Webdriver select lists in ruby

Selecting an option from a select list using the selenium-webdriver gem:

require 'selenium-webdriver'
driver = Selenium::WebDriver.for :firefox
driver.navigate.to 'http://www.shino.de/parkcalc/'
Selenium::WebDriver::Support::Select.new(driver.find_element(:id => 'ParkingLot')).select_by :text, 'Economy Parking'

is much simpler in watir-webdriver

require 'watir-webdriver'
browser = Watir::Browser.new
browser.goto 'http://www.shino.de/parkcalc/'
browser.select_list(:id => 'ParkingLot').select 'Economy Parking'

That is all.

Disabling native events when using Firefox with WebDriver

Imagine this, you’ve got a whole suite of regression tests (thousands of steps) written in Watir-WebDriver that you run on a corporate Windows XP SOE using Firefox.

The tests have been run numerous times and are running perfectly without any intermittent failures.

A new version of selenium-webdriver is released with promised bug fixes and stability improvements, so you update your selenium-webdriver gem to 2.6.0 and re-run your test suite.

Red light: half of the tests fail. The suite takes longer than ever to run. Oh my.

After some investigation, Jari Bakken points out that it’s Firefox native events related. This causes text field sets to take a long time if they include capital letters, and locating elements seems to often intermittently fail.

I add a config option to disable native events to my Firefox profile, and my tests run perfectly again. Phew!

So, if you’re using Windows and Firefox and come across any of these problems, include this code to disable native events when you start your browser.

profile = Selenium::WebDriver::Firefox::Profile.new
profile.native_events = false
Watir::Browser.new WEB_DRIVER, :profile => profile

Running Watir-WebDriver tests on Travis CI: a distributed build system

I recently came across Travis CI, a distributed build system that has close links to Github. I’ve seen quite a few projects use it as a CI system, but none that run headless browser tests.

Leveraging off the work I had done recently setting up my own Jenkins server in the cloud to run headless Watir-WebDriver tests, I thought I would have a go at running my WatirMelonCucumber and EtsyWatirWebDriver headless browser tests using Travis CI.

What I didn’t realize is how easy it’d be. The only things I had to do was make sure my Gemfile included rake, and also make sure there was some file existance checking happening for some log files, and it pretty much ran straight away. Wow!

Caveat Emptor

This is pretty new territory, so there’s a few things to watch out for:

  • Every now and, Travis complains about not having Firefox installed. I am not sure why this happens, maybe something to do with the different agents in use;
  • The locale of the build agents seems to be German, so when running my Google tests, the page content is in German, so it fails because it can’t find my expected (English) results; and
  • I can’t seem to capture my test results html file nor screenshot pngs, so it’s a red/green only affair at the moment.

But still, neat distributed free headless CI!

Using Opera with Watir-Webdriver (for free)

Selenium 2.0 (WebDriver) was released today, and with it came support for Opera. Since Watir-WebDriver uses the WebDriver bindings, it now supports Opera out of the box.

How to get it working

  1. First make sure you have the latest watir-webdriver (>0.2.5) and selenium-webdriver (>2.0.0) gems installed.
  2. Install Opera if you haven’t already
  3. Download the latest Selenium Standalone Server JAR files to your computer
  4. Create an Environment Variable named SELENIUM_SERVER_JAR and set it to the path to your standalone server JAR file
    (On the mac, you can add something like this to your .bash_profile file:

    export SELENIUM_SERVER_JAR=/Library/Java/selenium-server-standalone-2.0.0.jar
  5. Open irb, require ‘watir-webdriver’, and type something like
    b = Watir::Browser.new :opera

    and ta-da: Opera automated testing.

Removing local page references from Cucumber steps

I’ve been giving some thought about the maintainability of having local page object model references in Cucumber steps. To explain what I mean, here’s some code of mine from an Etsy page model step:

When /^an item is added to the cart$/ do
  @advanced_search_page = EtsyAdvancedSearchPage.new @browser, true
  @search_results_page = @advanced_search_page.search_for 'hat'
  @etsy_item_page = @search_results_page.click_first_result
  @item_title = @etsy_item_page.item_title
  @etsy_cart_page = @etsy_item_page.click_add_to_cart

Here I am using instance variables in Cucumber steps to store references to pages that I am interacting with. As you can see, it’s quite easy to lose track of which page is which.

If I want to use one of these pages in another step, I have to refer to the same variable name. The key to this concept is having pages return pages, so you don’t have to initialize pages in your steps (except for the first visit, which normally happens only once per scenario).

A colleague and good friend of mine has been showing me some alternatives. One alternative to this is to actually dynamically refer to pages only when you need them. This means you don’t need to return a page from a page, as they are always initialized when needed. The above method would look like:

When /^an item is added to the cart$/ do
  visit EtsyAdvancedSearchPage do |page| page.search_for 'hat' end
  on EtsySearchResultsPage do |page| page.click_first_result end
  on EtsyItemPage do |page|
    @item_title = page.item_title

This introduces two new methods at the Cucumber step level that need to be created: on, and visit. The on method simply creates a new page object so you can call methods from it. As each page initialize checks expected title and expected element, it will raise an error automatically if either are incorrect. The visit method is an extension of on, which actually initalizes the page and visits it.

These are defined as a module in our Cucumber env.rb file, and then mixed into the Cucumber World, so that steps automatically have access to these.

module Browser
  BROWSER = Watir::Browser.new ENV['WEB_DRIVER'] ||:firefox

  def visit page_class, &block
    on page_class, true, &block

  def on page_class, visit=false, &block
    page = page_class.new BROWSER, visit
    block.call page if block

World Browser


By introducing the on and visit methods, it means that we no longer need to have instance variables for page classes in our Cucumber steps. We also no longer need to worry about state transformations in pages, as these can be done in a modular way in the steps themselves. It means that when an error occurs initializing a page, it is more likely to to occur in the correct place. I find the steps more readible, as you only have to initialize the page once using the on block, and then can refer to page.

I have updated my set of Etsy Watir-WebDriver steps if you’d like to take a look.

What do you think? How will this scale?

Update: I have updated the WatirMelonCucumber project to use this style. It’s slightly different in that it supports two sites, and therefore the on method dynamically switches between these.

Cucumber Steps:

When /^I search for a? ?"([^"]*)"$/ do |term|
  on :home do |page|
    page.search_for term

The on method:

def on page, visit=false, &block
  page_class = Object.const_get "#{@site}#{page.capitalize}Page"
  page = page_class.new BROWSER, visit
  block.call page if block

An automated testing journey

I did a presentation this evening in Brisbane on an automated testing journey that one may embark on. The whole thing was centered around this tube map style diagram I came up with recently: (download in PDF)

Here’s a link to my prezi slides and it should appear below (if you have flash enabled that is).  You can also download them in very printable PDF if you so choose.

I feel the presentation was well received, but I really shouldn’t have tried to squeeze three days of thinking into 30 mins. Oh well.

As always, I welcome your feedback.

TrySelenium.org in Watir-WebDriver

Jason Huggins put out a call for some example scripts to tweet some stuff using Selenium.
Whilst I don’t agree with this being done through the Twitter GUI (there’s an API for this), being a Watir core team member and ruby guy, I thought I would use Watir-WebDriver.

My resulting script is:

require 'rubygems'
require 'highline/import'
require 'watir-webdriver'

 username = ask("What is your twitter username?")
 password = ask("and your password?") { |q| q.echo = false }
 browser=  Watir::Browser.start "twitter.com", :firefox
 browser.span(:text => "Sign in").click
 browser.text_field(:id => "username").set username
 browser.text_field(:id => "password").set password
 browser.button(:id => "signin_submit").click
 raise "Could not log into Twitter: either your password is wrong or a CAPTCHA is needed."   if browser.url.include? "sessions"
 1.times do |attempt|
 browser.text_field(:class => "twitter-anywhere-tweet-box-editor").when_present.set "#SeConf is awesome x #{attempt}! http://tryselenium.org @Watir-WebDriver is even more awesome!"
 browser.link(:class => "tweet-button button").when_present.click
 browser.goto "twitter.com"

And the resulting tweet:


Thanks for Jari Bakken for discussing this with me.