RPA vs Selenium

In this fast-paced world, it has become very difficult to keep up with all the upcoming technologies. Everything is now automated, from our cars to our homes everything is now at the click of a button.

With advances in technology, the involvement of computers is now everywhere. automating simple basic units to automating the whole production the technology has come a long way.

So today I’m gonna talk about two such technologies, widely used in the field of automation testing- Selenium and RPA(robotic process automation).

Both are the new era automation tools, however, are different from each other in their unique ways.

Let us first talk about the RPA.


Robotic process automation or RPA is the new software technology is used to automate repetitive tasks like data entry, data analysis, banking, etc. which are tedious for humans.

The RPA uses a fraction of the cost and time to accomplish work than a human.

For all the complex activities like calculations, data manipulation, extract data from documents, and all that work that requires efficiency and precision, RPA is assigned with it.

The robots can completely mimic the work of a human, with zero errors. In all it’s key characteristics would be

  1. A computer-coded software
  2. A robot mimicking human actions
  3. Agile, zero errors, and maximum efficiency
  4. A cross-functional application

The RPA has 3 core functionalities namely:

  1. SCREEN SCRAPING:  the robot interacts with outer systems with the help of screen scraping. It acts as the bridge between our current system and the other systems.

    It extracts the data from the source or, from one application and parse it in its way so that other application can display it too. It scrapes the user interface of another application.

  2. WORKFLOW AUTOMATION:  the robot does all the decision making to take specific actions, based on the inputs it has received. In other words, the tasks are completed based on predefined rules to optimize workflow.

  3. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:  the AI of the software instructs the system to perform tasks that are specified by the user. AI is implemented through machine learning and deep learning.

Together with automation and artificial intelligence makes the whole RPA functioning.

 Let’s look at a few of many features of the RPA-

  • Security: if a big company is solely working on automation, it is very obvious that a large number of individuals will have access to the RPA.

    To avoid tampering or malicious activities, The entire automated data, audits, and instructions accessed by the bot are encrypted.

  • Simple bot interface: the creation of bots is super easy and quick using RPA. It can be done with a few clicks.

  • Less scripting: with the newer versions the requirement of coding skills has decreased to a large extent. An employee with no coding knowledge can also create the bot, with just GUI and different intuitive wizards.

  • Actionable intelligence: the bots created extract structured as well as unstructured data, convert it into information, and then into actionable intelligence for the end-user.


Coming to the selenium software, it is an open-source portable framework to automate just web applications across search engines like- Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox.

Selenium can run across various operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.  It is a flexible software as the scripting can be done using various languages like Ruby, C#, Java, Python, etc.

The main purpose of it is that it aids in the development of web application test automation. Tests can be performed on different mobile or PC applications but it is solely for web applications purposes.

The Software is composed of several components which include Selenium IDE, Selenium Client API, Selenium remote control. Selenium Grid and, Selenium web driver. All of these contribute to test automation for web applications.

Let’s focus on features of selenium that makes it so popular among developers

  1. Open-source – The biggest advantage of Selenium is that it is readily available and is free of cost. It is the key feature that sells the software on its own.

  2. Language Diversity – In addition to the previous feature, the software does not bound the user to a specific scripting language. One can work in various languages like Python, Ruby, Java, etc with ease, thus making it so popular.

  3. Versatility – Once you are done preparing the test cases, it can run on different OS like Macintosh or Linux.

  4. Lesser Resources Required – When compared to its competitors like UFT, and RFT, Selenium requires lesser resources.

Let’s consider a scenario where you have to reach a particular page of a famous e-commerce website. Selenium will help you reach that page and just not that, it will help you inspect the page, get the codes, and the whole testing of it without hassle. You can perform it yourself with a few easy steps. You can refer to this amazing tutorial series on Selenium for extra assistance.

Now that we have talked about both the technologies, I’ll make it even easier to understand both the technologies.

Following is the table where I’ve compared and drawn all the differences between both the software.

Selenium automates testing specifically only for web applications. The RPA is used for automating all the backend procedures like data maintenance, calculations, banking, etc.  
It is an open-source testing tool. Some of the RPA tools are,  UiPath, Automation Anywhere, BluePrism, and others.
Selenium uses web drivers to perform and complete all the tasks RPA uses different bots to automate any task
The Selenium is only used for regression, functional, and performance testing. The RPA is used to do all business processes like calculation, data maintenance, data analysis, etc.
It tests only the current web page It runs on the backend of the process.
Selenium only tests web applications. RPA is platform-independent. i.e it can run on mobile, laptop, and all web applications.


This article is contributed by Kanika Rawat. She has done B.Tech from Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Engineering, Pune in Electronics and Telecommunications. She is a tech-enthusiast and likes to write about the latest trends in technology.

Image Source: learnovita

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