I am automating my application using Protractor. For one of the elements, I am using xpath, which is as follow:

element(by.xpath('//ul[@id="employee-list"]/li[contains(text(),"Master Shifu")]'));

Instead of the string "Master Shifu", I want to pass a variable "empname". I tried a couple of things but no success. I would really appreciate help on this.

The last thing I tried is as follow, but it did not work:

element(by.xpath("//ul[@id="employee-list"]/li[contains(text(),'" + empname + "')]"));

When I use the above xpath, I am getting below error:

    SyntaxError: missing ) after argument list
                return element(by.xpath("//ul[@id="employee-list"]/li[contains(text(),'" + empname + "')]")).getText();

    SyntaxError: missing ) after argument list
        at createScript (vm.js:80:10)
        at Object.runInThisContext (vm.js:139:10)
        at Module._compile (module.js:616:28)
        at Object.Module._extensions..js (module.js:663:10)
        at Module.load (module.js:565:32)
        at tryModuleLoad (module.js:505:12)
        at Function.Module._load (module.js:497:3)
        at Module.require (module.js:596:17)
        at require (internal/module.js:11:18)
        at Object.<anonymous> (C:\testing\protractor\page\login_page.js:2:1)

SyntaxError: missing ) after argument list

You are nesting double quotes into double quotes:

return element(by.xpath("//ul[@id="employee-list"]/li[contains(text(),'" + empname + "')]")).getText();
                        ^   HERE  ^

I just usually use a combination of single and double quotes in cases like this:

return element(by.xpath("//ul[@id='employee-list']/li[contains(text(),'" + empname + "')]")).getText();

Or, alternatively, you can use the by.cssContainingText locator:

return element(by.cssContainingText("#employee-list > li", empname));

which I think is much more readable and straightforward.

  • Thank you, @Alecxe. The xpath that you provided, worked. However, the one by CSS locator did not work. Anyway, thanks a ton, mate! – Aalok May 13 '18 at 6:43
  • I wonder if return element(by.cssContainingText("#employee-list li", empname)); would work ? – Michael Durrant May 13 '18 at 14:45
  • Michael, it would work, see my example below for more clarity... – Vishal Aggarwal May 14 '18 at 1:05

Yes(as suggested by Alecxe) use by.cssContainingText locator as simplest way:

Example :


  <li class="pet">Dog</li>
  <li class="pet">Cat</li>


// Returns the li for the dog, but not cat.
var pet='Dog';
var dog = element(by.cssContainingText('.pet', pet));

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