What are the differences between Selenium WebDriver and Selenium RC?

Selenium RC (Remote Control) and Selenium WebDriver are both part of the Selenium suite for automating web browsers, but they are quite different in their architecture, functionality, and usage. Here are the main differences between Selenium WebDriver and Selenium RC:


Selenium RC: - Selenium RC was the first major web testing framework of the Selenium project. It works by using a server to inject JavaScript into the browser, which then interacts with the web application under test. This server acts as an intermediary between your test script and the browser. - It requires the Selenium RC Server to be up and running before you can start testing, as it sends commands to the server through HTTP.

Selenium WebDriver: - Selenium WebDriver interacts directly with the browser at the OS level, without the need for a separate server or intermediary. It communicates with the browser's native API, providing better performance and more accurate simulations of user actions. - WebDriver was designed to overcome the limitations of Selenium RC, offering a more concise and object-oriented API.

Browser Support:

Selenium RC: - Since Selenium RC injects JavaScript code into the browser, it can work with almost any browser that supports JavaScript. - The same JavaScript commands are used across all browsers, which could lead to browser-specific bugs due to the differences in JavaScript implementation.

Selenium WebDriver: - WebDriver uses browser-specific drivers, which means it can support new browsers and versions more quickly by updating the specific driver. - It provides better compatibility and support for modern web features because it interacts with browsers in a more native way.


Selenium RC: - Typically slower than WebDriver because it uses JavaScript commands for automation, which takes more time to process.

Selenium WebDriver: - Faster execution time as it interacts directly with the browser without going through a server.

API and Ease of Use:

Selenium RC: - Has a more complex API because it was the first attempt at a cross-browser testing tool. - Requires starting the server before running tests, which adds extra steps and complexity.

Selenium WebDriver: - Provides a cleaner, more object-oriented API. - Doesn't require a server to be started, simplifying test setup and execution.

Maintenance and Development:

Selenium RC: - Selenium RC is considered deprecated since the arrival of Selenium WebDriver. - The Selenium project no longer actively develops or maintains Selenium RC.

Selenium WebDriver: - WebDriver is the current standard for Selenium browser automation and is actively developed and maintained. - It is the foundation for future enhancements and features in the Selenium project.

Community and Support:

Selenium RC: - Has a smaller community and less ongoing support since it's deprecated.

Selenium WebDriver: - Has a large and active community, with plenty of resources, documentation, and support available.


Selenium RC: - Might still be used in legacy systems where tests were written using RC and haven't been migrated to WebDriver.

Selenium WebDriver: - Recommended for all new projects and for those looking to migrate from Selenium RC.

In summary, Selenium WebDriver is a more modern, efficient, and direct approach to browser automation compared to Selenium RC. WebDriver is the preferred tool for web test automation, offering a better API, improved performance, and more accurate browser interaction.

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