Cypress vs Selenium - Which One Is Better For Test Automation?

Cypress vs. Selenium

Test automation is one of the major concerns of the modern tech world. Through all our articles on different topics, we have always tried to let everyone know about the importance of software testing. No matter how many features you offer through your app and how much resources you spend on building your dream product, if the application fails to perform its basic operations and ends up providing a pathetic user experience by crashing repeatedly, there will be no point in having that app as a source of your business because it will most likely become devastating for your business.

Now, you are surely aware of the constant exponential rise in the demand for apps among tech users or better to say, most of the world. Well, the present world has hardly anything that somehow does not involve technology. Users are always on the search for new apps as well as some better or upgraded versions of the existing ones. That non-stop demand for new products opens opportunities for tech businesses to grow their product base and they usually dive into developing countless apps to solve different problems faced by the users.

However, the point is that such a huge number of software applications makes it also essential to test them for their best quality. Now, testing so many applications by manual efforts only will not be able to deal with the short deadlines. Also, you may surely know how manual testing can lead to numerous human errors. So, that’s where test automation comes in and the brainstorming to find out the most efficient way to automate the tests also begins.

What Are Cypress and Selenium?

Cypress and Selenium are two of the most popular test automation tools that are serving massive numbers of technology businesses to fulfill all their testing needs. Both of these are awesome at completing different sets of tasks related to the quality assurance of the products. While Cypress has not been popular for its testing capabilities, Selenium has been serving its huge user base for a long now. Now, let’s focus on figuring out the better one between them.

What Is Cypress?

Cypress is a completely JavaScript-based testing tool that operates directly in the browser and helps developers to fulfill their front-end testing requirements. Front-end portions of an app were previously part of the cumulative testing approaches but then developers felt the necessity to address those testing needs with specific strategies and attention. JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages used in front-end development works. Hence, being based on JavaScript, Cypress becomes better suited for front-end testing works and its unique DOM manipulation technique & interactive test runner enable developers to easily create tests and run their commands.

Cypress has some exclusive architectural aspects that make it suitable for performing test-driven development (TDD) with complete end-to-end testing. It helps testers to efficiently perform popular tests like -

Advantages of Cypress

  • You do not have to worry about adding wait commands in Cypress test scripts. Cypress automatically waits for commands and assertions.
  • Cypress captures screenshots when the commands are getting executed so that testers or developers can analyze a specific command or a set of commands in the command log to know what happened at that particular step.
  • Cypress has an effective automatic scrolling option that ensures that an element is in view before performing any action on it.
  • It enables you to use spies, stubs, and clocks to verify and control the behavior of server responses, functions, or timers.
  • Cypress executes commands in real time while QA engineers are writing them.
  • It provides visual feedback on the commands as they run. Its efficient documentation helps you a lot to keep track of everything.
  • Cypress has now extended support for its features on Firefox & Microsoft Edge from Google Chrome, the only browser that was previously supported.

Limitations of Cypress

  • It does not support multi-tab operation. You can perform tests on only one tab at a time.
  • It does not allow you to use Cypress to drive two different browsers at the same time.
  • Cypress’s services or features are not presently supported on browsers like Safari or Internet Explorer.
  • Using Cypress, you can create test cases in JavaScript only.
  • It offers limited support for iFrames.

What Is Selenium?

Selenium is a highly popular test automation tool that lets you automate different forms of web testing for about two decades now. It offers an amazing Selenium WebDriver library with a language-specific framework to develop automated test cases for different browsers. Being an open-source tool, it allows you to download the required WebDriver for free from its documentation page so that you can move on with creating tests for the specific browser you want to test on.

The WebDrivers use the JSON wire protocol for executing test cases. The tests are executed through the following main steps -

  • Test commands are translated into a URL.
  • These URLs are received by browser drivers using the HTTP server.
  • The URLs are forwarded as a request to the actual browsers.
  • All commands in the test scripts are executed.

You can check out the article “An Introduction To Codeless Selenium Test Automation” to know every detail about how tests are automated using Selenium.

Advantages of Selenium

  • It is an open-source tool, so you get amazing testing experiences at absolutely no cost.
  • It provides amazing cross-platform compatibility with different operating systems like Windows, Linux, macOS, Unix, etc.
  • You also get the flexibility to create test cases in different programming languages such as Java, Python, Ruby, etc.
  • It offers amazing cross-browser testing capabilities on different popular browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.
  • It provides concise APIs for your ease of operation.

Limitations of Selenium

  • It doesn’t have any built-in command for the automatic generation of test results.
  • It has a steep learning curve that makes it difficult for small businesses to spend a lot of resources on training QA teams to use it.
  • It is quite difficult to handle page load or element load using it.
  • Creating test cases in Selenium is highly time-consuming.
  • It has very limited support for testing images.
  • Compared to Cypress, setting up a test environment in Selenium is quite difficult.

Which Points Make A Tool Ideal For Test Automation?

Till now, you went through different aspects of Selenium and Cypress to know how each one of them fulfills your testing requirements. Now, let’s check out the qualities of an ideal automation testing tool to figure out which one of those two tools is best suited for you.

Versatility In Testing

You are not going to perform only one type of test. Hence, whichever test automation tool you choose, it must be capable of efficiently performing every popular form of test (e.g. unit tests, integration tests, regression tests, end-to-end tests, UI tests, API tests, functional testing, etc.). Make sure to confirm such versatility before choosing the best test automation tool for you.

Ease of Use

It is somewhat a common characteristic that every efficient software must have. One of the prime reasons behind using a tech product is completing any task easily and, if the app makes you go through complex guides & training sessions, it can not be suitable for anyone. Hence, whichever test automation tool you use, make sure that you experience ease in using it.

Supports Multiple Languages

Every application in the market is never going to be written in the same programming language and based on different requirements & different user demands, you have to develop applications using multiple languages like JavaScript, Python, Java, Ruby, etc. The core scripting language is a thing that will remain the same throughout the complete project. Hence, while selecting your testing tool, look for test automation tools that support multiple languages and most importantly, support the language that your app is scripted in.

Good Functioning Speed

Technology is meant to help you complete more tasks in less time. When you are developing an application to solve a requirement of the users, it is supposed to take a lot of time in its different phases. Every project has some initial plans based on market research and surveys conducted to know what the users want. But, as the project moves through the execution phase, users’ requirements change, stakeholders come up with new ideas for features, technologies get updated, and many more impactful things happen. To bring maximum growth for your business, you must spend most of your time in such important areas rather than just being stuck with testing different parts of the product. Also, if you plan to spend less time testing without taking care of all necessary aspects, you may not provide the best quality product to your users. Hence, the automated testing tools that you use, must work at high speed with better accuracy.

Effective Online Support From Community

Technology is a vast field and one can never know everything. If you just take the example of programming languages, there are a number of options available that you can use for writing the codes of your applications. Now, you cannot and should not learn all of them but, whichever languages or skills you need, there must be proper educational & tutorial content available to learn them. Also, you may need support at any point when you are using some tech stack. Hence, when you are selecting the test automation tool for your business, make sure that there are enough resources available online to learn everything about it, and most importantly, there is a supportive community that can help you get rid of any issue while using that tool.

Comparison Between Cypress and Selenium

Below is a detailed comparison between Cypress and Selenium, the two highly popular test automation tools based on some crucial points of being a better test automation tool.

Base of Comparison

Cypress

Selenium

Types of Tests Supported

Supports end-to-end, Front end, and API testing.

Supports end-to-end tests. Doesn’t support API testing.

Userbase

Developers and testers.

Automation engineers and testers.

Supported Languages

JavaScript/TypeScript

Supports a lot of languages such as Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, Perl, Ruby, C#, etc.

Ease of Use

Based on how much you are familiar with JavaScript. This is mostly suitable for developers as a lack of JavaScript knowledge can bring difficulties for you to use it.

It may provide you the freedom to use it as it supports a number of languages but, it has a steep learning curve that can make it hard for you to become a pro at using it.

Simplicity In Setup

It has everything bundled and requires no extra component installation to install it. You can install it by simply running the command -

npm install Cypress -save-dev

It has two component bindings and requires a web driver to be installed for its installation. Hence, installing Selenium is more hectic and time-consuming.

Functioning Speed

Its architecture does not utilize a web driver, so it functions with more speed.

Its architecture does not allow you to create tests quickly but it allows parallel execution of tests on different browsers so you can experience some speed while using it.

Cross-Browser Support

It supports all chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Brave, Edge) and Firefox

It supports every browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Internet Explorer, etc.)

Integrations and Plugins

It has limited integrations but a large set of plugins.

It offers integrations with CI/CD tools, cloud vendors, visual testing, and reporting tools.

Availability of Documentation

Good code samples and documentation are available for this tool.

Very average documentation is available for this tool.

Online Community & Support

It has a huge growing community.

It has a mature online community.


Conclusion

This article lets you know a lot about both Cypress and Selenium. Both of them are quite good for specific user bases according to their testing needs. From all the discussions above, you can easily analyze which tool more closely matches the qualities of a better test automation tool. And, from all this discussion and comparison, you can easily figure out which one suits your requirements.

However, you can clearly see that both of these tools have some limitations too. To avoid such limitations and to avoid steep learning curves to use these tools, people now prefer using the absolutely codeless test automation tool PreFlight, which is also considered the best alternative for Selenium. To know how this simple browser extension can provide you with numerous amazing testing advantages, check out the article “10 Amazing Software Testing Benefits From PreFlight In 2022”.

The best part is that you can try the amazing testing experience from PreFlight for free. Visit our website for more information about all our products and feel free to reach out to us for all your queries. And, if you like to read informative tech articles, do visit our blog page.