Converting selinium code to headless tests with PhantomJS

The word test here is used ambiguously as I use selenium for more than just UI tests, it makes a great tool for browser automation which I use it for this purpose a lot. While writing your browser automation most of the time it’s easier to do it in browser mode by using the firefox or chrome driver so that you can visually inspect the HTML. Once you are done writing the code and finished testing sometimes you would prefer to switch it to headless mode so that it can be run without having a UI, at which point you are likely to tryout PhantomJS driver and your fully tested code starts throwing all sorts of errors like “Element not found” or “Stale Element Exception”. If all this errors go away if you switch back to chrome or firefox driver then the likeliest cause of your troubles is you might need to add delays in most places where you have the browser loading new data compared to the other browser drivers.
To me this seemed a bit counter intuitive at first as I though headless mode should run faster therefore requiring even less time to load UI changes, but I guess it might actually take a little longer since all the browser rendering is being done is software only. Just thought to put this out there as I have run into the issue a few times.

Leave a Reply