selenium Getting started with selenium

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Selenium is a powerful library of commands in multiple languages (C#, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, Objective-C, Perl, PHP, Python, R, and Ruby) that allow a programmer to automate browser interaction. This is incredibly useful for developers testing applications.

Selenium offers methods to:

  • Find an Element in a webpage
  • Click on an Element
  • Send a String to an Element
  • Navigate to a web page
  • Change to a different tab in the same browser window
  • Take a screenshot of a webpage

Using these methods, a developer can have automatic tests checking:

  • If an Element is in a page, and visible to a user
  • A search or login form
  • Buttons or interactive Elements
  • Check the values or attributes of an Element

Selenium runs in webdrivers, which are similar to a normal web browser but allow Selenium to interact with them. A Selenium test typically opens up a new driver instance of whatever browser the developer is testing in, which is always a clean slate. This way, when running a Selenium test, the developer does not have to worry about previous cookies, or a browser cache affecting the results of their application.

Selenium also works when running a webdriver in headless mode.


VersionRelease date

Setting up python Selenium via terminal (BASH)

The easiest way is to use pip and VirtualEnv. Selenium also requires python 3.*.

Install virtualenv using:

$: pip install virtualenv

Create/enter a directory for your Selenium files:

$: cd my_selenium_project

Create a new VirtualEnv in the directory for your Selenium files:

$: virtualenv -p /usr/bin/python3.0 venv

Activate the VirtualEnv:

$: source venv/bin/active

You should see now see (venv) at the beginning of each bash line. Install Selenium using pip:

$: pip install selenium

Selenium comes with the FireFox driver by default.
If you want to run Selenium in google chrome, also do this:

$: pip install chromedriver

You now have a version-controlled VirtualEnv. To make sure everything is set up correctly:

Start python:

$: python

Prints out:

Python 2.7.10 (default, Jul 14 2015, 19:46:27) 
[GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 6.0 (clang-600.0.39)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

Create a new webdriver (in this case, a chromedriver), and go to

>>> from selenium import webdriver
>>> driver = webdriver.Chrome()
>>> driver.get("")

Close the driver and python interpreter:

>>> driver.quit()
>>> quit()

Deactivate the VirtualEnv:

$: deactivate

If the line driver = webdriver.Chrome() is throwing errors:

  • Make sure you also have the chrome browser installed. If you don't, the Selenium chromedriver can not access the Chrome binary.
  • webdriver.Chrome() can also take a parameter for your chromedriver location. If you installed it using pip, try (on mac) driver = webdriver.Chrome("./venv/selenium/webdriver/chromedriver") .

Simple Selenium Example in C#

//Create a new ChromeDriver
IWebDriver driver = new ChromeDriver();

//Navigate to

//Find the WebElement of the search bar
IWebElement element = driver.FindElement(By.Name("q"));

//Type Hello World into search bar
element.SendKeys("Hello World");

//Submit the input

//Close the browser

Simple Selenium test in Java

Below code is simple java program using selenium. The journey of the below code is

  1. Open Firefox browser
  2. Open google page
  3. Print title of Google page
  4. Find the search box location
  5. Pass the value as Selenium in the search box
  6. Submit the form
  7. Shutdown the browser
package org.openqa.selenium.example;

import org.openqa.selenium.By;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import org.openqa.selenium.firefox.FirefoxDriver;
import java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit;

public class Selenium2Example  {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Create a new instance of the Firefox driver
        WebDriver driver = new FirefoxDriver();

        // An implicit wait is to tell WebDriver to poll the DOM for a certain amount of time 
        // when trying to find an element or elements if they are not immediately available. 
        // The default setting is 0. Once set, the implicit wait is set for the life of the WebDriver object instance.   
        driver.manage().timeouts().implicitlyWait(10, TimeUnit.SECONDS);

        // Maximize the browser window to fit into screen
        // Visit Google

        // Check the title of the page
        System.out.println("Page title is: " + driver.getTitle());

        // Find the text input element by its name
        WebElement element = driver.findElement("q"));

        // Enter something to search for

        // Now submit the form. WebDriver will find the form for us from the element

        //Close the browser

Simple selenium test in python

from selenium import webdriver

# Create a new chromedriver
driver = webdriver.Chrome()

# Go to

# Get the webelement of the text input box
search_box = driver.find_element_by_name("q")

# Send the string "Selenium!" to the input box

# Submit the input, which starts a search

# Wait to see the results of the search

# Close the driver

Got any selenium Question?