How to successfully automate responsive web applications with Selenium

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The vast majority of software applications today are first written for the web. We’re in an age of incredibly interactive, responsive processes that require Agile testing methods, and so automation is now turning out to be nothing short of mandatory for most software testing programs.

So in the case of responsive web apps, it is absolutely crucial to verify that a particular page is rendered correctly at the most popular usage resolutions. This kind of verification has traditionally been done with a manual method at the very end of a given workflow. The result of such an approach is that there are quite often defects and bugs that delay the eventual release of the app.

The solution is to automate the testing of responsive web apps in order to get the required feedback. But first, let’s take a look at what responsive web design entails.

A definition of responsive web design

This is the approach you take to give visitors an optimal viewing experience – essentially to ease and simply the navigation and reading experience by getting rid of much of the panning, scrolling, resizing, etc that makes other websites tedious. The design covers all devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones).

Obstacles to responsive web testing

Because of the sheer variety of devices people use to browse the web these days, there’s a crucial need for testing responsive web apps. The first issue, of course, is ensuring that the website functions well on any device, on any operating system. However, it is impractical to test all the devices in the market. Mobile devices and computers have different interfaces and different methods of user interaction, and therefore a website needs to be tailored to the particular requirements of each device. Therefore responsive web app design needs to account for these differences.

The Solution: Selenium

Selenium is a robust, easy to use toolset that facilitates test automation for web applications. It also comes fitted with a number of testing functions tailored to the requirements of such web applications, and the highly flexible nature of its functionality encourages the easy identification of UI elements. The most important benefit is that the predicted test results can be seamlessly compared with the real-time behavior of the particular application under review.

Selenium WebDriver is an automated tool that takes care of a few critical areas.

  1. The tool can be used together with various other tools to expand the overall test coverage and the number and variety of devices and operating systems on which to conduct the tests.
  2. The tool can take screenshots of the browser pages to conduct a real-time visual check and assess how the localized text appears on a variety of webpages. The screenshots allow quick and easy verification.

Essentials of Selenium Test Automation:

  1. You should first use the Selenium IDE in Firefox to generate a script.
  2. After recording the scripts, identify the locations where assertions are needed, and add them there if required.
  3. Then you can format the test in a language that works best for you.
  4. After converting the script into your selected language, use Selenium Server to run the scripts.
  5. In order to run your script, however, you will require a client driver to support your language.
  6. IDE’s such as Eclipse would also be required to enhance the script.
  7. Finally, the script needs to be integrated and operated in the form of a suite, and for this you would require integration tools such as Maven.

Selenium should be used ideally to verify the workflow, but shouldn’t be put in the main development build. They should instead be allowed to run overnight, on dedicated machines programmed to run these tests.

* On June 1, 2015, SeleniumHQ labeled Cigniti technologies as an Aluminum Level Sponsor on their official website, www.seleniumhq.org. This recognition confirms Cigniti’s position as a specialized software testing service provider, committed to making sure clients get value from their QA investments. Contact us to know more about our Selenium Testing Services.