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Capybara vs Selenium: What are the differences?


In website development and testing, Capybara and Selenium are both widely used tools. While they serve a similar purpose, there are some key differences that set them apart. This article aims to highlight the main differences between Capybara and Selenium.

  1. Architecture: Capybara is built on top of Selenium, extending its functionality and providing a more intuitive and user-friendly interface for developers. It simplifies the process of interacting with web elements and handling asynchronous behavior. On the other hand, Selenium is a standalone tool for web automation. It requires explicit commands and has a steeper learning curve compared to Capybara.

  2. Syntax: Capybara provides a high-level domain-specific language (DSL) that is more readable and expressive. It allows developers to write tests in a human-like language, making it easier to understand and maintain. Selenium, on the other hand, relies on lower-level commands and requires developers to have a deeper understanding of web technologies and programming languages.

  3. Browser Support: Capybara supports multiple browsers out of the box, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and others. It provides a consistent interface for interacting with different browsers, abstracting away the details of each specific browser. Selenium, on the other hand, requires browser-specific drivers to be installed and configured separately. It provides more flexibility in terms of browser versions and configurations but requires additional setup.

  4. Parallel Execution: Capybara comes with built-in support for running tests in parallel, allowing for faster test execution and better resource utilization. It provides a simple API for managing parallelism, making it easier to scale test suites. Selenium, on the other hand, does not have direct support for parallel execution. Developers need to rely on third-party libraries or custom solutions to achieve parallelism.

  5. Community and Ecosystem: Selenium has a larger and more mature community compared to Capybara. It has been around for longer and has a wider adoption in the industry. As a result, there are more resources, tutorials, and community support available for Selenium. Capybara, on the other hand, has a smaller but growing community. It is gaining popularity due to its simplicity and ease of use.

  6. Integration with Frameworks: Capybara integrates well with popular testing frameworks like RSpec and Cucumber, making it easier to write and organize tests. It provides additional features and matchers that are specifically designed for these frameworks. Selenium, on the other hand, can be integrated with any testing framework but may require additional configuration and setup.

In summary, Capybara is a higher-level abstraction built on top of Selenium, providing a more intuitive syntax, browser abstraction, parallel execution support, and seamless integration with testing frameworks. Selenium, on the other hand, offers more flexibility, wider browser support, a larger community, and can be integrated with any testing framework.

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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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Prashanth Marappa
Senior Software Engineer at Mphasis · | 1 upvotes · 218.4K views

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

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Pros of Capybara
Pros of Selenium
  • 12
    Best acceptance test framework for Ruby on Rails apps
  • 2
    Synchronous with Rack::Test
  • 1
    Fast with Rack::Test
  • 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

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Cons of Capybara
Cons of Selenium
  • 1
    Hard to make reproducible tests when using with browser
  • 8
    Flaky tests
  • 4
    Slow as needs to make browser (even with no gui)
  • 2
    Update browser drivers

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What is Capybara?

Capybara helps you test web applications by simulating how a real user would interact with your app. It is agnostic about the driver running your tests and comes with Rack::Test and Selenium support built in. WebKit is supported through an external gem.

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.

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What are some alternatives to Capybara and Selenium?
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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.
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