I am a web developer in a very small team(2 devs, one hardware), and I spend as much, if not more time testing applications(due to requirements issues) than the actual developing. To help with this, I've begun using SeleniumIDE and it has been great.

However, I would like further gains. Would learning and moving to a headless testing process be worth it if I am working on fairly small-one person projects,

A Note: I am the only one on my team with any knowledge of automated testing, and plan to do more Unit Testing for my code eventually. Also, I am responsible for the deployment and automation processes as a whole for my team, and we are a couple of hires away from having a tester or anyone to manage deployment.

2 Answers 2


Only you can really answer that. A good testing framework that can run functional test automation is software, like any other; you'd have to write it and maintain it, but you might find it easier to add tests when you don't have to worry about flakey record-and-playback, and once you have a decent framework, other developers can pitch in and write tests against it. Some basic smoke tests could also be plugged into a CI platform to aid in the deployment validation. However, I think for your team size, unit tests are a more important priority, so I'd work on getting those solid before you really dig into Selenium Webdriver.

ETA: Upon a second reading, I'm not certain I read your question properly the first time. I was assuming you were talking about going to Selenium with HTMLUnit, like @kirbycope suggested. If you're considering spending less time in Selenium and more time with unit- and integration-test frameworks, the answer is a resounding yes, it's worth it. Waitrmelon.com has this lovely chart that shows where you should be doing the bulk of your testing:

The unit and integration tests will be less fragile, require less maintenance, and ultimately run a lot faster than recorded Selenium tests ever will.


I don't believe it is worth it in your case. Selenium IDE runs as a Firefox add-on and saves its test in Selenese. You can export it to Java and use HtmlUnit, but you will find that there may not be an equivalent command and you end up having to write your own code to fill the gap. I cover this in my blog, here. Using Selenium IDE you can watch your test run and see if elements look off while you sip your coffee.

  • 1
    Writing your own code is not usually a significant drawback for a developer Feb 6, 2015 at 15:53
  • True it is not difficult, but it is time consuming. The asker already sounds strapped as it is.
    – kirbycope
    Feb 6, 2015 at 16:05

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