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Using CFSelenium With The Most Common Browsers

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When using CFSelenium to send Selenium commands to the Selenium Server, you start off by instantiating CFSelenium as an object.  If you're using the ColdFusion 9 version, you would instantiate it with a statement like this:

browserUrl= "http://www.cnn.com";
selenium = new CFSelenium.selenium(browserUrl);

If you're using the ColdFusion 7 or 8 version, you might instantiate it like so:

<cfset var browserUrl= "http://www.cnn.com" />
<cfset variables.selenium= CreateObject("component","CFSelenium.selenium_tags").init(browserUrl) />

In both cases, you're calling the init() function of the respective CFSelenium .cfc file. The init() function can take 4 arguments:

  • browserURL: (required) the URL of the website (just the address to the webroot, not to any subfolders) you want to run the Selenium commands against.

  • host: (optional) the IP address or hostname of the machine running the Selenium Server instance CFSelenium will be communicating with. The default value is "localhost"

  • port: (optional) the port number used to communicate with the Selenium Server instance. The default is 4444.

  • browserStartCommand: (optional) a string that tells Selenium which web browser on the machine running the Selenium Server instance to use. The default value is "*firefox"

By default, CFSelenium uses Firefox to conduct the browser tests (which makes sense because most of the time you'll use the Selenium IDE Firefox plugin to create your tests). In order to have CFSelenium run a test case through a different browser, you'll have to pass a different browserStartCommand string into the init() function.  You can see a list of the different browserStartCommand strings in this post on StackOveflow:  http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2569977/list-of-selenium-rc-browser-launchers.

Sometimes it's just that simple, but sometimes it's not...and when it's not, it can be a real pain to figure out.  WIth some trial and error, I was able to get Selenium Server/CFSelenium to interact with all of the browsers I had installed on my Windows and Macintosh laptops.  Here's what I had to do it each case:


Windows 7: The typical browser string shorthand for starting Firefox ("*firefox") only works if Selenium Server can use your operating system to find out where the browser executable file is. Because Firefox isn't documented in my Windows 7 PATH envionment value, I had to add the full path to the firefox.exe file in the browser string. So my CFSelenium instantiation statement ended up looking like this:

selenium = createObject("component","CFSelenium.selenium").init("http://www.cnn.com","localhost", 4444, "*firefox C:\Program Files\Firefox\firefox.exe");

Mac OS X: The default/regular Firefox browser string "*firefox" worked just fine.

Google Chrome

Windows 7: The regular "*googlechrome" browser string worked fine.

Mac OS X: The regular "*googlechrome" browser string worked fine.


Windows 7: Safari comes with a pop-up window blocker that is turned on by default, and while on it will prevent the Selenium Server from doing anything beyond opening the browser window. To turn off that blocker in the Windows version, click on the gear icon in the upper right corner and click on "Block Pop-Up Windows" to uncheck it. Once I did that, I was able to run Safari using the "*safariproxy" browser string (it wouldn't take the regular Safari browser string) and specifying the location of the Safari executable file (similar to what I did with Firefox).

Mac OS X: Once I turned off the pop-up blocker (by clicking on "Safari" in the menu bar and unchecking "Block Pop-Up Windows"), I was able to run Safari with the normal "*safari" browser string>.


Windows 7: Although Opera 9 was the last version of Opera officially supported for the Selenium Server, I was able to run Opera 11.01 using the "*opera" string and specifying the location of the opera.exe file.

Mac OS X: This was the hardest one to figure out. Here's what I ended up doing:

  • I had to define a proxy server in Opera that would accept the commands coming from the Selenium Server using the following steps:

    1. In the Opera menu bar, I clicked on "Opera" and then "Preferences".

    2. In the Prefences window, I clicked on "Advanced", then choose "Networks" from the column of options on the left, then clicked on the "Proxy Servers..." button.

    3. In the Proxy Servers window, I put a checkmark next to "HTTP", entered "localhost" in the text box to the right of the "HTTP" checkbox, and entered "4444" in the corresponding Port box.

  • I could not use any of the Opera-specific browser strings. I ended up having to use the "*custom" browser string and specify the location of the Opera executable...which is NOT the "Opera.app" listed in the Application folder but a file within that application package/folder:

selenium = createObject("component","CFSelenium.selenium").init("http://www.cnn.com","localhost", 4444, "*custom /Applications/Opera.app/Contents/MacOS/Opera");

Even after all that, the behavior was still a bit flaky. Sometimes Opera would start with a dialog box asking if you wanted to restore the last session (as if Opera had crashed after the last session). Sometimes Selenium wouldn't proceed past the "Speed Dial" Opera startup page: telling Opera to use an actual homepage helped but that setting change didn't seem to take effect upon the next startup of Opera but rather the startup after that.

Internet Explorer 8

Windows 7: I wasn't able to use the regular "*iexplore" browser string, but "*iexploreproxy" worked fine (and with IE being part of the OS, I didn't need to specify the path to the executable).

Mac OS X: If you're running virtual machine software (I use VMWare Fusion) on your Mac in order to run a Windows environment, you can run your CFSelenium tests against IE running in that VM by doing the following:

  • Place a copy of the Selenium Server .jar file on your VM instance of Windows just as you did when you installed CFSelenium on your Mac.

  • Find out what the IP address of your VM instance is. The easiest way to do that is to open a command-line interface in Windows (by clicking the Start button, choosing "Run...", typing "cmd" in the text box and hitting the Enter key), and typing "ipconfig -all" to get the current network statistics for the Windows instance: you want the address under "IP Address".

  • Use the command-line interface to start the Selenium Server on your Windows instance (just as you would do on your Mac).

  • Instantiate CFSelenium using the IP address of the Windows VM and "*iexplore" as the browser string. So if the IP address of your Windows VM is, the instantation statement would look like this:

selenium = createObject("component","CFSelenium.selenium").init("http://www.cnn.com","", 4444, "*iexplore");

When you run CFSelenium against the Selenium Server on your Windows VM, you'll see the Selenium Server on the VM doing all the work, even though the test results will be reported back to whatever browser you're using to run the test on the Mac side.

...This was how I got all the browsers to run with CFSelenium on my computers. It may be different for your computer(s), but hopefully the information I've provided here will at least be of some help.

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Published at DZone with permission of Brian Swartzfager, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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