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Selenium as a tool contains 4 components:
First selenium was used as Selenium IDE with a simple record run option. Limitation is that it works only with firefox browser. Selenium IDE is very specific to Mozilla browser not the operating system. It can also be used to parameterize testscripts but can handle only simple scripts and cannot call the script repeatedly if required. Cannot create functions.Hence people go for RC server or Webdriver which provides these options and enhance the test script execution.
Development language support wise it could generate code in java, html, python, ruby,perl,c# and php. This is only part of selenium that has a user interface.
Selenium RC server:
In order to extend the ability of selenium tool they introduced another component called Selenium RC server. This could open up scripts in different browsers and on different operating systems and thereby extended the ability of the selenium tool.
Inside the RC server scripts could be run independently within the RC server without depending on the Operating system since Java development language is open to be used on almost all operating systems like Linux,Mac,Windows,Solaris. It is because of this flexibility that Java development language is integrated with RC server most of the times forming the tool called Selenium.
When you code the automation scripts using java language a built in framework is used called the Junit Framework(for testscript parameterization) along with TestNG Framework (for generating execution reports) thus forming the Datadriven, Modular Driven, Hybrid Framework in Selenium. When you have written a code using Java language you maintain the record of those scripts and code inside a Editor tool called NetBeans/Eclipse for Windows operating system only, Ant tool (Apache) for windows command prompt.
Ant can also be used for Linux operating system.
Selenium tool can be created with any development/scripting language such as PHP,Shell,Perl,C#, Java,Ruby or Python.
If you choose to use Selenium RC for test case automation then do not use Selenium WebDriver since they both are 2 different things inside Selenium.When you use Selenium RC for automation you need to simply download and configure selenium jar files inside Eclipse (Windows platform). Now you have to associate the Java jar files with Selenium jars inside the eclipse if you are executing your test scripts on the windows operating system.
Selenium WebDriver does not support Safari and Opera at present. However as far as the development language is concerned it supports Java, Ruby, Python,C#.
There is no need to learn Selenium RC if you want to learn Selenium WebDriver.
How to configure Selenium Webdriver in Eclipse?
Download eclipse EE for Java developers.There is no need for Selenium RC server jars. Directly download the Java client Drivers and configure it with Eclipse Project for Windows operating system.First create a new java project called Webdriver. Right click and go to properties of this project.Go to Java Build Path option since you are configuring selenium with java language and observe for the libraries tab. You will get a Add External Jars button.Click on it and select all the java client drivers (jar files) downloaded from seleniumhq website.
Selenium IDE is installed as an addon for Firefox however RC and webdriver is configured in Eclipse.