Selenium IDE and Selenium 2 / WebDriver

The final version of Selenium 2.0 was released yesterday. Congratulations to everyone involved. Great job!

It has been no secret that I was working on providing Selenium 2 support for the Selenium IDE. To sync with the Selenium 2 release, I also committed the first cut of the Selenium 2 / WebDriver exporters in all four officially supported languages, viz., Java, Ruby, Python and CSharp. You should be able to get it from our CI server here (when it is accessible) or from the main download site (when Adam gets to releasing it). The main reason this is being released is to give you a chance to play with it and give us your feedback. It is probably well known by now that none of us who look after Selenium IDE actually use it. So your feedback is very valuable. The rest of this post gives you some details of what to expect.

The first paragraph very carefully mentions exporters. You already know that the format menu was marked experimental starting from Selenium IDE v1.0.11. This continues to be the case. If you really miss it, read how you can turn the format menu back on in Selenium IDE and what that means for you in my earlier blog post. I would really like to encourage you to try out the excellent export features available from the File menu.

Some people may find the names Selenium 2 and WebDriver a bit confusing. WebDriver is the new API that Selenium now offers. Selenium 2 is a generic name for the suite of tools that offer this WebDriver API and a bunch of other features. Read about it here.

The WebDriver API is more focused towards the programmer. It may take a while to get used to it. A one to one conversion from Selenese to WebDriver API is not possible in many cases. Many Selenese commands translate to multiple calls on the WebDriver API.

Some code may not have the expected result. Selenium 2 tools will try to emulate the real user as much as possible. This means that you will be faced with some situations where the old Selenese scripts that work will no longer work when converted to use the WebDriver API. A few examples: you can no longer click on elements that are not visible, and deselect single radio buttons or modify disabled form elements. Please keep this in mind when you convert your scripts.

The first cut of the WebDriver exporters support LIMITED number of commands. Some more commands would require some utility classes that I am working on and should be released next. The rest of the commands need to be prioritised and your polite feedback will be much appreciated in determining which commands will be chosen next. Please leave a comment on Issue 2003.

Stored variables are NOT supported yet, but will definitely come in soon. If you have used stored variables in your script, there will be no explicit errors thrown, but you may observe strange behaviour or code.

Some locator strategies/types are NOT supported either. The default (identifier) locator will NOT be supported. If you record new scripts, the identifier strategy will not be used, instead the id or the name will be used explicitly. I am thinking of creating a plugin to help convert the old scripts. Till then, you can manually update your script with either the id or the name strategy. The dom/document strategies will be supported later. It is likely that the UI locater strategy will not be supported.

The generated code is not optimised and will be very slow when executed. In general, it will make multiple WebDriver API calls. For example, if you have two click commands on the same element, the converted code will find the element twice and click it. If you wrote it by hand you will probably find the element first and store it in a variable then invoke the click on it twice. The main idea of the WebDriver exporters is to get you started and to educate you, so that you can optimise the generated code. I am exploring some ways to optimise the generated code, so there is hope for improvement in the future.

All the four new exporters offer you a new option – Show Selenese. You can turn this option on or off from the Options dialog. From the Options Dialog, go to the Formats tab and choose the exporter name. You should see the Show Selenese checkbox. If this option is on, the command being converted will be shown as a comment. This is an excellent way to understand how the conversion happens.

Finally, any errors encountered during the conversion like unsupported command, unsupported locators or others would be inserted as comments in the script as well. So be sure to read through the generated code.

I would also like to thank all the people who encouraged me to do this and helped me to make this possible. Thank you Simon Stewart, Jari Bakken, Jim Evans, Dave Hunt and others! I had great fun doing these converters. Hope you enjoy them. Let me know through the comments. I will post the list of supported commands soon.

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37 Responses to Selenium IDE and Selenium 2 / WebDriver

  1. Iain Rose says:

    Thanks for the new release. The IDE export to Ruby Webdriver will be invaluable in helping to learn the new API of Selenium 2. The option to record, export then modify has always been the basis of all my Selenium scripts.

    One thing I did notice is the test framework for Ruby has changed from Test::Unit to RSpec. Is an option to export to Ruby Webdriver but still use the Test::Unit framework on the cards?

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Iain,

      I will create the Test::Unit framework Ruby formatter as well. It should be available in the 1.1.1 release. I am waiting for some feedback on the current formatters before I proceed.


  2. Sergey says:

    Is there plans to support exporting to PHP?

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Sergey,

      I am not aware of a WebDriver binding for PHP that is on the same level as the current official bindings. Until that happens, I doubt there will be a converter for it.


  3. Andy says:

    Thanks for this.
    The IDE is invaluable for cheaply writing tests and is my biggest obstacle to adopting selenium 2.

  4. Kangs says:

    Thanks Samit for the post. We definitely need a Selenium IDE/Web Driver formatter/converter. The Selenium IDE is main factor many of the new comers/novice to Selenium to understand and use and then move to the next level. I have checked the 1.1.0, however I did not find the Ruby (Test/Unit) Web Driver format (under Export Test Case As..). Is this something can be addressed quickly. Do I need to file any defect(s) or feature list. Please advise.

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Kangs,

      You don’t need to do anything. I am already working on it. It should be included in the next release of the Selenium IDE.


  5. vini says:

    You guys are not going to support selenium with Perl?
    as my framework include perl.


    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Vini,

      As mentioned before, we are waiting for someone from the Perl community steps forward to maintain the Selenium / WebDriver bindings for Perl. Lets hope it happens soon.


  6. Hello there,

    I am new to Selenium and we have recently start exporting our Selenium IDE Unit Tests to Selenium 2.0 (Webdriver). We use Junit 4 with Webdriver, but we would like to customise the code of the outputted Java file.

    Is there a way to write our own exporter?

    Additionally, is there a conversion list of how every Selenium IDE command is translated to Java? Surely the Selenium IDE uses something like this internally, if it’s able to perform the conversion, am I right?

    Regards and thanks for the *wonderful* job done so far.

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Emanuele,

      Thanks! You can write your own exporter. It might help to take a look at the existing code to see how it is done. You should be able to Google for the available resources.

      There is no conversion list of every Selenium IDE command. I have to take each command and determine how to map it to its equivalent in each language, usually with the help of the core developers working on the WebDriver API. It is still a time consuming process. The good news is that I have created the basic WebDriver conversion infrastructure that makes it very easy to create your own exporters which I have used to create all the five WebDrivers exporters that I have created so far. It is very clear once you get the hang of it.

      I selected a set of commands that made it in the first release of the WebDriver converters to get people started. I will be enhancing it further.


      • Thank you Samit for your prompt reply.
        We make a signficant usage of all the prompt-related messages – so I will be voting for those to be supported next.

        I’ve already left my feedback in this thread:

        Thanks again for your commitment toward building a better environment for testing web applications.

      • I have one more question; even if some Selenium IDE commands currently cannot be translated to WebDriver, the WebDriver commands that would enable them are already present?

        The issue is merely the automatic conversion from Selenium IDE to them, right?

        • Samit Badle says:


          There might not be a one to one mapping. For example, the select related commands would require helper classes to avoid bundling a block of code per command. The tick is to identify the equivalent WebDriver api code block and find an acceptable way to map it.


  7. Thank you for the clarifications.

  8. JerryCai says:

    Hello Samit,

    Selenium is a awesome tool for automating test. Thank you.

    And we are now hard to decide whether use Selenium RC or use Selenium WebDriver.
    Because the Java formatter of Selenium IDE for WebDriver seems not completed. Ex. isTextPresent() is likely not supported:
    // ERROR: Caught exception [ERROR: Unsupported command [isTextPresent]]

    But in Selenium RC, it can be exported properly:
    for (int second = 0;; second++) {
    if (second >= 60) fail(“timeout”);
    try { if (selenium.isTextPresent(“testString”)) break; } catch (Exception e) {}

    My questions are:
    1) Are all the commands in IDE supported in Selenium RC formatter?
    2) The similar API is supported in WebDriver (ex. isTextPresent() has the corresponding API in WebDriver API) now, just formatter of Selenium IDE not updated? Or it doesn’t exist such a function in WebDriver at all?

    If Q.1 is YES, we may use the RC rather than WebDriver because the recorder will not take extra effort to translate unsupported command to Java code like WebDriver does.

    Hope for you reply, thank you.

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Jerry,

      Good to hear from you. The WebDriver exporters in Selenium IDE are indeed work under progress. I selected a handful of commands that I felt would be useful to most people and implemented the exporters for them. As more and more people tell us which commands they really use, I would add the conversion for them. For the next release of Selenium IDE, I am hoping to add support for the Select related commands and the isTextPresent as well. In case there are some more commands you will need, feel free to leave a comment on Issue 2003.

      The answer to your first Q is most of the commands you need are supported in Selenium RC formatters. If you read my blog posts and comments on the subject, I have often mentioned that one to one mapping from the Selenium RC API to Selenium WebDriver API is not always possible. You may need helper functions to do the job, which is the main reason why the conversion has been delayed. But, we hope to make it complete someday. Let me know if this answers your questions.


  9. Camel says:

    Too bad that the Perl exporter has disappeared.
    IMO this is a huge step backward.

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Camel (or whoever you are),

      While it will not be officially supported soon. It might just make a magical appearance ;-)


  10. VK says:

    Hello Samit,

    Thanks for your post. I have a few questions regarding the different versions of Selenium IDE and which of WebDriver or RC would be best to export to given my requirements:

    1. I was initially using XPath for Element Locators, but I prefer to use CSS Selectors since it is more efficient. In this link:
    ,it says that for Selenium IDE 1.0.11, Santiago incorporated the CSS Locator builder so that we can have our Targets specified in CSS instead of Xpath.
    a) However, it seems like for version Selenium IDE 1.2.0, the CSS Locator type is not working and I wanted to know if there is a fix for it yet?
    b) If there isn’t, and if I have to use IDE 1.0.11 if I want to use CSS Locators, would I have to export my test scripts to Selenium RC (since there wouldn’t be compatibility with Selenium WebDriver) or is that not true?

    2. You mentioned in your original post that Selenese commands may be converted to multiple calls on WebDriver (Selenium 2.0), stored variables would not work and some commands do not work – do you have any updates on which of these now work?

    3. Lastly, are all the bug fixes from 1.0.11 also resolved in 1.2.0 or is that not the case?

    I’m trying to determine which of the Selenium IDE versions and which of Selenium RC or WebDriver I need to use for my testing purposes. I am basically testing a Front End website with some numerical data and need to verify whether those numbers are accurate when compared with the information on the databases they pull their info from.

    Thank you very much!

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi VK,

      See my answers below.

      1.a – CSS locators have been supported for quite a while. Can you mention what is not working or a issue number if it is a reported bug?
      1.b – CSS locators should work for Selenium RC as well as Selenium WebDriver, there are some tiny differences as Santi mentioned in his blog post on Sauce Labs.

      2 – There have been no updates so far on the Selenium WebDriver formaters, but they will come.

      3 – It is the same codebase, so the new versions always include the bugfixes from the earlier versions.

      I would say that you should always use the latest versions of Selenium family products, unless there is a compelling reason for not doing so. the Selenium community is quite responsive and bug fixes often get resolved very quickly.


  11. Sean says:

    Just a simple thought, I am converting the java formatter to Groovy well grails specifically. How do I go about doing this with the help of the selenium community?

    Many thanks,


  12. Swagatika says:

    Hello Samit,

    Thanks for the post. My question is somewhat similar to VK’s.

    I want to know how WebDriver is different from SeleniumRC in finding an element with CSS locator.
    As I am running a into an issue where RC works fine and locates the element by css locator, but the same WebDriver is not able to find.

    Example :

    RC:“css=.gwt-Button:contains(‘Run Query’)”); -> works
    WebDriver: driver.findElement(By.cssSelector(“.gwt-Button:contains(‘Run Query’)”)).click(); -> does not work
    The html:
    Run Query

    Could you please provide me some inputs to resolve the issue ?

  13. Mohammad says:

    I feel that not being able to export IDE tests to PHP is a serious issue for many selenium users – is PHP support on the selenium roadmap or has it been abandoned for the foreseeable future?

  14. Christopher Cortes says:

    Hello –

    I use Selenium IDE 1.6 to record my tests and then export the test using the “Python 2(WebDriver)”. I then call the test using a command line but I am running into a problem when the script comes across checking a checkbox using the “clickAt” or “Run Script” commands from Selenium. I get a message saying: ERROR: Unsupported Command [runscript] or [clickAt].

    Please help since this is hampering me from moving forward in my automated tests. Is there a workaround in the meantime I can use?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Chris Cortes
    QA Analyst II

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Chris,

      The Click at and the run script commands are currently not supported by the WebDriver exporters. You can manually convert these commands once the test case has been exported.

      For the click at, you should take a look at the WebDriver Actions class (in Java). I believe it is called ActionChains class in Python. The moveByOffset and click methods should help.

      The run script equivalent is the JavascriptExecutor. Take a look at for more information. Be aware that the script might not work out of the box due to the way WebDriver executes the scripts.


  15. vinod guneja says:

    Hi Samit ,

    Thanks for your post.I have one question in my mind that in which version of selenium IDE you have provided the exported web driver feature.


    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Vinod,

      The WebDriver export feature has been available for several months, simply get the latest version from


  16. B says:

    I receive the following in Eclipse: // ERROR: Caught exception [ERROR: Unsupported command [doubleClickAt]]. Is here a different command I can use?

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi B,

      This is the way by which the exporter tells you an automatic conversion is not possible yet for this command. You will need to manually need to add the command for now. Usually using the actions api. A google search for webdriver doubleclick should get you the answer.


  17. Nick Georgiev says:

    Will there be an export of Selenese test to WebDriverJS (javascript)?

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Nick,

      Yes, but it won’t be officially supported. You will have to download it from my plugins page when I am done.


  18. Felix Immanuel says:

    Hi Samit,
    The Web Driver playback was good, i implemented it successfully. It is very useful for me, i am now doing my tests in Firefox & IE with same test Scripts. But how can i do the same thing for Google chrome. I cant find any Chrome Driver server jar’s. I was not able to find any link for that. If i could get any information for implementing it in Google Chrome, then it will also be great for me.


  19. Ram says:

    Hi Samit – Thanks for the post. I am looking at the commands list, that are supporting by the latest java formatter to export into webdriver code. Can help me by sharing the list or any link that have the details.

    • Samit Badle says:

      Hi Ram, if you use any command that is not exported, feel free to update the issue mentioned. I will try to get in all commands that users are using in their scripts.

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