WebDriver is one of the most powerful and popular tools of Selenium toolkit. WebDriver comes as an extended version of Selenium RC with superfluous advantages and addresses many of its limitations. WebDriver extends its support to many latest browsers and platforms, unlike Selenium IDE. WebDriver also doesn’t require Selenium server to be started prior to execution of the test scripts, unlike Selenium RC.
WebDriver makes direct calls to the Web browser and the entire test script is executed in this fashion. WebDriver uses the browsers support and capabilities to automation
Unlike Selenium RC, Selenium WebDriver doesn’t essentially require Selenium Server to be started before launching the test script execution. The user can leverage the benefit and may or may not require Selenium Server if he/she desires to perform the test execution on the same machine where the browser is residing.
Exceptional Cases when Selenium Server is required with WebDriver:
When the user wishes to execute test scripts on the remote machine.
When the user wishes to execute test scripts on HtmlUnit Driver.
When the user wishes to execute test scripts on multiple platforms.
WebDriver is a purely object-oriented framework that works on OS layer. It utilizes the browser’s native compatibility to automation without using any peripheral entity. With the increasing demand, it has gained a large popularity, user base and has become by far one of the most extensively used open source automation testing tools.
WebDriver supports a diverse range of web browsers and their versions. It supports all the conventional browsers in addition to some unique and rare browsers like HtmlUnit browser unlike Selenium RC and Selenium IDE.
HtmlUnit Browser executes the test scripts analogous to other browsers except the fact that it runs in the headless mode i.e. GUI-less mode and the user won’t be able to view the test script execution. Said that the test script execution transpires in headless mode, thus the execution speed takes a roll and quickens the execution.
Selenium WebDriver supported programming languages are:
Thus the user can pick any one of the programming language (provided the language is supported by WebDriver) based on his/her competency and can start building test scripts.
When compared to other tools of Selenium suite, WebDriver turns out to be the fastest tool amongst all. The communication is not channelized via any external intervention; rather the tool directly communicates with the browser same as that of any user. Thus, WebDriver takes advantage of the browser’s native compatibility towards automation.