Selecting a Programming Language for Selenium WebDriver


Selenium WebDriver is a web framework that enables automation testers to run cross-browser tests.

Selenium is a widely used open source, portable software testing framework for web applications. This tool automates the testing of web-based applications to ensure that they function as intended. You can select a programming language to use when creating test scripts with the Selenium WebDriver. Selenium WebDriver is compatible with a wide range of browsers including Google Chrome 12+, Internet Explorer 7,8,9,10, Safari 5.1+, Opera 11.5, Firefox 3+, Windows, Mac, Linux/Unix, and operating systems. Selenium Web Driver also supports various programming languages, including C#, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, and PHP. Selenium WebDriver is implemented in each of these languages. It offers a base framework to interact with a browser. Selenium Web Driver is highly flexible, and it allows testers to choose the language they prefer to design the test cases. Additionally, to compensate for the Selenium-RC API’s limitations, Selenium WebDriver was created to offer a simpler and more concise programming interface. 

this image shows the Selenium-RC API’s limitations - Selenium WebDriver

What Language Do We Select To Build Selenium Based Test Automation Suites?

When beginning a new WebDriver automation project, several key factors should be kept in mind before selecting a scripting language. The following factors can help choose the most appropriate scripting language for selenium web driver automation:

  1. Support and available documentation for various WebDriver APIs.
  2. API maturity and the frequency with which they are updated.
  3. Complexity of the scripts or running environment setup.
  4. Scalability and maintenance requirements of the project.
  5. Complexity level of web applications.
  6. Complexity of test cases and required test coverage.
  7. In-house support available for different languages from developers.

Whether you are just starting out with automation testing or an experienced tester looking to learn a new programming language, selecting the right programming language is essential. Now let’s compare 3 popular programming languages for automation in selenium web driver.

Read more about Selenium Vs. Puppeteer: Six Technology Experts Discuss Their Preferred Testing Tool

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this image shows the programming Language
Comparing Factors C# Java Python
Documentation and Online Support
Online documentation available, but less online assistance as compared to Java.
There is more documentation and online support available.
Available official documentation, but with limited online assistance.
Supported Browsers
Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera.
Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, HTML unit, Android, iPhone.
Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, HTML unit, Android, iPhone.
API Updates
Quite mature but less support and updates.
Primary WebDriver API. All new features are first implemented here.
Equally mature but less support and delayed updates.
Supported Test Framework
TestNG, JUnit, Sikuli.
Usability for C# is good too but not great as python.
Usability for java is good too but not great as python.
Python can handle rote tasks like memory management in an excellent manner. It has great development speed.
Setting up environment for running script
Easy to set up.
Complex to set up.
Easier to set up.
Powerful Command Line
C# has a satisfactory command line as compared to the other two languages.
Java has better CLI than C#.
Python has the most powerful CLI which makes launching tests easy.
IDE Support
C# IDE support is good but comparatively not as great as Java.
Java has excellent IDE support.
Same as C#.
Ability to handle complex scenarios
C# is not so great in handling complex scenarios.
The features of the Java and Python APIs are the same, and both can handle complex scenarios.
The features of the Java and Python APIs are the same, and both can handle complex scenarios.
Learning Curve

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The information presented above highlights the most widely used automation programming languages for test automation. Aside from the languages mentioned above, there are also plenty of other evolving programming languages to consider when making a choice. Writing test cases or scripts will be easier if one is aware of diverse programming languages. The programming languages used also vary by companies and are determined by the testers’ preferences.

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