When automating a web application, the most important and time taking task is to come up with unique locators for the elements present on the web page. Once you find out the correct locator, the rest of the automation is relatively easier.
Finding correct and unique locators require human intelligence and below tools can help you in a great deal when you start creating your scripts. Every automation engineer should have these tools in their arsenal.
List of Tools to identify LocatorsFirebug (Firefox addon)
Firefinder for Firebug
This tool is simple, provide any XPath or CSS selector and it will highlight the matching elements on the web. Simple, lightweight and easy to use. Install it on top of Firebug.
FirePath for Firebug
Right Click on any element and select "Inspect in Firepath", this addon will generate the XPath or CSS selector for you. It also highlights the element on the web page and in the DOM. Very useful. Again install it on top of Firebug.
WebDriver Element Locator (Firefox addon)
This addon will generate XPath for any given element. But the best thing is, it will also generate WebDriver statements for you and also in the language of your choice. Currently, it supports C#, Java, Python and Ruby. Just right-click on any element and generate the code in your favourite language. It is that simple. The only downside is that it only generates XPath.
Selector Detector (Bookmarklet)
Sometimes XPath and CSS Selectors do not work in a given situation. That's where JQuery selector comes in handy. This is a bookmarklet created by Jessie A. Morris and it will generate the jQuery selector for your on the clicked element. Go to this link and drag the provided bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar. The button will appear with the name Selector Detector. Now click on it and Click on any element and it will generate the jQuery selector for you.
SelectorGadget (Bookmarklet and Chrome Extension)
This tool is created by Andrew Cantino and Kyle Maxwell. It can generate CSS Selectors for you. Authors describe the method to generate CSS selector like this.
Click on a page element that you would like your selector to match (it will turn green). SelectorGadget will then generate a minimal CSS selector for that element, and will highlight (yellow) everything that is matched by the selector. Now click on a highlighted element to remove it from the selector (red), or click on an unhighlighted element to add it to the selector. Through this process of selection and rejection, SelectorGadget helps you come up with the Perfect CSS selector for your needs.
See the video on the provided link to better understand this tool.
SWD Page Recorder (.Net Application)
This is a comprehensive tool and it is more than just a generator. It is developed by Dmitry Zhariy. Using this tool, you can generate selectors as well as full classes for your code in Selenium WebDriver. It allows you to generate Page Object Models for your automation code. If you are a C# developer, this tool will save you ample amount of time. The best thing about this tool that you can write C# code in this tool and see the live results on the browser. That is amazing.
Looking Glass (Java Application)
Although not as comprehensive as SWD Page Recorder, This tool is still useful in finding elements. It also allows you to write groovy scripts and see the results live on the browser. Good for Java developers.
These were some of the tools to identify locators easily. I hope the above list helps the automation engineers in saving their time to identify and verify element locators. I am also working on an application inspired by Looking Glass and SWD page recorder. It will allow you to verify your locators and generate C# classes for you. I am calling it "SeleniumVerify". It is present on GitHub. Currently it is under development and I will soon update you when it is ready for download.
Do you happen to know any other tools. Please share in comment and also give your feedback on this article.