Is it possible to hide the browser in Selenium RC?

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Question :

Is it possible to hide the browser in Selenium RC?

I am using Selenium RC to automate some browser operations but I want the browser to be invisible. Is this possible? How? What about Selenium Grid? Can I hide the Selenium RC window also?

Asked By: Yatendra


Answer #1:

There are a few options:

  • You could use Selenium Grid so that the browser is opened on a completely different machine (or virtual machine) that you can then connect to via VNC or Remote Desktop Connection if you wanted to see the browser. Also, another option: if you run a Jenkins foreground process on that remote server, it can execute your test project on the desktop.

  • You can run Selenium ‘headless’ on Linux in XVFB. I’ve never tried doing this and doubt it’s really worth the effort.

  • You can wrap Selenium RC in a Windows service. . Except that permissions constraints on later versions of windows will probably prevent Selenium from accessing the desktop like Windows 2000 used to allow us to do.

  • Another option would be to use something like WebDriver HTMLUnitDriver, which doesn’t launch a ‘real’ browser. . Also there is a PhantomJS option as well as a ‘headless Chrome’ that you could use.

  • Of course there’s also the option of using a service like SauceLabs, where you can get your tests to be run in the cloud. After your tests have completed you can watch a video of them running.

Answered By: Dave Hunt

Answer #2:

On Linux, you can run WebDriver in a headless (virtual) display to hide the browser. This can be done with Xvfb (X virtual framebuffer).

You can control Xvfb directly from Python code using xvfbwrapper:

Python code for running headless would look like this:

from selenium import webdriver
from xvfbwrapper import Xvfb

display = Xvfb()

# now Firefox will run in a virtual display. 
# you will not see the browser.
driver = webdriver.Firefox()



Install dependencies on Debian/Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install xvfb
$ pip install xvfbwrapper
Answered By: Corey Goldberg

Answer #3:

I easily managed to hide the browser window.

Just install PhantomJS. Then, change this line:

driver = webdriver.Firefox()


driver = webdriver.PhantomJS()

The rest of your code won’t need to be changed and no browser will open. For debugging purposes, use driver.save_screenshot('screen.png') at different steps of your code.

Answer #4:

+1 for Selenium RC as a windows service.

For having the tests run completely hidden, I think you don’t have much solutions if you’re on windows.

What I’d do it to dedicate a computer in your LAN to be online all the time and have a selenium RC server running. So you use that computer’s IP instead of localhost to run your tests. For example:

browser = selenium("",4444,"*firefox","")

(considering that that’s the ip of the computer running the server).

Having that setup, you run your tests in you computer, the browsers and the RC server window are in another computer and the go back to yours once done.

Answered By: Santi

Answer #5:

On Linux, you can run your test browser on a virtual display. You will need the xvfb package for creating a virtual X server. On Debian based distros, just run

sudo apt-get install xvfb

There is a nice tool that will conveniently set up any command to run on the virtual display. Download it and make it executable:

chmod +x

Then you can simply use it to start the Selenium server:

./ java -jar selenium-standalone.jar

All browser windows created by Selenium will now use the virtual display and will be invisible to you.

Answered By: pixelistik

Answer #6:

If you’re on Windows, one option is to run the tests under a different user account. This means the browser and java server will not be visible to your own account.

Answered By: Igor Brejc

Answer #7:

This is how I run my tests with maven on a linux desktop (Ubuntu). I got fed up not being able to work with the firefox webdriver always taking focus.

I installed xvfb

xvfb-run -a mvn clean install

Thats it

Answered By: Paul Whelan

Answer #8:

In many cases PhantomJS will not completely suit your needs, I would like to elaborate on the headless chrome option mentioned in Dave Hunt’s answer.

chrome 57 has just launched this feature. You can use it by passing the –headless flag via ChromeDriver, for more info see the discussion in this question

Answered By: Marlies

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