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Which Testing Tool Should You Choose: Selenium WebDriver or Cypress? Part 2

Gabriel Bononi
Discover the pros and cons of testing with Cypress and Selenium WebDriver by looking at real-world examples.
QA looking at laptop, deciding between Cypress and Selenium WebDriver.

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In part one, we outlined the theoretical pros and cons of Selenium WebDriver and Cypress. Now, it’s time to look at how this theory translates into practice. In this article, we will analyze code examples and much more to provide insights into how both tools address real-world development challenges.

Use Cases: Cypress and Selenium WebDriver

The choice between Cypress and Selenium WebDriver depends on your project’s specific testing needs. Some common scenarios can make each of the tools more suitable. Let’s start by looking at ideal use cases for each testing tool.

Use Cypress if you…

    • Need to run tests quickly and efficiently.
    • Want a simple, easy-to-use API.
    • Want advanced debugging capabilities.
    • Have less experience with test automation and want a tool that is easy to set up and start using.

Use Selenium WebDriver if you…

    • Need to support multiple browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.).
    • Work in a development environment that uses multiple programming languages.
    • Need to run tests in different environments, such as mobile devices.
    • Have more experience in test automation and want more flexibility and control over how you automate.

Differences in Practice

In the code examples below, you will notice some similarities and differences. This first example uses Cypress. The code opens the login page at “https://teste.com/login,” fills in the username and password fields, and clicks the submit button. It then checks whether the page URL redirects to the user’s dashboard page at “/dashboard.”

Cypress example code:

Next, let’s look at a similar example but using Selenium WebDriver in JavaScript.

Selenium WebDriver example code:

In this example, the code creates an instance of the Selenium driver and opens the login page at “https://teste.com/login.” It then finds the username and password fields and the submit button and completes the fields with the login information. Next, it waits for the page URL to redirect to the user’s dashboard page at “/dashboard.” At the end of the test, the code closes the driver instance.

Between the two tools, you will notice a slightly different code syntax. In particular, you will likely notice the asynchronous functions in the Selenium WebDriver example. However, the underlying logic is the same: Fill out a login form and verify that the user is redirected to the user dashboard page upon successful login.

Differences in Support for Technologies like Angular

There are differences in the ways that Cypress and Selenium WebDriver handle interactions with elements rendered by Angular. Developers designed Cypress to work with modern web applications, such as those built with Angular, Vue, or React. It has specific features to simplify interactions with these types of applications.

Cypress generally handles Angular applications more effectively than Selenium WebDriver. This is because Cypress is built specifically for front-end testing and is smarter in how it waits for elements rendered on the page.

For example, Cypress can automatically detect when an asynchronous call is being made and wait for the call to be completed before continuing with testing. Additionally, Cypress runs within the same browser context in which the application is running. That means it has direct access to DOM objects and can perform actions faster and more reliably.

Selenium WebDriver is also capable of handling Angular applications. With the right techniques, it is even possible to make Selenium wait correctly for elements being rendered by Angular. However, Cypress tends to be more effective for front-end testing and dealing with Angular applications.

Blue question mark against a pink background, symbolic of the choice between Cypress and Selenium WebDriver.

Which Is Better: Cypress or Selenium?

Both Cypress and Selenium WebDriver are powerful tools for automating tests in web applications. The choice between them depends on your specific needs and the development team’s preferences.

Cypress has intuitive APIs, advanced debugging capabilities, and is relatively easy to configure. It is an excellent option for teams that want agility and productivity when writing end-to-end (E2E) tests on modern web applications. Its ability to function directly in the browser delivers speed and efficiency. Video recording and screenshot capture capabilities also make it easy to debug issues.

Meanwhile, Selenium WebDriver is widely used and supports multiple browsers, integration with a diverse array of programming languages, and runs tests on mobile devices. It is a popular choice for functional and regression testing. It also integrates well with continuous integration (CI/CD) tools and enables automation at scale.

In summary, if you need simplicity, agility, and advanced debugging capabilities, Cypress may be the best option for your E2E tests. On the other hand, if you need multi-browser support, multi-language integration and testing on mobile devices, then Selenium WebDriver may be a better fit.

Carefully evaluate features, your project requirements, and team preferences before making a choice. Both tools have their advantages and can be effective in test automation if applied correctly.

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