Selenium IDE rises like a phoenix from the ashes

Selenium IDE rises like a phoenix from the ashes

2018 will be the year when the Selenium IDE rises like a phoenix from the ashes… of the legacy Firefox add-ons.

It all started in early August 2017 when we lauchned the Kantu Selenium IDE to implement a modern Selenium IDE for Chrome. Then in late August a computer science group from a Taiwanese University released the Sideex IDE for Chrome. And in September the Selenium core team announced that they as well will implement an update of the original Selenium IDE for Firefox, which - you might remember - stopped working last year as the new Firefox Quantum extension system no longer supports legacy addons. And just before the year ended a company called Katalon released yet another Selenium IDE, an expanded and rebranded version of Sideex.

So which Selenium IDE to use? Short answer: It depends. Longer answer: See our overview table below.

Compare Selenium IDEs

The table below lists the key features of the most popular new Selenium IDEs and iMacros, another popular web automation addon.

Feature Core Kantu Katalon Sideex iMacros
Record Selenium Commands yes yes yes yes -
Chrome Version yes yes yes yes yes
Firefox Version yes yes yes yes ?
Open-Source yes yes - yes -
Flow Control (if/else/…) - yes - - -
Code Export - - yes - -
File Download partial yes partial partial yes
File Upload - yes - - yes
Data-driven (Read CSV) - yes - - -
Web Scraping (Save CSV) - yes - - -
Full-Page Screenshots - yes - - -
Install Link Core Kantu Katalon Sideex iMacros

And the best new Selenium IDE is…?

The long answer is also “it depends”. There is no “best Selenium IDE” for every use case. But with the table above in mind we can summarize the situation like this:

For basic recording and replay all Selenium IDEs work ok.

If code-export for Web Driver is important for you, then the Katalon IDE is your only option at the moment (February 2018). Code export is the ability to create some Java/C# code snippets for use with webDriver. This should not be confused with the ability export the recorded test cases in HTML or JSON format to reuse in other tools (for example as input for one of the synthetic web performance monitoring services). This is something all IDEs can do.

If you need to import data from CSV files (data-driven testing), test file uploads or extract information from websites, then use the Kantu Web Automation extension. It is the only Selenium-IDE compatible extension that can automate these tasks. Because of this, Kantu is also the best alternative for iMacros for Firefox. iMacros was the most popular web automation browser extension in the last decade, but it - being a legacy Firefox add-on - stopped working in August 2017, just like the original Firefox Selenium IDE.

Partial file download support in the table above means that all extensions can trigger a file download but only Kantu and iMacros have an “OnDownload” command that allows you to wait for a download to complete (e. g. to measure the download time) and that allows you to rename the downloaded file.

Last but not least, watch a modern Selenium IDE for Chrome in action:

Any of the reviewed chrome extensions can automate web testing (form filling) the online ocr page shown in the video, but only Kantu could also test/automate the “Upload file from hard drive” feature at OCR.Space.

Did we miss a key feature when comparing the different Selenium IDEs? If so, please let us know in the comments below.

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