A Review Of Selenium-based Automation Testing Frameworks Such As WebDriver or Appium

A Review Of Selenium-based Automation Testing Frameworks Such As WebDriver or Appium

Last Updated on January 5, 2023 by Team Experts

Are you looking for a comprehensive review of various Selenium-based automation testing frameworks? If yes, then you’re in the right place! 

Automation testing is an essential tool for streamlining software development and improving quality. Selenium-based automation frameworks such as WebDriver or Appium are popular choices offering various features and advantages.

These frameworks provide robust capabilities that make it easy to automate web-based applications and mobile apps. With their ability to simulate user interaction, automate complex scenarios, and perform detailed tests, these automation frameworks help ensure consistent results and reduce the amount of manual testing needed.

This article will dive deep into the automation testing framework WebDriver. We’ll explore its features and benefits so that you can choose the best framework suitable for your automated testing needs. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Overview of WebDriver

WebDriver is one of the most commonly used selenium-based automation testing frameworks. It provides an intuitive and powerful API that enables testers to quickly create scripts for automating web-based applications. WebDriver supports all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. 

It’s an interface between the test cases and the actual browser, allowing developers to write automation scripts that can interact with the UI elements of a website in a cross-platform manner, supporting multiple browsers and operating systems. 

It also allows testers to create cross-browser tests by running multiple scripts simultaneously on different browsers. Additionally, WebDriver has built-in support for object identification and locators that enable testers to find elements on a page or app interface quickly.

How do Selenium-based automation testing frameworks work?

Selenium-based automation testing frameworks such as WebDriver or Appium work by automating the writing, running, and validating tests to ensure they are free from errors. They provide APIs that allow testers to access internal browser data structures – like DOM objects and events – which can then be used to write code for controlling the web browser’s behavior. 

The generated scripts are sent both directly to the browser and through a Selenium server. Then, when the test is complete, various reports and log files are generated to report any issues found during testing. This allows testers to quickly detect any problems with their application quickly and efficiently without needing manual inspections or repetitive manual tests.

Features of WebDriver

1. Multi-Browser Support

Selenium WebDriver is an excellent tool for creating automated tests to ensure web applications run as expected on different browsers. It supports almost all popular browsers, including IE, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge, as well as iPhoneDriver, HTMLUnitDriver, and AndroidDriver for mobile app testing. 

With simple commands, you can launch any of these browsers and interact with web applications and their elements directly from the browser, just like a real user, without needing any other software or device.

2. Multiple Language Support

WebDriver is an invaluable tool for automation testing that supports the most popular programming languages like JavaScript, Python, Java, PHP, C#, Perl, Ruby, etc., allowing testers to write their custom test scripts using the best-suited language according to their requirements. 

It is also versatile enough to allow the use of more advanced scripting techniques like conditional statements, switch statements and decision-making statements which help strengthen the automation script and make it more capable of handling all kinds of scenarios.

3. Speed and Performance

WebDriver test cases execute significantly faster than other tools within the Selenium suite. This is because instead of requiring an intermediary server like Selenium Remote Control, WebDriver communicates directly with the browser being tested. 

For example, when sending commands through a remote controller, you must establish a connection with a separate program before receiving data from the web browser. Using WebDriver eliminates this intermediate step and allows for more efficient operation. 

Moreover, drivers can be written in multiple languages, such as Java, Python, or C#. This increases productivity and decreases the time needed for the execution of tests.

4. Dynamic Web Elements

Dynamic handling of web elements is the most common issue in automation testing. WebDriver better understands how to handle dynamic web elements such as alerts, checkboxes, dropdowns, and uploading files. It makes it easy to locate web elements using an ID, class, name, or XPath. 

For example, you can use an XPath expression to get all input fields on a page or use an ID to identify a specific element. Similarly, WebDriver can select values from a dropdown list by simply passing the value as a parameter or clicking on the desired option by providing its index number. 

Regarding interactions with checkboxes and radio buttons, setting their status (checked/unchecked) can be done with just one line of code. Lastly, when it comes to filing uploads and downloads, WebDriver takes care of this seamlessly by providing methods to set the local file path that needs to be uploaded/downloaded without any user interaction.

5. Easy to Identify and use web elements

WebDriver has many locators that can be helpful in finding the web elements on a web application, such as Name, ClassName, ID, TagName, LinkText, PartialLinkText, Xpath, and CSS Selector. With this feature, it becomes highly more accessible for the developers to implement those elements in their test automation suite. 

For instance, testers can find an element by its name attribute value with Name locators. Similarly, with CSS Selector locators, one can locate elements based on their unique CSS selector attribute values. Moreover, Xpath Locator is also quite helpful as it enables testers to identify an element on their page by creating an XPath expression, which is beneficial if there are no IDs or names present for any of the elements.

6. Mouse, Cursor, and Keyboard Simulation

WebDriver can mimic an actual user scenario by handling keyboard and mouse events. The Application Program Interface (API) consists of action classes essential when executing the events, such as the keypress event, mouse click, multiple item selection, drag and drop, click and hold, etc. 

For example, a keypress event may move the focus from one element on an HTML page to the next component. In contrast, a mouse click would be used to select something, while multiple-item selection can be used within forms where data needs to be entered into several fields or boxes simultaneously. 

Similarly, drag and drop can be used to rearrange items on the page, and click and hold is valid for hovering over links or icons before performing any actions. 

7. Community Support

Selenium WebDriver is a popular tool among developers due to its affordability. A community-based forum allows for regular upgrades and updates without any additional training or specialized knowledge on the part of developers. This makes it easy to access the latest features and bug fixes that come with the updates, plus cost savings due to not having to purchase special licenses or train personnel in new software. 

Thus, Selenium WebDriver’s budget-friendly support options make it an attractive choice for all manner of development projects.

8. Add-ons and Reusability

Selenium WebDriver enables scripts to be written that are compatible with multiple browsers. It is also highly customizable, allowing testers to add plugins and other add-ons that boost the range of tests they can perform. 

For example, one plugin could test how an application looks in different browsers or on other devices. At the same time, another could allow the automated testing of several reactions from a user interface. All of this enhances the overall accuracy of the testing process and ensures that applications are tailored for compatibility across all platforms.

9. Reduce test execution time

WebDriver reduces the test execution time, making tests faster and more reliable. For example, WebDriver automatically executes certain parts of a test case, such as locating elements on a page or submitting forms. This reduces the number of manual steps that need to be completed for the test cases to be executed, thus saving time. 

Additionally, due to its automation capabilities, any changes that occur during testing can be identified and reacted to much quicker than if done manually. Finally, since web browsers are less likely to crash when using WebDriver compared with manual testing methods, this further reduces the chances of an unreliable test result occurring. 

10. No server installation is required.

WebDriver does not require the installation of a server, as it allows test scripts to interact directly with the browser. This means that users can write and execute test scripts without extra layers, such as a communication interface between them. 

For example, when using Selenium for automated testing, users don’t need to install an application server to communicate with the web browser; instead, they can use existing web browsers like Chrome or Firefox and access their APIs directly. 

Similarly, users don’t need to install any additional tools like Java or Flex on the client side since tests can be written and executed in code languages like Python or JavaScript. In short, Selenium WebDriver enables developers and testers to create automated tests quickly and easily without having to set up external dependencies first.

Overall, WebDriver provides an extensive set of features designed to simulate user interaction with web applications efficiently and accurately. With WebDriver, developers have access to a comprehensive range of tools that make it easier to create reliable automated tests. 

Limitations of Selenium WebDriver

1. No support for desktop applications

Selenium is an excellent tool for automating testing on web applications, but unfortunately, it cannot be used to test desktop applications. This limitation is because Selenium works with the browser’s DOM and JavaScript structure and cannot interact with native components like windows or menus in a computer-based application. As such, alternative test automation solutions should be looked into when it comes to non-browser-based applications.

2. Requires expertise 

Due to the complexity of Selenium, mastering it requires extensive knowledge and expertise in both the subject and software. Having a team with this expertise will take resources and management. 

For example, hiring engineers with specific experience in Selenium or providing training and certifications to your current team members requires time and money. Additionally, managing their workflow and keeping track of their progress can be challenging if they need more experience and guidance while using Selenium. 

Finally, more resources can lead to efficient processes or errors due to under-utilized or outdated tools, resulting in extra time spent on testing or debugging.

3. Maintenance and Scalability 

Selenium is a maintenance-heavy framework, making it difficult to scale as an application grows. As developers add more code and test cases to the framework, it increases the complexity of maintaining the system and becomes time-consuming. Automation testing also requires specific skills and knowledge that not all developers possess. Additionally, only specific programming languages are supported by Selenium, making scalability more challenging as most development teams don’t use a singular language.

4. Open Source Forums

Since Selenium is an open-source tool, users often rely on community forums to resolve technical issues. This can be a limitation as users may need help finding answers or solutions to their problems. 

For example, the time spent searching through questions and answers could add up without any definitive answer being found. Additionally, there is no guarantee of reliable advice from external sources on a forum, and this could lead to incorrect information being provided or poor coding techniques used in developing the script. 

Furthermore, miscommunication within the community due to language barriers can cause further delays in identifying a resolution for technical issues.

5. No support for REST and SOAP Platforms 

WebDriver can not perform automation tests on web services like SOAP or REST as it only supports testing on browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. This is because these web services have data exchange in different formats than browsers are designed to work with and don’t support the scripting languages available with Selenium IDE. 

For example, if we run a SOAP request using Selenium, we will get an HTML page instead of the XML response from any other SOAP requestor. Similarly, in the case of REST, Selenium does not recognize the type of data being returned and thus fails to provide expected results. 

Therefore, for automation testing web services like SOAP or REST, dedicated frameworks like JMeter or appropriate programming languages must be used to provide the necessary functionalities to perform this task.

6. No Reporting capability

Selenium WebDriver does not have an inbuilt reporting capability, so anyone using it must rely on plugins such as JUnit and TestNG for their test reports. This means that to get meaningful results, you will need to get a plugin compatible with the Selenium browser that can output the results in a way you can understand. 

For example, suppose you are running tests against a website or application with multiple pages. In that case, you could use JUnit or TestNG to generate a report on how long each page took to load, any errors encountered while it was loading, etc. Similarly, if you were trying to collect metrics from the performance of your application within different browsers across multiple environments, then again the same plugins can give helpful information such as average loading times for each browser/environment combination. 

Ultimately this limitation means that additional tools are required for more comprehensive results than what is provided by Selenium WebDriver by itself.

7. Image Testing

Testing on images can be challenging as it is impossible to do so solely using Selenium WebDriver. This is where Sikuli comes in handy and allows tests to interact with the application’s graphical elements like buttons, text boxes, or images, allowing us to perform image testing. 

For example, web applications often use symbols or logos that must be tested for accuracy. Also, you may need to verify that a page contains an image of a specific size and resolution, which would require integration of Selenium WebDriver with Sikuli. 

Thus, integrating Selenium WebDriver with Sikuli provides great assistance while performing image testing while at the same time adding another layer of complexity due to its limitations, such as using outdated versions of Java libraries or specific browser-compatibility issues.

Selenium testing can be done using many online platforms available in the market, but one such platform is LambdaTest. LambdaTest is a cross-browser testing tool based on the cloud that helps to test our web/mobile apps across 3000+ browsers and is used by over a million users in 130+ countries.

Automated browser testing on the LambdaTest platform using cloud Selenium Grid

Every development team needs help with the time required for manually testing their web application across different browsers and operating systems. This can be extremely hard to manage since the cost and complexity of manual testing are both time-consuming and expensive.

Manual browser testing eats into the valuable time that could be used more productively on actively developing new features, improving existing ones, or debugging applications. The costs of running manual tests and having a dedicated workforce of testers need to make more economic sense.

LambdaTest is here to solve these problems by providing an easy-to-use Selenium Grid that allows developers to quickly and easily test their websites and applications for compatibility across 3000+ browsers and operating systems. LambdaTest provides automated browser testing on their cloud Selenium Grid platform, allowing you to quickly test your web application on different browsers, operating systems, and devices without having to manually set up any hardware or software. 

With LambdaTest’s easy-to-use interface, you’ll be able to run tests faster and with greater accuracy without the need for additional staff or costly investments in hardware.

With just 100 free minutes of automated tests available through LamdaTest’s online Selenium Grid, you don’t have to stress about downloading and configuring hundreds of browsers on your device – it’s all taken care of for you! Register today for free to start testing your website or web app on LamdbaTest’s platform!


Overall, selenium-based automation testing frameworks such as WebDriver and Appium provide potent tools for automating tests on web applications and mobile apps. By allowing testers to create scripts and perform detailed tests quickly, these automation frameworks help ensure consistent results and reduce the amount of manual testing needed. As a result, these frameworks are essential for anyone looking to increase the efficiency of their application testing processes.

Read more: Top 15 ReactJS UI Framework Every Developer Should Know


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Anil is an enthusiastic, self-motivated, reliable person who is a Technology evangelist. He's always been fascinated at work especially at innovation that causes benefit to the students, working professionals or the companies. Being unique and thinking Innovative is what he loves the most, supporting his thoughts he will be ahead for any change valuing social responsibility with a reprising innovation. His interest in various fields and the urge to explore, led him to find places to put himself to work and design things than just learning. Follow him on LinkedIn

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