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Selenium vs Cypress: Does Cypress Replace Selenium


By automating the entire test procedure, your company will not only save money and time but also deliver superior quality products. Selenium has reined top as the go-to tests framework for almost any sort of test requirement that includes a browser-based application. However, as the world of automation testing continues to step forward, the newest tools have emerged. Chief amongst them is Cypress.io, an automated test framework that is becoming a more and more popular alternative to Selenium. Is Cypress or Selenium a perfect choice for your automation test requirements? Keep reading this blog and understand some tips on why you might willing to choose one or the other – or even use both at a similar time.

Here are a few commonly asked queries that might come up when doing a Selenium vs Cypress comparison:

•    Is Cypress a better choice than Selenium?

•    What is the crucial architectural difference between Cypress and Selenium?

•    Does Cypress also support cross-browser tests?

•    How does Selenium fare when compared with Cypress?

•    Similar to Selenium, does Cypress also support a series of programming languages? 

The simplest way to answer these questions is to assess the benefits and drawbacks of each tool. 

•    Cypress– It (current release 4.11.0) is a next-gen front-end test tool built for the web. Cypress is a JavaScript-based comprehensive test framework built on top of Chai and Mocha.

•    Selenium (current release 4.0.0 Alpha 5) is a free or open-source tool used to automate the tests on web browsers. The WebDriver component drives a browser natively, either on remote machines or locally, and it is used for User Interface automated testing. In the same way, all the distinct components have a precise role in making the product more robust and reliable.

What Is Selenium?

This incredible tool is an open-source and free automated test tool designed for testing web-based apps. Having started in 2004, this tool has turned out to be the de facto standard for test automation because of its ease of use, cross-browser support, and affluent richset. 

Selenium comprises four key components:

1.   Selenium Web driver- To code the commands and actions to send to the web browser.

2. Selenium Integrated Development Environment [IDE]- To record & play the customer commands and activities on the web browser.

3. Selenium RC (Remote Control)- Selenium RC is a Server that assists interaction between selenium web browser and commands.

4.  Selenium Grid- This component assists in distributed and parallel tests for instance by using, the Selenium grid we can carry out automation scripts on distinct virtual or physical machines at once.

What Is Cypress?

This amazing test automation tool is a solely JavaScript-based front-end test tool built for the modern web. It facilitates addressing the pain points Quality Assurance engineers or software developers face whilst testing an app. Cypress is a highly developer-centric tool that uses an exceptional DOM manipulation method and operates straight in the browser. It also gives a unique interactive test runner in which it implements all commands.

Using Cypress, Quality Assurance engineers or developers can create:

1.    Integration tests

2.    Unit tests

3.    End to End tests

Selenium vs Cypress:  What’s the Core Difference?

Cypress, as well as Selenium, is both a test automation framework for web application tests. Selenium is a reputable solution, whilst Cypress is closing in on adoption. This tool also supports JavaScript, whilst Selenium supports various languages. Cypress supports comprehensive tests. Selenium does this as well whilst also offering various testing like mobile app testing, unit testing, and performance testing.

• Languages Supported- It supports a series of programming languages such as Ruby, Python, C#, PHP, Java, JavaScript, and more. 

• Test Automation Frameworks Supported- Selenium supports various automation testing frameworks, counting popular BDD frameworks –JUnit, Behave, MSTest, SpecFlow, PyTest, Mocha JS, TestNG, Jest, PyUnit, Protractor, WebDriverIO, and more.  

• Browsers Supported- To get started with Selenium automation testing, software developers need to download corresponding browser drivers (e.g., geckodriver for Firefox, ChromeDriver for Chrome, etc.) and the suitable Selenium language drivers on their machines.

•  Setup Complexity- Setup is a bit challenging as it requires downloading browser-specific drivers and setting up the test environment. 

•  Documentation & Community Support-  Well-established documentation and firm community support from users across the globe.

•  Integrations- Limited integrations, but many plugins

•  Target Audience- Selenium is only used by the testing team.

Ease of Setup- Medium- because selenium web driver and browser drivers need to install separately

• Test Implementation Speed- Its use of XPath makes the testing results unreliable sometimes. The reason is that the XPath search pattern often changes between two different executions, and it navigates through the HTML DOM structure to locate the specific elements. Depending on what element identifiers are used, it generates a different search path for every new execution. This results in a slow execution speed for Selenium test cases, as there’s often a chance of human error and test script inconsistency.

Parallel Execution of Test Automation Suite- Selenium has various choices to perform parallel execution which is quite vital for test automation. Selenium element Grid is used extensively for parallel execution in the Quality Assurance community with TestNG. And it can be incorporated easily with Docker containerization.

Key Advantages of Selenium

1. Compatible with manifold operating systems such as Linux, Windows Mac, Unix, etc.

2. Offers Quality Assurance Engineers the flexibility to choose the programming language of their preference such as Java, Python, Ruby, etc.

3. Compatible with modern browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc.

4. Provides Concise Application Programming Interfaces 

Drawbacks of Selenium

1. Handling element load or page load is difficult

2. No built-in command for automated generation of testing outcomes

3. Restricted support for test images

4. Generating testing cases is time-consuming

5. Tricky to set up a testing environment when contrast to Cypress

Cypress is a comparatively fresh player in the test automation arena and web application testing. Similar to the Selenium framework, Cypress is free or an open-source tool & the project is hosted on GitHub. Off late, this amazing tool has gained impressive traction, as is apparent from the number of stars and forks for the project. 

• Languages Supported- Contrasting Selenium WebDriver that supports multiple languages, this test automation tool also supports JavaScript. It is preferred by front-end software developers and test automation specialists who are experienced with JavaScript.

• Test Automation Frameworks Supported- In terms of support for automation testing frameworks, it merely supports the Mocha JS framework. Therefore, the tests written for web automation tests are written in JavaScript on top of the Mocha JavaScript framework.

Browsers Supported- To begin with the Selenium automation test, software developers have to download corresponding web browser drivers – Microsoft Edge, Electron, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.

•  Setup Complexity- The setup is easy. No additional dependencies or downloads are needed.

Documentation as well as Community Support- Firm documentation and well-established community support from customers across the world

Integrations- Plenty of integrations (Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, visual testing, reporting, cloud vendors)

  Target Audience- It can be used by both QA testers and software developers.

Simple of Setup- Low as no extra dependency on the driver & just required files come in a bundle.

Test Implementation Speed- Cypress’ parallel test trait reduces the implementation speed by 5x. This tool is built to make sure test and development can occur simultaneously. It stubs the apps or browser to make them behave as per your testing cases to give you real-time User Interface changes for the User Interface tests. You can modify your app state via your testing code to speed up your SDLC (software development life cycle).

Parallel Execution of Test Automation Suite- This tool falls behind when contrasted to Selenium in parallel tests.

Key Advantages of Cypress

1. Cypress test framework captures snapshots during test execution. It enables QAs or software developers to hover over a precise command in the Command Log to notice exactly what happened at that specific phase.

2. One does not require adding implicit or explicit wait commands in testing scripts, unlike Selenium. It waits for assertions and commands automatically.

3.  QAs or Developers can use Stubs, Clocks, and Spies to validate and control the behavior of server responses, timers, or functions.

4.  The automatic scrolling operation makes sure that the component is in view prior to performing any activity (for instance Clicking on a button).

5. Previously Cypress supported only Google Chrome tests but, with current updates, Cypress now offers support for Mozilla Firefox as well as Microsoft Edge browsers.

6. As the developers or programmer writes commands, this tool executes them in real-time, giving visual feedback as they run. It also carries brilliant documentation.

7.  Test execution for a local Se Grid can be ported to function with a cloud-based Selenium Grid with the least effort.

Drawbacks of Cypress

1.  One can’t make use of Cypress to drive two web browsers at the similar time.

2.  Cypress does not give support for different tabs.

3.  It just supports JavaScript to generate test cases.

4.  It does not offer support for web browsers like Safari and Internet Explorer at the moment.

5.  Restricted support for iFrames.

Cypress vs Selenium: When to Use Which for Automation Testing

Even though Cypress and Selenium are both perfectly designed for automating web browsers for test purposes, they differ considerably in terms of performance and architecture. One of the core differences is that Cypress as a tool is perfect for introducing software developers to automation testing rather than just a substitute for Selenium. This is the reason why Cypress is amongst the fast-growing automation testing tools around the globe. On the flip side, Selenium is a highly general-purpose tool targeted at a wider audience.

The Fastest Execution per Framework

Licensing

• Selenium, a widely-accepted test automation tool is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license, as the copyright holder with the Software Freedom Conservancy.

• Cypress, the most preferred tool is also released as free under the MIT license. However, if we contrast it to Selenium then all the traits provided by Cypress are not free, example- the Cypress dashboard is free for Seed but paid for Tree, Forest, and Sprout. 

When Selenium Is Preferred Over Cypress:

• When one requires flexibility in terms of selecting testing script language. Cypress also supports JavaScript, whilst Selenium supports multiple languages such as Python, Java, C#, JavaScript, etc.

• When you want to execute a test case on diverse browsers at the same time then Selenium Grid works the best, as Cypress can’t be used to drive two browsers simultaneously.

• Cross-browser test at scale turns into simple with Selenium. It doesn’t support browsers like Safari, which limits the cross-browser test support when in contrast to Selenium.

•  It supports JUnit and NUnit that is not supported by.

When Cypress Is Preferred Over Selenium:

• Single Framework for Element, End to End, Application Programming Interface, Accessibility, Visual, Performance testing.

•  Video recording capacity of test implementation.

• Out-of-the-box retry capacity of actions performed over components, which limits flaky test for Cypress.

•  Single Programming language amid Front end development as well as Automation.

•  Capacity to Stub/ Mock Request & Responses in the early phase of development.

• Control time building testing framework from Scratch with Selenium, as this tool offers a stable and ready-to-apply Framework with everything ready to use and wrap functions.

• Test Runner which offers time travel capacity to go through solo steps with after and before screenshots linked to debug failures.

• Significant exceptions when any test fails.

Who Is the Target Audience for Selenium and Cypress?

The target audience is based on the goals of the automated testing, if the aim is to automate Unit, End to end, and Integration testing then Cypress is the better option and both Software Developers and QA are the main target audience for Cypress.

On the flip side, if the goal is just to test the app’s functionality and User Interface on the browser then Selenium is a good option. The only limitation of using a Cypress is it is entirely based on JavaScript which might be complicated for QA people as generally testing folks know programming language except for a Scripting language.

Will Cypress Replace Selenium?

• It is hard to say if Cypress will substitute Selenium or not since selenium is the oldest tool and famous amongst the test folks and constantly improving its trait.

• Cypress is famous amongst those Software Developers who wish to automate their Integration testing or Unit testing tasks.

•  Cypress is an excellent tool for API tests, which is impossible in Selenium.

• When it comes to cross-browser tests, Selenium is the perfect option as it supports almost all browsers whilst Cypress just supports Chrome.

If we speak about the speed and accuracy of automation testing then Cypress comes first as it is present inside the web browser, an issue of synchronization is rare in Cypress, not like the Selenium, where Scripts are running outside of the web browser.

Cypress Testing vs Selenium Testing: Conclusion

Selenium & Cypress are both feature-rich and reliable automated testing frameworks. They also both happen to be free or open source.

But, why would you select one or the other?

Main Reasons to Use Selenium

Selenium is a perfect option when the following considerations are priorities:

• Testing applications are written in different languages other than JavaScript.

• Testing apps across an extensive selection of web browsers (counting web browsers such as Safari, whilst Selenium supports but Cypress presently doesn’t).

•  Testing mobile apps that are not supported by Cypress.

Main Reasons to Use Cypress

Cypress is a perfect option for the following use cases:

• The capability to write tests rapidly.

•  Avoiding the requirement to configure every type of web browser separately.

• Taking screenshots as an element of the test procedure to observe what the user would notice when the application is handling a precise command. Cypress can do this without difficulty via web browser APIs. It is possible in Selenium to take screenshots, too, however, it needs extra effort to set up.

In a nutshell, when it comes to debating Selenium vs. Cypress, we recommend that QA teams start exploring Cypress to observe if it can complement their current Selenium scripts as well as grow their complete test stability and coverage. If you have a Selenium suite that is stable and covers sufficient functionality, there is no necessity to switch tools. If you are commencing a new project, perhaps having an easy POC with Cypress can prove to be a better future for QA and developers.

Prior to selecting an automation tool, one should weigh the cons and pros of each option. This will help assess which tool functions better to serve the team and company in the long run. No matter which automated test framework you select for your web app, it is crucial for testing the web app on actual browsers and devices for more accurate results.



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