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Selenium WebDriver becomes W3C Compliant : The Biggest Takeaway

Selenium WebDriver has now become W3C compliant and even if you are an experienced or a novice tester, here is what you should know.

Selenium WebDriver becomes W3C Compliant The Biggest Takeaway - Blog
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Have you ever noticed the inconsistencies between different Selenium browser drivers before Selenium’s W3C recommendation? If so, you would have a clear idea of what we are going to explore in this blog. But, if you are a novice automation tester, then the chances of you experiencing that are very low. So to clear things up, before Selenium WebDriver’s W3C recommendation, it was tough to bring uniform implementation. You will get a better picture once we go through an example.

Let’s say you want to run your scripts on Chrome, IE, Safari, and Firefox. Executing the scripts on IE and Safari browsers was a challenge as the IEDriver and Safari Driver are maintained by Microsoft & Apple. This meant that if any changes were needed in these drivers, then it should be done only by the browser vendors. So the issues would be raised and fixed only after the Selenium contributors notify the browser vendors.

Most of the modern browsers are W3C compliant. This means that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript should be interpreted as recommended by W3C across all the browsers. So there should not be any case where a particular HTML tag is rendered differently in a browser for all the websites.

Selenium WebDriver is a browser controlling library that is used globally and it is also supported by the major browsers. That is why Selenium WebDriver becomes a valid candidate to become W3C compliant. So the browser vendors adhere to the WebDriver’s W3C recommendations when developing the browser drivers.

The W3C

If you are not that aware of W3C, then you need to know what W3C is and what it does before we could proceed any further. Tim Berners-Lee and Michael Dertouzos met in Zurich and discussed forming the W3C, and eventually formed the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in October 1994.

  • W3C’s Mission – Web for all, and Web on Everything.
  • W3C’s Vision – Web for Rich Interaction, Web of Data and Services, & Web of Trust
W3C Browser Testing and Tools Working Group

W3C defines the international web standards and helps to make sure that the web is accessible from any hardware, browser, and geo-location. There are 42 open working groups to get the job done, and Browser Testing and Tools Working Group is one among the 42. The mission of the group is to produce technologies that can be used in testing, debugging, and troubleshooting Web applications running in Web browsers. So naturally, this is also the group that takes care of the Selenium WebDriver’s W3C standards.

A working group is approved and formed once the recommendations, sample code, and technical reports are submitted. WebDriver’s W3C recommendation was submitted on 5th June 2018 to inform the world to follow the recommended standards when developing Selenium drivers.

There are 38 participants from 9 organizations in the Browser Testing and Tools Working Group.

S. No Name Company
1 David Burns W3C Invited Experts
2 Michael[Tm] Smith W3C
3 Patrick Angle Apple, Inc.
4 Christian Bromann Sauce Labs
5 Brian Burg Apple, Inc.
6 Rick Byers Google LLC
7 John Chen Google LLC
8 Karl Dubost Mozilla Foundation
9 Jim Evans W3C Invited Experts
10 Jim Evans Salesforce
11 Titus Fortner Sauce Labs
12 Maja Frydrychowicz Mozilla Foundation
13 Shuotao Gao Google LLC
14 Zoher Ghadyali Microsoft Corporation
15 James Graham James Graham
16 Peter Hedenskog Wikimedia Foundation
17 Philip Jägenstedt Google LLC
18 John Jansen Microsoft Corporation
19 Wilhelm Joys Andersen W3C Invited Experts
20 Joon Lee Google LLC
21 Jason Leyba Google LLC
22 Shengfa Lin Google LLC
23 Karin Lundberg Google LLC
24 Clayton Martin Salesforce
25 Marcus Merrell Sauce Labs
26 Diego Molina Sauce Labs
27 Theresa O’Connor Apple, Inc.
28 Jan Odvarko Mozilla Foundation
29 Michael Pennisi Bocoup
30 Devin Rousso Apple, Inc.
31 Maksim Sadym Google LLC
32 David Singer Apple, Inc.
33 Henrik Skupin Mozilla Foundation
34 Sam Sneddon Apple, Inc.
35 Andy Sterland Microsoft Corporation
36 Simon Stewart Apple, Inc.
37 Brandon Walderman Microsoft Corporation
38 Luke Zielinski Google LLC

Browser Drivers

The below-listed browser drivers are W3C compliant.

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Apple Safari
  • WebKit GTK Port
  • Selenium IEDriverServer
  • Chrome

If any browser produces the driver for Selenium WebDriver, it needs to follow the W3C specifications.


There is speculation that only Selenium 4 is W3C compliant, but that is incorrect. The older version of the drivers supports W3C, and even if any of the old drivers don’t support W3C, it will use the JSON wire protocol. We, as one of the automated software testing companies, have faced many driver-related issues before the W3C WebDriver protocol. After embracing the uniformity, the Selenium Browser Drivers have now been stabilized. So there are no longer any issues where an automated test suite runs fine on one browser and fails to do so on another.


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