python Selenium in Ubuntu 16.04

Selenium is a web browser automation software. In Ubuntu 16.04 it doesn’t work out of the box, and external components should be installed. In this post I note how to install them locally without affecting the system.

First, I create a virtual environment named selenium:

$ mkdir ~/opt
$ cd ~/opt
$ virtualenv selenium
$ cd selenium
$ source bin/activate

Note that the command prompt is changed from “$” to “(selenium) $“.

Second, install selenium using pip.

(selenium) $ pip install selenium

Third, download the driver from https://github.com/mozilla/geckodriver/releases, unpack it and move to the virtual environment bin directory, in which selenium will find the driver.

(selenium) $ tar zxf ..../geckodriver-vX.XX.X-linux64.tar.gz
(selenium) $ mv geckodriver bin/

Installation is complete. Check that a sample program works: http://selenium-python.readthedocs.io/getting-started.html.

Finally, make an usability improvement by providing a shortcut to selenium:

$ mkdir ~/bin # if not already created
$ ln -s ~/opt/selenium/bin/activate ~/bin/activate-selenium

Now selenium environment can be activated from anywhere:

$ source activate-selenium
(selenium) $

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