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.

This guide is an extension of the primary testing standards and style guidelines. If this guide defines a rule that contradicts the primary guide, this guide takes precedence.

click_ versus go_to_

When to use click_?

When selecting a single link to navigate, use click_.

For example:

def click_add_badge_button
  click_element 'add-badge-button'

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

  • Select 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_.

For example:

def go_to_applications
  click_element('nav-item-link', submenu_item: 'Applications')

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 selecting the 'nav-item-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. For example, 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, for example, 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
If none of the listed types are suitable, open a merge request to add an appropriate type to the list.



view '...' do
  element 'edit-button'
  element 'notes-tab'
  element 'squash-checkbox'
  element 'username-field'
  element 'issue-title-content'


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'

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 (for example, 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 use page because that would shadow the Capybara DSL, potentially leading to confusion and bugs.



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


Page::Project::Members.perform do |project_settings_members_page|
Page::Project::New.perform do |page|

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