Selenium Grid vs. mabl: A Beginner’s Continuing Exploration

Simultaneous Testing

Once setting up tests and scheduling them to run on their own was understood, what I wanted to try next was simulate heavy traffic on a site. Onwards I went, exploring Selenium vs. mabl.

The Test Plan

For these purposes, I pitted the open-source tool Selenium Grid against mabl, a closed source tool that also boasts the ability of running simultaneous tests. During the process of this test I took a modest approach and followed the following processes:

  • Installation
  • Configuration
  • Installing and Configuring an existing test plan

Selenium Grid

Selenium Grid is the segment of the Selenium universe which enables setting up multiple testing servers or nodes to run many tests simultaneously. A brief examination of the Selenium website gave me a basic overview of what it does. However, like many open source projects, the documentation was a little sparse and incomplete.

role: node
timeout: 1800
cleanUpCycle: 5000
maxSession: 5
capabilities: Capabilities {browserName: firefox, marionette: true,
maxInstances: 5, platform: WIN10, platformName: WIN10, seleniumProtocol: WebDriver, server:CONFIG_UUID:
9073491d-7919–4983-b403-a9a…}
capabilities: Capabilities {browserName: chrome, maxInstances: 5,
platform: WIN10, platformName: WIN10, seleniumProtocol: WebDriver,
server:CONFIG_UUID: ccc0d78d-1472–4e99-bd67-ecb…} capabilities: Capabilities {browserName: internet explorer, maxInstances: 1, platform: WINDOWS, platformName: WINDOWS, seleniumProtocol: WebDriver, server:CONFIG_UUID: 24ea30e2–362a-
4c05–9a4e-8fc…}
downPollingLimit: 2
hub: http://localhost:4444/grid/register
id: http://192.168.1.3:17888
nodePolling: 5000
nodeStatusCheckTimeout: 5000
proxy: org.openqa.grid.selenium.proxy.DefaultRemoteProxy
register: true
registerCycle: 5000
remoteHost: http://192.168.1.3:17888
unregisterIfStillDownAfter: 60000

mabl

The setup process with mabl proved to be quite different and considerably easier than Selenium Grid.

Analysis

It is somewhat difficult to compare these two tools, as they behave very differently. Both had their strengths and disadvantages.

Selenium Grid

While documentation seemed sparse, after playing with it for a while, it became very clear that this is an extremely powerful tool, and ideal for those who wish to run multiple self-constructed tests. It, like Selenium WebDriver, is what it claims to be: a framework for further development. Tools for running and configuring tests exist, but everything needs to be done by the tester or developer at the outset. If an organization has a large amount of human capital, with many highly talented testers/developers and a large bank of servers, it is an ideal tool for managing large numbers of test. There is a reason why Selenium is a popular framework: its sheer power and flexibility.

mabl

mabl is very easy to use, right out of the box. The learning curve for setting up running multiple tests is very low. Configuring tests in mabl seems to be relatively easy; it’s about getting the plans moving. The preliminary set up that was necessary with Selenium Grid servers, including configuration, seemed to be unnecessary with mabl; it’s already taken care of, as everything is cloud-hosted. In other words, there’s no need to set up a hub server or several nodes, either on one machine or on others; instances in the cloud are very easy to create, and mabl orchestrates it for you. Support is another area where mabl is very strong. They have a staff that appears eager to assist where they can.

Conclusion

In the experiences of this humble developer getting used to the idea of working with automated testing tools, whether to choose Selenium Grid or mabl depends on the size of one’s enterprise, the level of complexity needed, knowledge level, and the amount of time you want to commit to your QA process.

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Jason Simon

Jason Simon

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Web Developer, Information Specialist and Technical Writer, with a wide-range of scattered interests.