The Challenge of Getting Started with Selenium

Owen Savage

Automation Expert

If you're fed up with the time-consuming and error-prone nature of manual software testing, it’s likely you'll turn to Selenium as a way of automating the testing process. After all, it’s the most popular framework for doing so. That said, Selenium doesn’t just present a dream scenario of test automation. Getting started with Selenium presents its own challenges

This explanatory article will take you through some of those challenges. 

Skip to: 

What is Selenium?
Getting started with Selenium
The challenges of Selenium 
A no-code alternative

What is Selenium? 

This may sound like an obvious question, but what does Selenium actually do?

It’s an open-source automated testing framework used to validate web applications across different browsers and platforms. One of its advantages is that it allows you to automate browser testing in a variety of programming languages. 

If you’re trying to automate software testing, Selenium offers a suite of tools to help you to do so. 

Read more: What is WebDriver in Selenium?

This all sounds great, but really getting started with Selenium is another matter. 

Getting started with Selenium

The first stages of getting Selenium set up involve: 

  • Installing a library 
  • Installing browser drivers 
  • Opening and closing a browser with Selenium 
  • Writing your first script 

Using Selenium involves identifying web elements, adding actions in your preferred programming language along with the test data, and then running tests. These are components of the process that you have to understand before you get started with Selenium. 

You’ll also need to make sure that you’re installing the right library depending on what programming language you use (and that you get the latest version too). Setting up Selenium will include installing the right drivers, learning how to open and close browsers, and writing scripts. 

Because Selenium is open-source, you’ll be relying on community groups and chat rooms to solve the problems you encounter setting it up. This is opposed to licensed software which grants you the opportunity to get direct help. 

Testing teams cannot always rely on this support for larger enterprise projects due to the necessity for privacy and quick resolution time. 

The challenges of Selenium 

So that’s what’s involved with actually setting Selenium up. But getting it up and running as an automatic testing system requires much more. What else is there to consider? 

Overall, it’s difficult to set up and use, potentially leading to high startup costs. When starting with Selenium, you need to actively devise a plan for which tests you are going to automate. This requires thinking about what will give the quickest ROI for your efforts.  

Related reading: Why no-code test automation has the best ROI

There are a number of specific challenges that come with using Selenium. These include: 

  • handling pop-up windows
  • the fact that it only supports web browsers 
  • trying to automate for mobile phone browsers 
  • bottlenecks caused by an inability to run tests quickly
  • the difficulty of maintaining test automation 
  • difficulty integrating it with the rest of the pipeline 

If you want to know more about the benefits and limitations of using Selenium once it’s set up, read our blog post here: Selenium automation: what does it require? 

A no-code alternative 

Fundamentally, starting with Selenium requires coding resources. You either need testers to learn how to code or to hire developers to take care of it. Both require investment.

The fact that to automate testing and maintain that automation requires coding also limits how much non-coders in a QA team can engage in an automation strategy. 

This is what test automation in Selenium looks like. 


selenium screenshot


Now compare this to the below visual flow using Leapwork's test automation flow. 



If you want to know more about a no-code solution to Selenium testing, download our whitepaper on the subject. 

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