Running Selenium tests against a Docker stack

In case you missed it, it's possible to perform your Selenium acceptance tests using Docker containers all the way down.

Let's say you have the following stack of containers:

  • A MongoDB database
  • A Spring Boot app
  • An Nginx frontend

You can run your ATs through the whole stack by adding in a Selenium container, e.g. selenium/standalone-firefox (there are others on Docker Hub), and linking it to nginx. Let's make this concrete with a (simplified) docker-compose example, where we build our app from a Dockerfile in the current directory:

    image: mongo:3.1
    command: mongod --storageEngine wiredTiger
    build: .
        - db
    image: nginx
        - app
        - ./config/nginx/:/etc/nginx/conf.d/
    image: selenium/standalone-firefox
        # Required to avoid container startup hanging sometimes in
        # some environments
        - web
        - "4444:4444"

You bring up the container stack and everything can communicate the way it should. The only port we've exposed is the Selenium web driver's remote API port, which can access from Java as follows:

WebDriver driver = new RemoteWebDriver(new URL("http://localhost:4444/wd/hub"), DesiredCapabilities.firefox());

But we can take this one step further, and run our acceptance tests in a container too, as follows (here our acceptance tests are run by the verify lifecycle phase):

docker run \
   --rm \
   --workdir /usr/src/app \
   --volume "$PWD/..":/usr/src/app \
   --volume "$HOME/.m2/":/root/.m2/ \
   --link selenium \
   maven:3.3-jdk-8 \
   mvn -B verify

Now we don't have to expose port 4444 in the Selenium container above. We also have to change our Java code to:

WebDriver driver = new RemoteWebDriver(new URL("http://selenium:4444/wd/hub"), DesiredCapabilities.firefox());

And there you have it - containers all the way down. The benefit of this is that it forces you to run each component as separate unit (a micro-service, if you will!), which keeps you honest when you're configuring your services - you can't rely on a service or configuration magically being in the right place. Scaling the stack to multiple machines then becomes natural.

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