Most software applications nowadays are web-based – they need to work, and work well, and on different operating systems and Internet browsers. Just think – you download an app and the page is slow to load, or there are a few glitches in the app – chances are, you are quick to uninstall it and look for a faster, smoother alternative. In the face of ever increasing user demand for faster, smoother apps, the tech industry needs cutting-edge software development tools. Hence, the use of automated testing tools for software quality assurance has become vital. So, which testing automation tool will you choose for your project requirements?

In this article, let’s see how Selenium WebDriver and TestCafe measure up.

Good, better, best? A comparison

Both Selenium WebDriver and TestCafe are tools for test automation – one is open-source, while the other is licensed. Obviously, they have their own unique selling points. Selenium WebDriver has been around for a while now. It has long been tried and tested, and is considered flexible and reliable for software quality assurance testing.

Testcafe is newer. It will obviously have better features and claim to provide a smoother, faster testing experience. Let’s see what each has to offer.

TestCafe – Smooth and easy

  • Browser and OS support – Both Testcafe and Selenium WebDriver support running tests in all the popular browsers – Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Opera and Firefox, and operating systems – Windows, Mac and Linux. While Selenium WebDriver is designed to act as a wrapper that will call the DOM API via its plugin, TestCafe runs the tests within the browser so that it has full access to the DOM API; as a result, its own API is concise and easy to learn.
  • Ease of installation – Testcafe defines ease of use from the word go. It took me barely 5 minutes to install; what’s more, you don’t need to install any plugins. You need to purchase only one license, and TestCafe supports remote integrated testing. Even if you are working in a distributed environment, other machines can access the tool by connecting remotely to your machine over the browser using the same IP address. Compare this to the setup issues for Selenium Webdriver – it needs you to install separate plugins for every browser on which you want to test your app, and different plugins for different versions of the same browser! That’s a lot of work!
  • Mobile app testing support – Also, TestCafe is more than capable of providing mobile app testing support by itself – a definite advantage over Selenium WebDriver, since it needs to be supported by other test automation frameworks like Appium or Selendroid.
  • Report generation – You can generate test reports in TestCafe in the form of a customized grid with the facility to sort, group and even filter the tests. It allows assertion failure reporting in detail, with the line of code that failed, and the expected and actual values. These reports can be easily exported to JSON, NUnit and JUnit. Selenium WebDriver, on the other hand, leverages JUnit or TestNG to generate test execution reports.

Selenium WebDriver – Flexibility is the key word

  • FlexibilitySelenium WebDriver is flexible enough to help test web apps and web services. It supports all the major languages – Java, PHP, Perl, Ruby and C#. As a tester, you can write the test code in the language you are comfortable with. And it allows you to work with a wide range of IDEs such as Eclipse, NetBeans and Visual Studio. In TestCafe, the Visual Test Recorder helps you create tests without needing to write code. Of course, if you want to, you can make changes in it; but TestCafe effectively frees you from the necessity of writing test code. Testcafe supports only Javascript, but this does not seem to be a constraint. And, since Javascript is easy to comprehend, it will be easy for you, even if you are a non-programmer, to shift from black box testing to white box testing.
  • Supports looping and conditions – Selenium WebDriver is designed to handle exceptions, conditions and looping through custom coding. It provides direct support for data-driven testing through the use of Excel sheets. It can also be used for behavior-driven testing (BDD), where test scenarios are written in the Gherkin script and then translated into automated tests. TestCafe, on the other hand, does not support conditions, or looping, for which you will have to run the same steps again and again. It is new, so it is still evolving as a test automation tool.

Solution

So, considering what TestCafe and Selenium WebDriver have to offer, which tool would you choose for your project? TestCafe definitely seems to be more compact than Selenium WebDriver, as it creates a layer between the test code and you with its visual editor. On the other hand, Selenium WebDriver has been very popular as a testing framework until now. It has a loyal following in the testing community – even with its assorted package of plugins and other testing frameworks like Appium and TestNG.

There is the question of mobile app testing, though. As I stated above, Selenium WebDriver needs to be supported by Appium or Selendroid for mobile app testing. On the other hand, TestCafe is more than capable of providing mobile app testing support by itself – no plugins required. Still, and I am sure that you will be surprised by my observation, the fact that Selenium WebDriver is more flexible  is reason enough for me to recommend it to my business manager, even for testing mobile apps. For more on Selenium WebDriver, read here.

Alternatives

Unified Functional Testing (UFT), earlier known as Quick Test Professional (QTP), is also a test automation tool; it supports web-based and mobile app testing. It manages exception handling using recovery scenarios, and also supports data-driven testing. However, UFT is Windows-based only and does not support all browser versions; so you might want to go with Selenium WebDriver. Besides, UFT is available commercially and every user needs a license. Using a collaborative approach aligned with the Agile methodology may prove to be costly for your enterprise.

Conclusion

Among these two automated testing tools, industry loyalty to Selenium WebDriver seems to be hard to shake, mainly because of its flexibility in terms of multi-language support. Still, that is no reason not to try TestCafe for your testing needs. It might be the next best thing in this fast-evolving software development industry. And if you have already tried it, I would love to read your feedback!

 

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