How to use locators with parameters

Sometimes, you need to interact in automation scripts with web elements that have similar HTML code.

For example, you may want to automate the following test case:

  1. open site
  2. search for keyword
  3. check that the results page is displayed
  4. select the 2nd page of results
  5. check that the 2nd page is displayed
  6. select the 3rd page of results
  7. check that the 3rd page is displayed

 

The elements for the 2nd and 3rd pages have similar HTML code (A tag, HREF and DATE-PAGE attributes):

page 2
<a href=”/catalog/category.aspx?category=29059;page=2″ data-page=”2″>2</a>

page 3
<a href=”/catalog/category.aspx?category=29059;page=3″ data-page=”3″>3</a>

 

There are a few options for selecting similar page elements:

  1. use a locator for each page element
  2. use a method that creates the locator for each page locator
  3. use a locator pattern with a parameter

 

The code for option 1 is below:

import static org.junit.Assert.assertTrue;
import org.junit.Test;
import org.openqa.selenium.By;
import static org.openqa.selenium.By.*;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import static org.openqa.selenium.support.ui.ExpectedConditions.*;

public class BestBuyTest extends BaseTest {

String homePageUrl = "http://www.bestbuy.ca/";

By searchTextBoxLocator = By.id("ctl00_MasterHeader_ctl00_uchead_GlobalSearchUC_TxtSearchKeyword");

By searchButtonLocator = By.className("icon-search");

String resultsPageUrl = "http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/category/";

By page2Locator = By.xpath(
"//div[@id='ctl00_CP_ctl00_ctl01_ProductSearchResultListing_topPaging']" + "//a[@data-page='2']");

By page3Locator = By.xpath(
"//div[@id='ctl00_CP_ctl00_ctl01_ProductSearchResultListing_topPaging']" +
"//a[@data-page='3']");

@Test
public void TestPaging1() throws Exception {

  openSite();
  searchBy("ipad");

  WebElement page = wait.until(
                     elementToBeClickable
                      (page2Locator));

  page.click();

  assertTrue(isPageDisplayed(2));

  page = wait.until(
          elementToBeClickable
           (page3Locator));

  page.click();

  assertTrue(isPageDisplayed(3));

}

private void openSite() {
  driver.get(homePageUrl);

  if (wait.until(
       urlToBe(homePageUrl))== false )

    throw new RuntimeException
      ("The home page is not loaded correctly!");
}

private void searchBy(String keyword) {
  WebElement searchTextBox = wait.until(
                               elementToBeClickable
                                (searchTextBoxLocator));

  searchTextBox.sendKeys("ipad");

  WebElement searchButton = wait.until(
                             elementToBeClickable
                              (searchButtonLocator));

  searchButton.click();

  if (wait.until(
       urlContains
        (resultsPageUrl))== false )

     throw new RuntimeException
     ("The results page is not loaded correctly!");
}

private boolean isPageDisplayed(int pageNumber) {
  return wait.until(
          urlContains
           ("page=" + pageNumber));
}

}

This option is not good because of the duplicated page locators.

 

Option 2 uses a method that generates the page locator:

@Test
public void TestPaging2() throws Exception {

  openSite();
  searchBy("ipad");

  WebElement page = wait.until(
                     elementToBeClickable
                      (pageLocator(2)));

  page.click();

  assertTrue(isPageDisplayed(2));

  page = wait.until(
           elementToBeClickable
            (pageLocator(3)));

  page.click();

  assertTrue(isPageDisplayed(3));

}

private By pageLocator(int page) {
String locatorText = "//div[@id='ctl00_CP_ctl00_ctl01_ProductSearchResultListing_topPaging']" +
"//a[@data-page='" +page"']";

return By.xpath(locatorText);
}

The pageLocator() method creates the locator using a page number parameter.

The locator is created by concatenating 3 parts:

  • the beginning of the xpath expression (before the page number)
  • the page number
  • the ending of the xpath expression

 

private By pageLocator(int page) {
String locatorText = "//div[@id='ctl00_CP_ctl00_ctl01_ProductSearchResultListing_topPaging']" +
"//a[@data-page='"page"']";

return By.xpath(locatorText);
}

With the pageLocator() method, there is no need of having a locator for each page element.

But the locator text was moved inside of the method.

And the method’s code is pretty complicated.

 

Option 3 is using a locator pattern with a parameter:

String pageLocatorTemplate = "//div[@id='ctl00_CP_ctl00_ctl01_ProductSearchResultListing_topPaging']" +
"//a[@data-page='%d']";

@Test
public void TestPaging3() throws Exception {

  openSite();
  searchBy("ipad");

  WebElement page = wait.until(
                     elementToBeClickable
                      (pageLocatorFromTemplate(2)));
  page.click();

  assertTrue(isPageDisplayed(2));

  page = wait.until(
          elementToBeClickable
           (pageLocatorFromTemplate(3)));

  page.click();

  assertTrue(isPageDisplayed(3));

}

private By pageLocatorFromTemplate(int page) {
  return By.xpath(
          String.format
           (pageLocatorTemplate, page));
}

We use now a locator pattern with a parameter (%d):

String pageLocatorTemplate = "//div[@id='ctl00_CP_ctl00_ctl01_ProductSearchResultListing_topPaging']" +
"//a[@data-page='%d']";

 

A method is still needed for creating the locator.

The method has a pageNumber parameter which is substituted to the parameter (%d) of the locator pattern by the String.format() method:

private By pageLocatorFromTemplate(int page) {
  return By.xpath(
          String.format
           (pageLocatorTemplate, page));
}

The 3rd solution is the best of the 3 presented.

 

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