Why Robot Class?

In certain Selenium Automation Tests, there is a need to control keyboard or mouse to interact with OS windows like Download pop-up, Alerts, Print Pop-ups, etc. or native Operation System applications like Notepad, Skype, Calculator, etc.

Selenium Webdriver cannot handle these OS pop-ups/applications.

In Java version 1.3 Robot Class was introduced. Robot Class can handle OS pop-ups/applications.

In this tutorial, you will learn,

Benefits of Robot Class

  1. Robot Class can simulate Keyboard and Mouse Event
  2. Robot Class can help in upload/download of files when using selenium web driver
  3. Robot Class can easily be integrated with current automation framework (keyword, data-driven or hybrid)

Documentation of Robot Class

Robot Class documentation will help you to understand the basic definition, syntax and usage of all methods, and functions available in Robot Class . You can view the documentation on Official Oracle website, or you can create the documentation on your local machine.

To create the documentation on local machine, follow the steps below-

Step 1) You will find the src.zip file in JDK folder. Copy src.zip and extract the same in some other folder or directory (say D: or E: )

Robot Class in Selenium Webdriver

Step 2) Extract src folder and Navigate to (path till src folder)/src/java/awt

Step 3) Copy the current location of awt folder and open command prompt.

Step 4) In cmd, change your current directory location to awt folder and type 'javadoc *.java' as shown below

Robot Class in Selenium Webdriver

Wait a while for the system to process, once completed you will see few HTML files in awt folder.

Step 5) Open index.html

Robot Class in Selenium Webdriver

Step 6) Here's you have full documentation of awt package, from the left navigation bar click on 'Robot' hyperlink (See 1 marked in below image).

Robot Class in Selenium Webdriver

Here you can also see all the methods and interfaces of Robot Class (See 2 marked in above image).

Understanding Robot Class internal methods and usage

Robot Class methods can be used to interact with keyboard/mouse events while doing browser automation. Alternatively AutoIT can be used, but its drawback is that it generates an executable file (exe) which will only work on windows, so it is not a good option to use.

Some commonly and popular used methods of Robot Class during web automation:

  • keyPress(): Example: robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_DOWN) : This method with press down arrow key of Keyboard
  • mousePress() : Example : robot.mousePress(InputEvent.BUTTON3_DOWN_MASK) : This method will press the right click of your mouse.
  • mouseMove() : Example: robot.mouseMove(point.getX(), point.getY()) : This will move mouse pointer to the specified X and Y coordinates.
  • keyRelease() : Example: robot.keyRelease(KeyEvent.VK_DOWN) : This method with release down arrow key of Keyboard
  • mouseRelease() : Example: robot.mouseRelease(InputEvent.BUTTON3_DOWN_MASK) : This method will release the right click of your mouse

Sample code to automate common use cases using Robot Class

  • Lets take example of web site http://spreadsheetpage.com/index.php/file/C35/P10/ wherein after you click on a web element (.//a[@href=contains(text(),'yearly-calendar.xls']) a O.S download pop-up appears.
  • To handle this we use Robot class (by creating an instance of Robot Class in your code say Robot robot = new Robot()) . Robot class us present in AWT package of JDK.
  • To press down arrow key of Keyboard we use (robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_DOWN))
  • To press TAB key of keyboard (we use robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_TAB))
  • To press Enter key we use (robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_ENTER)).

Here is a sample code

import java.awt.AWTException;	
import java.awt.Robot;	
import java.awt.event.KeyEvent;	
import org.openqa.selenium.By;	
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;	
import org.openqa.selenium.firefox.FirefoxDriver;	

class Excercise1 {	

      public static void main(String[] args) throws AWTException, InterruptedException {	
           WebDriver driver = new FirefoxDriver();	
           driver.get("http://spreadsheetpage.com/index.php/file/C35/P10/"); // sample url	
           driver.findElement(By.xpath(".//a[@href=contains(text(),'yearly-calendar.xls')]")).click();	
           Robot robot = new Robot();  // Robot class throws AWT Exception	
           Thread.sleep(2000); // Thread.sleep throws InterruptedException	
           robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_DOWN);  // press arrow down key of keyboard to navigate and select Save radio button	
           
           Thread.sleep(2000);  // sleep has only been used to showcase each event separately	
           robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_TAB);	
           Thread.sleep(2000);	
           robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_TAB);	
           Thread.sleep(2000);	
           robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_TAB);	
           Thread.sleep(2000);	
           robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_ENTER);	
       // press enter key of keyboard to perform above selected action	
     }	 
 }	

Check this video to see it in action

How to execute Robot Class code using TestNG

Since, now you aware of basic methods of Robot Class so let's understand few more complex methods -

Suppose you do not want to use the click method for clicking at web element.

In such cases, you can use mouseMove method of the Robot class.

Step 1) mouseMove method takes x and y coordinates as parameters like robot.mouseMove(630, 420) where 630 indicates x-axis and 420 indicate y-axis. So, this method will move your mouse pointer from the current location to mentioned x and y intersection point.

Step 2) Next, we need to press the mouse button. We can use the method mousePress like robot.mousePress(InputEvent.BUTTON1_DOWN_MASK) .

Step 3) After press, the mouse needs to be released. We can use robot.mouseRelease(InputEvent.BUTTON1_DOWN_MASK) in order to release left click of a mouse.

Running code using testNG:

Running code using testNG requires maven dependency of testNG or referenced library of TestNG jar file.

TestNG maven dependency:

<dependency>	
  <groupId>org.testng</groupId>
  <artifactId>testng</artifactId>	
  <version>6.1.1</version>	
</dependency>	

After adding maven dependency or jar file. You need to import Test annotation of testNG. Once it is all done, just Right click on the program code and click on Run As then click on TestNG… and you will find that code will start its execution using testNG API.

Here is the code

import java.awt.AWTException;	
import java.awt.Robot;	
import java.awt.event.InputEvent;	
import java.awt.event.KeyEvent;	
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;	
import org.openqa.selenium.firefox.FirefoxDriver;	
import org.testng.annotations.Test;	

public class Excersise1 {	

    @Test	
    public static void  execution() throws InterruptedException, AWTException {
        WebDriver driver = new FirefoxDriver();	
        driver.manage().window().maximize();	
        driver.get("http://spreadsheetpage.com/index.php/file/C35/P10/"); // sample url	
        Robot robot = new Robot();	
        robot.mouseMove(630, 420); // move mouse point to specific location	
        robot.delay(1500);        // delay is to make code wait for mentioned milliseconds before executing next step	
        robot.mousePress(InputEvent.BUTTON1_DOWN_MASK); // press left click	
        robot.mouseRelease(InputEvent.BUTTON1_DOWN_MASK); // release left click	
        robot.delay(1500);	
        robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_DOWN); // press keyboard arrow key to select Save radio button	
        Thread.sleep(2000);	
        robot.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_ENTER);	
        // press enter key of keyboard to perform above selected action	
    }	
}	

Check this video to see it in action

Disadvantages of Robot Class

Robot framwork has few disadvantages mentioned below:

  1. Keyword/mouse event will only works on current instance of Window. E.g. suppose a code is performing any robot class event, and during the code execution user has moved to some other screen then keyword/mouse event will occur on that screen.
  2. Most of the methods like mouseMove is screen resolution dependent so there might be a chance that code working on one machine might not work on other.

Summary

Robot class in AWT package is used to generate keyboard/mouse events to interact with OS windows and native apps.

The primary purpose of Robot is to support selenium automated tests project build in Java platform

This article is contributed by Ramandeep Singh, who is a test automation engineer at a leading MNC.