Testing Angular Applications with Selenium

Testing Angular Applications with Selenium

Software applications are developed on diverse platforms using various tech stacks, such as AngularJS, NodeJS, and others. The test automation suite must be adaptable to provide comprehensive coverage. Frameworks like Protractor play a crucial role in this context, enabling end-to-end testing due to their compatibility with Selenium Webdriver, ensuring hassle-free Selenium testing.

When used in conjunction with Protractor, the scope of Selenium tests can be expanded beyond web platforms to encompass web applications constructed with AngularJS. Protractor brings additional value through third-party integrations, enhancing the efficiency of testing and debugging processes and ensuring broader test coverage.

What is Angular JS?

While HTML effectively defines static documents, its limitations become apparent when declaring dynamic views within web applications. AngularJS, an open-source JavaScript-based front-end web framework, addresses this challenge by enabling the creation of dynamic web applications. It enhances HTML with additional attributes and is mainly designed for building single-page applications (SPAs). 

AngularJS underwent a complete rewrite in TypeScript and adopted the name Angular from version 2 onwards.

For automation testers, the distinction between Angular and regular web applications lies in utilizing common attributes such as ID, name, and value for locating HTML elements. Angular introduces new attributes known as directives, which play a crucial role in generating dynamic HTML content. These directives, such as ng-bind, ng-class, ng-model, ng-options, and others, contribute to the dynamic nature of Angular applications. Selenium, on the other hand, relies on element-locating techniques using attributes like ID, name, and class, which may only sometimes be present in Angular applications.

In Angular applications, dynamic content is rendered in response to user actions. This rendering occurs in the back-end through Requests/Responses, making the application’s general expected wait conditions less suitable. To address this, executing JavaScript code requires waiting for page readiness. The JavaScript code assesses the status of Angular Requests and ensures that the rendering process is completed before proceeding.

What is Protractor?

Protractor, an open-source automation testing framework developed with NodeJS, specializes in comprehensive end-to-end testing for web applications constructed using AngularJS. While it extends its support to both Angular and Non-Angular applications, Protractor is particularly favored for testing AngularJS due to its ability to test advanced HTML attributes effectively.

Harnessing the capabilities of technologies like NodeJS, Selenium Webdriver, Jasmine, Mocha, Cucumber, and more, Protractor delivers a robust automation test suite. Its versatility allows it to perform cross-browser testing for web applications, making it a valuable choice in automated testing.

Protractor’s Architecture: How it Operates

Protractor functions as an automation test framework built around Selenium Webdriver. Its primary role is to emulate user interactions with Angular web applications across browsers and mobile devices.

Offering all the capabilities of Selenium WebDriver, Protractor goes beyond that by providing Angular-specific features tailored for seamless end-to-end testing. It employs the JSON Wire protocol, mirroring Selenium WebDriver, to enable user interactions with the browser.

The architecture of Protractor involves three key elements:

  • Test Script
  • Server
  • Browser

The Test Script communicates with the browser through the Selenium server during this process. The commands initiated by the test script are then relayed to one or more browsers, particularly in parallel execution facilitated by Cloud Selenium Grid.

Why Opt for a Protractor in Automation Testing?

Here are compelling reasons to consider using Protractor:

Enhanced Identification of Web Elements with Advanced HTML Attributes

In the context of Angular-based web applications, conventional Selenium Locators struggle to identify web elements utilizing advanced HTML attributes like ng-controller, ng-repeater, and ng-model. Protractor is a valuable solution by effectively identifying and testing web elements employing these attributes. This capability positions Protractor as an ideal choice as a wrapper over Selenium WebDriver for comprehensive end-to-end testing of Angular-based web applications.

Conducts End-to-End Functional Testing

While some testing frameworks focus on unit testing for Angular web apps, Protractor stands out by enabling automated functional testing on Angular web applications using Selenium WebDriver. It empowers testers to validate all application layers, ensuring the development of high-quality, functionally robust software.

Facilitates Cross-Browser Testing

Protractor automates browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE, Safari, Opera, and Yandex, utilizing browser drivers like ChromeDriver, GeckoDriver, and SafariDriver for Selenium WebDriver. This extensive browser support allows for comprehensive cross-browser testing, ensuring broader test coverage.

Real Device Support on the Cloud for Extensive Coverage

Protractor is valuable for testing cross-browser compatibility across various devices through an actual device cloud when conducting tests on a remote server. AI-powered test orchestration and execution platforms like LambdaTest offer a real device cloud to access over 3000 browsers and mobile devices.

Language Flexibility with Support for Various API Bindings

Protractor’s compatibility with WebDriver API bindings written in diverse languages, including JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, etc., contributes to its flexibility and ease of integration with different tech stacks.

Asynchronous Test Execution Support

Protractor supports asynchronous execution by leveraging Callbacks, Promises, and Async/Await. This approach enhances performance, allowing comprehensive end-to-end testing of Angular web apps within a condensed timeframe.

Automatic Waiting Capability

A standout feature of Protractor is its automatic waiting functionality. Testers are relieved from inserting explicit wait(s) or sleep(s) in the code. Protractor seamlessly executes the subsequent test step as soon as the webpage completes ongoing, pending tasks, eliminating the need for manual synchronization between the test and the webpage. 

Achieving Protractor-like features in Selenium with Java test development

This can be facilitated through a library known as ngWebDriver. This library is designed to automate AngularJS and Angular Web Applications using Selenium with Java, replicating all the essential features in a Protractor Project. It seamlessly incorporates the JavaScript functionalities necessary for automating Angular applications using Selenium with Java.

Key features of the ngWebDriver library include:

Elimination of Extra JavaScript for Angular Requests Waiting:

The library streamlines the process of waiting for Angular requests, negating the need for writing additional JavaScript code.

Introduction of New Locating Techniques for Angular-Specific Attributes:

It offers novel locating techniques tailored for Angular-specific attributes, enhancing the precision of element identification.

FindBy Annotations for Page Object Factories:

The library provides FindBy annotations, facilitating the creation of Page Object Factories. This contributes to a more organized and efficient test development process.

By leveraging these features, the ngWebDriver library simplifies the task of automating Angular applications using Selenium with Java, ensuring a seamless and feature-rich testing experience.

Understanding Selenium Protractor:

Protractor emerges as an optimal choice when developing applications on AngularJS due to its tailored support for AngularJS apps.

  • It allows customization beyond what Selenium offers and is designed explicitly for creating AngularJS applications.
  • Protractor operates on top of Selenium, leveraging its advantages while incorporating specific features tailored for AngularJS.
  • Utilizing the Webdriver API, Protractor seamlessly integrates with Angular, providing an effective and cohesive testing solution for AngularJS applications.

Best Practices for Protractor Testing

By incorporating best practices, you can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your Protractor testing, ensuring reliable and comprehensive results across various browsers and devices.

Implement Parallel Testing for Cross-Browser Compatibility:

Conduct parallel testing on different browsers to save time, optimize resources, and ensure cross-browser compatibility.

Utilize text and visual logs for enhanced Debugging:

Employ text and visual logs to keep track of commands and simplify debugging. Text logs serve as a record, while visible logs generate screenshots for each test step, aiding in understanding application behavior and troubleshooting unexpected outcomes.

Record Test Execution in Video Format:

Record test execution in video format to monitor failures and gain insights into the reasons behind them. While this helps in precise debugging, be mindful that it may extend execution time, so use it selectively, especially for scenarios where expected outcomes are not met.

Optimize monitoring for test passes:

Tests that consistently pass may not require stringent monitoring, as increased runtime for many passing tests could slow down operations. Focus monitoring efforts on tests with potential issues.

Ensure that Protractor Selenium tests are executed on real browsers and devices to simulate real-world scenarios accurately.

Explore Cloud Selenium Grid for Diverse Testing Environments:

Leverage a Cloud Selenium Grid with over 3000 real browsers and devices LambdaTest offers for live and automated testing. Sign up, select the desired device-browser-OS combination, and initiate free website testing. Integrating with LambdaTest is seamless.

LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform providing cross-browser testing across 3000 browser versions and testing environments.


Test automation is vital in helping testers meet the increasing need for swift delivery and superior software quality. Employing Protractor and Selenium for automated testing explicitly addresses this requirement for Angular web applications, leading to developing high-quality applications within condensed timelines through parallel execution.

Protractor automation is most effective for optimal results when conducting tests on a real device cloud. This approach is essential to guaranteeing the utmost accuracy of results. Therefore, it is advisable to consistently choose accurate device testing to thoroughly assess website performance, cross-browser compatibility, and the overall quality of the user experience it delivers.

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