Selenium tests on Jenkins

It’s not uncommon to have a CI server running tests based on Selenium and it’s not uncommon to get in troubles with Linux headless (without a windows manager) servers.

Usually you get errors like Error: no display specified or may be Error: cannot open display: :0.0

The following is what I think is a solution that should be portable and does not require a lot of configuration skills.
First of all you need to install the Jenkins Xvfb Plugin, which allows you to easily start a new virtual screen per  Jenkins job. Please do not forget to properly configure this plugin in the Jenkins System Configuration screen as described in the plugin page: if you don’t know the path of the Xvfb executable you just run which Xvfb in a shell on your CI server to get the full path to the command.

Usually the value you will use as Directory in which to find the Xvfb executable is /usr/bin.

Once you have this you just need to activate the Xvfb plugin for your job and that should be it, without any modification in your POMs or any other hassle: the plugin will create a new virtual screen, set the DISPLAY environment variable and execute your build.

If you are using the FirefoxDriver, as I do, and you still have issues, but you can see in your output lines like the following ones, then your problems are not any longer related with being on a headless server and my suggestion is to ensure you are using the latest version of the selenium drivers:

Xlib:  extension "RANDR" missing on display ":32".
failed to create drawable
*** LOG addons.xpi: startup
*** LOG addons.xpi: Ignoring file entry whose name is not a valid add-on ID: /tmp/.../webdriver-staging
*** LOG addons.xpi: checkForChanges
*** LOG addons.xpi: No changes found

Please note the initial two lines are perfectly fine and not related to your issues!
I struggled with an error which actually went away right after I updated my selenium-java dependency to the current latest!