Cypress Vs Selenium- Comparison Of Automation Testing Tools

Cypress vs selenium

Selenium is a popular automation framework for functional testing and web app testing. Automation testers who use Selenium can run tests on various browsers and platform combinations by using an online Selenium Grid. Although selenium is the go-to structure for test automation, Cypress – a generally late participant in the test automation game has been catching up very rapidly.

Similar to selenium, Cypress is also an open-source test automation framework to test web applications.  And here comes the big fight Cypress vs Selenium. Here’s a list of some common questions that might come up while comparing Cypress vs Selenium.

  • Is Cypress an alternative to Selenium?
  • Does cypress support popular programming languages?
  • What is the architectural difference between Selenium and Cypress?
  • Does cypress also support cross browser testing?

Here we’ll see the comparison- Cypress vs Selenium. Before digging to the comparison, let us see each one in detail.

Know the details of automated testing at- What Is Automated Testing And Why We Need It.

What Is Cypress?

Cypress is a completely Javascript-based front end testing tool built for modern web. It focuses to overcome the pain points that developers or QA engineers face while testing an application. Cypress is a more developer-friendly tool that uses a unique DOM manipulation technique and operates directly in the browser. It provides a unique interactive test runner where it executes all commands. It’s official documentation states that cypress differs fundamentally and architecturally as compared to Selenium.

With Cypress, developers or QAs can create unit tests, end to end tests, integration tests. By using agile methodologies, front end developers have started creating their own test cases. Javascript is a widely used language among front end developers. As we already seen that Cypress is purely Javascript based tool which indicates how this tool is designed to meet the requirements of front end developers. Normally, one should be proficient in JavaScript prior to beginning with Cypress testing. Architectural improvements in Cypress allows testers to perform Test-driven development(TDD) with complete end-to-end testing.

What Is Selenium?

Selenium is a popular test automation tool which automates web-browsers. It is the most lovable testing tool for developers since a decade. Selenium allows QAs to automate test cases for desired browsers by using the Selenium WebDriver library with a language-specific framework. QAs and developers also have the flexibility to choose the programming language of their choice. Selenium developers have developed language bindings for various languages such as Java, Python, Ruby etc. Web driver make suse of a JSON wire protocol for executing test cases. Execution includes three main steps:

  • Test commands are translated into a URL
  • Browser Drivers receive these URLs using HTTP server
  • URLs are forwarded as a request to the actual browsers and all commands in the test scripts are executed.

Cypress Vs Selenium-

1. Language Support-

One of the key difference noticed when comparing Cypress and Selenium is that the former is Javascript only and the latter is an open-source tool compatible with a wide variety of programming languages like Python, C#, Ruby, R, Dart, Javascript and Objective-C.

But, it can be argued that it is incorrect to label this as a limitation of Cypress given that this tool is targeted at frontend developers, who basically write in Javascript. This programming language is the one in particular that programs are capable of executing. The limitation of a single language for frontend development is a different argument altogether. Even with its single language support, Cypress can be accessible to a wide client base in its target audience, given that this incredible and concise programming language is generally used across the world.

Whereas, selenium is an end-to-end regression testing tool that has an API configured with various language bindings. This makes selenium more appropriate choice for QA teams whose scope of work is broader and more diversified.

2. Testing Framework-

While offering choices to users, Cypress limits the language and framework that can be used for testing. With Cypress, one can just use the Mocha testing framework to write tests. Role of Mocha in Javascript is comparable to that of NUnit in C# or Junit in Java. But it is not the only testing framework that is available to Javascript users. By offering a particular testing framework support, Cypress rules out choices, like Jest or Tape for frontend developers working with this testing tool. Whereas, selenium webdriver doesn’t force such limitations on its users. Particularly, you don’t need a testing framework when automating testing with Selenium. Tests can be run by writing a program that drives the browser. This approach is generally used for collecting data or crawling web pages.

3. Browser Support-

Taking into account that Cypress is intended to equip frontend developers with web application testing, its restricted cross-browser support is almost baffling.When it was first revealed, the testing automation tool was viable completely with Chrome. In the next updates, it extended support to Firefox, Electron, Edge and Brave also. But Cypress still doesn’t work with IE and Safari and also it lacks multiple tabs support and cannot be used to drive two browsers at the same time. 

Whereas, selenium has no such limitation. It can be used to test apps on chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, Edge and mobile browsers.

4. End-To-End Vs Frontend Testing-

Selenium is designed to carry out end-to-end regression tests for web apps. This tool has been extensively used for frontend testing by QA teams, because the concepts of developers testing code themselves is still relatively new and upcoming. This trend has been set off by the advent of agile software development methodologies, which can’t be used ideally until frontend developers have the option to test their own code. These days many developers are writing their test code with integration and end-to-end functional tests to analyze the functionality of their frontend creations on real browsers.

While the wide parameters that frontend developers test are like those of QAs, their requirements and goals are different. For example, frontend developers have no necessity for a staging environment wherein the whole application – backend, database, and fronted – is deployed.

Cypress has been built particularly to address the testing needs of frontend developers, permitting them to test the frontend by running it locally. The difference in testing approach is at the core of what separates Cypress and Selenium WebDriver. So, they are different tools having different sets of users.

5. Test Execution And Time Travel-

Selenium executes its all commands in a web driver outside of the browser in which actual testing occurs. Whereas, Cypress’s tests run inside the browser with app code. Benefit of running the Cypress process the browsers is that there is no network lag. It use same DOM events generated by the browser, so Cypress commands run as fast as the DOM is generated.

So test execution of Cypress’s is faster than Selenium.

Time travel feature in Cypress takes snapshots of events while running cypress tests and it can be viewed on the command panel in the test runner. You can over and click on every command that runs the test.

Comparison of Cypress vs Selenium-

Features Cypress  Selenium
1. Cross browser support Chrome, Firefox, Electron, Edge, Brave Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Mobile browsers
2. Multi Tab Not Supported – workaround present Supported
3. Testing types E2E, Visual, Unit, API E2E, Visual, Security, Unit
4. Programming Languages JavaScript Java, Python, C#, JavaScript Etc.
5. Testing Frameworks Mocha Junit, Nunit, Mocha, Jest, Protractor, etc.
6. Integrations Wide range of integrations (CI/CD, Reporting, Visual Testing ), etc. Wide range of integrations (CI/CD, Reporting, Visual Testing ), etc.
7. Network & Traffic Control Supported Not Supported – workaround present
8. Real-time reloads Supported Not Supported
9. Community Support Growing community Robust community
10. Documentations Excellent Documentation Average Documentation

Which One To Choose?

It completely depends on the requirements. Both tools gave their own pros and cons.

You can choose, cypress if the web application is built on modern JS frameworks like React, Angular, Vue etc. It will provide a platform for tester and front-end developers to write their automation tests.

You can go with selenium if the requirement is to test on IE and needs access to external tools such as SauceLabs, BrowserStack.

Final Words-

Although both tools are designed to automate web browsers for testing, they differ in their architecture, purpose and target user base. Cypress is a new in market and still growing whereas Selenium is an established automation testing tool. Cypress offers winning features like automatic scrolling; real-time reloads, time travel, top-notch execution speed, and more that are not available in Selenium. Whereas, Selenium offers features like remote execution, cross browser testing support, provision to implement tests in various programming languages, and more.

If you are still confused to choose the best testing tool for your next software solution, consult with Solace experts. We are here to help you through consultation and developing the best software solution. Connect with Solace and get a free quote for an effective web solution development. We will be happy to help you.

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