Selenium IDE rises like a phoenix from the ashes

Selenium IDE rises like a phoenix from the ashes

UPDATE May 2020: It seems the (Applitools sponsored) Selenium IDE is no longer maintained? While we have no insider knowledge, users tell us that tickets in the official Github repo remain unanswered.

UPDATE April 2019: We have updated the text and the Selenium IDEs comparison table for 2019.

2018 will be was the year when the Selenium IDE rises has risen like a phoenix from the ashes… of the legacy Firefox add-ons.

It all started in early August 2017 when we lauchned the Kantu Selenium IDE to implement a modern Selenium IDE for Chrome. Then in late August a computer science group from a Taiwanese University released the Sideex IDE for Chrome. And in September the Selenium core team announced that they as well will implement an update of the original Selenium IDE for Firefox, which - you might remember - stopped working last year as the new Firefox Quantum extension system no longer supports legacy addons. And just before the year ended a company called Katalon released yet another Selenium IDE, an expanded and rebranded version of Sideex.

So which Selenium IDE to use? Short answer: It depends. Longer answer: See our overview table below.

Selenium IDE Market Overview

The table below lists the key features of the most popular new Selenium IDEs and iMacros, another popular web automation addon. We abbreviated the classic Selenium IDE with “SIDE” in the table below.

Feature SIDE Kantu Katalon Sideex iMacros
Record Selenium Commands yes yes yes yes -
Chrome Version yes yes yes yes yes
Firefox Version yes yes yes yes ?
Open-Source yes yes no yes no
Flow Control (if/else/…) yes yes yes - -
Code Export - - yes - -
File Download partial yes partial partial yes
File Upload - yes - - yes
Data-driven (Read CSV) - yes - - -
Web Scraping partial yes partial partial yes
Full-Page Screenshots - yes - - -
AI powered visual testing - yes - - -
Desktop Automation - yes - - -
Install Link SIDE Kantu Katalon Sideex iMacros

And the best new Selenium IDE is…?

The long answer is also “it depends”. There is no “best Selenium IDE” for every use case. But with the table above in mind we can summarize the situation like this:

For basic recording and replay all Selenium IDEs work ok.

If code-export for Web Driver is important for you, then the Katalon IDE is your only option at the moment (February 2018 … and still in April 2019!). Code export is the ability to create some Java/C# code snippets for use with webDriver. This should not be confused with the ability export the recorded test cases in HTML or JSON format to reuse in other tools (for example as input for one of the synthetic web performance monitoring services). This is something all IDEs can do.

If you need to import data from CSV files (data-driven testing), test file uploads or extract information from websites, then use the Kantu Web Automation extension. It is the only Selenium-IDE compatible extension that can automate these tasks. Because of this, Kantu is also the best alternative for iMacros for Firefox. iMacros was the most popular web automation browser extension in the last decade, but it - being a legacy Firefox add-on - stopped working in August 2017, just like the original Firefox Selenium IDE.

Partial file download support in the table above means that all extensions can trigger a file download but only Kantu and iMacros have an “OnDownload” command that allows you to wait for a download to complete (e. g. to measure the download time) and that allows you to rename the downloaded file.

AI powered visual testing

Only Kantu has visual testing features built-in. With SIDE, the alternative is to use the commercial Applitools addon. It connects SIDE to a cloud-based service to run visual regression tests.

Visual UI testing with Kantu:

Did we miss a key feature when comparing the different Selenium IDEs? If so, please let us know in the comments below.

More Market Overview

For more market Overview blog posts please see