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Jul 2, 2020 - 3 minute read - Practices Selenium Simplified Blog WebDriver

How to Make Fluent Helper Classes

I generally caution against ‘Helper’ classes and Static Helper classes when I’m consulting. SlowLoadableComponent isLoaded methods can be very ugly but are a good example of where helper classes can help, and in particular fluent helper classes.

Helper Classes

By Helper classes I mean things like:

  • PageObjectHelper,
  • ApplicationHelper,
  • StringHelper
  • etc.

e.g.

  • StringHelper.removeAllNewLines(String)
  • StringHelper.replaceAllSpacesWith(String)
  • StringHelper.countAllLettersIgnoringSpaces(String)
  • etc.

Because ‘generally’, these ‘Helper’ objects mean “We created a class to dump stuff in because we couldn’t figure out how to model our abstraction layers” and often, people then dump more and more methods into them such that they become an undisorganized and unmaintainable mess.

Just so you know where I’m coming from here.

Good Examples of Helper Classes

WebDriver has a ‘good’ Helper class in the form of the ExpectedConditions class. Every static method on it returns an expected condition which I can then use in a WebDriverWait, and these expected conditions represent very common wait conditions that I use across many projects.

Does SlowLoadableComponent need a Helper Class

When using SlowLoadableComponent approach for Page Objects, we write a lot of code that looks like this:

    @Override
    protected void isLoaded() throws Error {
        try {
            // button must exist
            final WebElement button =
                    driver.findElement(By.id("button00"));
            if(!button.isDisplayed() && !button.isEnabled()){
                throw new RuntimeException("Button not Ready");
            }
        }catch(Exception e){
            throw new Error(e);
        }
    }

see “Why is my SlowLoadableComponent Not Waiting” for more information on SlowLoadableComponent.

These isLoaded methods look fairly ugly and can be hard to maintain.

Helper Methods and Classes

We could take a leaf out of the ExpectedConditions class rule book and create an IsLoaded ‘helper’ Class

I have used 3 main approaches for this:

  • A Fluent Class
  • A set of Static methods
  • Combined Fluent And Static

The example here uses a Fluent class with a static constructor in action where the code achieves the same result as the try catch code above.

    IsLoaded.forThis(driver).
            whenElementIsVisible(
                    By.id("button00"), "Start Button").
            whenElementIsEnabled(
                    By.id("button00"), "Start Button");

You can see I create an IsLoaded object via a factory method and then have the try/catch/throw error stuff abstracted away on the IsLoaded methods.

The methods all return this making it easy to chain the methods

A ‘good’ Helper?

I think that this ‘Helper’ object is well enough named, and tightly enough scoped that it won’t cause a problem, so it doesn’t trigger my ‘Ugh, helper Class’ response.

Full Source

The full source for this is in my Webdriver Java FAQs project:

Specifically:

If you want to learn how to use Selenium WebDriver with Java then check out our online courses. I have a full course on Page Objects and Abstraction layers.


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