Style guide for writing end-to-end tests

This document describes the conventions used at GitLab for writing End-to-end (E2E) tests using the GitLab QA project.

click_ versus go_to_

When to use click_?

When clicking in a single link to navigate, use click_.

E.g.:

def click_ci_cd_pipelines
  within_sidebar do
    click_element :link_pipelines
  end
end

From a testing perspective, if we want to check that clicking a link, or a button (a single interaction) is working as intended, we would want the test to read as:

  • Click a certain element
  • Verify the action took place

When to use go_to_?

When interacting with multiple elements to go to a page, use go_to_.

E.g.:

def go_to_operations_environments
  hover_operations do
    within_submenu do
      click_element(:operations_environments_link)
    end
  end
end

go_to_ fits the definition of interacting with multiple elements very well given it’s more of a meta-navigation action that includes multiple interactions.

Notice that in the above example, before clicking the :operations_environments_link, another element is hovered over.

We can create these methods as helpers to abstract multi-step navigation.

Element naming convention

When adding new elements to a page, it’s important that we have a uniform element naming convention.

We follow a simple formula roughly based on Hungarian notation.

Formula: element :<descriptor>_<type>

  • descriptor: The natural-language description of what the element is. On the login page, this could be username, or password.
  • type: A generic control on the page that can be seen by a user.
    • _button
    • _checkbox
    • _container: an element that includes other elements, but doesn’t present visible content itself. E.g., an element that has a third-party editor inside it, but which isn’t the editor itself and so doesn’t include the editor’s content.
    • _content: any element that contains text, images, or any other content displayed to the user.
    • _dropdown
    • _field: a text input element.
    • _link
    • _modal: a popup modal dialog, e.g., a confirmation prompt.
    • _placeholder: a temporary element that appears while content is loading. For example, the elements that are displayed instead of discussions while the discussions are being fetched.
    • _radio
    • _tab
    • _menu_item

Note: If none of the listed types are suitable, please open a merge request to add an appropriate type to the list.

Examples

Good

view '...' do
  element :edit_button
  element :notes_tab
  element :squash_checkbox
  element :username_field
  element :issue_title_content
end

Bad

view '...' do
  # `_confirmation` should be `_field`. what sort of confirmation? a checkbox confirmation? no real way to disambiguate.
  # an appropriate replacement would be `element :password_confirmation_field`
  element :password_confirmation

  # `clone_options` is too vague. If it's a dropdown menu, it should be `clone_dropdown`.
  # If it's a checkbox, it should be `clone_checkbox`
  element :clone_options

  # how is this url being displayed? is it a textbox? a simple span?
  # If it is content on the page, it should be `ssh_clone_url_content`
  element :ssh_clone_url
end

Block argument naming

To have a standard on what we call pages and resources when using the .perform method, we use the name of the page object in snake_case (all lowercase, with words separated by an underscore). See good and bad examples below.

While we prefer to follow the standard in most cases, it is also acceptable to use common abbreviations (e.g., mr) or other alternatives, as long as the name is not ambiguous. This can include appending _page if it helps to avoid confusion or make the code more readable. For example, if a page object is named New, it could be confusing to name the block argument new because that is used to instantiate objects, so new_page would be acceptable.

We chose not to simply use page because that would shadow the Capybara DSL, potentially leading to confusion and bugs.

Examples

Good

Page::Project::Members.perform do |members|
  members.do_something
end
Resource::MergeRequest.fabricate! do |merge_request|
  merge_request.do_something_else
end
Resource::MergeRequest.fabricate! do |mr|
  mr.do_something_else
end
Page::Project::New.peform do |new_page|
  new_page.do_something
end

Bad

Page::Project::Members.perform do |project_settings_members_page|
  project_settings_members_page.do_something
end
Page::Project::New.peform do |page|
  page.do_something
end

Besides the advantage of having a standard in place, by following this standard we also write shorter lines of code.