What is Selenium WebDriver? [A Complete Guide]

Selenium WebDriver

The number of tools and technologies related to the software development lifecycle (SDLC) has continuously been rising. An integral part of any technology stack is automation testing. Automation testing is a methodology in which the entire testing process is automated, and Selenium WebDriver is one such amazing automation framework that  is used to check the quality of the application.

Most of the developers are aware of the testing frameworks, and they are looking to learn some other testing frameworks. They are choosing Selenium WebDriver as their new testing framework. With the jump in the number of users, the learning curve for Selenium WebDriver is steep.

What is Selenium WebDriver?

Selenium WebDriver is an open-source, cross-platform automation tool that tests web applications. It allows developers to create automated tests that interact with a web browser the same way a real user would, allowing them to test the functionality and performance of their web applications. With Selenium WebDriver, developers can create reliable, repeatable tests that can be run against multiple browsers and operating systems.

WebDriver can be used for end-to-end testing by simulating user behavior through multiple webpages, automatically filling out forms with predefined data, running checks against page elements such as text values, images, links, and buttons, testing various scenarios such as multiple user logins simultaneously and generating reports on the success or failure of tests run. Here are three examples of how you can use Selenium WebDriver to automate web-based tasks:

  1. Creating an automated test script to verify the functionality of a website or application before it is released to the public. This would involve writing code in languages such as Java, C#, or Python that uses the Selenium WebDriver API to interact with web page elements and validate their results.
  1. Creating an automated bot for online shopping websites that adds items to your cart and checks out automatically without any user input required. This would involve writing code using the Selenium WebDriver API to click through different checkout pages and automatically fill out forms with customer information.
  1. Writing an automated script for web scraping to extract data from a website or application. This would involve using the Selenium WebDriver API to navigate through the website’s pages and collect specific data from the HTML elements on each page. The collected data can then be stored on a local machine or in a database for further analysis.

Selenium WebDriver is an excellent tool for automating the functional testing of web applications. It supports significant web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, as well as their derivatives. In addition to supporting HTML-based web applications, it also supports AJAX and Flash-based applications. With Selenium WebDriver, you can write test scripts in popular programming languages such as Python, Java, C#, and Ruby.

The Selenium WebDriver framework also provides various tools and features to make writing automated tests easier. These include integration with popular frameworks like JUnit, TestNG, and Cucumber, as well as functionality like screenshots of page elements and recording user actions during test runs.

Selenium WebDriver also provides tools for debugging web applications, which can help identify problems early in development. By using its built-in logging capabilities and reporting features, developers can quickly identify where an issue lies and fix it before the application goes live.

Selenium WebDriver uses a set of commands called “WebDriver APIs.” Using these APIs, you can control the browser by opening a page, clicking on links and buttons, filling out forms, and validating results.

Selenium WebDriver also contains a set of assertion methods that allow you to verify if the expected behavior is happening. These assertions can be used to ensure that the data entered by the user is correct or that certain elements are present on the page. It also enables developers to use other third-party tools, such as LambdaTest, to run tests in parallel across multiple browsers simultaneously.

LambdaTest provides developers with an innovative parallel test execution capability that reduces time-to-market. LambdaTest is used by the best brands in the world and is trusted by millions of developers.

LambdaTest is a trending cloud-based cross-browser testing platform that allows you to perform live and automated cross browser testing for websites and web applications across more than 3000+ browsers, devices and operating systems which is used across 130+ countries worldwide.

Example of using Selenium WebDriver

Examples of Selenium WebDriver include automated tests verifying website and application functionality. For example, when creating a new website or application, the developer could use Selenium WebDriver to simulate a user typing in text fields and submitting forms to check if everything works as expected.

Additionally, Selenium WebDriver can be used for automated testing of web services, APIs, and other components. This helps ensure that all aspects of an application are functioning before they are deployed into production.

Let’s say we want to see if a button on our home page works correctly. We can write a test script in Java using Selenium WebDriver that will open the home page, locate the button, and click it. We can then add an assertion to verify that the expected behavior happened due to clicking the button.

Another use case for Selenium WebDriver is data scraping — retrieving information from websites and using it in other applications. By leveraging its automation features, WebDriver can quickly and easily pull data from websites and export it into a format that can be used in other software.

All of these uses demonstrate how powerful Selenium WebDriver is for automating various tasks on the web.

What are the components of Selenium?

Selenium is a powerful tool designed to automate web browsers and test web applications. It comprises three components, Selenium IDE, Selenium WebDriver, and Selenium Grid. Each of these components has its distinct purpose and can be used for different tasks.

1.    Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE is a browser-based record and playback tool for creating automated tests. It provides an easy way to create automated tests in the form of scripts that can replay the same steps multiple times on different web browsers. For example, you could use Selenium IDE to record a login process, then play it back on multiple other browsers to check that the process works correctly on each one.

2.    Selenium WebDriver

Selenium WebDriver is a programming interface that enables you to write code in any language (e.g., Java, Python, C#) to control your web browser automatically. Using WebDriver, you can write code that will open up a specific page in a browser, fill out a form on that page, click a button to submit the form, and then check that the page loads correctly. It is commonly used for creating automated tests.

3.    Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid allows you to run automated tests across multiple browsers and machines simultaneously. This is useful if you test an application on different operating systems or web browsers. For example, Selenium Grid can be used to run automated tests against an application running on Firefox on Windows, Chrome on macOS, and Safari on Linux simultaneously. This saves time compared to manually testing each browser separately.

Using Selenium IDE, WebDriver, and Grid together, you can create comprehensive automated tests for your web applications quickly and easily. These components provide powerful tools for developing reliable automated tests and ensuring that your applications work as expected.

Selenium WebDriver architecture

Its architecture consists of four major components: Selenium Client Libraries/ Language Bindings, JSON Wire Protocol, Browser Drivers, and Real Browsers.

1.    Selenium Client Libraries/ Language Bindings

These are the language bindings (like Java, Python, C#, etc.) used to access the functionality of Selenium WebDriver. The client libraries provide an interface to communicate with the WebDriver using different programming languages. For example, if you want to write your test cases in Java, then you can use the java client library, which has classes and methods to be used in writing the test cases.

2.    JSON Wire Protocol

This protocol defines how clients and servers communicate over an HTTP or HTTPS connection. It handles client requests to interact with browser elements like clicking on a button, entering text into a form field, etc.

3.    Browser Drivers

These platform-specific executables accept requests and commands from the language binding to interact with the browser. For example, ChromeDriver is an executable file to test web applications on Google Chrome. Similarly, Gecko Driver is a browser driver for Mozilla Firefox.

4.    Real Browsers

This is the web browser where your code will be executed and verified by Selenium WebDriver. Examples of real browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

All these components together form the core architecture of Selenium WebDriver, which helps developers write automated tests for their web applications. In addition, this architecture also helps to make sure that the test cases are executed accurately and reliably across different platforms and browsers.

Benefits of  Using Selenium WebDriver

  1. Selenium WebDriver supports multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. This makes it possible for developers to write test scripts using the same programming language regardless of their platform. For example, a Windows user may use C# to create Selenium WebDriver tests, while the same tests can be written in Java for a Mac or Linux system.
  2. Selenium WebDriver supports multiple programming languages such as Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, C#, and more. For example, using Selenium WebDriver in Java allows developers to create automated scripts that can perform various tasks, including launching browsers, navigating through web pages, clicking links and buttons, and submitting forms.

Similarly, with Python and Selenium WebDriver, one can write code for the automation of web-based applications like automated form submission, web scraping, and data extraction from websites.

JavaScript and Selenium WebDriver can be used for tasks such as automated testing of a website or creating a crawler to traverse through links on a website.

3. Selenium WebDriver works with all modern browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. Using Selenium WebDriver, you can write code to control web browsers to automate web testing activities.

For example, you can use Selenium WebDriver to open a browser window and go to a specific URL; fill out forms; select buttons and checkboxes; and even take screenshots. You can also use Selenium WebDriver to interact with web elements such as text boxes, drop-down lists, and radio buttons. Additionally, you can use Selenium WebDriver to execute JavaScript code on a web page.

All of these activities can be executed in any modern browser, thanks to the compatibility of Selenium WebDriver with all major browsers. This makes it easier for developers to test their applications across multiple browsers.

4. One of the main advantages of using Selenium WebDriver is its ability to provide faster completion of test scripts compared to other similar tools.

For example, when writing test scripts with Selenium WebDriver, users can take advantage of the platform’s built-in commands such as “Click”, “Type”, “Select,” and “Verify,” which are optimized to provide faster execution of test steps.

Additionally, users can take advantage of the platform’s advanced features, like Page Object Model (POM) and Data Driven Testing (DDT), which allow for faster completion of test scripts.

Moreover, Selenium WebDriver allows users to incorporate third-party libraries into their test scripts and achieve even faster completion times for complex web application testing scenarios.

Limitations of  Using Selenium WebDriver

Selenium WebDriver is only meant for testing web applications and does not support the automation of Windows-based applications. For example, if you were trying to automate a task such as opening a Windows application, then you would have to look for another tool. Selenium WebDriver does not have its own reporting mechanism. Any reports generated from test runs must be done manually through code or a third-party tool.

For example, if you have to generate a report after running a Selenium test suite, you would need to add code to your test scripts to capture the results of each step and then output the information in a format that can be used for reporting.

Alternatively, several third-party tools, such as Allure and TestNG, can be used to generate reports from Selenium test suites. These tools provide a way to output test results in an organized and comprehensive manner, allowing for easy review of test results and debugging.

While Selenium WebDriver supports integration with other test tools, such as JUnit and TestNG, there is no native integration for test management in Selenium. This means that while you can use Selenium to create automated tests and set up a framework for your tests, you cannot use Selenium to manage the results of those tests or track their progress.

For example, when creating a test suite with Selenium, you cannot use the tool to assign tests to specific users or track their progress. You also can’t use it to generate reports on test performance and results or to create visualizations that help you understand how well your tests are performing. You would need to integrate with a third-party test management system such as TestRail or qTest Manager to get these features.

Another example of where Selenium lacks integration for test management is in the area of test automation. While Selenium can be used to create automated tests, it cannot track them over time or generate reports on their performance and results. To do this, you would need to add a tool such as TestComplete or Ranorex Studio to your test suite.

Selenium WebDriver is a powerful tool for automating web browser interactions, but it does not support parallel testing. Parallel testing lets multiple tests be run in the same environment simultaneously, allowing for faster and more complete test results.

For example, if you wanted to test a website on both Chrome and Firefox browsers simultaneously, you would need to set up two separate test environments—one for Chrome and one for Firefox. Running each test sequentially would take longer than running them both in parallel.

The Selenium Grid provides a virtual browser farm and automates the running of your tests. Running tests in parallel significantly shortens test execution times, lessening the time spent on them.

LambdaTest gives you access to a cloud-based Selenium Grid that runs and scales in real-time to provide you with speed and accuracy at every stage of development and testing.

LambdaTest lets you test your web applications in all browsers, operating systems, and devices in seconds. With LambdaTest, you can find bugs earlier in the development process – which means less time fixing bugs and more time shipping features.

Getting Started With Selenium WebDriver

To start with Selenium WebDriver, you’ll need to install the appropriate language binding for your language of choice (Java, Python, Ruby, etc.). Once installed, you can use the WebDriver API to create an instance of your browser and interact with it. For example, in Java:

By utilizing Selenium WebDriver, you can create scripts that will interact with websites in an automated and structured way, allowing you to perform tasks quickly, such as filling out forms, testing web applications, scraping data from websites, and automating repetitive tasks. With WebDriver, you can promptly build reliable and scalable scripts for your automation needs.

So don’t wait any longer – try Selenium WebDriver now and take your web automation projects to the next level! Try it today!

Automated browser testing using cloud Selenium Grid

As the number of tests and threads increase on a single VM, automation failures are more likely to occur due to an overload of resources and instability. This is because too many threads executing tests at once can cause memory and processor-intensive tasks to overload the VM’s resources, leading to unreliable results and unexpected errors.

For example, if you are using Selenium WebDriver for automated browser testing, running multiple tests in parallel with a high thread count can cause the browser to crash or become unresponsive, resulting in test failures. Additionally, running numerous tests in parallel can lead to unstable network connections, which can also cause unexpected errors and unreliable results.

This is exactly where the Selenium Grid comes into play. Selenium Grid makes parallel execution of tests possible by sending pieces of information to a remote Web Browser instance from a hub server.

Selenium testing tools, such as LambdaTest, offer a cloud Selenium Grid that allows you to run parallel tests across 3000+ browsers and operating systems. To use this, you simply need to instantiate the remote Selenium WebDriver rather than the local Selenium WebDriver.

This is highly beneficial as it saves you from downloading and configuring hundreds of browsers on your machine – as they are already available on the online Selenium Grid. All testers need to do is register on LambdaTest for free and claim 100 free automation testing minutes.


In conclusion, Selenium WebDriver is an excellent tool for automating the functional testing of web applications. It supports significant web browsers and can write test scripts in multiple languages. It can be used to test the functionality of web pages and verify that the data entered by the user is correct or that certain elements are present on the page. With Selenium WebDriver, developers can significantly cut down on time spent writing and maintaining manual tests.

Read More: The best Selenium Automation Testing approach for cross-browser testing

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