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Selenium Tutorials

Gecko Driver and Selenium

Gecko Driver is the built-in web browser engine within Mozilla Firefox. It acts as a bridge between web driver-enabled clients and the Firefox browser. This driver establishes a connection between Selenium web driver tests and Firefox.

Before Selenium 3, Mozilla Firefox was the default browser for Selenium. Post Selenium 3, testers must explicitly use the Gecko driver to initiate scripts for Firefox. Selenium may use the W3C web driver protocol to send requests to the Gecko Driver, which then translates them into the Marionette protocol. Firefox understands and executes commands transmitted via the Marionette protocol.

Gecko Driver Selenium

Advantages of Gecko Driver

Selenium Webdriver version 2.53 that will be compatible with Mozilla firefox version 47.0+. The firefox driver can be used versions of Mozilla firefox and can be  discontinued The main advantage of this driver is opposed to the Mozilla firefox driver is compatibility. GeckoDriver uses W3C WebDriver protocol to communicate with Selenium. Here W3C is defined as good web driver. Meaning selenium developers will not create a new version of Web Driver for every browser version.

Downloading and Installing Gecko Driver for Selenium WebDriver

Gecko Driver comes in the form of an executable file that needs to be downloaded onto your system. Follow these steps to download Gecko Driver:

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  1. Visit the following URL:
  2. On this page, select the appropriate main version of Gecko Driver based on your operating system.

Step 2. After downloading the Zip file, extract its contents into a designated folder.

Step 3. You need to specify the location where you extracted the driver. This location will be utilized later to activate the driver.

Different Approaches to Initialize Gecko Driver:

  1. Using Desired Capabilities: Initialize Gecko Driver by setting the system property for Gecko Driver’s executable file.
    // Set the path to the geckodriver.exe file System.setProperty("webdriver.gecko.driver", "Path to geckodriver.exe file");
    For instance:
    // Set the path for GeckoDriver.exe
    System.setProperty("webdriver.gecko.driver", "D:\\Downloads\\GeckoDriver.exe");
    These capabilities help Selenium understand the browser name, version, and operating system for automated tests execution.
  2. Using Marionette Property: Gecko Driver can be initialized using the marionette property.
    // Set the path to the geckodriver.exe file System.setProperty("webdriver.gecko.driver", "Path to geckodriver.exe file");
    Once Gecko Driver is initialized using this method, the code for desired capabilities may not be necessary.
  3. Using Firefox: Mozilla Firefox 47+ includes the marionette driver as a legacy system. It can be utilized with Firefox options.
    // Create FirefoxOptions instance
    FirefoxOptions options = new FirefoxOptions();
    // Set legacy mode to use marionette driver
    This approach involves using Firefox options to call the marionette driver.

Why we need Gecko driver?

For web browser like Mozilla Firefox till 47 we do not need any Gecko driver but for Mozilla firefox after version will come with marionette that is an automation driver for Mozilla. It will remotely control UI or the internal javascript of Gecko platform like firefox if we do not use gecko driver we cannot instantiate object of Geckodriver and launch firefox.

How gecko driver works?

The web driver will connect with the firefox using the gecko driver exactly like other drivers,a local server is started by this executable that will run your selenium tests. It works on the proxy between the local remote end.

Client Server Interaction through Marionette Protocol

The client or the local system may have a  appeal which is the webDriver call to the Gecko driver. The Gecko driver may transform that kind of requests into the Marionette protocol and also transfers to the marionette driver. The server will send back the response to the client through the Gecko driver. As this execution happens inside the browser. We can know that the working of firefox driver. With Gecko driver we can be able to execute selenium scripts and be able to launch the firefox browser. We can freely execute our scripts in headless mode  that optimize the speed execution.


1. What is Gecko driver?

2. How Gecko driver works explain?

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