Selenium IDE is the easiest way to use Selenium and most of the time it also serves as a starting point for your automation. Selenium IDE comes as an extension to the Firefox web browser. This can be installed from either openqa or mozilla distribution site. Selenium extension will be downloaded as XPI file. If you open this file using File -> open in Mozilla, it should get installed.
Biggest drawback of Selenium IDE is its limitation in terms of browser support. Though Selenium scripts can be used for most of the browser and operating system, Scripts written using Selenium IDE can be used for only Firefox browser if it is not used with Selenium RC or Selenium Core.
Selenium IDE is the only flavor of Selenium which allows you to record user action on browser window. It can also record user actions in most of the popular languages like Java, C#, Perl, Ruby etc. This eliminates the need of learning new vendor scripting language.
For executing scripts created in these languages, you will need to use Selenium Remote Control. If you do not want to use Remote Control than you will need to create your test scripts in HTML format.
So if you are excited about the tool, Lets start playing with Selenium IDE now. If installed properly, Selenium can be accessed from tool --> Selenium IDE in your browser toolbar.
As compared to most of the test automation tools it is very simple and lightweight. The small red button on the right hand side gives you an indication on whether Selenium is in recording mode or not. Also, Selenium IDE will not record any operation that you do on your computer apart from the events on Firefox browser window. So go ahead read your mail, open a word doc or do anything else, Selenium will record only your actions on browser.
If you are curious to know about other options present on the Selenium IDE, there are not much :) . Other options present on the Selenium IDE toolbar are related to test execution. Run will execute the tests with the maximum possible speed, Walk will execute them with relatively slow speed and in step mode you will need to tell Selenium to take small steps.
Final button present on the Selenium IDE toolbar is the Selenium TestRunner. Test Runner gives you nice browser interface to execute your tests and also gives summary of how many tests were executed, how many passed and failed. It also gives similar information on commands which were passed or failed. TestRunner is also available to tests developed in HTML Only.
If you open the option window by going to Option , you will see there are some self explanatory options available. For example, encoding of test files, timeout etc. You can also specify Selenium Core and Selenium IDE extensions on this page.
Selenium extensions can be used to enhance the functionality provided by Selenium. Selenium extensions are not covered in this article, there will be a separate article for specifying and developing extensions for Selenium