RPA VS Selenium

General April 16, 2019
RPA Vs Selenium

RPA VS Selenium

In today’s world, technology has reached an apex level and the tremendous growth of automation has added more wings to this transformation. From automating a simpler unit to whole business operation, technology has evolved to the fullest.

Computers have been evolving at a tremendous pace from their initial uses and role of as a storage and calculations device to electronic brain and control centres. This gave rise to an unimaginable level of tools and applications for different purposes and requirements.

RPA and Selenium are two distinct parts of the new age computer era that performs tasks that are completely distinct and yet related to one another. They depend and influence each other in the end product or service achieved. Both are on and off screen performers and an inevitable part of the computerization revolution wave across the globe.

What is Robotic process automation?

RPA –Standing short for Robotic Process Automation, is based on artificial intelligence and primarily used in applications that require repetitive actions coordination. Record keeping, data analysis and most importantly jobs that require replicating a human action. Jobs that require complex calculations, accuracy and precision are now being assigned to robots to get the task done efficiently. With growing number of industrial and business segments relying on automation of their operations, RPA is at its full bloom in recent years from flying unmanned flights to complex surgeries on humans.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) helps in automating repetitive tasks without using human mind and power. This is a kind of technology that consists of software robots which can mimic a human worker. There are a lot of things that RPA bots can do such as entering data, logging into applications, accomplishing tasks and then log out.

RPA is not a part of the IT program of an organization in most cases due to the high cost involved. This in turn increases the cost of development as its not commercially high in demand its customized and developed for specific purposes.

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Features of RPA

Listed below are the features of using RPA.

  • With the aim of empowering businesses, RPA primarily creates software bots that could work easily with the system.
  • RPA bots help to manage and perform a multitude of human actions such as move files and folders, , fill forms, copy and paste data, to name a few.
  • It is highly reliant on workflow automation and screen scraping.
  • RPA is nothing but a blend of Automation and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Accuracy at high volumes

When humans are assigned Jobs that are repetitive and uniform in nature there is a big element of boredom involved which decreases productivity and adds chances of error. These are the areas where RPA comes into play where the artificial intelligence performs the task flawlessly in high volumes. This include data analysing.

Increased productivity

When machines are assigned with the boring part of the job, the saved human hours can be used more efficiently in monitoring and areas of the job that would require out of the box thinking and creativity which is an incapability of machines.


Most business cannot afford RPA due to the high cost that is involved in developing and applying hence it is popular only among the big investors and hence not a part of the general  gadgets of a company.

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What is Selenium?

Selenium is a free testing suite that is quite similar to HP Quick Test Pro and emphasis mainly on automating web-based applications. Selenium as an automation tool was developed by Thoughtworks in early 2000. it was developed through various languages eventually when in 2006, under Simon Stewart reworked and left behind the initial advantages. The finally developed Selenium Web driver was achieved by merging Web driver and Selenium remote control.

Selenium, in other words, is a set of different software tools that helps support test automation. Having observed that there a lot of Selenium Quality Analyst engineers primarily emphasis focus on one or two tools that can carry out their objectives perfectly. However, when you have knowledge of all the tools, it will provide you with a multitude of options for approaching different test automation problems.

Selenium  being a tool for testing  web applications serves a completely different purpose  opposed to that of a Robotic process automation which is more about , with ever growing popularity among automated testing  developers and professionals who had been traditionally using manual testing tools. The function is also to provide a language that is specific test domain for test in popular languages in programming like java, scala and more.

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Features of Selenium

Selenium is popular among developers and programmers due to many key features and this popularity not expected to be replaced or overtaken by another in the near feature. The following are some of the features

Free open source tool

Being a free service that supports a large number of testing functions, selenium is more popular than ever.  Not being charged for the test functions is a key feature that propels selenium.

Huge browser support

With the backing of some of the largest browsers selenium is soon to be a more renowned and take its own permanent space in the native part of a browser.

Language support

Though  Selenium comes with its own scripts is not limited by language and gives the testers flexibility of using  including groovy, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, c#, Perl, python etc. This is one of the main reason for the rising popularity among users.

Add on and Usability

The access and support from various browsers mean that Selenium is sometimes blamed as a not full functional as it depends on third party frame works for the ad on. This is a subject of debate as it also gives the flexibility of going by the style and approach of the programmer.

Combination of Tool and DSL

There is no arguing with the fact that Selenium is an absolute combination of tools and Domain Specific Language that help execute special kinds of various types of tests. In addition, you can even record the tests carried out through the browser. It supports multiple web browsers like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.

Uses a Rich Language for Tests

To test the web applications, Selenium uses DSL in order. This is an easy programming language to learn and includes more than 200 commands.

A Versatile language

Once you are done preparing the test cases, they can be executed on any operating system like Linux, Macintosh, etc.

Reduce Test Execution Time

Selenium does support parallel test execution which ultimately minimizes the time taken in executing parallel tests.

Lesser Resources Required

When compared to its competitors like UFT, and RFT, Selenium requires lesser resources.

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Similarities between Selenium and RPA

Though the features and functions actioned by both Selenium and RPA are different they do cross path and share the job of making the management or process of a business smoothly and tackling situations like eliminating human error, repetitive and boring task being made more efficient. Both are production data driven and have a structured and rule based flow.

Both RPA and Selenium are necessary to support each other for an error free functioning of the established project.

Differences between RPA and Test automation

A major difference is that RPA unlike Test automation performs in the front line of the business in the visible spectrum while the later is more of a player behind the screen who manages the show without taking much of the visible credits. This sometimes creates a situation where the effort, time and skill involved in the testing area is often under-appreciated or over-looked. Though this does create a dig in the mind of the programmers not being credited for the efforts against the installation of RPA often over appreciated.

Most automation tools don’t match the requirement of an establishment due to the lack of features to supervise and audit trials, whereas in most cases test automation ignites RPA projects as they open up new doors of opportunities of automation potentials. This is important as the long term investment in automation are huge and often time consuming hence to justify the effort such strategies are necessary.

Comparison of RPA & Selenium

Here is how RPA is different from Selenium

  • Selenium helps automate only the current web page while RPA automates all the backend processes that are time-consuming.
  • Selenium is an open-source testing tool whereas RPA contains tools such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism and others.
  • RPA helps in maintaining huge records of data and the best part is that it is flexible in dealing with the clerical processes. Selenium does not support the clerical processes as it works on the front end of the web application.
  • Keep this in mind that the simpler their life cycle is, more efficient they will be. Selenium has a complicated life cycle compared to RPA.
  • When it comes to automating the test cases, webdriver plays a very important role in because it overcomes all the disadvantages of Selenium, making the process much simpler. With the help of bots, RPA helps in rendering possible outcome by imitating the activities of human.
  • If you are working with Selenium, then it is important for you to be proficient with Java language. On the other hand, RPA requires coding knowledge but at minimal level.
  • Both Selenium and RPA are automation tools that help minimize manual intervention while enhancing quality.
  • RPA streamlines the process by simplifying the order entry while Selenium performs actions like login, sign up and entry.


Comparing both the software’s, their functions we can conclude that they are both designed to perform two distinct functions. They are not in competition with each other but two very important aspects of software that depend on each other for achieving the desired result. The generally seen comparison across the two doesn’t stand .We can also understand that testing software’s are necessary  tool all across the operation of an organization  hence  it’s a daily tool  and cost effective  and amendable  to updates wherever required where as a RPA  is more specific to the industrial requirements and  not just in the initial stage but right across the implementation of the automation system many global factors like the lack of desired skills, employee turnover and requirement of higher volume of products and services are driving full scale automation of sectors of business that were traditionally man power dominated. The future definitely looks bright for the combination.

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Related Blogs

  1. What is RPA?
  2. RPA Tools Comparison?
  3. RPA Blue Prism Certification
  4. RPA Career Opportunities
  5. What is Selenium?
  6. What is Selenium IDE?
  7. What is Selenium Webdriver?
  8. Selenium Career Opportunities

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