GroTechMinds

headless browser automation (1)

Headless Browser Automation

After reading this blog you will be able to answer the questions mentioned below under 'Take Quiz' section

Introduction

Automation testing has proven to be a big advantage for all software testers since it has considerably improved the quality of software applications thereby saving time, energy and budget which would have been spent in manual testing. Selenium has been one of the most popular and widely used tool among automation testers. It is mostly used for automating web applications and websites through browsers like Chrome,FireFox, and Edge. Selenium helps in automating various functionalities of the website, checking the navigation of different webpages of the websites, getting the titles of each webpage as well as extraction of data through web scrapping. Apart from all these, selenium is used for headless browser testing. This article will give an idea about headless browser automation.

What is Headless Browser Automation

Headless refers to any material or thing which has no head. So Headless browser automation refers to the testing of software applications in browsers that have no user interface(UI). In headless browser automation, a browser is used for complete testing without the presence of browser UI. The headless browser performs all the operations similar to the normal browser like navigation to webpages, clicking on links, uploading and downloading of files, etc in the absence of UI. Since we are unable to see the UI in Headless automation so all the testing activities happen at the back end. Headless automation ensures Test execution in the full version of the browser. Due to the absence of UI test execution becomes faster and more efficient as compared to browser automation with user interface.

Advantages of Headless Automation

The various advantages of headless automation are

  1. Headless Browser automation ensures faster test execution compared to normal browsers since less data is consumed from the system on which it runs.
  2. The effectiveness of test execution is better in a headless browser since the test execution happens two times faster than in a normal browser.
  3. It is best suited for web scrapping where the prime focus becomes getting a huge amount of data from a website and storing it in an Excel sheet instead of checking the User Interface through a normal browser.
  4. It is best for performing browser compatibility testing like parallel testing and cross-browser testing since browser compatibility testing is faster due to the absence of a user interface.
  5. Headless automation ensures browser automation through multiple browsers in a single system with less data consumption.
Disadvantages of Headless Automation
  1. We cannot debug our test scripts in headless automation since Test execution is not visible due to the absence of UI.
  2. In situations where it becomes necessary to visualize the test case execution and report any issues to the developer, automation through the headless browser is not recommended.
Headless Automation in Chrome Browser

The following is the procedure for headless automation in the Chrome browser

1. Open  Eclipse and create a new class in the existing package which contains the Selenium jar

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2. Create an object of the ‘Chrome Options’ class and name it as ‘options’ to the reference variable of the ‘Chrome Options’ class. Chrome Options is a class used for headless browser automation in Chrome Browser.

photo2

3.Using the reference variable of ChromeOptions class we use the ‘addArguments’ method and inside that method, we pass the argument as “–headless”. ‘addArguments’ is a parametrized method of ChromeOptions class which helps headless automation of chromebrowser after passing “–headless” as argument inside that method.

photo3

In Selenium 4.8 and below using the reference variable of the ChromeOptions class we could also use the ‘setHeadless’ method and inside that method, we passed an argument as ‘true’.‘setHeadless’ was another parametrised method of ChromeOptions class used for headless automation of chromebrowser after passing ‘true’ as arguments. For the Selenium version above 4.8 ‘setHeadless’ method is no longer available and only the ‘addArguments’ method is used for the headless automation of ChromeBrowser. The below screenshot shows that the ‘setHeadless’ method is depreciated or no longer available.

photo4

4. We then create an object of the ChromeDriver class and pass options as parameters in the ChromeDriver class and finally, we run the entire program.

photo5

The entire code snippet for headless automation using ChromeBrowser is shown below:

				
					package lamis;
import org.openqa.selenium.chrome.ChromeDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.chrome.ChromeOptions;
public class HeadlessBrowser {
	public static void main(String[] args) {
		ChromeOptions options= new ChromeOptions();
		options.addArguments("--headless");
		ChromeDriver driver= new ChromeDriver(options);
	
	}
}

				
			
Headless Automation in edge Browser

The following is the procedure for headless automation in the Edge browser

1.Open  Eclipse and create a new class in the existing package which contains Selenium jar.

photo6

2. Create an object of the ‘EdgeOptions’ class and name as ‘options’ to the reference variable of the ‘EdgeOptions’ class. EdgeOptions is a class used for headless browser automation in Edge Browser.

photo7

3. Using the reference variable of the EdgeOptions class we use the ‘addArguments’ method and inside that method, we pass the argument as “–headless”. ‘addArguments’ is a parametrized method of the EdgeOptions class which helps headless automation of Edgebrowser after passing “–headless” as an argument inside that method.

photo8

  In Selenium 4.8 and below using the reference variable of the EdgeOptions class we could also use the ‘setHeadless’ method and inside that method, we passed the argument as ‘true’.‘setHeadless’ was another parametrized method of EdgeOptions class used for headless automation of edge browser after passing ‘true’ as arguments. For the Selenium version above 4.8 ‘setHeadless’ method is no longer available and only the ‘addArguments’ method is used for the headless automation of EdgeBrowser. The below screenshot shows that the ‘setHeadless’ method is depreciated or no longer available.

4. We then create an object of the EdgeDriver class and pass options as parameters in the EdgeDriver class and finally we run the entire program.

photo10

The entire code snippet for headless automation using EdgeBrowser is shown below:

				
					package lamis;
import org.openqa.selenium.edge.EdgeDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.edge.EdgeOptions;
public class HeadlessBrowser {
	public static void main(String[] args) {
		EdgeOptions options= new EdgeOptions();
		options.addArguments("--headless");
		EdgeDriver driver= new EdgeDriver(options);
	
	}
}

				
			
Headless Automation in FireFox Browser

The following is the procedure for headless automation in Firefox browser

  1. Open  Eclipse and create a new class in the existing package which contains Selenium jar.
headless

2. Create an object of ‘FirefoxOptions’ class and name as ‘options’ to the reference variable of ‘FirefoxOptions’ class. FirefoxOptions is a class used for headless browser automation in Firefox Browser.

headless
  1. Using the reference variable of FirefoxOptions class we use ‘addArguments’ method and inside that method we pass argument as “–headless”. ‘addArguments’ is a parametrised method of FirefoxOptions class which helps headless automation of firefoxbrowser after passing “–headless” as argument inside that method.
headless

In the Selenium 4.8 and below using the reference variable of FirefoxOptions class we could also use ‘setHeadless’ method and inside that method we passed  argument as ‘true’.‘setHeadless’ was another parametrised method of FirefoxOptions class used for  headless automation of firefox browser after passing ‘true’ as arguments. For Selenium version above 4.8 ‘setHeadless’ method is no longer available and only ‘addArguments’ method is used for headless automation of FirefoxBrowser. Below screenshot shows that ‘setHeadless’ method is depreciated or no longer available.

headless

4. We then create object of FirefoxDriver class and pass options as parameter in the FirefoxDriver class and finally we run the entire program.

headless
The entire code snippet for headless automation using FirefoxBrowser is shown below:
				
					package lamis;
import org.openqa.selenium.firefox.FirefoxDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.firefox.FirefoxOptions;
public class HeadlessBrowser {
	public static void main(String[] args) {
		FirefoxOptions options= new FirefoxOptions();
		options.addArguments("--headless");
		FirefoxDriver driver= new FirefoxDriver(options);
	
	}
}

				
			
Conclusion

The choice between Automation using a headless browser or automation using a normal browser depends on the requirements, type of web applications to be tested, systems on which application is to be tested, and test results after execution. If there is a need for faster and more effective test execution with less data usage from the system then automation testing through the headless browser is a perfect choice. But if there is a need to see how the test is executed as well as to report the issue to developers then headless browser automation should not be chosen but instead we can choose a normal browser for such automation testing.

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