Configuring Twist for Selenium 2

The Challenge

I have been happily using the Sahi driver with Twist for the last few months now.  However, I wanted to try driving some mobile devices in via Twist with Selenium 2 to give our team some extra scope and flexibility.  Fortunately, this proved achievable with a small amount of code and some Spring configuration with Twist.

Creating a Driver Factory

The Twist documentation provides some excellent documentation on how to switch to alternative Selenium drivers.  So I essentially followed that template.  After downloading and referencing the Selenium 2 jars in project class path, I created a factory class for WebDriver with the following code:

package twist.drivers;

import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.iphone.IPhoneDriver;

public class WebDriverFactory {
  private enum DeviceType {
    iphone, android

  private WebDriver webDriver;
  private DeviceType deviceType;
  private String deviceURL;

  public WebDriverFactory(String deviceType, String deviceURL) {
    this.deviceType = DeviceType.valueOf(deviceType);
    this.deviceURL = deviceURL;

  public void start() {
    try {
      if(deviceType.equals(DeviceType.iphone)) {
        webDriver = new IPhoneDriver(deviceURL);
      } else if(deviceType.equals( {
        webDriver = new AndroidDriver(deviceURL);
      } else {
        throw new RuntimeException("Device type not selected");
    } catch (Exception e) {
      throw new RuntimeException(e);
    } finally {

  public void stop() {

  public WebDriver getWebDriver() {
    return webDriver;

An enumeration was used to allow the management of execution device targets.  In this case, I switched the appropriate driver implementation to the interface based on these values.  These could as easily be different browser types such as Firefox, IE, Safari, or Google Chrome.

Configuring the Spring Context (Suite)

The “applicationContext-suite.xml” file was then configured to use the driver factory with the following XML:

<bean id="webDriverFactory" class="twist.drivers.WebDriverFactory" init-method="start"
    destroy-method="stop" lazy-init="true">
  <constructor-arg value="${webdriver.device.type}"/>
  <constructor-arg value="${webdriver.device.url}"/>

<bean id="webdriver" factory-bean="webDriverFactory" factory-method="getWebDriver" lazy-init="true" />

You’ll probably notice that both the device type and device URL are being injected in to the constructor via placeholders.  This meant I could give the flexibility of launching to different execution targets based on properties file settings (see more on this at my previous post Switch Test Runner Browsers Easily).

Scenario Writing and Test Code

One real advantage of using a tool like Twist is that the scenario writing and high level test code doesn’t need to be altered when switching or evolving drivers.  In fact, it shows that you’re along the right lines with scenario definition if that is the case.  This is especially true when you code to an automation framework pattern that abstracts site implementation along the lines of PageObjects (see the Selenium 2 wiki for further information on PageObjects).

The bottom line is that however you code your automation, you can now pick up and use the driver by passing it in via a constructor.  The example below gives a snippet of how this might look for a workflow class without such a pattern being used for a simple illustration of using the driver Spring bean:

package web.workflows;

import org.openqa.selenium.By;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import static org.junit.Assert.assertThat;
import static;

public class HomePageTests {

  private WebDriver driver;

  public HomePageTests(WebDriver driver) {
    this.driver = driver;

  private WebElement dateDropDown(){
    return driver.findElement("date"));

  public void setDate(String date){

  public String getDate(){
    return dateDropDown().getValue();

  public void verifyDateSet(String date){
    assertThat(getDate(), is(date));


The flexibility and ease at which this can be a achieved with Twist can’t be understated.  You can be up and running with Selenium 2 in a very short amount of time.  The other side of this spike for me was getting the mobile devices set up for driving tests through both real devices and simulators.  However, that’s another post in itself (especially the iPhoneWebDriver)… I’ll post that as a part II to this post at a later date.

As ever, please feel free to post comments or alternative views.  I’ll try to help where I can.

Switch Test Runner Browsers Easily

The Problem

I recently got frustrated with having to comment in and out settings in the “” file in order to switch browsers when debugging scenarios.  However, luck found its way to a relatively neat solution to my problem.

Whilst looking at various ways of managing different browser and application properties for the “build.xml” target, I found that I could switch between between files by setting system properties at the command line.  This ended up looking a little something like this for firing off the ant target:

ant twist-scenarios -Dbrowser=firefox

This ended up taking a couple of fairly simple changes to implement, as follows:

Optional Overriding of “” using Property Placeholder Configurer

Because of the way in which Twist uses Spring to inject constructor arguments in to the browser bean using placeholders, it was possible to add in a few extra lines to make the bean override the default “’ file dynamically.  I’ve highlighted these changes to the “applicationContext-suite.xml” file below.

<bean id="propertiesConfigurer"> class="org.springframework.beans.factory.config.PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer">
  <property name="systemPropertiesModeName" value="SYSTEM_PROPERTIES_MODE_OVERRIDE"/>
  <property name="searchSystemEnvironment" value="true"/>
  <property name="ignoreResourceNotFound" value="true"/>
  <property name="locations">

The “searchSystemEnvironment” property makes “${browser}” look to resolve to a system property (as provided in the ant command line call above).  The “ignoreResourceNotFound” property ensures the that if a system property isn’t supplied; it still picks up the default “” file without complaining.

Creating a Folder of Browser Specific “” Files

Next, under under the project “src” folder, I created another folder called “twist-conf” containing multiple browser specific “” files.  They ended up in this format for readability:


Each one of these files had the appropriate individual settings for each browser (in this case Sahi driver properties) giving a few lines as below:

sahi.browserExecutable = firefox.exe
sahi.browserLocation = "C:/Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe"
sahi.browserOptions = -profile sahi/userdata/browser/ff/profiles/sahi<threadnumber> -no-remote

Eureka Moment

The moment of revelation came when I realised that I could also specify this very same system property as a JVM argument in the “Twist/Preferences” menu option (on the Mac version that is).  This changed pushed the system property the “Run Configuration” on next run of a scenario.  And then… I just duplicated the “Run Configuration” for each browser adjusting the system property for “-Dbrowser=”.  In each new version I would rename it to “Scenario in IE”, “Scenario in Firefox”, etc. until I had the full range.  I then added these as favorites so they were readily accessible.


There are limitations to this approach.  For example, the configuration is tied to an individual project.  So if you use multiple Twist projects, or various branches of the same one, you would need multiple configurations.

That said, in my situation it has certainly made life easier.  I hope it can be of use to you also.  Let me know what you think it has mileage, or whether you have a better approach.  I’d appreciate different views.