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Jest vs Selenium: What are the differences?

Jest and Selenium are two popular tools used for testing in web development. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Syntax: Jest is a JavaScript testing framework that uses a simple and intuitive syntax for writing test cases. It provides a wide range of built-in functions and utilities, making it easy to write tests. On the other hand, Selenium is a testing framework that relies on the use of different languages, such as Java, Python, and JavaScript. The syntax may vary depending on the language used, making it less straightforward for developers who are not familiar with multiple programming languages.

  2. Testing Scope: Jest is primarily designed for unit testing, focusing on testing individual units of code in isolation. It provides tools for mocking dependencies and simulating different scenarios. Selenium, on the other hand, is more suitable for end-to-end testing. It allows developers to automate the interaction between a web browser and a web application, enabling comprehensive testing of the user interface and functionality.

  3. Test Environment: Jest provides a complete testing environment out of the box. It comes with a built-in test runner, assertion libraries, and mocking utilities. This means that developers can start writing and running tests immediately without any additional setup. In contrast, Selenium requires a bit more setup as it relies on the WebDriver API to interact with web browsers. Developers need to configure and manage the WebDriver for the desired browser, which can be a more involved process.

  4. Performance: Jest is known for its fast and efficient test execution. It implements parallelization and optimization techniques to run tests in parallel, resulting in shorter testing time. Selenium, on the other hand, may be slower in execution due to the nature of end-to-end testing. It involves launching a web browser, loading the application, and interacting with different elements, which can considerably increase the testing time, especially for complex applications.

  5. Community and Ecosystem: Jest has gained significant popularity and has a thriving community of developers. It has extensive documentation, a rich ecosystem of plugins and extensions, and great community support. Selenium also has a strong community support with a wide range of resources available, but it may not be as extensive as the Jest community. Additionally, Jest's popularity has led to its adoption in various frameworks and libraries, making it easily integratable with other tools.

  6. Browser Compatibility: Selenium is capable of automating tests across multiple browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. It provides a consistent testing experience across different browsers, ensuring compatibility. Jest, however, is primarily designed for testing JavaScript code and does not provide extensive cross-browser testing capabilities out of the box. Developers may need to use other tools or services to achieve comprehensive cross-browser testing with Jest.

In summary, Jest is great for unit testing with its simple syntax, fast execution, and extensive community support, while Selenium excels in end-to-end testing with its cross-browser compatibility and web browser interaction capabilities.

Advice on Jest and Selenium
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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Decisions about Jest and Selenium
Shared insights

As we all know testing is an important part of any application. To assist with our testing we are going to use both Cypress and Jest. We feel these tools complement each other and will help us get good coverage of our code. We will use Cypress for our end to end testing as we've found it quite user friendly. Jest will be used for our unit tests because we've seen how many larger companies use it with great success.

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Postman will be used to do integration testing with the backend API we create. It offers a clean interface to create many requests, and you can even organize these requests into collections. It helps to test the backend API first to make sure it's working before using it in the front-end. Jest can also be used for testing and is already embedded into React. Not only does it offer unit testing support in javascript, it can also do snapshot testing for the front-end to make sure components are rendering correctly. Enzyme is complementary to Jest and offers more functions such as shallow rendering. UnitTest will be used for Python testing as it is simple, has a lot of functionality and already built in with python. Sentry will be used for keeping track of errors as it is also easily integratable with Heroku because they offer it as an add-on. LogDNA will be used for tracking logs which are not errors and is also a Heroku add-on. Its good to have a separate service to record logs, monitor, track and even fix errors in real-time so our application can run more smoothly.

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Pros of Jest
Pros of Selenium
  • 36
    Open source
  • 32
    Mock by default makes testing much simpler
  • 23
    Testing React Native Apps
  • 20
    Parallel test running
  • 16
  • 13
    Bundled with JSDOM to enable DOM testing
  • 8
    Mock by default screws up your classes, breaking tests
  • 7
    Out of the box code coverage
  • 7
    Promise support
  • 6
    One stop shop for unit testing
  • 3
    Great documentation
  • 2
    Assert Library Included
  • 1
    Built in watch option with interactive filtering menu
  • 1
    Preset support
  • 0
    Can be used for BDD
  • 0
  • 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 Jest
Cons of Selenium
  • 4
  • 4
    Ambiguous configuration
  • 3
  • 2
    Many bugs still not fixed months/years after reporting
  • 2
    Multiple error messages for same error
  • 2
    Difficult to run single test/describe/file
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1
    BeforeAll timing out makes all passing tests fail
  • 1
  • 1
    Reporter is too general
  • 1
  • 1
    Bad docs
  • 1
    Still does't support .mjs files natively
  • 1
    Can't fail beforeAll to abort tests
  • 0
    Interaction with watch mode on terminal
  • 8
    Flaky tests
  • 4
    Slow as needs to make browser (even with no gui)
  • 2
    Update browser drivers

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What is Jest?

Jest provides you with multiple layers on top of Jasmine.

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 companies use Jest?
What companies use Selenium?
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What tools integrate with Selenium?

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What are some alternatives to Jest and Selenium?
Mocha is a feature-rich JavaScript test framework running on node.js and the browser, making asynchronous testing simple and fun. Mocha tests run serially, allowing for flexible and accurate reporting, while mapping uncaught exceptions to the correct test cases.
Even though JavaScript is single-threaded, IO in Node.js can happen in parallel due to its async nature. AVA takes advantage of this and runs your tests concurrently, which is especially beneficial for IO heavy tests. In addition, test files are run in parallel as separate processes, giving you even better performance and an isolated environment for each test file.
Enzyme is a JavaScript Testing utility for React that makes it easier to assert, manipulate, and traverse your React Components' output.
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.
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