The internet has become one of the most essential tools in business; hence, more and more consumers are interacting online. However, have you ever wondered how single businesses and corporations cope with the influx of prospective consumers looking for their products and services? Well, if you haven't, here's the scoop.
To meet the increasing demands for online interaction with consumers, most companies have resolved to use test scripts to perform tasks on the web automatically and even create automated web browsers for website unlocking. These tasks range from extracting data from websites to navigating web pages and filling out forms, all of which, when completed automatically, make apps run faster and more efficiently and improve the UI experience.
If you'd like to find out how to handle mundane, repetitive, and tedious tasks using web automation, then you're in the right place. In this guide, we will learn about web browser automation, why it’s essential, and how it simplifies complex tasks.
What is Web Browser Automation?
Gone are the days when every business-related communication and transaction had to be done manually. Now, every organization is looking to replace these tasks with web automation, which results in less repetitiveness, more efficiency, and unmatched accuracy. Thus, web automation is the process of allowing software to take control of and process data in a web application and browser.
With web automation, you don't have to repeat the steps and actions you take every time you log into a website or app, including filling in fields, scraping data from a webpage, and clicking web browser buttons and other elements.
For automation, you need a browser that allows you control, which is why Chromium-based browsers are preferred. This is due to their advanced features enabled by the Chrome DevTools Protocol.
The majority of browser automation libraries support both headless and non-headless usage of Chromium-based browsers. When a browser is in headless mode, the UI is hidden, and it operates in the background. However, the browser interface is shown while the browser is in non-headless or headful mode.
Web Browser Automation Use Cases
By now, you may be wondering why you would need to automate your browser, but as it turns out, there are numerous use cases for web browser automation, which include;
1. Automatic Broken Link Verification
One of the most frustrating things when using the internet is to visit a link only to get the dreaded "404 Not Found" error. If you have a website, you should obviously fix or remove any broken links, but first, you have to locate them.
Locating and repairing broken links on your website is a walk in the park if your website only contains a small number of pages. But imagine a large, database-backed site with hundreds or even thousands of pages, the majority of which are created dynamically!
What was once a small annoyance easily turns into a nearly impossible chore, but do not fret, as here's where browser automation comes into play. Use the automation to access programs that will go through your website automatically, checking each link and reporting any that are broken.
- Web Scraping
The invention of the internet years ago was solely to enable researchers to easily share their work with the world, meaning that it was meant to help us consume data from others. But how can we achieve this? Simple: automation.
Automating a web browser also results in the automation of the process of extracting data from the web. If you're a business owner, you have a reason to smile, as automation can be used to compare prices, generate leads, and conduct academic research. This will enable you to extract insightful information from search engines and websites. While it is not as effective as using dedicated web scraping tools, it is more efficient for simple data gathering.
2. Web Testing
Automating the process of web testing includes tasks such as filling out forms, verifying the accuracy of collected data, and clicking buttons. Unlike other automated tests, this involves end-to-end, general tests, which shine when you use them as regression tests. This means that if a problem reoccurs after being fixed, you have a faster, more efficient safety net as compared to human testers to warn you, and all that just for a fraction of the cost!
Benefits of Web Browser Automation
With the advancement of the internet over the years, more and more businesses rely on applications to avail their products and services to consumers. If your business is among them, browser automation tools come with numerous benefits, which include:
- Time Management
We can all agree that time is of the essence when it comes to business. Thanks to web browser automation, IT specialists don't have to spend time on operational tasks and testing. Instead, they get to spend that time developing their skills and improving other aspects of the business.
- Reduced Errors
One of the major downsides of human labor is its susceptibility to errors, some of which may prove too costly and time-consuming to correct. However, with automation, tasks are programmed and created with scripts they are expected to follow without human intervention. As long as the script is accurate, mistakes and missteps are very unlikely.
- Decreased Turnaround Times
The quicker the turnaround for your business, the more effective it is likely to be. This is another benefit of automation, as automated bots can run more than one test case on different browsers at the same time. This way, you roll out the software faster and save time.
Web automation can easily make your business a cakewalk. All you need to do is find the best approach and automation tools suited to your business, and you'll thank yourself later.