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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.
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.
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.
|1||David Burns||W3C Invited Experts|
|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|
The below-listed browser drivers are W3C compliant.
- Mozilla Firefox
- Microsoft Edge
- Apple Safari
- WebKit GTK Port
- Selenium IEDriverServer
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.