Selenium vs RPA | Difference Between RPA and Selenium

Selenium vs RPA | Difference Between RPA and Selenium

In Today’s Article we’re going to do a comparative analysis of selenium and RPA.

We’ll be learning what exactly is selenium and then we’ll understand what is RPA.

Once that is done once that is established we’ll move on to the comparison of selenium and RPA.

Now without any further delays let’s begin with it.

What is Automation?

What is Automation?
What is Automation?

You would be hearing about automation probably everywhere.

We want everything to be automated, we want it to be fast, we want it to be agile and we want it to be quick.

So, what does this automation basically mean?

Automation basically refers to the technology by which a process or a procedure or anything is performed.

This is a process or a procedure which is performed without human interaction with the system or human assistance.

In Short, Any process which is being achieved is called as automation.

For example if you can just press a button and a machine understands like what amount of coffee has to be put?

How much of the milk has to be poured?

How much team has to begin?

Everything and bring you a coffee that is a form of an automation.

Task which is being created with minimalistic human interaction with the system to achieve an end result is automation.

People are depending on automation things to get their things sorted.

There is a lot of different factors through which you can do automation e.g:

  • There is automatic bill payment,
  • Automatic credit card payment in the world There is coffee machines
  • Automatic bill generation
  • Email generation

Anything which is being done without the human interaction with the system is termed as automation.

The major use for automation in today’s world has been differentiated into two basic parts which you can use.

Automation can be used to test your objects as well and it can be used to perform actions as well.

You can use your ability to automate tasks to test the things that you have created.

Let’s say I’ve created a website.

I have a website which is working properly and I just want to check if it is working properly.

I want to see if it is working.

Let’s say I’ve created a payment website and if I’m trying to do some payments and i have created a way where my algorithm takes the value of the bill subtracts it from the wallet balance which i have and returns the result like okay bill was done or not.

There is a condition which it shouldn’t be taking.

If I’m testing it manually I can test it manually or I can give some extreme scenarios to a bot to test it out and give me the results.

Let’s say if my wallet balance is negative that is something which should not be allowed.

In the scenario you cannot have a negative wallet balance in the machine that i’ve created.

Once I do that if it still returns the result it means that something is wrong so you’re testing it using a bot.

When you give it an end scenario okay this is not something which should work and if it still works and returns the value then what has tested your various test cases and given out results based on that and you can look into it and fix the bugs.

So that is one way to go about automation.

The other thing that you can do is let’s say if you want to generate a report every Monday and you want to send it to some ex person exercise person via mail.

You can have a process created for it and a bot will be initialized which can do all these things and send that mail generate the report and send that mail to the requested person and that is a form of automation as well.

So that is what automation.

What is Selenium?

What is Selenium?
What is Selenium?

Selenium is a portable framework which is used for testing web applications.

It provides a playback tool for authoring functional tests and regression tests and different tests that you can do.

Basically you need to learn a scripting language and you can work with selenium.

It is as easy as that.

Selenium was created in around 2004 and it is heavily used for testing the web applications.

It was created because manual testing will take a lot of time.

Instead what you can do is you can just write a javascript program and give it the n number of test cases.

I gave you the example of the simple website.

You can have a huge enterprise application.

You will have n number of test cases.

A lot of test cases which have to be done again and again to find out if your program is collapsing anywhere.

What you can do is you can write those test cases in selenium and you can basically have a web driver which can go and test it out for you.

So, selenium is extensively used for testing web applications and nothing else.

Selenium’s another very good feature is the fact that it is an open source thing.

So, you can use it for free. Everybody can use it whoever wants to use selenium can use it.

Components Of Selenium

Components Of Selenium
Components Of Selenium

Selenium has few different components which allows it to do this automation testing and everything.

Selenium RC

Selenium RC is selenium remote controller.

Before selenium RC came into the existence test users would locally install the copies of selenium core and web server with the web applications to be tested so that they would be belonging to the same domain.

This selenium RC was created to eliminate the use case of the SOP which is the same origin policy to eliminate that aluminum RC was created.

Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE is integrated development environment.

IDE is a Firefox plugin which can be installed easily to record and execute frequent test cases.

You can do that very quickly with the help of the IDE.

Selenium IDE was initially created by a developer from japan as a Firefox plugin that just records in playbacks uses browser interaction.

It was basically known as selemon selenium recorder initially but now that has changed.

Selenium’s remote control has been developed to overcome the issue of same origin policy which is SOP.

Under this policy basically a javascript code cannot access the element of other domain that are different from the parent domain.

Selenium Grid

Selenium grid is one of the selenium testing tools used in the combination with selenium RC to execute test cases remotely.

Selenium Web Driver

Then we have a web driver which basically provides an interface for creating and executing test cases.

so these are the four components of selenium.

so as you can understand this is extensively used for doing web application testing.

If you want to automate your tasks in your web browser what you go is for selenium.

You can write your test cases in different programming languages like java or python in order to be using selenium.

What is RPA?

What is RPA?
What is RPA?

Selenium is just being used for web browsers.

What if you wanted to automate your tasks like creating a report or you know keeping a hand off the stock market you just want to see how the stocks are flowing every single day so what you want to do is go to the website of stock exchange let’s say look for Tesla and from Tesla and copy the stock values like whatever is risen or went down at the end of the day every single day.

Then you know you want to plot a graph and this has to be done every single day.

You can either do it yourself and waste time or you can create an RPA program which does it for you.

Let me dive into what is RPA?

A process of automating operations with the help of robots without human interaction with the system is called as RPA.

This is the definition but let’s break this word down to understand what is going on.

RPA is made up of three different words.

  • Robotic
  • Process
  • Automation

All these three words make up this entire term and if we understand each word individually it will be better for us to get the whole view of what RPA is?

Robotic is anything which mimics a human action.

For example if there is there is now a bot which can copy the your hand gestures and people can do operations using that.

There’s a glove if you do that and that what retains the precise movement of humans hands and you can basically perform surgeries using that.

But in our scenario what RPA is doing is copying your action.

Let’s say if I move my PC mouse from left hand side corner to right hand side corner double click on an excel file, open the excel, find go downstairs somewhere and you know type something.

If this entire task is copied by a robot where I just click a start button and it opens and goes and copies my actions that is something which a robot is doing instead of me.

Also Read: How to Learn Data Science in 2021?(The Complete Guide)

So, robotic basically refers to any actions which is done by a robot and not you.

It is mimicking the actions that you are doing but it is not you who is doing these actions a robot is doing that.

Process is a set of sequential actions.

In the case where we were getting the information from the google finance page about the stocks.

You were doing a set of action sites.

You were opening your web browser, going to the particular website, looking for a particular stock for example Tesla.

From Tesla you are looking for some particular valuable information and then storing it in an excel sheet.

So, this is a set of actions.

  • Opening a web browser
  • Going to one particular website
  • Then from there copying some information
  • Storing it in your excel sheet
  • saving it
  • closing

This is a set of sequential actions in order to gain a end result so that is a set of sequential actions.

That is a process.

Automation is anything which is achieved.

We discussed automation anything which is achieved without human interaction with the system.

When you put all of these together basically when some action is being performed by following a set of sequential steps or sequential actions in order to gain an entire result without you interacting with the system by a robot then in that scenario that is termed as RPA.

What an RPA does is basically when you you basically create a program where you give out a set of sequential actions.

You want to open browser go to this xyz page and do something.

When you click the start button on this RPA program or RPA tool it initializes a robot.

A robot which will read the instructions that you have provided and it will perform each of those tasks one by one by one.

Once it is done with all of those tasks your end result would be achieved.

That is the idea behind RPA

RPA is unlike selenium is a technology it’s not something of a tool.

RPA is a technology which has a lot of different tools.

There’s a lot of different vendors in the market who provide different tools through which you can achieve RPA.

Selenium VS RPA

Selenium VS RPA
Selenium VS RPA

We have discussed what is selenium and what is RPA

RPA is a technology selenium is a tool for automating web applications.

RPA can do any number of tasks.

It can do a lot of different things like:

  • It can do your back-end processes
  • It can do your front-end processes
  • It can click anywhere that you want
  • It can store information
  • Get information
  • Perform addition subtraction

RPA is a different kind of playing field to compare to selenium.

Now let’s compare them on some bases.



Cost pretty much straightforward.

I told you that selenium is an open source tool.

It is free of cost. Anybody can use selenium when they want to wherever they want to.

But when we talk about RPA as I mentioned before there’s a lot of different vendors in the market.

If we just talk about the top three vendors in the market:

  • There is automation anywhere
  • There is UI path
  • There is blue prism

We have three market leaders in that domain and all of these three have some kind of a community edition where UI path gives you free community edition for people to learn and explore of the tool.

Automation and blue prism also provides some trial versions where you can use it.

But if you’re looking at as from an enterprises perspective or an organization’s perspective you’re looking to buy licensed applications.

You’re looking to buy extensive products which which will cost you some different amounts of money.

Depending on the number of bots that you are going for and what kind of licenses you are going for.

RPA is costlier than selenium because selenium is basically free.

That is the first comparison.

Programming Knowledge Requirement

Programming Knowledge Requirement
Programming Knowledge Requirement

If you are looking to do web case then there’s a lot of opening for SDT which is software development role in the testing field.

Estet’s job is basically to test a lot of different tools and for every aesthetic which is out there in the world selenium is absolutely important.

When you are testing and any web application it is very important that you understand programming languages.

For using selenium itself it is very important that you understand java.

For selenium you would need a lot of programming language knowledge in order to work with selenium.

Whereas with RPA majorly all the tools are pretty much a drag and drop.

You can very simply drag and drop.

Programming language does help in understanding RPA but it is not something which is absolutely required in order to work with it.

For selenium it is absolutely required for RPA not so much.

Components to Automate Tasks

Components to Automate Tasks
Components to Automate Tasks

RPA as we discussed it basically initializes a bot.

So, you create a set of sequential actions and the bot basically does all the tasks for you.

The automation is achieved using a bot.

Whereas for selenium you use a web driver which automates various tasks on various web browsers.

It could be safari, Google chrome, Firefox or Microsoft edge anything.

All of these different browsers you can automate tasks through selenium and it is done with the help of a web driver which is a component.

Platform Dependencies

Platform Dependencies
Platform Dependencies

Platform dependency what I mean by that is basically where your automation can happen.

If you’re looking to just automate web applications by all means use selenium.

Selenium will automate all of your web browser activities or web applications.

If you want to test your website or anything like that selenium is the way to go about it.

If you want to automate some tasks on your web browser then also selenium is the way to go about.

But if you’re looking to automate backing tasks like data entry or in voice processing and performing different tasks like that then you’re looking into RPA.

RPA comes with a huge amount of capability in here.

RPA can basically automate all of your tasks on your desktop as well as it can automate tasks on a virtual environment as well.

What i mean by that is a lot of people who would be working on some virtual system through so you can connect your system to some virtual system somewhere and do you perform tasks through that.

A lot of companies also do vpns and different things like that where you can connect from your pc to another pc and work on in there.

So basically RPA allows you to automate tasks on that virtual environment as well.

It’s not just on your system it can work on virtual systems as well which is generally called as the citrix automation in RPA which is also a very huge factor of why RPA is being used in the industries these days.

In platform dependencies I think is very less with RPA it comes on top of the everything that you have.

Whereas selenium is extensively used for web browsing as only.


Final conclusion
Final conclusion

If you’re looking to automate web applications then you’re looking at selenium.

Now a question might arise in your head like RPA can do everything right.

It can do a web browser automation as well.

So why not use RPA rather than selenium in that.

Well there’s a lot of reasons behind it but it is not generally recommended that you use RPA for testing purposes because writing test cases is much more easier and faster in the case of selenium.

Doing any kind of testing is also preferred in a testing environment.

RPA should not be used for testing environments in my opinion personally but you can use it to do so as well but it’s not recommended.

If you have some backend tasks that you want to automate then RPA is the way to go about it.

But if you’re looking to automate your web application web tasks and test automation then the way that you’re looking at is selenium.

Final words
What is your point of view about Selenium vs RPA. I have explained every expect of RPA and Selenium. If you have any kind of doubt then leave a comment below. I try to answer your question as soon as possible.


I am Blogger and a Website Developer. Student of Information Technology. Working as a Professional Blogger and Web Developer.

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