Friday, September 25, 2009

QTP Automation: A Generic Function to perform mouse click

For all the automation testing I’ve been doing in recent months, I’ve built a set of function libraries in QTP that contain functions doing a lot of different things from clicking on a button, validating properties of different web objects to parsing data in excel files. One of these libraries contains all the WebBrowser related functions and one of those is BrowserButtonClick. It takes the title of the browser and name/index of the button as input and does the obvious – clicks on the button within the specified browser. It does all that through descriptive programming, not needing to have any objects in the GUI repository and gives me the advantage of reusing this library framework in different projects/applications. This has allowed me to automate functional tests of different applications very quickly.

But this post is not about that function or about the framework. I’ll write about that later - how it all fits together to provide an automation framework that can speed up functional automation. In this post, I want to share another QTP VBScript function that I wrote to perform a mouse click on any web object. This function forms the basis of descriptive programming that I’ve used in my libraries and provides greater flexibility instead of tying it down to a specific object type.

Like I described, the BrowserButtonClick takes the name of the button as parameter. This works fine as long as the button object has the name property defined (which most of them do) and I know it when creating the tests. For one of the application page however, there were 2 buttons with no name specified but with “html id” property. This led me to come up with another function that will take the property names (“html id” or “name” etc) and property values as input parameters, search for a button object with specified properties and perform the action (left button click) on that. But thinking about it a little more, since the class of the object (“micclass”) is also another property of the object, it doesn’t have to be restricted to a “WebButton”. So the end result was this generic function that takes the list of appropriately delimited properties and values, finds the object and performs a left-click on the object. The input parameter is in the format “propName1=propValue1;propName2=propValue2…”. For example, “micclass=WebButton;html id=Search”. This way, it can be used to perform a click on any object and similar functions can be used to perform any action on any GUI object.

Here’s the function.

Part 1: Function Definition
' Function BrowserObjectClick
' ------------------
' Perform a mouse click on an object within the specified Browser
' Parameter: browserTitle - Title of the browser
' Parameter: props - a list of name-value pairs of properties and their values, semi-colon delimted. ("propName1=propValue1;propName2=propValue2…”)
' Parameter: objIndex - the index (0-based) of the object that needs to be clicked (if multiple objects match)
'@Description Perform a mouse click on the object that matches specified properties within the specified Browser. Returns 0 is successful, -1 if no object is found or the object is disabled
'@Documentation Perform a mouse click on object that matches <props> properties within <browserTitle> browser
Public Function BrowserObjectClick(ByVal browserTitle, ByVal props, ByVal objIndex)

As I already explained above, the function performs a mouse click on any object that matches the specified properties within the specified browser. The browser title needs to be provided as input parameter and so do the properties, which are name-value pairs delimited by semi-colon. For example, to find a WebButton object with name “Search”, the input will be “micclass=WebButton;name=Search”. For a link with outertext property “Log Off, the input will be “micclass=Link;outertext=Log Off”. If multiple objects match the identification properties, objIndex (0-based) will specify which one of those objects is clicked.

Part 2: Getting the browser objects
    On Error Resume Next
If (props <> "") Then
indx = CInt(objIndex)
If (Err <> 0 Or indx < 0)Then
indx = 0
End If

'Get the browser objects
Set desc = Description.Create()
desc("micclass").Value = "Browser"
Set bObjs = Desktop.ChildObjects(desc)

For i = 0 To bObjs.Count -1
If Instr(1, bObjs(i).GetROProperty("title"), browserTitle, 1) > 0 Then

First we make sure that the properties are not blank in the input parameters. If they are blank, there’s not much we can do so we just exit out of the function. Next thing to do is to make sure the objIndex is an integer >=0. In case it isn’t, we take the default value of 0, which means that the first object matching the properties will be clicked. Then we get all existing browser objects and iterate through them until we find the one with matching title. If none are found, we’ll exit out with appropriate return values. If multiple browsers are found, we’ll use the 1st one that matches the title. In the applications I’ve automated so far, I haven’t come across a case where multiple browsers match the title…but if needed (in case the application pops up multiple windows, for example), the function can be easily modified to handle that.

Part 3: Getting the Object and performing the Action

                desc("micclass").Value = "Page"
Set pObjs = bObjs(i).ChildObjects(desc)
'Make sure you got one
If (pObjs.Count > 0) Then
'load the properties in an array
Dim propArray : propArray = Split(props,";",-1,vbTextCompare)
Dim prop
Dim propsDict 'As Scripting.Dictionary
Set propsDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary")
For Each prop in propArray
propsDict.Add Split(prop,"=",-1,vbTextCompare)(0), Split(prop,"=",-1,vbTextCompare)(1)

'Get the Object
Dim j, pKeys : pKeys = propsDict.Keys
For j = 0 to propsDict.Count-1
desc(pKeys(j)).Value = propsDict.Item(pKeys(j))
Set propsDict = Nothing
Set objs = pObjs(0).ChildObjects(desc)

So once we find the browser with specified title, we get its “Page” child objects since all other objects are child objects of the page object. We split the properties that we got as input by the semi-colon “;” and load it in an array. At this point, the array is populated with the name value pairs of the properties delimted by an equals sign “=”. I’m not doing much error handling here because I trust the input provided will be appropriately delimited.

Next, we split each of the array values by an equals sign “=” and load it in a “Scripting.Dictionary” object as key-value pairs, where the key is the name of the property. We create a Description object, load all the properties in it and find all matching child objects.

Part 4: Performing action on the object

                    If (objs.Count > indx) Then
'Execute the event
If (objs(indx).GetROProperty("disabled")) Then
BrowserObjectClick = -1
BrowserObjectClick = 0
End If
'Free up the objects
Set desc = Nothing
Set bObjs = Nothing
Set pObjs = Nothing
Set objs = Nothing
Exit Function
End If

Now that we have a collection of all objects that match the properties, we’ll make sure that the index is not more than the number of objects returned, that it is not disabled and then perform the click action. If it is disabled, we’ll return a –1 so that caller can handle it appropriately. If not, we perform the mouse click by calling the click method of the object and return a 0. Finally, we do some cleanup and exit function.


This function provides a generic method to implement a mouse-click on any object using descriptive programming and is particularly useful where the standard properties of an object (name) are not available. It can be further extended to implement any action, not just clicks and provide other functionality as well.

If you have any questions or suggestions to improve or simplify the function, let me know.