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Selenium vs Splash: What are the differences?


In this article, we will discuss the key differences between Selenium and Splash. Both Selenium and Splash are web scraping tools, but they have distinct features and use cases. Understanding these differences can help developers choose the most appropriate tool for their specific requirements.

  1. Support for JavaScript Execution: Selenium is primarily used for automating web browsers and supports JavaScript execution out-of-the-box. It can interact with dynamic web pages and execute JavaScript functions. On the other hand, Splash is a rendering service that can handle JavaScript, but it requires additional setup and configuration to enable JavaScript execution.

  2. Rendering Approach: Selenium uses a real browser to render web pages. It can interact with the rendered page in the same way a user would. This allows for accurate testing and automation of complex user interactions. In contrast, Splash uses its own rendering engine based on the Qt framework. It provides a headless browser-like environment for web scraping, but its rendering may not always be identical to real browsers.

  3. Performance: Selenium can be slower compared to Splash due to its use of a real browser. By interacting with a browser, Selenium incurs the overhead of network communication and page rendering. On the other hand, Splash can be faster as it separates rendering and scraping tasks. It can pre-render pages or render them in a background thread, improving performance for scraping purposes.

  4. Ease of Setup: Selenium requires the installation of browser drivers for different browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox, to work with them. This can introduce complexities while setting up the environment. In contrast, Splash is relatively easy to set up since it is a standalone service and doesn't require any specific browser installations.

  5. Supported Programming Languages: Selenium is compatible with a wide range of programming languages, including Python, Java, C#, and more. Developers can use their preferred language to interact with Selenium. On the other hand, Splash provides an HTTP API, which allows developers to interact with it using any programming language capable of making HTTP requests.

  6. Community and Documentation: Selenium has a large and active community of users, resulting in extensive documentation, tutorials, and libraries available for different programming languages. Splash, being a comparatively newer tool, has a smaller community and fewer resources available. This may make it slightly more challenging to find comprehensive documentation and support for specific use cases.

In summary, Selenium provides comprehensive browser automation capabilities with JavaScript execution support, while Splash focuses on providing a headless rendering service with improved performance. The choice between the two tools depends on the specific needs of the project, including the level of JavaScript interaction required and the desired performance trade-offs.

Advice on Selenium and Splash
Needs advice

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 · 221.5K views

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

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Pros of Selenium
Pros of Splash
  • 176
    Automates browsers
  • 154
  • 101
    Essential tool for running test automation
  • 24
  • 24
    Remote Control
  • 8
    Data crawling
  • 7
    Supports end to end testing
  • 6
    Easy set up
  • 6
    Functional testing
  • 4
    The Most flexible monitoring system
  • 3
    End to End Testing
  • 3
    Easy to integrate with build tools
  • 2
    Comparing the performance selenium is faster than jasm
  • 2
    Record and playback
  • 2
    Compatible with Python
  • 2
    Easy to scale
  • 2
    Integration Tests
  • 0
    Integrated into Selenium-Jupiter framework
    Be the first to leave a pro

    Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

    Cons of Selenium
    Cons of Splash
    • 8
      Flaky tests
    • 4
      Slow as needs to make browser (even with no gui)
    • 2
      Update browser drivers
      Be the first to leave a con

      Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

      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.

      What is Splash?

      It is a headless browser that executes JavaScript for people crawling websites. It is open source and fully integrated with Scrapy and Portia. You can also use its API to integrate with any project that needs to render JavaScript pages.

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

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      What are some alternatives to Selenium and Splash?
      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.
      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.
      Nightwatch.js is an easy to use Node.js based End-to-End (E2E) testing solution for browser based apps and websites. It uses the powerful Selenium WebDriver API to perform commands and assertions on DOM elements.
      Puppeteer is a Node library which provides a high-level API to control headless Chrome over the DevTools Protocol. It can also be configured to use full (non-headless) Chrome.
      Cucumber is a tool that supports Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD) - a software development process that aims to enhance software quality and reduce maintenance costs.
      See all alternatives