A Primer on Selenium

A Primer on Selenium

May 10, 2020

Selenium is a very simple tool for controlling the web browser. It is functional for almost all browsers, works on all major OS and the scripts can be written in various languages including the C++, Java, Python, etc. In the following article we will see few basic points that selenium has to cover for us as we in into the topic. We will see various components of selenium for example selenium has four major components namely- IDE, RC, Web-driver, Grid.

Selenium has been in the coding industry for quite a while now and has helped many testers all around the globe using automation. Here are some components of selenium that one must be aware of;

Selenium IDE

IDE meaning integrated development environment, is the major tool. It’s a complete integrated for selenium tests. It allows recording, debugging and editing. Which is why it was previously known as the selenium recorder. Selenium IDE was donated to a selenium project in 2006. In the early days selenium IDE saw not well maintained but that changed since 2018 when people saw the importance of it and started making it high preference tool. Scripts in selenium are recorded in selenese. Selenese is a special selenium tool language. It provides commands to carry out various actions in web browser. And also helps in retrieving data.

Selenium RC

The RC in this term stands for remote control, selenium RC is written in java and accepts commands in HTTP form. RC allows to automate tests for web applications in any programming language which helps in better integration with already existing test framework. To make writing of tests easier selenium provides client drivers for python, java, ruby, net, perl, etc. java driver can also be used with JavaScript.

Selenium Web Driver

This is a successor for the selenium remote control. So what selenium web driver basically does is it accepts commands and sends it to the browser. This action is implemented using a driver specific browser driver which send commands and retrieves data. What most web drivers do is they launch and access a web application, there is also a Htmlunit browser driver which works by stimulating the browser using headless browser Htmlunit. But selenium web driver does not need a special server to execute tests. The web driver directly starts the browser and controls it. Where possible web driver uses native operating system.

Selenium Grid

This is the kind of server that allows tests to use web browsers running of other remote machines. In this type one server acts as the hub. Tests contact the hub to gain access to browser and lets tests use the instances. Selenium grid also allows running tests parallel on various platforms. And manages different browser versions and browser configuration centrally. The ability of selenium grid to run tests on remote browser is helpful is spreading work load across different machines or operating systems.


It is a combination of Tools and Domain Specific Language in order to carry out various types of tasks. It is a open source and portable web testing and automation framework. It is easy to understand and implement because selenium commands are categorised into different term of classes making it easier. Selenium requires very less resources compared to UFT, RFT, etc. Selenium is also known to support many operating systems like android, iOS, windows, etc. Selenium also supports a large number of browsers namely mozilla Firefox, google chrome, internet explorer, opera, safari.


Selenium web driver is used to automate web application testing to make sure that it works as expected. It also supports many web browsers as seen above. However using selenium web driver we can only testing for web applications.


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