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Robot Class In Selenium WebDriver: Methods, Importance & Implementation

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1st May, 2021
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Robot Class In Selenium WebDriver: Methods, Importance & Implementation

Selenium web driver scripts use Java functions to automate the desktop pop-ups and browser without having these functions as a part of the selenium package of Web Driver API (Application Programming Interface), but as a part of Java API AWT (Abstract Window Toolkit).

Isn’t it intriguing to further know which function is this and how it works in JAVA and automates functions? This Java function is known as ‘Robot Class’. The article covers the concept of robot class, its implementation methods, importance, implementation in selenium, and its limitations in this article.

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What is the Robot Class?

Java AWT package includes a Robot Java in Robot class. The Robot class’s primary purpose is automated testing for Java implementations and automatically simulating real-time mouse and keyboard operations. It can be easily integrated with the existing automation framework that helps in increasing its reach.

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It is widely used in Selenium automation tests to control keyboard and mouse while interacting with OS (Operating System) windows such as print or download pop-ups and native applications such as calculator and notepad. Java V.1.3 in-built robot class was introduced as Selenium Webdriver could not handle such pop-ups and applications. 

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Methods to Implement Robot Class

Robot Class can be implemented easily using keyboard functionalities and mouse functionalities. Few methods are required to implement the Robot Class that assist in easy execution of test scripts, such as KeyPress(), KeyRelease(), MouseMove(), MousePress(), MouseRelease() and KeyEvent(). 

  • Keyboard functionalities work on the simulation of various keyboard keys and their operations. The public void KeyPress (int keycode) function is used to press the input parameter key. The public void KeyRelease (int keycode) function releases the input parameter key after a keyPress function. 
  • Mouse functionalities work on simulating various mouse operations. Public void mouseMove (int x, int y) function moves the mouse pointer on the screen depending on the input coordinates for x and y.  The public void mouse press (int buttons) function simulates mouse press operation similar to keyPress function.

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Importance of the Robot Class in Selenium

  • Simulates and handles Keyboard and Mouse Events
  • Helps in uploading/ downloading files in Selenium web driver
  • Handles pop-ups efficiently
  • Easy file uploading while using Robot class in Selenium web driver
  • Easy integration with existing automation framework 

Also Read: Selenium Project Ideas & Topics

Implementing Robot Class in Selenium

The Robot Class in Selenium generates local system input events to automate tests and generate self-running demos. It also creates other applications needed to control the mouse and keyboard. Robot class was introduced to overcome the limitations of Web driver’s in handling OS pop-ups. It enhances the practical functionality of an automation framework. 

Web applications in selenium use locators of the application and determine the web page’s position to operate accordingly. In some cases, while automating the windows operating system, it is necessary to handle windows pop-ups and windows authentication pop-ups. The Robot class carries out these responsibilities, as mentioned earlier in selenium. Though it does not automate Windows actions, it can be used to accomplish such tasks. 

Robot Class in Selenium Implementation Steps

  • To link the browser driver to the ChromeDriver and specify the path.
  • Get the corresponding webpage URL (Uniform Resource Locator), and while navigating OS pop-up appears.
  • Find the webpage element using element locators.
  • Use Robot Class to handle pop-ups and create an instance of Robot Class in the code.

Robot Class is present in the AWT package of JDK (Java Development Kit). 

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Limitations of the Robot Class

  • Keyboard or Mouse Event works only on the current window instance that may result in the Robot Class’s inappropriate behaviour. In contrast, multiple windows are present or multiple browsers running tests. 
  • Difficult to switch among different window or frames
  • When the code execution is moved to another window while executing a robot event, the keyboard or mouse event stays on the previous window.
  • Some functions depend on the screen resolution that may lead to inefficient code execution on different machines, for example, MouseMove().
  • On the VM (Virtual Machine) test, script failure probability is more.
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Since automation is becoming fundamental in each activity on the computer, and therefore Robot Class in Selenium holds its importance. In simple words, Robot Class from Java is an external class used in the Selenium ver to automate its keyboard and mouse functions.  

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Rohan Vats

Blog Author
Software Engineering Manager @ upGrad. Passionate about building large scale web apps with delightful experiences. In pursuit of transforming engineers into leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is a webdriver in selenium?

Webdriver is a tool for automating web-based testing. It provides API for detecting and controlling browsers and other web-enabled devices .WebDriver may be implemented in a variety of programming languages, including C#, Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, etc. WebDriver is the most popular tool used to automate web applications. WebDriver is a tool for automating interaction with web browsers. The Selenium project provides a browser-independent library for web application testing. You can write tests in multiple programming languages. WebDriver provides the glue that lets you call these different languages from a single test script.

2Which programming languages can be used with Selenium?

The WebDriver component of Selenium can be used with any programming language that allows remote connectivity. This includes Java, Python, Scala, Ruby, Perl and PHP among others. In order to write a test you will need to install the WebDriver client according to your preferred language. This can be done using the appropriate installation step for the language. Selenium supports nearly every programming language available. For example, you can use Python and Ruby with Selenium (and you can use languages like C, C++, and Java to write Selenium extensions).

3What is robot class in Selenium webdriver?

Robot class in Selenium is used to give a command to a browser to move to the specific coordinates in it. The Robot class is a browser emulator for Selenium Webdriver. It is a proxy for a real browser, and can be used to automate interactions with web pages, just like a real user would. Robot is created on the fly by passing a desired User Agent to a special WebDriver instance. Robot class is an interface in Selenium Webdriver which is used to create new locators (i.e. find elements). There are various locator creation methods like,, By.linkText(), By.xpath() etc.