Quick Start of Automation with the ‘Robust’ Tool: Protractor (End to End) Testing

  • By
  • December 4, 2020
  • Software Testing

What is Protractor?

Protractor is an one of the automation-testing tool for web applications testing which combines powerful technologies such as Jasmine, Selenium (Web driver) and Node.js. Used mostly on Angular applications, Protractor helps to overcome shortcomings arising out of using selenium and other automation testing tools.

Protractor is an end-to-end (E2E) testing framework for AngularJS applications. It is customized for selenium to create tests in AngularJS applications like locator strategies are based on angular js particularly.

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Salient features of Protractor:


  • Protractor has been built on top of WebDriverJS and Selenium server
  • Protractor introduces end users to simpler syntax to write tests
  • Protractor is a wrapper around WebDriverJS and supports (BDD)behavior-driven development frameworks like Jasmine, Mocha, Cucumber etc.
  • Protractor provides new locator strategies and functions that helps to automate AngularJS applications. It works in concurrence with Selenium (WebDriver) to offer an automated test infrastructure.
  • Protractor makes use of the Selenium grid to run multiple browsers at once.

Framework that accounts for end-to-end testing:


Protractor supports behaviour-driven development test frameworks as follows :

  • Jasmine: It is the default test framework when testing teams install Protractor.  That’s why Jasmine will be the first of reference in this piece.
  • Mocha: Mocha is one of the JavaScript framework running on Node.js. If you want to run Mocha as your test framework, you will have to setup with Protractor. Moreover, you will also need to use a Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) interface and Chai Assertions with Chai as promised . It also supports testing framework ‘Cucumber’.


Advantages of Protractor:


  • No need to add sleep and wait command : As the webpage finishes remaining tasks/testcase, Protractor executes the steps  of the testing process by automatically connecting with the AngularJS.
  • Page Object: Protractor makes it easy to set up page objects feature. It doesn’t perform WebDriver commands until an action is needed, i.e., set up page objects so that tests can operate with page elements without moving the HTML.
  • Angular-specific locator support: Protractor supports Angular-specific locator strategies including repeater, model and binding, in addition native WebDriver locator strategies also.


Why protractor for end-to-end testing in AngularJs?


 If you are looking for a automation testing framework specific to AngularJS then Protractor is one of the best tool which is commonly referred as “Protractor AngularJS”. Perfomatix is an Angular Development Company, and we use Protractor among various testing tools to ensure capacity and quality assurance in code. Most of us are familiar with the WebDriver (Selenium) tool which we use to automate the web browsers. But being frustrated with all the waits needed for the WebDriver for synchronize with the application, causing flakes and extend test times? then Protractor is a right framework for you. Protractor is an Open Source testing tool for, End-to-End test framework specifically built for AngularJS apps. Protractor tool was built by a team in Google, with existing technologies such as Node.js, Selenium(webdriver) and Jasmine which makes writing tests a breeze. It is a replacement for the existing AngularJS  end to end  framework called  as “Angular Scenario Runner”.


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Why Protractor AngularJS?


  1. Protractor is a wrapping around Selenium WebDriverJS and Selenium Server (WebDriver).
  2. Protractor having new locator strategies and functions specifically for Angular apps.
  3. Automatic waiting can execute the next step in your test the moment the web page finishes pending tasks.
  4. Can take the advantage of the Selenium grid to run multiple browsers at once.
  5. Can run test on both real browsers and headless too.
  6. Can use Jasmine / Mocha /Cucumber  framework to write your test.


Architecture Diagram of Protractor


How does Protractor work?

  1. Jasmine helps to create the test.
  2. Protractor helps to run the test.
  3. Selenium Server helps to manage browsers.
  4. Selenium WebDriver helps to invoke browsers APIs.


Diagram: Workflow of Protractor


  • Why is Protractor tool preferred over Selenium (Webdriver)for automating Angular Web applications?

Protractor wraps around WebDriver JS, and the latter having JavaScript Selenium bindings. In other words, Protractor interacts with a web browser through the Selenium (WebDriver). Also It provides a highly convenient API and has some unique Angular-specific features. These include Angular specific element locating strategies like (by. Model(), by. Binding(), by. Repeater()); etc . automatic synchronization is possible between Protractor and Angular to minimize the use of explicit waits; built-in support of Browser Stack ; test parallelization and many more.


Following are some common challenges Protractor helps resolve easily:

  • Understanding asynchronous test execution in general
  • Promises and Control Flow: When to resolve a promise and when to not; how to pass promises around from function to function; when to use deferred and how to manually fulfil or reject a promise; using done() in Jasmine
  • Tackling flaky end-to-end tests
  • Test code design and organization – Where and how to keep  and, how to wrap page objects into each other

Protractor acts as an end-to-end (E2E)testing framework for both Angular as well as non-Angular applications that do not use CSS attributes. Automating web application built on AngularJS using Protractor tool.  That’s why is a crucial step forward for enterprises in their efforts to automate (BPA) business process applications.


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Advantages of Protractor When Combined With Selenium:


  • Excellent speed compared to other testing tools.
  • Supports cross-browser parallel testing through multiple browsers.
  • No need to work on synchronization strategy. Protractor has built-in capabilities and intelligence to connect with Angular and knows when Angular has finished rendering the data object model (DOM).
  • Angular-specific locator support.

  • What are the Browsers Supported by Protractor? 


 Protractor supports the two latest major versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE etc.  In Protractor there is a config file (config.js), all browser setup is done within the capabilities object. This object is directly passed to the WebDriver builder file (builder.js). To use a another browser same  as Chrome, simply set a different browser name in the capabilities object.        


capabilities: {

 ‘browserName’: ‘firefox’

What Are The Problems You can face while Debug Protractor Tests?


While testing a web based application, you will often encounter bugs in your code. The quality of certain modules might not be there browser compatibility testing issues. These bugs are caught while you debug Protractor tests. You might face a few problems along the way while using this tool ,these are as follow:

  • The testing of a web application is difficult due to its dependency on the entire system.
  • You will require a different WebDrivers for various operating systems (OS) and browsers for performing cross-browser testing (CBT).
  • The Selenium test automation scenarios follow a sequence of actions and the output of the current test cases give out as the input of the further test cases and hence there is a dependency. 
  • The long error messages encountered while performing automation tests might be tough to understand.
  • It becomes tricky to distinguish between errors and issues which are either related to browsers/ test scenario processes.


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What Are The Types Of Failures You Can Face while Debug In Protractor Tests?


There are many types of failure scenarios that are encountered while using Protractor tool. Below are reasons for failure:  

  • Expectation Failure
  • WebDriver Failure
  • WebDriver Unexpected Failure
  • Protractor Angular Failure
  • Protractor Timeout Failure


Expectation Failure:


This is one of the most common failures encountered when the normal flow execution of the test fails. This results in an expected failure.


WebDriver Failure:


If we encounter a scenario where an element is not found or even when there is an uncertainty in the address requested by the browser. This results of this failure is,error as the requested command is not executed by the web driver.


WebDriver Unexpected Failure: 


If condition occurs having scenario where the web driver update is failed, and it results in a sudden browser failure or OS-related crash. This type of failure is known as web driver unexpected failure occurred. 


Protractor Angular Failure:


When  Protractor framework is unable to find the required Angular libraries in the module , then it is referred to as Protractor Angular Failure. This type of failure also occurs when the use AllAngular2AppRoots attribute is missing from the configurations and it also causes the test process to expect multiple elements but only processing with the single root element.

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Protractor Timeout Failure :


When the test suite gets insert in a loop for a long period of time and result comes, the data is not returned in the speculated time. This exception error is known as Protractor Timeout Failure.

How To Debug Protractor Tests In Selenium? 


Protractor expands the functionality of node debugger used by the node js applications to debug Protractor tests. This provides us the pliability to debug protractor tests by putting additional statements required in the debugging mode from the terminal.

You can debug Protractor tests by using the following methods :

  • Pause Method
  • Debugger Method
  • Screen Shot Method




By delivering Protractor tool as an extension for end-to-end (E2E) testing framework, Google has put many efforts for making QA engineer’s work easier. There are many npm modules available to work with REST APIs, data generators, etc., along with browser automation to integrate all types of automation. All these point regarding Protractor, being the right choice for automated cross-browser testing of Angular as well as non-Angular applications.




Revati Raspayle,
SevenMentor Pvt Ltd.

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