Agile Testing, Automation, Helium, Quality Analyst, Selenium, Testing, Web Automation, Web Testing

Helium .. a boon or not to all automation engineers?

‘Selenium’ is the hot-topic in the automation sector, if any developer or tester knows Selenium well, then it is considered  as he can do anything which is required to perform ‘Web automation’. Its been almost a decade when Selenium came up to the market, and as the time passed it became more and more popular. People started taking it more seriously. Not only as a stand-alone tool, merely with the combination of other tools like Maven, Jenkins, TestNG, etc.

Though the work goes on, and people started taking more interest in this automation area, people started finding flaws in this tool. However some were very genuine, on contrary some seems to make less sense.

I started working on helium, sometime back and there I found it really helpful. Let me share my experience so far with this tool, this will definitely differ from person-to-person and here is my opinion.

There are multiple pros and cons of Helium. This tool has a costing value, one has to pay €99 per license for a year. And most of the functionality it offers is achievable via Selenium.
Selenium is an open source and has a community(very active) running over internet. People know selenium and are keen to know more about Selenium rather than Helium.
I have also stated pros and cons in my article:
Why Helium over Selenium?

  • Get rid of finding and locating HTML elements.
  • No need for Xpath and other locators.
  • Reduces the complexity of code by 50%.
  • All driver instantiation, WebDriver, WebElement references can be done by very less keywords.
  • No calling of driver instance all the time to run test cases.
  • Very simple commands for complex functionalities like drag and drop, keyboard driven actions like Key press, etc.

What are the excuses on which user can rely on while opting for Helium?

  • The first and most important feature is that Helium is a paid tool, so to use this you need to bear some costs.
  • The other is you need to add 14 jars in Class path where-in, in selenium you need to add just one selenium-server-standalone-jar.
  • Another is IE support, for this you need to download some Registration license keys and run them on your local so as to support execution on Internet Explorer.

Conclusion: Although this could be a great tool provided it would not have introduced maintenance problems. The creator of the tool also claims that due to automatic element finding capabilities this tool is 28% slower than an optimized Selenium script. Community has shared this feedback with the creator and if he addresses these  issues it has potential to get used at large scale.

PS For all those QAs who are not that comfortable with coding, can go for helium. On the other hand, they need to pay some reasonable amount to get the benefits out of it.


1 thought on “Helium .. a boon or not to all automation engineers?”

  1. Hi Khyati,

    Firstly, great work on all write-ups!
    I was trying to evaluate Helium for automating our web test scripts, and the first question that came to my mind was: Is Helium a test tool, or just an automation tool?
    Do we have an option of recording/logging failures? What are the ways of validating web content, or functional behavior for that matter using Helium?
    What happens if a step fails? Can Helium capture screenshots in such cases, and notify the user about the failure?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Trideep Chakravorty


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