The following is taken from seleniumhq. org:
If you want to create quick bug reproduction scripts, create scripts to aid in automation-aided exploratory testing
Then you want to use Selenium IDE; a Firefox add-on that will do simple record-and-playback of interactions with the browser.
First, I have not heard yet of a company that uses Selenium IDE for test automation.
So when we talk about its popularity, are we referring to its users or companies that use it? If companies do not use it for automation, why bother spending any time with it?
Still, why is it popular among manual testers?
It is popular because
1. It is easy to learn
You need about 1 hour to understand how it works. What can compare with that? Learning the basics of Java may take months so Selenium IDE must be better, right?
2. It gives you results fast
In about 1 hour, you can start creating tests with Selenium IDE. In about 3 hours, you can have a suite of tests that cover a component of a site.
You dont know yet that
these tests only work in Firefox
are very hard to maintain and customize
are very fragile
3. It gives you the illusion that automation is easy
If you can learn Selenium IDE in 1 hour and have a suite of tests in 3 hours, for sure those people who say that programming is mandatory dont know what they are talking about.
4. It gives you the illusion that you dont need programming
Initially, you have lots of enthusiasm because of how simple Selenium IDE is.
It wont take long until your enthusiasm vanishes and instead you will have doubt, worry and lots of problems.
A simple tool cannot help with complicated things like test automation.
You cannot build a house with just a hammer and nails. Maybe this worked 200 years ago, not these days.
Everything already said applies to any record-and-play component of any tool (UFT, RANOREX, LOAD RUNNER, etc). Record and play is not the way to test automation.
It is just a shortcut that goes nowhere.
Learning programming is the correct path.
Yes, it will take you through peaks and valleys, it is long and difficult but you get to your goal in the end.
So, if you want to learn automation, a tool like Selenium IDE will not get you there.
A change of mindset is important.
Learning test automation means learning to be a developer.