Finding and automating web elements on a webpage can be a difficult task due to their complexity. In the process, locators in Selenium are employed to simplify the task.
For quality engineers, the challenges of testing web-based apps include actions such as clicking and inserting data into HTML elements. But when automation comes in, the tool needs to be able to replicate human abilities. In this article, we’ll look at how locators in Selenium handle these issues, making web element interaction easier to control.
What are Locators in Selenium?
Locators function as separate addresses that identify web components on a webpage. They direct the Selenium IDE’s interaction with various elements, such as checkboxes, buttons, and text fields. It is necessary to precisely locate these components in order to write automation programs. It can be more difficult than it appears, resulting in working with the erroneous or no elements. As a result, choosing the proper location ensures faster, more reliable testing with less maintenance across releases.
What are Locators Used For?
Locators are tools that help users locate and navigate web items on a webpage. We can do a number of operations, such as clicking, typing, selecting, and so on, after an element is located. Locators also confirm an element’s presence, absence, or visibility on a webpage.
Locators in Selenium are a strong tool for automation testing and a crucial component of any testing approach. For automated testing, it is essential to understand Locators in Selenium since they can reduce testing time and effort. We may use Locators to automate repetitive and time-consuming operations while also ensuring that our online application runs properly.
Finding the location of a web element on the page is the first step in using Selenium to interact with it. Selenium provides the methods described above for locating elements on a page. Using the following HTML code, we will gain an improved understanding of creating locators.
What Are Different Types Of Locators?
Selenium offers various types of locators, and the following are some of the most commonly used ones.
The safest and most effective way to recognise a web element by its “ID” attribute is to use the ID locator. It is the quickest and most recommended method for finding a web element. A web page offers a simple way to identify itself because every element has a unique ID. This approach is usually given priority by testers, particularly when handling distinct components such as account numbers, college names, usernames, passwords, or sign-in buttons.
Syntax: driver.findElement(By.id (<element ID>));
An element can be identified using various features, one of which is “Name.” Name locators, which are comparable to ID locators, can be used in Selenium WebDriver to find elements.
Whereas ID locators are guaranteed to be unique on a page, the Name locator’s value might not always be unique. This locator will choose the first element on the page with that name if there are many WebElements with the same name.
Syntax: driver.findElement(By.name (<element name>));
The link text contained within hyperlinks can be used to locate elements. When there are numerous links with the same text, for example, the first link will be selected.
It’s crucial to remember that this identification technique only applies to elements that make use of the anchor (a) tag.
Syntax: driver.findElement(By.linkText (<linktext>));
Similar to the conventional Link Text locator, Selenium provides the ability to locate a web element using Partial Link Text. This method works especially well when there is a lot of link text.
With partial link text, you can locate an element by utilizing a portion of its text, which makes it simpler to recognise a distinct element and take further action. This technique can also be used to find several links on a page that have a shared partial text.
Syntax: driver.findElement(By.partialLinkText (<linktext>))
The “class” attribute in HTML is used to assign a class name to a web element. The By.className() method in Selenium allows you to find an element based on its class name.
Its capacity to choose web elements with complex patterns improves its capabilities. When utilizing a CSS selector to locate an element in Selenium, you can use the By.cssSelector() method.
Syntax: driver.findElement(By.cssSelector (<css selector>));
XML (Extensible Markup Language) Path language, or XPath for short, is a query language used to find and select nodes inside of an XML document. The majority of popular web browsers support XPath.
To determine an element’s location on a web page using XML path expressions, the Selenium web driver integrates XPath. CSS selectors work more quickly than XPath, despite the fact that the latter offers a more reliable location of information.
Syntax: driver.findElement(By.xpath (<XPath>));
Advantages of Using Locators in Selenium WebDriver
Numerous benefits come with the use of locators in Selenium and a few of them include:
- Stability: Reliable locators, such as ID, class name, and CSS selectors, consistently identify items even when HTML modifications are made, decreasing test script fragility.
- Reusability: Test script redundancy can be avoided by defining locators for elements so that they can be used repeatedly.
- Redundancy: Tests are more resilient when numerous locators can be used for the same element. You can locate the same element with another locator if the first one doesn’t work.
- Abstraction: Locators reduce the sensitivity to small HTML changes by allowing tests to identify elements without requiring a thorough understanding of the HTML.
- Versatility: Various locators meet various purposes. While they are quick and reliable, ID and class name locators need specific attributes. CSS locators strike a mix between flexibility and speed, enabling the selection of the best locator for the given element. XPath is more flexible but may be slower.
- Compatibility: Locators are unaffected by the underlying browser, operating system, or other variables and function uniformly across a range of browsers and systems when interacting with the Document Object Model (DOM) of the page.
Our testing efficiency can be greatly increased by using locators in Selenium in automated test scripts. The use of locators is more cost-effective even though it may seem difficult at first because we may reuse the automation script multiple times. The creation of an effective test automation script requires an understanding of the proper use and timing of locators.