What To Expect From The New Version Of Selenium 4 Alpha?

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All of us belonging to the testing domain are familiar with Selenium, one of the most popular open source automation tools available in the industry. We were pretty excited in August 2018 when Simon Stewart, Selenium’s founding member officially announced the release date of Selenium 4 and what new features it will bring to the users.

The framework’s release got postponed just like it happened with Selenium 3. However, we have got our hands on the Alpha version of Selenium 4. We are really glad to see that they delivered some of the features in the Alpha version of Selenium 4 which they promised. Without any further delay, let’s get on knowing what is new in Selenium 4 and what we are getting in the Alpha release.

New Features Promised in Selenium 4

Selenium 4 IDE TNG

  • It has the ability to execute test cases in parallel and provide information like passed and failed test cases, the time required, etc.
  • The new IDE runner is completely based on WebDriver.

WebDriver API Became W3C Standardized

Previously, when web testing was performed using Selenium 3, browser communication was performed via JSON wire protocol from the local end, which required API encoding and decoding. Not anymore though, as with Selenium 4, you won’t have to decode and encode your API request using W3C protocol. Java bindings, however, will be backward compatible while being focused on the W3C protocol. However, support for PhantomJS and Opera has been removed since WebDriver implementation for those browsers are not anymore developed.

Mostly because of the W3C standardization of WebDriver, the release date of Selenium 4 got postponed. But keeping in mind the new features, it’s worth waiting. Once the specification is complete, the remaining job will fall on the hand of browser vendors who will decide on how they are going to implement the new WebDriver API. This is a more logical approach since the internal architecture of browsers is better known by the vendors.

Comes With an Improved Grid


A test machine on which you can execute the test cases.


The server acting as a central point to control all other machines available in the network. Selenium Grid has only one hub whose purpose is to allocate the test case execution to a specific node.

Till version 3, testers faced a lot of difficulties while connecting hub with nodes. But in new version Selenium 4, the process is much easier. The moment you start the Selenium Grid, it will act as both node and hub. There is also better Docker support and no chance of thread safety bugs. The new Selenium 4 Grid server also allows the user to output logs in a single line format in JSON.

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A Better UI

Better Observability

Much Detailed Documentation

With Selenium 4, SeleniumHQ promised us to deliver a refreshed and updated documentation which is the most anticipated update among test automation engineers.

What Is So Promising In The Alpha Version Of Selenium 4?

  • Selenium interacted with browsers using Backend APIs. The architecture of those APIs changed internally.
  • Automation scripts developed using Selenium 2 and 3 will not be impacted.
  • WebDriver IDE’s W3C recommended document is now available which provides a detailed and neatly arranged API information.

How To Get Your Hands On Selenium 4 Alpha?

However, it should be kept in mind that the Alpha version of Selenium 4 is still in the testing phase and there may be some instability. You can use it if you want to get hands-on with the new features but if you want to implement them in your project, our suggestion is to wait for some time until a stable version is released. If you already have experience working with the alpha version, do let us know the features you found most interesting along with the stability issues that you faced in the comments.


2000+ Browsers AND OS


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Originally published at LambdaTest

Author Arnab Roy Chowdhury

Written by

Product Growth at @lambdatesting (www.lambdatest.com)

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