There are various tools that navigate a web browser similar to the way a normal user navigates to different pages, captures data, and interacts with the page elements. This is what we call as ‘Web Browser Automation’. Major use cases of web browse automation include:

  • Manual test automation on a web app
  • Repetitive task automation such as scrapping information from websites
  • Filling HTML forms, carrying out administrative jobs, and a lot more.

In this post, we are going to discuss the most popular web browser automation tool-Selenium and learn how it controls the browser.

The Basics Of Selenium

Selenium is an open-source automated test suite designed for web apps over different platforms and browsers. It is a collaboration of tools like Selenium IDE, Selenium RC, Selenium WebDriver, and Selenium Grid.

Selenium Suite

Selenium IDE is a record playback tool that comes as a Chrome extension and Firefox plugin, Selenium RC was earlier the legacy tool which is depreciated now, while Selenium Web Driver is the latest and widely used tool.

Related Read:  Why To Choose Selenium WebDriver over Selenium IDE?

Being one of the most popular browser automation tools, Selenium is not dependent on a single programming language and supports Python, C#, Java, Ruby, Perl, etc. Another reason why Selenium is preferred is that the specifications of WebDriver have become the W3C recommendation for browsers.

Browser Automation Using Selenium

Selenium controls web browsers through programs and works on all operating systems. Functional for all browsers, its scripts are written in several languages like Python, C#, Java, etc. Working on Selenium enables you in automating your regular tasks, how you control your WhatsApp messages, tweets without even opening the browser in only a few lines (hardly 15-30) of Python code.

Selenium can even be integrated with TestNG to test various browsers. From intesting.xml parameters, you can simply pass the name of the browser and develop a reference to the WebDriver according. Further, once the URL reaches the browser’s driver, the driver will forward the request to the real browser through HTTP. The commands Selenium script will now execute in the browser.

Selenium needs a web driver to interface with browsers. And out of all the available selenium browser automation tools, Selenium WebDriver is the one that is most preferred by the industry.

In fact, all browser-dependent drivers, including FirefoxDriver, ChromeDriver, and InternetExplorerDriver implement the WebDriver interface.  So, let’s dive deeper and know details of WebDriver and its interaction with the browser.

Understanding Webdriver’s Interaction With The Browser

Before we start discussing WebDriver in-depth, let me clear the confusion that WebDriver is not a class, but an interface.


Discovered by Simon Stewart and Jason Higgins in the year 2006, Selenium WebDriver is basically a browser automation platform which accepts commands and forwards it to the browser. Users can implement it with a specific browser driver and therefore, control the browser by directly communicating with it.

It is a collection of open-source APIs used to automate web app testing process and supports multiple browsers like Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and IE. The reason why WebDriver is preferred is that it provides a user-friendly API that’s easy to understand and makes tests easy to read and maintain.

Reasons To Work With Selenium Webdriver

Apart from having unique functionalities and supporting various languages, there are many other things that convince users to go for WebDriver for controlling browser.

  • WebDriver seamlessly runs on multiple browsers and communicates directly with the browser, so this eliminates the need for any intermediary between the user and browser. Also, WebDriver controls and manages the browser directly from the OS level.
  • It works smoothly with all the programming language’s IDE including Netbeans and Eclipse. WebDriver even supports multiple plug-in options that are free.
  • As there seems no need for WebDriver to interact with the browser, WebDriver becomes faster than other options like Selenium RC. Therefore, browser communication is uplifted to a more interactive level.
  • WebDriver supports a wide range of platforms, and even its installation process is faster and hassle-free.
  • WebDriver has a rapid execution time, unlike Selenium IDE and RC.
  • WebDriver handles multiple testing frameworks like TestNG, JUnit, RSpec, Nunit, UnitTest, and a lot more.
  • With WebDriver, you don’t need to start any server before executing a script.
  • Being a core API, WebDriver supports multilingual functionality with the help of bindings over various programming languages.
  • WebDriver has no core engine, and the apps can operate natively with only one browser.
  • WebDriver has APIs that are thoroughly object-oriented.
  • It supports mouse cursor movement and even supports iOS and Android app testing.

Well, we have covered the major benefits of Selenium WebDriver about how it is a better choice for controlling browser over other available alternatives. Selenium WebDriver has a wide array of useful methods to simulate all sorts of user interactions. It assists businesses to identify the bugs in the primitive stage and fix them right away. So, with the advanced set of tools and functionalities, WebDriver can perfectly cater to today’s testing environment.

Author Bio: Claire Mackerras, Senior QA Engineer & Editor associated with BugRaptors, one of the best software testing company in USA, India. A certified company with extensive experience as a third party testing vendor in the USA. She is passionate toward writing about technological trends for manual & automation software testing. She likes to share her knowledge, for the readers who are interested in exploring testing tact’s and trends.