Selenium Load Testing Explained: WebDriver & Java

Performance testing is a type of non-functional testing that measures how web applications, web pages, or frameworks respond when tested against various load levels to see how they act and respond when under load for certain periods of time. In this article we will set out to explain how to use Selenium and its family of tools, to carry out performance tests. While it is not recommended to use just Selenium and WebDriver for carrying out load tests, this article will explain the process of setting up a load test with Selenium, as well as cover the advantages of a solution like LoadView.

What is Selenium WebDriver?

Selenium WebDriver is utilized to automate web application testing to check that it fills in true to form. It supports numerous browsers, for example, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari. In any case, utilizing WebDriver, we can automate testing for web applications as it were. It doesn’t fit the bill for Windows-based applications. It likewise bolsters diverse programming dialects, for example, C#, Java, Perl, PHP, and Ruby for composing test contents. Selenium WebDriver is stage free since a similar code can be utilized on various operating systems like Windows, iOS, Linux, and Ubuntu. It is one of the segments of the Selenium family, which additionally incorporates Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment), Selenium Client API, Selenium Remote Control and Selenium Grid.

Selenium WebDriver doesn’t deal with Windows, yet this constraint can be overwhelmed by utilizing third-party instruments, for example, AutoIT, Sikuli, and others. It has diverse area procedures too, for example, ID, Name, Link text, Partial Connection Text, Class Name, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) Selector and Xpath. It likewise has better support for dynamic pages like AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), where components of the page may change without the page itself being reloaded. By utilizing diverse container documents, we can likewise test APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), databases, and so on utilizing Selenium WebDriver.

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Selenium Grid and Load Testing

Selenium Grid is another component of Selenium that is used to help reduce test runtime when executing multiple tests at one time, also known as parallel testing. For example, with Selenium Grid, a user can perform multiple tests across different browsers and operating systems at one time. Selenium Grid is composed of two distinct elements, hubs and nodes. Hubs work in conjunction with WebDriver requests and routes test commands (JSON) to their nodes, where the test execution occurs. Think of the hub as a single machine where you can connect to multiple machines running different operating systems. The nodes are where the operating systems, browsers, and the remote WebDriver are contained if you are running tests on a separate machine.

However, in terms of load testing, you may run into system constraints if you are looking to run load tests at scale. Large-scale load tests require additional scaling, configuration, and maintenance requirements that open-source tools like Selenium Grid cannot support. For cases like this, a solution like LoadView is beneficial. We will talk more about the LoadView solution and the benefits of using this solution to run Selenium scripts from the cloud from a fully managed cloud network.

Open-source Tools: Selenium vs. JMeter

Selenium Logo
The debate of whether which open-source software tool is better for testing is a common theme among performance engineers and testers. Selenium and JMeter are two completely different tools, however, both are designed to test web applications and their capabilities have evolved over time to support a wider range of testing. While JMeter is built primarily for performance or load testing, Selenium is used primarily for automation. However, it really comes down to the requirements for your tests and which solution you are more comfortable with. For example, do you need to understand performance from the end user’s perspective in a real browser?

If you are looking to automate tests across different browsers, then Selenium would be a desirable choice. If you are simply looking to carry out protocol-based performance tests to understand how your application or site responds to concurrent users, then JMeter might be preferred. However, it is important to note that JMeter also has its disadvantages when it comes to performance testing. Like Selenium, if you are looking to carry out large-scale tests, it can be difficult to support as the tests must be executed from a local machine that is constrained by hardware resources. We have a great article that covers the pros and cons of JMeter load testing.

Read: JMeter Load Testing: How to Use JMeter for Performance Testing

Selenium WebDriver Architecture

Selenium WebDriver API gives correspondence facility between languages and browsers. The accompanying picture shows the compositional portrayal of Selenium WebDriver.

There are four fundamental parts of WebDriver Architecture:

  • Selenium Language Bindings
  • JSON Wire Protocol
  • Program Drivers
  • Genuine Browsers
Selenium Architecture

Selenium Language Bindings

Selenium load testers have made language bindings/Selenium Client Libraries to help numerous dialects. For example, on the off-chance that you need to utilize the program driver in Java, utilize the Java build. All the upheld language bindings can be downloaded from the official Selenium site. The quantity of Selenium clients has developed fundamentally after some time. Numerous clients imply numerous improvement stacks to be upheld, and network documentation to utilize Selenium with various dialects, utilizing WebDriver API as the principal usefulness to be shared by means of binding.

JSON Wire Protocol

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is an open norm for trading information on the web. It underpins information structures like article and exhibit. In this way, it is anything but difficult to compose and peruse information from JSON. JSON Wire Protocol is a vehicle used to move information between a client and a server. JSON Wire Protocol fills in as an industry standard for different REST (Representational State Transfer) web administrations.

Program Drivers

Selenium utilizes drivers, explicit to every program to build up a protected association with the program without uncovering the interior rationale of program’s usefulness. The program driver is likewise explicit to the language utilized for automation, for example, Java, C#, and so on. At the point when we execute a test content utilizing WebDriver, the accompanying activities are performed inside.

 

        • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) demand is created and sent to the program driver for every Selenium order.
        • The driver gets the HTTP demand through HTTP worker.
        • HTTP Server chooses all the means to perform guidelines which are executed on program.
        • Execution status is sent back to HTTP Server which is hence sent back to automated content.

Genuine Browsers

Browsers supported by Selenium WebDriver include the following:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Opera

Features of Selenium WebDriver

Different Browser Support

Selenium WebDriver supports a host of internet browsers, for example, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari. Selenium WebDriver also supports mock browsers, or headless browsers like HTMLUnit.. HTMLUnit is a headless browser, or a browser that doesn’t use a GUI (Graphical User Interface). Other headless browsers supported include PhantomJS, however, it is not recommended as it has not been maintained for a long time. Many open-source load testing solutions use headless browsers, as performance testers can initiate a lot of HTTP requests, or protocol-based traffic. The issue, however, with headless browsers is that they cannot test client-side scripts, so the actual performance from the user’s perspective is missed.
performance monitoring report
Protocol-based Tests vs. Real Browser-based Tests
Protocol-based tests were extremely popular during the early years of the Internet. However, over time, web application frameworks and browsers evolved, and now those once popular load testing methods have become increasingly outdated. While HTTP tests are still used today, it makes load testing difficult as websites become more complex.

Modern day web applications rely on client-side behavior and actions, rather than the server for navigation, searches, etc. For example, Single-Page Applications (SPAs) rely on little involvement from the server once the page is loaded. There may be some dynamically loaded content from the server-side, but from the user’s perspective, this provides them with a more seamless experience without having to continually load new pages.

Various Programming Languages Support

WebDriver additionally supports many of the popular programming languages like Java, C#, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Perl, and Python. Subsequently, the client can pick any of the programming languages that they are most comfortable with and begin constructing the test contents.
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Selenium Test Automation with Python

As we have mentioned previously, Python is one of the supported programming languages within Selenium. Python is popular because it is user-friendly and uses basic commands in English, as opposed to punctuation, symbols, and characters like other programming languages use. Additionally, Python tends to run faster and is simpler compared to other languages, like Java, for example. To begin testing with Python, there are a few prerequisites that need to be completed, such as installing the latest Python version as well as the appropriate web drivers depending on the browser you are using, such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc.

Furthermore, there are additional steps and considerations, like setting preferences, creating the project, and PyDev module before you can begin creating your Python script. So, from a tester’s perspective, this takes additional time and effort away from being able to just carry out tests. So, for example, if you wanted to test logging into an account, there is a lot of manual work and knowledge that a tester needs to have before they can begin. A web-based solution like LoadView removes all these obstacles with the EveryStep Web Recorder. Performance testers can simply navigate through their web application or website, regardless of the browser used, like a typical end user does and the scripts are saved automatically. From there, you can input variables that can simulate logging in to a form by submitting different credentials for load testing. No previous coding experience or knowledge required.

Speed

WebDriver performs quicker when contrasted with different apparatuses of Selenium Suite. it does not need any middle of the road worker to speak with the program; the device straightforwardly speaks with the program.

Basic Commands

Most of the orders utilized in Selenium WebDriver are anything but difficult to actualize. For example, to dispatch a program in WebDriver following orders are utilized:

  • WebDriver driver = new FirefoxDriver(); (Firefox program)
  • WebDriver driver = new ChromeDriver(); (Chrome program)
  • WebDriver driver = new InternetExplorerDriver(); (Internet Explorer program)
WebDriver-Methods and Classes

WebDriver furnishes different answers for adapting to some of the possible difficulties in automation testing. WebDriver additionally permits analyzers to manage all sorts of complex web components, for example, check boxes, drop-downs, and cautions.

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Load Testing using Selenium WebDriver

There are a few steps when it comes to load testing using Selenium WebDriver.

Create a Browser Configuration

Make a Thread Group and include “Chrome Driver Config” from Config Elements menu.

Selenium Thread Group
At that point, you must give the downloaded ChromeDriver a path to your Config Element.
Selenium ChromeDriver

Implement Your Test

Include WebDriver Sampler under the Thread Group. This will bring a fundamental content, which opens a site page. We must control this content. To cooperate with the program, you must utilize Selenium explicit techniques, as sendkeys, click(), and so on. Here are a few hints:

Browse Open Command

This command opens the given URL

WDS.browser.get
To do some UI-explicit activity, you must import the org.openqa.selenium bundle to your content. Simply add this line to your content as shown below.
JavaImporter

SendKeys Command

If you know about Selenium, you realize that you can arrive at component by cssSelector, ID, XPath and so on the pkg variable that we made, which encourages you discover the web component. This is the way you discover a component. You store the webElement into a variable called searchField.

SendKeys Command
At this point, you simply utilize the standard Selenium work SendKeys to think of some content.
searchField

Click Command

Selenium has an underlying snap order. You simply utilize a similar capacity after gaining the webElement. To begin with, we store the component and play out the snap activity.

Click Command

Additional Commands

Other than these essential orders, we should utilize a few orders explicitly intended for Selenium, so Selenium will have the option to catch sampler’s beginning and end time. Those two techniques will send Selenium the beginning and end signals for revealing purposes.

Selenium Beginning_End

Log Command

You should do some logging during your test. At that point you simply utilize the underneath order. Also, users can see results of load test.

Log Command

Kinds of Requests

There are two kinds of solicitations you may be comfortable with, GET and POST.

Selenium GET Request
On the off-chance that it is a GET request, at that point it brings about a reaction that will be created at the program end and it will be sent over HTTP to the program driver, and eventually, the program driver with the assistance of JSON wire convention sends it to the UI, or Eclipse IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
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Advantages of Selenium WebDriver

There are other tools in the market that can automate testing, so what are the advantages of Selenium WebDriver? We will look at several advantages that Selenium WebDriver has over other automation tools.

      • Free. It is one of the more popular open-source automation testing tools in the market. Additionally, it can integrate with many of the popular Continuous Integration (CI) platforms like Jenkins, Maven, TestNG, and more.
      • Supports various operating systems like Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, etc.
      • Supports a wide-range of languages including Python, Java, C#, Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, and Kotlin.
      • Support for popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer.
      • Selenium WebDriver finishes the execution of test contents quicker when compared with different tools.
      • More concise API (Application Programming Interface).
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Disadvantages of Selenium

While there are many advantages of an open-source tool like Selenium, there are some disadvantages you will want to consider:

      • Supports just testing web-based applications.
      • Requires in-depth knowledge. Users need a good grasp of programming languages.
      • Reporting is limited and typically requires users to rely on third-party tools.
      • No dedicated or reliable technical support like you would have for a commercial tool.
      • No support for ORC (Optical Character Recognition). There is a third-party workaround, but it requires many steps and in-depth knowledge to carry out effectively.

Open-source Load Testing Tools

loadview dynamic adjustable curve
As we have previously discussed, an open-source tool like Selenium is a terrific way to carry out load testing in a very cost-effective manner. Selenium is just one of the many open-source options available to engineers and testers. Other popular tools include JMeter, Gatling, Tsung, and Locust. However, being open-source does not always mean that it is the best load testing solution. With open-source software in general, there is a lot of additional work and setup that needs to be completed before you can even begin the load testing process. While open-source tools are free, there is still a significant hardware and time investment that needs to be considered.
Furthermore, there may be a variety of features and benefits that are lacking from open-source tools that commercial tools, such as LoadView, that come standard. With LoadView there is no time-consuming setup or hardware requirements, so performance engineers can focus on testing. Features like on-demand performance dashboards, point-and-click script recorder, performance reports, and access to a fully managed distributed load testing network, just to name a few.

UI Testing and the User Experience

A major factor in whether a customer or client ends up doing business with your organization is their experience with your sites and web applications. Not only is it critical to ensure that your web applications are functioning properly, load testing them ensures that they, and your system in general, can handle increases in traffic without affecting behavior. This provides customer confidence and increases the chance that they will be a return in the future. UI testing is a bit different than testing the back-end of a system.

UI testing focuses how the visible components of your pages and applications perform. This includes forms, shopping carts, menus, portals, etc. Anything that is visible to the user or processes that are critical to the business, should be load tested. While a tool like Selenium can be used, a solution like LoadView provides engineers with all the tools they need quickly and easily test pages and applications. Selenium requires additional setup and comprehensive knowledge of programming languages. With LoadView, you can script these user actions quickly with the EveryStep Web Recorder and load test those scripts from a fully managed cloud network of over 40 locations.

Read: UI vs. Back-end Load Testing

LoadView: Load & Stress Testing in Real Browsers

Paid API monitoring tools will often include additional features, add-on choices, multi-protocol support, access to ongoing updates, and offer global monitoring locations, which is key to understanding how APIs are performing from where your users are located. Additionally, support is a major differentiator between free API monitoring tools and paid API monitoring tools. Support options with free API tools are typically limited and may only be available through FAQs or support documents, with no access to a dedicated 24/7 support team.

LoadView

For web applications, users can utilize the EveryStep Web Recorder and point and click their way through the application the same way a user or client would. Those scripts are then uploaded into the LoadView platform where, with only a few more clicks, can create your load testing scenario and run your test. Do not waste time manually scripting scenarios for your web applications. Learn more about the features of LoadView.

Advantages of LoadView

These are just a few of the great advantages of LoadView:

  • Simple to use. It has an easy-to-understand user interface.
  • Includes the EveryStep Web Recorder for easy and quick script recording.
  • Integrates with Continuous Integration tools, such as Jenkins.
  • Supports many technologies and frameworks, browsers, and mobile devices.
  • Test from over 40 global locations.
  • Can test at the protocol level, as well as using real browsers.

Basic Differences Between LoadView and Selenium

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LoadView

  • LoadView is a fully managed web-based load testing solution.
  • LoadView does not need extended support for cross-browser testing.
  • LoadView can test at scale and everything and users can see graphical view of load testing.
  • LoadView can capture a video for easy troubleshooting.
Selenium Logo

Selenium

  • Selenium is a tangible programming library and not an apparatus.
  • Selenium supports wide range of browsers for cross browser testing.
  • Selenium does not scale well.
  • Selenium WebDriver lacks the ability to capture a video and troubleshoot.
The Selenium test suite can be composed in a TestNG XML suite. As the name proposes, it is an XML document that depicts a whole Selenium test suite/situation to be executed. The subsequent record can be shared among test machines, conceding they have a similar test inclusion rationale. Selenium can be utilized for some presentation testing (for example restricted data transmission testing), yet it cannot be utilized to stack test with exactness like LoadView. For instance, Selenium cannot produce a controlled number of solicitations for a considerable length of time. LoadView makes setting up your load testing details, like concurrent users, delays, ramp up/ramp down times, and much more.

And like we mentioned earlier, LoadView can record step-by-step scripts for web application sessions through real browsers and replay the web sessions as the server sees them. Moreover, LoadView has another end-client experience included, which empowers you to test your web pages and see what clients see when your site is under load.

Once your tests are complete, you can view the data through performance reports, session reports, waterfall charts, etc., to see the performance breakdown of every element and component. A lot of the time, there are errors and bugs that your users may not even be aware of, but it is impacting load times and performance. You can see exactly where issues are, so your teams can fix them quickly.

Conclusion: Selenium Load Testing Explained

load stress performance testing
LoadView and Selenium are both utilized for web application testing. However, the fundamental distinction is that LoadView is used to test the presentation of web applications under load and stress. Then again, Selenium is most appropriate for automation and cross program testing of a site. Considering what sort of testing is important for the undertaking, one can surely use LoadView to meet all their performance testing needs.

LoadView provides comes ready with many out-of-the-box features that most tools in the market do not include. Additionally, users have the option to choose from multiple subscription-based plans, or an on-demand plan, that best fits your organization’s needs.

Try LoadView for yourself today! Or better yet, schedule a live demo with one of our performance engineers. They will take you step-by-step through the LoadView platform and show you exactly how to set up, configure, and execute load tests.

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