Looking at the growth of automation and the way it has taken over the world, it stands to show that the greatest form of skill that can be learned by a test automation engineer who is also working in Selenium is that he should be able to make use of the appropriate methods for locating various elements on a page. Imagine yourself to be a user. What do you think is the first step you will take?
You will try to navigate to that part of the web page in which you are most interested. This can happen either by clicking on a link and verification of the fact that any message has been displayed. It can also range from the provision of a wide variety of methods to the location of various elements on a page. If you do not have the ability to find those elements, you will not be able to do any kind of interaction with the page. This means that you will be virtually stuck.
Before we move on to discuss the WebElements in Selenium, let us take up, what is Selenium?. It is an open-source tool that is used for automation testing in different web browsers. It comes loaded with different web tools that are helpful in handling a diverse range of needs for different organizations. The tools are-Selenium RC, Selenium Integrated Development Environment, Selenium Grid, and Selenium WebDriver. It comes loaded with many advantages like:
- Easy Availability: It is an open-source tool which means that it is free to use and has no upfront costs. You have to use your money and resources for other uses. It also has a great community that helps the developers and engineers in the automation of the web browser features and functionalities.
- Supports Multiple Browsers: The Selenium Community has been constantly working on developing one script for all the browsers of Selenium. Selenium is found to be compatible with almost all of the commonly used browsers of the world like Firefox, Safari, StatCounter, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge browsers, etc. this means that a user does not have to re-write the Selenium script for different browsers.
- Supports many Operating Systems: People often have a choice of the operating system and it becomes important if your automation tool has support for it. Selenium is said to be a highly portable tool that can actually work across different operating systems like Linux, Windows, UNIX, etc.
- Simple Implementation: The automation tool of Selenium is easy in operation. It has a user-friendly interface that helps in the effective creation and execution of test scripts. It is also possible that you can watch while the tests are running. You can also go through detailed reports of Selenium tests that are running.
- Flexibility: One of the most important aspects of Selenium is the testing lifecycle. Test management becomes very easy and more efficient with various Selenium features like regrouping and refactoring of different test cases.
- Reusability: All the Selenium automation Testing are fully reusable and can be tested across different browsers and operating systems.
What are the Elements in Selenium?
Anything that is present on a web page is called a web element or an HTML element. For instance, a text box, button, etc. Selenium Web Driver is involved in a simple form element that acts as an object of the WebElement. Hence it encapsulates a DOM element and all other HTML documents that comprise these HTML elements.
WebElements are identified by the Web Driver using techniques based on different properties like ID, Name, Class, XPath, Tagname, CSS Selectors, etc.
The Web Driver has defined two methods by which it will find the elements on the web page:
- findElement()- It helps in finding a single WebElement and then returns it as a WebElement object.
- findElements()-It helps in finding the elements in a specific location by using the locators.
What are the different types of WebElements in Selenium?
WebElements in Selenium are divided into many different types, namely:
- Edit Box: It is a simple text box that helps the user in typing a small amount of text.
- Link: This is also known as a hyperlink and is useful in connecting one web page to another. It also lets the user click from one page to another page.
- Button: This actually shows a button that can be clicked. It can be used in different forms and places in a document that requires the functionality of a simple and standard button.
- Image: It is helpful in performing different actions on various images by clicking on the image link or the image button, etc.
- Text Area: This is basically an inline element that is used for the designation of plain-text editing control that will contain more than one line.
- Checkbox: This is typically a selection box, also referred to as a tick box. It is basically a small interactive box that can be actually toggled by the user for showing a positive or a negative choice.
- Radio Button: It is the button that is a graphical control element that makes the user choose from only a predefined set of options that are mutually exclusive.
- Dropdown List: This is a typical graphical control element that is close to the list box and lets the user choose one value from the list. When this drop-down list is not active, only a single value is displayed.
Location of WebElements in WebDriver
One of the most significant skills of an automation test engineer is to be able to use various methods for the location of elements on the page. WebDriver makes use of the SearchContext interface for the location of elements on the Web page. The Interface has two methods to locate. In the first one, it finds all the elements that are able to match an instance that is called a locator while in the other one, the first element that is matched with NoSuchElementException is shown if it is found. This method is thus found to be successful in those times when you are not sure if the element will be present on that web page or not.
What is Locator?
A locator stands for that element that you want to find on the page. Locators are often created in Java by making use of the By class. There are different types of locators like:
- Id locator: It forms the most widely used method for the identification of web elements. These are the safest and fastest locator options.
- Name locator: Another effective way to locate an element. In this, the first element that has the same value as the name element is returned.
- LinkText & Partial link Text: Hyperlinks on the web-page are located using this locator.
- CSS Selector: It is the best selector used for the location of various complex elements on the web page.
- XPath: It is an important strategy for the location of elements in Selenium.
Elements are an important part of the Selenium WebDriver. They represent everything that is basically present on a Web page. Selenium is and will continue to remain a preferred automation tool due to its wide set of uses and functionalities. It is thus imperative that one develops clear and concise knowledge of the same if interested in a career in automation. Hope you got a better view of the elements in Selenium.