FindBy strategies for Selenium explained

The @FindBy annotation is used in Page Objects in Selenium tests to specify the object location strategy for a WebElement or a list of WebElements. Using the PageFactory, these WebElements are usually initialized when a Page Object is created. In this post, I will demonstrate various ways in which you can use @FindBy annotations to efficiently locate (groups of) WebElements.

@FindBy
The @FindBy annotation is used to locate one or more WebElements using a single criterion. For example, to identify all elements that have the same class attribute, we could use the following identification:

@FindBy(how = How.CLASS_NAME, using = "classname")
private List<WebElement> singlecriterion;

If we are sure there is only a single element that is identified by our location strategy, for example when we use the element ID, we can also directly assign the result to a WebElement variable:

@FindBy(how = How.ID, using = "elementid")
private WebElement element;

To instantiate the elements, we call the initElements method of the PageFactory class:

PageFactory.initElements(driver, this);

@FindBys and @FindAll
In some cases we want (or need) to use more than a single criterion to identify one or more objects, for instance when page elements do not have a unique ID. In this case, there are two possible annotations that can be used:

  • The @FindBys annotation is used in case elements need to match all of the given criteria
  • The @FindAll annotation is used in case elements need to match at least one of the given criteria

Let’s take a look at an example that illustrates the difference between the two.

The Parabank homepage contains two textboxes, one for the username and one for the password. Both elements have a name attribute that we are going to use to identify them within a Page Object.

Using @FindBys:

@FindBys({
	@FindBy(how = How.NAME, using = "username"),
	@FindBy(how = How.NAME, using = "password")
})
private List<WebElement> bothcriteria;

The bothcriteria list should contain 0 elements, as there is no element that has both a name attribute with the value username and a name attribute with the value password.

Using @FindAll:

@FindAll({
	@FindBy(how = How.NAME, using = "username"),
	@FindBy(how = How.NAME, using = "password")
})
private List<WebElement> eithercriterion;

The eithercriterion list should contain 2 elements, as there is one element that has a name attribute with the value username and also one that has a name attribute with the value password.

For validation purposes, if we print the number of results found by all of the above strategies using

System.out.println("Using @FindBy, we found " + singlecriterion.size() + " element(s)");
System.out.println("Using @FindBys, we found " + bothcriteria.size() + " element(s)");
System.out.println("Using @FindAll, we found " + eithercriterion.size() + " element(s)");

we see this:
Results for different FindBy strategiesIt clearly works exactly as expected!

A more verbose FindBy
Finally, if you have a lot of elements within your Page Object, you can also use a more verbose way of specifying your @FindBy strategy. For example

@FindBy(className = "classname")

gives the exact same results as

@FindBy(how = How.CLASS_NAME, using = "classname")