Element Locator strategies for Selenium WebDriver are highly flexible, and have been later inherited by many commercial tools. Although the locator strategies are flexible, they are also limited in a sense that, Selenium WebDriver does not currently allow its users to identify/filter UI elements with multiple locator strategies(at a time), as many commercial tools do.
The solution discussed in this article describes a library that allows Selenium WebDriver users to extend the Selenium element locator strategies for Element Filtering and few use cases for the library.
The solution approach allows users to continue to use the existing UI Element definitions in their tests, and extend them, using the By reference. The library will replace the existing Selenium WebDriver “By” reference.
Filtering based on multiple locator strategies
There are various scenarios where to uniquely identify an UI element, a complex XPath has to be written. However, the element can be identified uniquely using multiple locator strategies for the UI Element. The UI Elements can also be filtered, when there are multiple matches in a page. This is the UI Element recognition mechanism used in many commercial test automation tools.
The algorithm for filtering UI Elements based on multiple locator strategies is based on priority of locator strategies. The priority of locator strategies when filtering is:
- LinkText and PartialLinkText
The By.elementFilter method takes multiple locator strategies, and searches the page for elements matching a particular locator strategy/property, and checks if it is a unique match on the page, if not then it uses the next locator strategy passed to it and so on.
This method is also very helpful when the application undergoes constant changes and UI Elements might have either of XPATH, ID , NAME, TagName, ClassName etc still unchanged. That way, it helps reduce a lot of maintenance effort in Selenium WebDriver implementations which is due to UI element changes.
Filtering based on Index
When there are multiple similar UI Elements in a page, such as cells in a grid/table, it makes sense to identify objects based on their Index based on their appearance on the web page.
The By.indexFilter method allows users to define an UI Element based on its Index of occurrence of the UI Element. The Index starts from 1.
Filtering based on relative element
When a UI element cannot be identified uniquely and reliably by any of its properties, but has some elements in its hierarchy or relative to a particular element, this method can be used to identify the element
The By.relationFilter method allows users to define an UI Element in relation to another element. The relation can be defined as “Left”, ”Right”, ”Top”, ”Bottom”, ”Child”, ”Parent”
Filtering for Tables
When dealing specifically with Tables, which have the
html tag, the By.tableFilter method allows the user to quickly identify specific cells in the table, without having to write complex XPaths or logics to achieve the same.
The By.tableFilter method allows users to define a cell in the table with Row,Column numbers. This allows users to directly use the UI Element in their code instead of writing their logic each time. This also increases efficiency and readability of the code.