Why Selenium is almost great

Last week I filled out the same multi-part form about a million times while developing and testing a Drupal Commerce checkout workflow. That reminded me of a presentation I attended in Waterloo last August where James Schumann (@jschumann) provided an introduction to Selenium.

Selenium automates browsers. That's it. What you do with that power is entirely up to you. Primarily it is for automating web applications for testing purposes, but is certainly not limited to just that. Boring web-based administration tasks can (and should!) also be automated as well.

At the time I thought this might be an interesting idea, but didn't give it much consideration as I didn't have a need, and assumed that I would run into accessibility barriers. I was mostly wrong.

I recently downloaded the Selenium IDE, a Firefox extension, and followed Selenium IDE Tutorial – Part 1. Other than the tutorial not being super accessible, the experience was fast and easy. Of note, the tutorial mentions 'Record' and 'Play' buttons, these actions can be performed through Selenium IDE's 'Actions' menu.

[Update] I have tried again and do appear to be able to access the results of the testcase. I'll blame this on testing in the middle of the night.

Although it appears that attention has been paid to keyboard accessibility (see Issue 1266 - selenium - Accessibility improvements for Selenium IDE)The one accessibility glitch for screen-reader users is that Selenium IDE's feedback doesn't appear to be accessible. Using JAWS 13 and Firefox 10 I was able to record and playback a testcase, but I was not able to access the results. I have filed a bug at Issue 3444 - selenium - Cannot access test results with screen-reader. For now Selenium IDE is an excellent automation, but not testing, tool for my toolbox.