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Choosing a Locator Strategy


In web design CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used to apply styles to the markup (HTML) on a page. CSS is able to do this by declaring which bits of the markup it wants to interact with through the use of selectors. Selenium operates in a similar manner but instead of changing the style of elements it interacts with them by clicking, getting values from, typing, sending keys, etc.

At the heart of Selenium is the ability to interact with a page through its elements by way of various locator strategies. Identifier, Id, Name, Link, DOM, XPath, and CSS -- oh my!

This is the life-blood of your automated tests and there are numerous elements to choose from. But which ones do you use? And when do you use them and why?

A Solution

While each locator strategy serves its purpose there is one approach that is better. It is one that is cross-browser performant, simpler to maintain, and powerful -- that's CSS Selectors.

About The Author

Dave Haeffner is the original writer of Elemental Selenium -- a free, once weekly Selenium tip newsletter that's read by thousands of testing professionals. He also created and maintains the-internet (an open-source web app that's perfect for writing automated tests against).

Dave has helped numerous companies successfully implement automated acceptance testing; including The Motley Fool, ManTech International, Sittercity, and Animoto. He is also an active member of the Selenium project and has spoken at numerous conferences and meetups around the world about automated acceptance testing.

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