RPA vs Selenium: Here’s the Comparison

Robotic Process Automation or RPA involves making the machines perform the clerical tasks that humans would do. It differs from machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the sense that using RPA only clerical or routine tasks concerning to the UI level of an application can be performed, but not thinking and decision making.

On the other hand, Selenium is a suite of testing tools that is dedicatedly designed for web application testing. Currently, it is a highly preferred tool owing to its compatibility across many platforms and browsers.

This blog post talks in detail about the concepts of RPA and Selenium and makes a comprehensive comparison of both.

Robotic Process Automation – What it is?

RPA includes a set of software or software robots that perform manually repetitive and routine tasks in an automated manner. For example, organizations can utilise RPA software to automate its basic operations in teams such as front office, patient registration, customer updates, payroll processing, website scraping, etc. It can be used anywhere that require no complex thinking or no such processes are involved.

There are various tools available in market to perform RPA. Some of them are:

  • Blue Prism
  • G1ANT
  • Another Monday
  • WorkFusion
  • Jacada
  • Automation Anywhere
  • UiPath
  • Pega Systems

Irrespective of the RPA automation tool, the basic point on which an RPA tool works is same – it is not bothered about the intricacies and complexities of the inner lying code of an application. It just deals with the UI level the application.

RPA Process Lifecycle

There are four stages involved in any RPA process:

1.  Analysis: In this stage, the team members, brainstorm and finalize an RPA process that would fit the need of the task to be automated.

2. Developing the bot: Note that bots are ready to use software and do not need explicit programming and coding. This phase involves creating the dev environment for the running of RPA tool.

3. Testing: Testing of a RPA process is done both by RPA dev team and a dedicated testing team too.

4. Deployment and Maintenance: If everything goes well, the RPA tool is deployed and constantly updated whenever a new requirement arrives.

Selenium – What it is?

Selenium is a comprehensive suite of four different tools that are dedicatedly designed for automated web application testing. The Selenium suite contains the following four tools:

Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE): A Firefox plugin that testers use to record their work flow.

Selenium Remote Control (RC): It is an API that performs testing for any application designed in C#, PHP, Python, Ruby and PERL and Java.

WebDriver: This is also a testing tool for automated web application testing. It also works with any programming language just like Selenium RC.

Selenium Grid: This suits well for parallel testing and execution purposes. You can work on this in any browser or platform.

Selenium Life cycle

A test done in Selenium contains the following processes:

1. Planning: The testing team takes the inputs and requirements, and prepares use cases that suit a given application to be tested.

2. Performing basic tests: In this stage, locators, commands, methods and techniques are used to perform tests at basic level.

3. Advanced testing process: Here testers improve their basic tests. They do this by various techniques: by inserting a validation point, synchronising with the application given and handling errors, if any.

4. Running and Debugging: The test cases are run and debugging is performed to find out any errors.

5. Analysing and Reporting:A thorough analysis is done on the test case and observations are reported.


Thus summarizing what we have seen till now, the following observations can be made on both RPA and Selenium:

RPA is a tool that perform automation of web application only at the UI level; Selenium performs a dedicated and thorough testing of a web application.

RPA just is a clerical process and makes no decision making, and so is Selenium that does only testing and no decision making of any sort.

RPA software costs depending on the features and size, while Selenium is an open source testing suite.

The crux of RPA is software bot while WebDriver is the key component of Selenium.

For an enthusiastic aspirant in making a career in IT, both offer promising career prospects. If you are looking for an expert tutorial support on RPA and Selenium, TutorialsPoint would be your one stop destination. Their expert and free tutorials let you learn at your place and at your pace. You can also download them and read at your own comfort without draining your pockets. All the best for a great career ahead!

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