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Protractor vs Selenium: What are the differences?

Developers describe Protractor as "End-to-end test framework for Angular and AngularJS applications". Protractor is an end-to-end test framework for Angular and AngularJS applications. Protractor runs tests against your application running in a real browser, interacting with it as a user would. On the other hand, Selenium is detailed as "Web Browser Automation". Selenium automates browsers. That's it! What you do with that power is entirely up to you. Primarily, it is for automating web applications for testing purposes, but is certainly not limited to just that. Boring web-based administration tasks can (and should!) also be automated as well.

Protractor can be classified as a tool in the "Javascript Testing Framework" category, while Selenium is grouped under "Browser Testing".

"Quick tests implementation" is the primary reason why developers consider Protractor over the competitors, whereas "Automates browsers" was stated as the key factor in picking Selenium.

Protractor and Selenium are both open source tools. Selenium with 14.9K GitHub stars and 4.97K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Protractor with 8.24K GitHub stars and 2.23K GitHub forks.

MIT, Typeform, and Bukalapak are some of the popular companies that use Selenium, whereas Protractor is used by PeopleKeep, Omaze, and Garlic Tech Ltd. Selenium has a broader approval, being mentioned in 777 company stacks & 443 developers stacks; compared to Protractor, which is listed in 24 company stacks and 22 developer stacks.

Advice on Protractor and Selenium
Yildiz Dila
testmanager/automation tester at medicalservice · | 5 upvotes · 132.2K views
Needs advice
on
Protractor
and
Cypress

In the company I will be building test automation framework and my new company develops apps mainly using AngularJS/TypeScript. I was planning to build Protractor-Jasmine framework but a friend of mine told me about Cypress and heard that its users are very satisfied with it. I am trying to understand the capabilities of Cypress and as the final goal to differentiate these two tools. Can anyone advice me on this in a nutshell pls...

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Replies (2)
Kevin Emery
QE Systems Engineer at Discovery, Inc. · | 3 upvotes · 52.6K views

I've used both Protractor and Cypress extensively. Cypress is the easier and more reliable tool, whereas Protractor is the more powerful tool. Your choice of tool should depend on your specific testing needs. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each tool:

Cypress advantages:

  • Faster

  • More reliable (tends to throw fewer intermittent false failures)

  • Easier to read code (handles promises gracefully)

Cypress disadvantages:

  • Cannot switch between browser tabs

  • Cannot switch to iFrames

  • Cannot specify clicks or keypresses explicitly as if a real user was interacting

  • Cannot move the mouse to specific co-ordinates

  • Sometimes has trouble switching between different top-level domains, so not good for testing external links

  • Cypress is a newer tool with less extensive documentation and less community support

Protractor advantages:

  • More powerful because it is Selenium-based - it can switch between tabs, it can handle external links to other domains, it can handle iFrames, simulate keypresses and clicks, and move the mouse to specific co-ordinates within the browser.

  • More extensive community support and documentation

Protractor disadvantages:

  • Slower and more brittle - in general there is a higher likelihood of cryptic and/or intermittent errors which may cause your tests to fail even though there is nothing wrong with your application

  • For highly experienced automation engineers, the fundamental "brittle" nature of Selenium can be worked around - it can be reliable but only if you really know what you are doing

  • Less graceful handling of promises - relies on async/await or .then to manage the order of execution. Therefore it is a bit harder to read the code.

  • Harder to set up, and the method of setup impacts its reliability. For example, a hub/node configuration where the selenium jar is on a different physical machine than the browser under test will cause unreliability in your tests. Not everyone knows about this type of thing, so it's common to find Selenium frameworks that are set up poorly.

It's probably better to use Cypress if

  • you're at a smaller company and have a close relationship with developers who can help write hooks or stubs in their code to assist your testing

  • you don't need to do things like switch between tabs or test links to external top-level domains

It's probably better to use Protractor if

  • You might need to switch between tabs or test external links to other domains within the scope of your framework

  • You want to use a more accurate simulation of how a real user interacts with a browser (i.e. click at this location, type these keys)

  • You're at a company where you won't have any support from developers in writing hooks or stubs to make their code more testable in a less powerful framework like Cypress

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Jian Wang
Web Engineer at sentaca · | 1 upvotes · 81.5K views
Recommends

Please try Handow, the e2e tool basing on Puppeteer.

Gherkin syntax compatible

Chrome/Chromium orentied, driven by Puppeteer engine

Complete JavaScript programming

Create test suites rapidly without coding (or a little bit), basing on built-in steps library

Schedule test with plans and arrange stories with sequential stages

Fast running, execute story groups in parallel by multi-workers

Built-in single page report render

Cover page view, REST API and cookies test

https://github.com/newlifewj/handow

http://demo.shm.handow.org/reports

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Needs advice
on
WebdriverIO
Selenium
and
Jest
in

we are having one web application developed in Reacts.js. in the application, we have only 4 to 5 pages that we need to test. I am having experience in selenium with java. Please suggets which tool I should use. and why ............................ ............................ .............................

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Replies (1)
Prashanth Marappa
Senior Software Engineer at Mphasis · | 1 upvotes · 94.7K views
Recommends
Selenium

with the help of selenium we can automate react js for functional testing

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Pros of Protractor
Pros of Selenium
  • 8
    Easy setup
  • 7
    Quick tests implementation
  • 4
    Open source
  • 4
    Promise support
  • 3
    Flexible
  • 169
    Automates browsers
  • 154
    Testing
  • 101
    Essential tool for running test automation
  • 24
    Record-Playback
  • 24
    Remote Control
  • 8
    Data crawling
  • 7
    Supports end to end testing
  • 6
    Functional testing
  • 6
    Easy set up
  • 4
    The Most flexible monitoring system
  • 3
    Easy to integrate with build tools
  • 3
    End to End Testing
  • 2
    Integration Tests
  • 2
    Comparing the performance selenium is faster than jasm
  • 2
    Record and playback
  • 2
    Compatible with Python
  • 2
    Easy to scale
  • 0
    Integrated into Selenium-Jupiter framework

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Protractor
Cons of Selenium
  • 3
    Limited
  • 7
    Flaky tests
  • 2
    Slow as needs to make browser (even with no gui)

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is Protractor?

Protractor is an end-to-end test framework for Angular and AngularJS applications. Protractor runs tests against your application running in a real browser, interacting with it as a user would.

What is Selenium?

Selenium automates browsers. That's it! What you do with that power is entirely up to you. Primarily, it is for automating web applications for testing purposes, but is certainly not limited to just that. Boring web-based administration tasks can (and should!) also be automated as well.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

What companies use Protractor?
What companies use Selenium?
See which teams inside your own company are using Protractor or Selenium.
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What tools integrate with Protractor?
What tools integrate with Selenium?

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Blog Posts

What are some alternatives to Protractor and Selenium?
PhantomJS
PhantomJS (www.phantomjs.org) is a headless WebKit scriptable with JavaScript. It is used by hundreds of developers and dozens of organizations for web-related development workflow.
WebdriverIO
WebdriverIO lets you control a browser or a mobile application with just a few lines of code. Your test code will look simple, concise and easy to read.
Jasmine
Jasmine is a Behavior Driven Development testing framework for JavaScript. It does not rely on browsers, DOM, or any JavaScript framework. Thus it's suited for websites, Node.js projects, or anywhere that JavaScript can run.
Compass
The compass core framework is a design-agnostic framework that provides common code that would otherwise be duplicated across other frameworks and extensions.
Cypress
Cypress is a front end automated testing application created for the modern web. Cypress is built on a new architecture and runs in the same run-loop as the application being tested. As a result Cypress provides better, faster, and more reliable testing for anything that runs in a browser. Cypress works on any front-end framework or website.
See all alternatives