Headless Browser Testing using Selenium WebDriver | Software Testing Material

Headless Browser Testing using Selenium WebDriver

In this post, we learn what is Headless Browser Testing and what we could achieve with Headless Browser Testing using Selenium WebDriver. Selenium WebDriver is a tool to automate web applications. It verifies that the web applications are working as expected. It supports many browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari etc., You could open these browsers manually and you could see the graphical user interface of above mentioned browsers.

If you execute a Selenium script using “WebDriver driver = new FirefoxDriver();”, then you could see Firefox browser Graphical User Interface (GUI) in your system and a result based on your script in your IDE console.

Hope you have seen above mentioned browsers earlier. If you want to see how to use these browsers then check these links.

  1. Mozilla Firefox – GeckoDriver
  2. Google Chrome
  3. Internet Explorer
  4. Edge Driver

Headless Browser Testing using Selenium WebDriver

So what is Headless Browser?

Now coming to the headless browser, a headless browser is a browser which doesn’t have a GUI. Headless browser is used to simulate programs even though there is no browser installed on your local system. You couldn’t see any browser in your system but you will get the same result in your console. Headless browser doesn’t have GUI means it’s just that it doesn’t have any GUI but the program runs in the background.

Headless Browser Testing Using Selenium WebDriver:

Headless browser testing using Selenium WebDriver is done to test the application without any visual interruption.

Two widely used headless drivers with practical examples.

  1. HtmlUnitDriver
  2. PhantomJSDriver

Advantages of Performing Headless Browser Testing In Selenium:

  1. It’s faster. The performance is better compared to browser automation. Automated testing is to automate a browser to ensure that the application is running as expected. Running regression scripts take lots of time. With headless browsers, we could save time.
  2. It enables you to run the scripts on a system which doesn’t have a browser.
  3. Imagine you have a situation to run some tests on a version of google chrome and there is no such version of google chrome on your local system. In this case, you could use the headless browser, most of the headless browsers support browser versions.

Disadvantages of Headless Browsers Testing:

  1. Debugging is a bit difficult using headless browsers. Here browser is not visible, the only way is to capture a screenshot.

In the next post, we will learn how to perform HtmlUnitDriver headless browser testing using Selenium WebDriver and PhanthomJsDriver headless browser testing using Selenium WebDriver.

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Headless Browser Testing using Selenium WebDriver

Rajkumar SM is a founder of SoftwareTestingMaterial. He is a certified Software Test Engineer by profession and blogger & youtuber by choice. He has an extensive experience in the field of Software Testing. He writes here about Software Testing which includes both Manual and Automation Testing. He loves to be with his wife and cute little kid 'Freedom'.

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