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Selenium IDE - 'Record and Playback' tool of Selenium

Selenium IDE is a ‘Record and Playback’ tool and is available for us to use in the form of a Firefox Add-on. So, before understanding Selenium IDE, we have to first know about ‘Record and Playback’ tools.



In simple terms, Record and Playback tools are used to automate any application by recording the tests and playing back the recorded tests:

Recording the tests

  • Recording the tests is just like recording a video using cellphone
  • Recoding in ‘Record & Playback’ tool is performed to create automated tests.
  • Practically speaking ‘Record’ option of ‘Record & Playback’ tool will be turned on and then the activities performed on the Application which is displayed in a browser will be recorded until the ‘Record’ option is turned off.

Playing the recorded tests 

  • Playback is just like playing the recorded video.
  • Playback in ‘Record & Playback’ tool is performed to execute the recorded automated tests.
  • Practically speaking ‘Play’ option of ‘Record & Playback’ tool will be selected to execute the recorded automated tests.

Advantages of using ‘Record and Playback’ tools

  • Very Easy for Automating the Tests Can be used by the non programmers as programming knowledge is not required for using ‘Record and Playback’ tools. 
  • Takes less time for Automating the Tests  It wont take much time to automate the tests using ‘Record and Playback’ tool, as we simply record the application actions over browser and later execute the recorded actions using play options.
  • Suitable for less complex projects 'Record and Playback' tools are very useful for automating the projects whose complexity is less, as the creation of automation tests will be easy and the time taken to automate the tests will be less when compared to other ways.

Disadvantages of using ‘Record and Playback’ tools

  • Automation scripts maintenance is more When any buttons or links or UI changes in the application, we need to re-record all the earlier recorded automation tests which are getting impacted due the changes. i.e. We need to use ‘Record and Playback’ tool to re-record all the impacted automation tests. But when we use programming for creating automation scripts, this maintenance will be reduced, as we will update the changes in a single file in the automation framework to which all the tests will refer, instead of editing the changes in all the automation tests which got impacted by these changes. Hence, even though the creation of automation scripts using ‘Record and Playback’ tool is easy, the maintenance of the recorded scrips will be high. 
  • Re-usability will be less If we want to automate 100 tests, where all the tests needs to be performed after logging into the application, then using ‘Record and Playback’ tool, we need to record login functionality for all the 100 tests separately. But if we use programing for automating tests instead of ‘Record and Playback’ tool, then as part of framework we can have a single file where we can keep the reusable code for login functionality and use the same reusable with the 100 tests. Hence the re-usability will be less in case of automating the tests using ‘Record and Playback’ tool.
  • Not suitable for complex Applications Due to the maintenance and re-usability problems in ‘Record and Playback’ tools, automating the test cases for complex Application is not recommended. As complex applications contains huge list of tests and it will be difficult to re-record the huge list of tests when anything changes in the application. And also due the huge list of scenarios, the scope for re-usability will increase. Hence ‘Record and Playback’ tools are not suitable for complex   applications. 

Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE as mentioned earlier is a ‘Record and Playback’ tool and is one of the 4 components of Selenium. Selenium IDE is provided by Firefox in the form of an Add-on / Plug-in and is free to install on your Firefox browser. 

As part of learning Selenium IDE, the basic understanding of using Selenium IDE is enough and is not required to learn in detail.

As you have now understood the usage of ‘Record and Playback’ tool, the following are the different posts using which you can explore the functioning of ‘Selenium IDE’


Hence Selenium IDE is a ‘Recording and Playback’ tool and is useful for creating automation tests for simpler applications in an easiest and fastest way. And no programming language is required for using this tool.

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