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Selenium: Lightning Fast Client Libraries

 It's no secret that Jason Huggins made history when he created Selenium in 2004. Since then, Selenium has been the most widespread tool for automated testing of web applications. Not to mention, the extreme need for robust testing and Quality Assurance kept its usage going for years to come. 


Instead of being a single tool, Selenium is an entire suite of software with individual functionalities for QA testing. 

The tool uses commands to emulate the actions of a user on web pages. They also offer support for a wide variety of programming languages and operating systems. In this post, we’re going to take a look at Selenium Lightning Fast Client Libraries with a special emphasis on client-side efficiency. Let's dive into the details.

Selenium: How It Came Into Existence and Overview

Selenium, the ultimate open-source tool entered the software testing arena in 2004. The brainchild of Jason Huggins, this masterpiece came into existence through a simple joke. Jason sent an email to his ThoughtWorks team in which he mocked 'Mercury' their competitor by citing Selenium as the antidote for Mercury poisoning. The rest of the team loved the name and approved it for the organization's framework.

Jason hated monotony and he realized that manual testing was the epitome of it. That's why he created Selenium using JavaScript and originally named it  JavaScriptTestRunner. But later, after taking into account the immense potential of the tool, he decided to make it open-source with a new name, Selenium core. Different people contributed to making Selenium what it is today.

Initial Problems With Selenium and Their Redressal

Selenium had a 'Same Origin Policy’ which did not allow the usage of JavaScript from another domain name from that of its launch name. Testers had to install Selenium Core as well as web servers that had the web applications under testing. That's when Paul Hammant came into the picture and created Selenium 1 or Selenium Remote Control (Selenium RC). 

Shinya Kasatani realized the importance of record and playback and leveraged Selenium IDE for a project in 2006. The credit for creating WebDriver Circa in 2006 goes to Simon Stewart. After realizing the striking benefits of Selenium RC and WebDriver, the entire team decided to merge them together in 2008 to form Selenium 2. Fast forward to a few years, the hype around Selenium 4 since 2021 hasn't ceased.

Selenium Protocol and Selenium Client

Selenium protocol defines the execution of browser actions. The JSON wire protocol is a specification of how certain behavior maps into Appium or Selenium or HTTP requests. As you already know, Selenium scripts offer support for a wide variety of programming languages including C#, Ruby, PHP, Python, JAVA, and so on. Most testers realize that using programming languages for sending commands to the server offers more power. Building on that, Selenium offers a programming library responsible for sending Selenium protocol compatible commands. This library is known as Selenium Language Binding or Selenium Client.

Evolution of the Selenium Architecture Over Time

The architecture of Selenium has undergone a massive evolution. Selenium now has great stability, an easy communication protocol, and a vast WebDriver library. But did you know that it almost took a decade to achieve these targets? W3C standard adopted the Selenium browser automation protocol in 2018. It's referred to as WebDriver protocol, new Selenium protocol, or W3C Selenium protocol. It features plenty of WebDriver executables for Safari, Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, and other popular browsers.

Earlier sending commands to the browser was a laborious task. You had to upload browser extensions executing JavaScript expressions for all outside commands. This approach was slow and it didn't facilitate testing file upload due to the accessibility of JavaScript to the filesystem. Not only did WebDriver successfully eliminate these limitations, but it also offers error codes, capabilities, and HTTP endpoints.

Selenium Client-side Libraries

There are two types of existing Selenium client libraries.

1. WebDriver Protocol Clients

They reside in the official repository and include JavaScript Python, JAVA, Ruby, and C#.

2. WebDriver-Based Tools

These tools are at a higher level than the previous kind of Selenium client libraries and facilitate a more efficient working with web automation testing. It includes Healenium- the Selenium extensions powered by AI,, or Selenide. 

Back in the days, when there was just one client library implementation for each programming language, they were certain limitations that needed to be overcome. Let's take a look.

1. The manual maintenance of all new lines of code gave rise to frequent bugs.

2. Existing Selenium client-side libraries don't offer much support for new capabilities like server-side implementations having additional commands and capabilities. The same goes for commands with extension classes.

3. The API can be confusing for a bunch of operations. For instance, beginners often confuse driver.quit () with driver.close ().

4. The classes for existing client libraries have confusing names which lead to complications in the way testers run the same tests for a variety of browsers. This further complicates the frameworks that are dependent on Selenium clients.

 Selenium Lightning Fast Client Libraries

WebDriver protocol already features a server-side implementation that is lightning fast. Yes, we’re talking about Moon and Selenoid. So, why not do the same for client side?

Since we’re throwing light on an open API specification here, it makes sense to go on and about with JAVA client implementation. After all, isn't it the most popular language for running a Selenium test? Just for the sake of naming, the clients are called Lightning.

The first step is to minimize lightweight runtime dependencies. JAVA standard library features projects that depend on Apache HTTP client, Jetty HTTP client, Netty, and other third-party clients. Lightening uses an HTTP client that comes built-in with the Java 11 standard library. However, since JAVA doesn't support a built-in feature for processing JSON, the Lightening fast client library comes into the picture. The WebDriver open API specification generates the HTTP processing code. has been replaced by Java.nio.

How Selenium Lightning Fast Client Libraries Offer Striking Benefits

Now that we know how Lightning Fast client libraries work, let's take a look at some of the striking benefits they offer.

1. You can easily extend available methods and make adjustments to HTTP client properties.

2. Uses can easily extend Lightning client to offer support for different third-party methods in capabilities for on-premises tools and Selenium testing cloud providers like LambdaTest. It’s test automation cloud that offers online Selenium grid to execute your test scripts on reliable and scalable cloud infrastructure.

3. Selenium Lightning Fast Client Libraries make it easy to work with the created browser session by facilitating changing of methods to result in a shorter and more readable code.

4. Creating new browser sessions and even the most complicated capabilities couldn't have been easier!

Summing It Up

With the world swiftly sliding towards mobile and web applications, the need for Selenium automation services and new upgrades is higher than ever. The two pillars that make Selenium an ongoing success are speed and accuracy.

Whenever Selenium came out with something new, it always ended up creating a buzz and being a huge success. Therefore, it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Selenium Lightning Fast Client Libraries carry the same expectation and are most likely to fulfill them.

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