Selenium seems to have a lot of different components and the website does not explain them very well and I'm still a bit confused which is which. What's the difference or purpose between:

Selenium IDE Selenium Server Selenium Remote Control WebDriver Selenium 2

My understanding is as follows:

Selenium IDE is a GUI plugin used for rapid prototyping of test cases in Selenese/HTML.

Selenium Builder is a GUI plugin used for rapid prototyping of test cases in Selenium 1 & 2.

Selenium Server is a standalone java program which allows you to run HTML test suites in a range of different browsers, plus extra options like reporting.

Selenium Remote Control is the old name for Selenium Server, which only supports version 1 of the Selenium API.

WebDriver is the actual core API which has bindings in a range of languages and allows you to write standalone tests.

Selenium 2 is the latest version of the Selenium project, and includes the IDE, Server and WebDriver.

  • The definitions in your question are all correct. Which of them are confusing to you?
    – user246
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 12:21
  • Good to hear, I was just looking to see if I'd go anything wrong. Well, I'm a bit confused about the relationship between the Selenese test cases and a full blown script in WebDriver. Is the Selenese a kind of IDE-only "binding" that references parts of the full WebDriver API?
    – persepolis
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 12:28
  • 1
    For someone with a programming background, I recommend avoiding the IDE entirely and going straight to the Webdriver or Selenium 2 APIs.
    – user246
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 21:08
  • 1
    I don't intend to confuse you but this blog post of mine might help you - seleniumsoftwaretesting.blogspot.com/2011/03/…
    – Tarun
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 4:34

2 Answers 2


Selenese via http://seleniumhq.org/docs/02_selenium_ide.html#selenium-commands-selenese

Selenium commands, often called selenese, are the set of commands that run your tests. A sequence of these commands is a test script. Here we explain those commands in detail, and we present the many choices you have in testing your web application when using Selenium.

Selenium provides a rich set of commands for fully testing your web-app in virtually any way you can imagine. The command set is often called selenese. These commands essentially create a testing language.

Web Driver via http://seleniumhq.org/docs/03_webdriver.html

WebDriver is a tool for automating testing web applications[...] It provides an API which will help make your tests easier to read and maintain. It’s not tied to any particular test framework, so it can be used equally well in a unit testing or from a plain old “main” method.


These are three major differences between Selenium WebDriver and Selenium RC which might be of some help here.

This post also has links to other blogs which talk further about the difference between Selenium WebDriver and Selenium RC.

  • While I'm sure the material in that blog post is good, this answer doesn't stand on its own. Could you edit this post to make it a great answer even without the link, and then link for further information?
    – corsiKa
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 14:56

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