Selenium Vs. Cypress.io: A Feature-Based Comparison Guide

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Recently, QA teams and developers are shifting to an open-source test automation tool and framework.

Open-source test automation frameworks include the best software testing technique, tools, assumptions, and libraries that can be used across teams.

Other than Selenium, Cypress.io is another automation testing tool gaining popularity.

Choosing the most appropriate automation testing solutions is crucial. For this reason, it’s essential to know the main differences between the features of Selenium Vs. Cypress.io.

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Table of contents
Installation
Running Automated Tests across Browser Vendors
Open-Source Test Automation
The Architecture
Selenium RC vs. Cypress IRC
Automation Testing for Developer or QA
Which Automation Tool Should You Choose?

Installation

When it comes to installation, Cypress does not need any configuration. You just have to install the .exe, and all the dependencies and drivers will be installed and configured automatically. That means you can get up and running in a few minutes.

On the contrary, Selenium is not as straightforward as Cypress. It requires the installation of the language binding as well as the configuration of the necessary drivers for it to work.

So if you are looking for an automation tool that is easy to install, Cypress is the more favorable option.

Running Automated Tests Across Browser Vendors

One of the advantages of Selenium is that it allows easy cross-browser testing. On the other hand, Cypress only supports Chrome family browsers (like Electron and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge) and Firefox.

So, if running multiple tests against various browser vendors like IE, Safari, Google, and Firefox is what you are looking for, Selenium wins.

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Open-Source Test Automation

Both Selenium and Cypress are open-source tools. However, Cypress also offers a paid feature.

The Cypress test runner has no restrictions. You can test cases, change the reporter, and even write a plugin that can yield a pass/fail – and all these things in this test runner are open-source MIT license and free.

You can start using the Cypress dashboard if you get the paid service. However, this is a value-added service and optional. That means both automated testing solutions would work if open source is crucial to you.

The Architecture

Selenium works by running outside the browser and implementing remote commands across the network.

Generally, the underlying commands are remote. The automation scripts run outside the browser to execute commands into the web browser. However, it can’t comprehend the reactions of the events fired in a single runtime loop.

One of the advantages of Cypress is that it uses a different approach. The test script runs inside the browser and is executed in a similar run loop as your application. Also, it leverages a Nide.js server to tackle all necessary tasks outside of the browser.

With that said, Cypress can provide you with more consistent results as it can understand everything that happens both inside and outside the browser. This will also give you native access to each object without dealing with over-the-wire protocols or object serialization. You can pull your application into Cypress.

Moreover, Cypress allows you to quickly drop a debugger into your spec test code or application, making it a lot easier to use the software development tools when you need them.

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Selenium RC vs. Cypress IRC

Cypress IRC is different from Selenium RC because it straddles both worlds where it can run inside the browser and do unit testing, parallel testing, and other cool things. But often, you may need to expand beyond JavaScript. 

For these cases, Cypress uses a similar underlying browser automation API to what Selenium WebDriver is doing. It does the same thing, but only with limitations to some types of commands.

Automation Testing for Developer or QA

Selenium is for both tester-type engineers and QA developers, whereas Cypress is more for developers than testers. Cypress users are usually QA engineers or developers creating web applications using JavaScript frameworks. Some JavaScript developers who used both automation testing tools end up loving Cypress.io.

Cypress founder, Brian, has created this automation testing tool in response to developers' complaints in terms of writing test scripts and functional testing. Some developers even have issues with their regression tests being unreliable and very slow to use as TDD. Cypress.io is a developer-centric test automation tool that can help developers create Cypress tests for the web.

So, if you want a tool that can match your testers, Selenium supports, making it a greater choice. However, Cypress would be better if you are mostly a front-end developer.

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Which Automation Tool Should You Choose?

Though Selenium and Cypress are both automation or web application testing tools, they differ in performance and architecture. The main difference is that Cypress is ideal for familiarizing developers to test automation instead of replacing Selenium. This is the main reason why Cypress has grown into one of the world’s fastest-growing test automation tools. On the contrary, Selenium is a multi-purpose tool that targets a broader audience.

Before choosing which automation tool to use, compare Cypress Vs. Selenium by weighing their pros and cons. Spend time automating some test cases on a cloud-based platform offering integration with Selenium and Cypress. That way, you can evaluate which test automation framework will work best to serve your team in the long run.

Generally, you can opt for Selenium if your team has more testers than developers or uses a programming language tech stack. But if you want your JavaScript developers to create TDD-type tests that focus on UI-based automation, try Cypress now.

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