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I am using Selenium to write unit tests for a website to test scientific software. The backend uses Flask to generate a sidebar where each project is clickable with a dropdown menu. You can only open one of the project tabs at once.

I want to loop through the projects in this sidebar and verify that following each of this links generates the correct message (this could be a 403). I am new to Selenium.

This is a MWE of the compiled HTML from Flask (it's quite condensed so please forgive any syntax errors)

<!-- One element from the list -->
<li class="treeview"> <!-- Main Heading -->
  <a href="#">
    <i class="fa fa-code"></i>
    <span name='lst_project_name'>Project1</span>
  </a>
  <ul class="treeview-menu"> <!-- Submenu, visible when clicked -->
    <li><a href="https://git.example.org/project1/code">Gitlab (External)</a></li>
    <li><a href="/4/edit">Edit Project</a></li>
    <li><a href="/4/new_test_session">Submit New Test</a></li>
  </ul>
</li>

<!--- And a second (its identical) -->
<li class="treeview">
  <a href="#">
    <i class="fa fa-code"></i>
    <span name='lst_project_name'>Project1</span>
  </a>
  <ul class="treeview-menu">
    <li><a href="https://git.example.org/project1/code">Gitlab (External)</a></li>
    <li><a href="/4/edit">Edit Project</a></li>
    <li><a href="/4/new_test_session">Submit New Test</a></li>
  </ul>
</li>

At the moment I am interested in the 'Submit New Test' button, but it is hidden until I click on the project. I think I would like a loop of the form

listed_projects = driver.find_elements_by_name("lst_project_name")
for project in listed_projects:
  project.click()
  el = driver.find_element_by_xpath("//a[contains(text(),'Submit New Test')]")
  el.click()
  heading1 = driver.find_element_by_tag_name('h1')
  self.assertEqual(heading1.text,'Not Allowed')
  driver.back()

But this won't work for a few reasons, my main tripping point is that the xpath simply finds the first element. Is there any way to get xpath to search relative to a clicked element? I could use a list elements returned by an xpath query, but then the element I need to click isn't visible.

Also, once I leave the webpage, how do I access the second item in the list.

This question is pretty similar, Click submenu which is dynamicly visible in Selenium WebDriver, I liked the arrow keys solution, but, they don't work in my case. I can edit the source html to fit the test.

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You can locate whole list of elements (like all <li> elements inside treeview_menu class, using CSS locators), loop over them, test other attributes (like .text), and .click() on the item you want. I do it all the time, it is much more robust than creating and maintaining complex XPATH expressions.

You can edit source. Give all submenu items the same name: easy to locate, easy to loop over.

With python, you can drop to debugger with just single line import pdb;pdb.set_trace() just after you located the list, so you can poke around to see what was located and how useful it was. This speeds the code development immensely: I don't waste time crafting XPath, I prefer to spend time in Python, which I mastered to higher level. I love Python, because it saves me lots of time.

BTW what you are writing are UI/integration/system tests. Real unit test will test the internal calls to the system libraries, and you should spend 80% of time on those, as explained recently in answers about test pyramid

  • To expand in case anyone else gets stuck on here I used a common name for each submenu and a unique ID. By finding all elements with a name and then storing their ID's I was able to later find the element I was working with once the page had refreshed. – Aaron Apr 24 '18 at 16:16
  • @Aaron - exactly. Much more robust than complicated Xpath, isn't it? – Peter M. Apr 24 '18 at 17:10

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