage Parallel Testing
One of the main reasons that has made Selenium so popular is its ability to support parallel testing. Nearly all of the popular test frameworks like PyTest, PyUnit, TestNG, Cucumber, etc. offer features to run tests simultaneously on the Selenium Grid.
Parallel testing with Selenium allows you to run the same tests in various environments (i.e. the combination of platforms, browsers and emulators for devices). When using Selenium it is advised to allow parallel testing within the test implementation since it cuts the time to test execution by a significant amount.
Testers and developers can make use of the cloud-based Selenium Grid like LambdaTest which lets you conduct manual and automated testing across 3,000+ operating systems and browsers online.
The platform is compatible with all the tested frameworks and languages. The Grid can further be used to enhance the performance of tests in parallel as the tests are run on the highly reliable and scalable Selenium Grid.
In this article, we examined some Selenium most effective practices, and also the most harmful practices to test automation using Selenium.
When you are coming to come up with scenarios for Selenium tests, it is important to be aware that Selenium is perfect for automated testing, therefore don’t apply the same approach to other types of testing because it could result in positive results.
Through LambdaTest it is possible to conduct automated testing using Selenium for more than 3000+ browsers and operating systems. These are the best practices that you can follow while working with WebDriver.