Selenium Expert is Here!

I have released a new Selenium IDE Plugin – The Selenium Expert! Read about it on my new blog

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I Have Moved to

I have migrated all the content to my new host. Check it out at If you cannot find some of your comments, you may have to post them again. Let me know if you find something wrong.

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Moving to a new place soon has been a good host for my blog. I feel that I have outgrown the features provided and would soon be moving to a new place. Any more comments on this blog may get lost in the moving process. See you on the new host soon.

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The Power Debugger Plugin v1.0 for Selenium IDE Released

The pause on fail tool button added to Selenium IDE

This plugin for Selenium-IDE improves debugging and troubleshooting issues with scripts. This plugin adds the pause on fail tool to the Selenium IDE toolbar. When pause on fail is turned on, Selenium IDE would pause the execution of the test case when there is an error or a command failure, allowing you to troubleshoot the problem. Get it from the Firefox addons site.

Once you install this plugin, a pause on fail tool button will be available in Selenium IDE toolbar. See the screen shot for details.

Mini user guide for the plugin

  • Click on the pause on fail tool button to turn the pause on fail on.
  • Click on the pause on fail tool button again to turn the pause on fail off.
  • You can turn pause on fail on or off any time, including when the test is running.
  • Once the test case pauses due to pause on fail, you can use the usual resume/step buttons to continue the test execution.

Known Issues

  • The test case will not be paused if the failure is on the last command of any test case.

To use this plugin, you will need to install Selenium IDE extension of at least version 1.0.4 first. Only in English for now, more languages will be added on requests.

Other Thoughts

I have been really busy, was not able to release any plugins or updates on the schedule I wanted. This plugin was one of the oldest changes I made to Selenium IDE. I think it was Selenium IDE v1.0b2 at that time. This was one single change that saved me a huge amount of time. Releasing this as a plugin was tricky and I have been delaying it for several months. I am still not happy with the code, but it has been relatively stable so you can go ahead, give it a try, if things break completely, you can always uninstall it 🙂

As usual feel free to leave comments, improvements, advise, criticism, problems…

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My Selenium IDE Plugins compatibility with Selenium IDE v1.0.8

Selenium IDE v1.0.8 was released on Friday last week. I have finished testing and I am happy to say that all plugins are working as expected. There is no need of any updates due to compatibility reasons. Thanks to Dave for confirming the same.

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Using the Findbar in Your Firefox Add-ons – Part 3/3

Abracadabra! Close Button Gone!

This is the last post of a three part series that details my experiences with the findbar widget which is available in Firefox and also provides a bit of information on XBL and anonymous ids.

Getting Rid of the Close Button Altogether

The solution I provided in the previous post fixes the colour problem with the close button. I wanted to remove the close button altogether. As I mentioned earlier, lets take a little detour first to cover some widget internals, viz., XBL and Anonymous IDs before we make the close button disappear.

The XML Binding Language

XBL or Extensible Bindings Language or XML Bindings Language as it is sometimes called, is the secret glue that most widgets in Firefox use. As the Mozilla page about it says,

XBL is a language for describing bindings that can be attached to elements in other documents. The element that the binding is attached to, called the bound element, acquires the new behavior specified by the binding. Bindings can contain event handlers that are registered on the bound element, an implementation of new methods and properties that become accessible from the bound element, and anonymous content that is inserted underneath the bound element.

Basically, you can do a lot of stuff with XBL. Many widgets provided by Firefox have been implemented using XBL. The findbar widget is also implemented using XBL. So if you want to take a look at all the gory details of how the findbar widget has been created, you need to look at the underlying XBL implementation.

Get the Findbar Source Code Using Chrome URL

Another interesting thing to know is that you can view the source code residing inside Firefox using chrome URLs. Chrome URLs are URLs starting with chrome:. Firefox understands these special chrome URLs for accessing some resources that have been installed in Firefox. Take a look at the Chrome URL page on Mozilla development center for more information on these URLs. You can access the source code of the findbar widget that is inside your Firefox by accessing its chrome URL. You can open this link chrome:global/content/bindings/findbar.xml (Firefox only) and see for yourself. This will show the real code that is powering the findbar in your Firefox browser right now! I had to take a look into it to figure out how to solve the close button issue.

Sub-widgets and Javascript

Some widgets, for example, the Findbar widget are composed of other widgets. I call these internal widgets as sub-widgets. Usually you will not need to access these sub-widgets at all. Sometime, it may be necessary to do so, like in this case of hiding the close button. The first thing is to find out what is the type of these sub-widgets and what their IDs are. The way I usually do this is by looking through the XBL source code. The sub-widgets cannot be accessed by the usual means like the getElementById() function. Like normal elements can have an id, these sub-widgets do not have an id, but have another slightly different attribute known as an anonymous id called anonid. There is a function getAnonymousElementByAttribute() to get elements using their anonid. The function takes three parameters, viz., the widget you want to get the sub widgets from, the attribute name – “anonid” in our case, and the actual anonid of the sub-widget. Here is how you use it through an example of hiding the close button using Javascript.

).hidden = "true";

Once I found the anonid for the close button was ‘find-closebutton’ using the XBL source code in findbar.xml. It was a simple matter of getting the close button sub-widget and using normal Javascript to hide it.

Styling Sub-widgets Using CSS

Another power method is to apply CSS rules directly to these sub-widgets. You have already seen an example in my previous post to fix the background colour of the close button. You can specify the CSS rule using the usual attribute selector with anonid as the attribute name, i.e., [anonid=”PutActualAnonIdHere”]. Here is an example of how to hide the close button using this technique.

#FindToolbar *[anonid="find-closebutton"] {
 display: none !important;

Poof! Its gone!!!

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Using the Findbar in Your Firefox Add-ons – Part 2/3

The Close Button Issue

This is the second post of a three part series that details my experiences with the findbar widget which is available in Firefox and also provides a bit of information on XBL and anonymous ids.

Controlling the Findbar Visibility

The findbar created as shown in the examples in my part 1 will initially be hidden. Though it is tempting to simply add a hidden=”false” attribute to make it visible, don’t do it. As this would appear to work on the first glance, but problems will soon surface. I discovered that the localised messages and labels did not work as expected. Using the open([mode]) method or the startFind(mode) method is required to make the findbar visible.




A close method is available to hide the findbar. While I suspect that setting the hidden=”true” attribute should work, I did not try using it.


Once the findbar has been linked to a browser widget and made visible, it is ready to be used! As the users type text into the Find textbox, the search will be carried out in the linked browser widget and the buttons on the findbar will be active allowing the user to navigate through the matching occurrences of the search term. Further, some shortcut keys like single apostrophe (‘), slash (/), function key 3 (F3), escape (Esc) will also be made available.

A Small Problem Surfaces

There is a small problem with this, sometimes it just does not work! Even if you enter text in the find textbox, the buttons remain greyed out and no search is carried out. I have another post detailing my investigation about this issue. The conclusion is that some versions of Firefox wrongly have the bindings for the find textbox in the theme style sheet. The solution is simple and all you need to do is include the correct style sheet in your xul file with the following line near the top of the file.

<?xml-stylesheet href="chrome://global/skin/findBar.css"

The Close Button Issue

By now all works mostly fine. I discovered another small issue with the close button. When you move your mouse over the close button, the area around the close button is not consistent with the rest of the find toolbar. I am sure that there is a simpler solution somewhere out there. To resolve this issue, I had to explicitly provide the style for the close button. This meant digging into the internals of findbar which I have detailed later. Here is the style I applied to get it working.

#FindToolbar *[anonid="find-closebutton"]:hover {
 background-color: -moz-Dialog !important;
#FindToolbar *[anonid="find-closebutton"]:hover:active {
 background-color: -moz-Dialog !important;

Now, you have a working findbar. In the next part we will see how to dig deeper into widgets to identify individual elements that the widget is composed of and apply styles to them.

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