Simulate key presses in your capybara tests
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Send Keys

Send keys is a capybara extension that lets you send keystrokes to an element in the browser. It uses webdriver so must be used using the @javascript tag in your features.


Check out the repo git clone git@github.commarkgandolfo/send-keys.git and put the step_definitions/send_keys_steps.rb into your step_definitions directory and copy support/send_keys.rb to your support directory.

Why would you need this

Some javascript events only respond to key presses, and at the moment capybara doesn't support the functionality required to pull this off. For example, we wanted to test a text-completion form, where a user was able to start typing a word, and our application would show a list of possible options. With the generic fill_in method this didn't work. This is just one of the many use cases.

How to use it

First make sure you use the @javascript tag, to force capybara to use the webdriver driver.

Then in your features you can send characters or modifier keys to an element, or an array of modifier keys and keys. You'll need to use the css selectors to select an element.

For Example

# Send the 'a' character to the input who's id is search (#search)
And I send a to "input#search"

# Send the 'a', 'b' and 'c' characters to the input who's id is search (#search)
And I send abc to "input#search"

# You can put them in quotes if you feel more comfortable
And I send 'abc' to "input#search"

# You can also send modifier/special key strokes to an element
And I send arrow_left to "input#search"

# You can even send a combination of modifier and characters
# This will result in a the character 'A' being sent to the input
And I send [shift, a] to "input#search"

# Or maybe you just want to press enter
And I send enter to "input#search"

# How cool would it be to test the counter in a text area (say for a twitter app)
And I send hello to "#message"
And I should see "135" in "characters_left"
And I send backspace to "#message"
And I should see "136" in "characters_left"

# We used it to test completion suggestions
# The first suggested name was highlighted and responded to an enter keypress
And I send "bo" to "input#username"
And I should see "bob" within "username_suggestions"
And I send enter to "input#username"

List of modifiers/special keys

There are a list of modifier and special keys which can be sent to an element

null, cancel, help, backspace, tab, clear, return, enter, shift, left_shift, control, left_control alt, left_alt, pause, escape, space, page_up, page_down, end, home, left, arrow_left, uparrow_up, right, arrow_rightdown, arrow_down, insert, delete, semicolon, equals, numpad0, numpad1, numpad2, numpad3, numpad4, numpad5, numpad6, numpad7, numpad8, numpad9, multiply, add, separator, subtract, decimal, divide, f1, f2, f3, f4, f5, f6, f7, f8, f9, f10, f11, f12

Please note

Different OS' have different ways of simulating modifier keys, as a result not all will work on MacOSX, for example tab will not work. When I have some time I'll patch webdriver to support these keys.