Automated Tester


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Surgical Strike UI Automation Testing

A lot of people when starting out with automated testing or Selenium may follow a kind of record and playback approach to writing automated tests, whether this is born out of using something like the plugin or just the general approach:

  • Fire up a browser
  • Goto the site
  • Login
  • Get to where you need to be
  • Perform a bunch of interactions
  • Logout (possibly)

There are a few optimisations we can do without much effort, like navigating with a url rather than clicking a bunch of menu items. This approach may need an environment with test data already present and that can turn into a big overhead. It might be a lot harder to ‘get to where you need to be’ if you have to create a whole structure first and doing that in the UI as part of your test should be avoided.

Trimming the fat

In the past on this blog I have talked about API tests and UI tests, lets combine the two to really optimise the UI tests. You’re writing a Selenium test to test a specific piece of functionality, lets keep it that way and just use Selenium to perform precision, surgical UI interactions that we care about. This will speed up your tests and make them more stable.

This way we will:

  • Perform a bunch of internal API calls to set the test up
  • Fire up a browser
  • Login
  • Navigate
  • Do the test
  • Perform another set of internal API calls to rip out the test setup

I’ve found a nice way to do this is to setup a stack which we can push fixtures onto and then iterativeley pop them off after the test is done.

private Stack<Action> teardownActions;

public Stack<Action> TeardownActions => teardownActions ?? (teardownActions = new Stack<Action>());

As usual I am using Specflow in my setup, now I turn to the hooks to perform an action I need for each test – lets say…. make a folder.

FolderRootDto = new FolderDto


FolderVisibility = 50,

Name = $"{ScenarioInfo.Title}"


Folders.CreateNewFolder(FolderRootDto.Name, FolderRootDto);

Stack it out

When the create method is called and we actually perform the api post request, we get the Id from the DTO (or whatever we need in the delete call) and push an action onto the stack, in this case another method that calls delete.

var client = client;

var newFolder = RestManager.Post<FolderDto>(client, BaseUrl + "/rest/endpoint/to/call", folderDto);

if (newFolder.StatusCode == HttpStatusCode.OK)


var LastFolderCreatedId = newFolder.Response.Id;

TreeState.Get(ScenarioContext).TeardownActions.Push(() =>





Now before our browser even fires, I have a folder to perform a test in, if we add our teardown action stack to fire after the scenario then this newly created folder gets ripped out afterwards.

var nextAction = TeardownActions.Pop();

while (nextAction != null)



nextAction = null;
if (TeardownActions.Count > 0)


nextAction = TreeState.Get(scenarioContext).TeardownActions.Pop();



As these actions get performed in milliseconds it can drastically reduce the time of your Selenium test that might be doing the all the foundation work or reduce the overhead you might have in order to get your fixture setup in place whether it be build steps or database restores.

Testing Rest Endpoints with RestSharp and Specflow

In an earlier post I set how to use Specflow to test SOAP endpoints but what about REST API’s?

Given the nature of building URLs to interact with them it should be a cinch!… And it was. By leveraging use of the RestSharp library I was easily able to manipulate an example Rest interface over at

So lets have a look at how:

Each method will be calling on the endpoint we initially set (the base URL), so lets wire in some tests with Gherkin and define some step definitions.

Scenario Outline: RestSharp Get Customer Record
Given I have an example endpoint
When I search for customer record 0
Then the result contains customer <ID>
Then the result contains customer <First Name>
Then the result contains customer <Last Name>
Then the result contains customer <Street>
Then the result contains customer <City>

| ID | First Name | Last Name | Street | City |
| 0 | Laura | Steel | 429 Seventh Av. | Dallas |

Scenario: Post Product Price
Given I have an example endpoint
And I update the price of Product 1 to 10.00
When I search for Product 1
Then the price is 10.00
And I reset the price of product 1 to 24.8

We are passing the endpoint down to our helper here but I would normally put it in the App.config to keep things configurable.

Next up I created a Helper called RestHelper which will deal with all the setup, GET and POST requests etc. We need to define the endpoint and assign it to a commonly accessible place.

public class RestHelper
public RestClient endpoint = null;

public RestClient SetEndpoint(string endpointUrl)
endpoint = new RestClient(endpointUrl);
return endpoint;

Note: Your endpoints will most likely require some authentication of some kind which I am not covering. However I was easily able to add cookie authentication with a little tweaking.

Next lets create some other useful helper methods like GET and POST:

public string GetQuery(string query)
var request = new RestRequest(query, Method.GET);
IRestResponse response = endpoint.Execute(request);
var content = response.Content; // raw content as string
return content;

My POST method is simply to update the price of a product but you could rework to whatever you need:

public void UpdatePrice(string query, string price)
var request = new RestRequest(query, Method.POST) { RequestFormat = DataFormat.Xml };
var body = ("<resource><PRICE>" + price + "</PRICE></resource>");
request.AddParameter("text/xml", body, ParameterType.RequestBody);

In our Step definitions we just need to new up the Helper and pass in the right query, we are also assigning the Rest query result in a place that can be accessed by multiple step definitions:

private readonly RestHelper Rest = new RestHelper();

private string queryResult = null;

[Given(@"I have an example endpoint (.*)")]
public void GivenIHaveAnExampleEndpoint(string restEndpoint)

[When(@"I search for customer record (.*)")]
public void WhenISearchForCustomerRecord(string customerNo)
queryResult = Rest.GetQuery("CUSTOMER/" + customerNo + "/");

[Given(@"I update the price of Product (.*) to (.*)")]
[Then(@"I reset the price of product (.*) to (.*)")]
public void GivenIUpdateThePriceOfProductTo(int productNo, string newPrice)
Rest.UpdatePrice("PRODUCT/" + productNo +"/", newPrice);

And so on… If you want to have a play around with the code you can clone it from here and have fun testing REST APIs!