Using WebDriver, jBehave to test dynamic web forms

I've been updating an ancient yet integral Perl form handler script (based on bnbform), and I will be introducing some fairly significant changes. Thus I'd like to make sure I don't introduce any errors, or changes that would affect existing forms on our site.

The form handler allows arbitrary fields in a form, supported by hidden fields that define its behaviour (e.g. a field with the name 'required' contains the mandatory field names).

Basically I'd like to be able to verify the server response, including rejecting bad/missing data and success or 'thank you' screens. To do this, a combination of JBehave, WebDriver and jQuery could give us a solution.

Form manipulation (WebDriver + JQuery)

I'll need to construct a mock form, populate it and submit it to the server. Then I'll grab the response and check it. To make the tests a bit more dynamic, I'll create a 'clean slate' html page with just the form element and a submit button:

<form id="requestForm" action="http://localhost/cgi-bin/requestForm.cgi"
method="post" name="RequestForm">
  <fieldset id="formFields" class="submit"></fieldset>
  <fieldset id="submitField" class="submit">
    <input class="submit" type="submit" value="Submit" />

Then I'll programatically add form fields using a javascript function (in theory could also do this in Java code). For convenience sake I'm using jQuery:

function addField(elLabel, elId, elName, elType, elValue) {
    // TODO - parameter validation/defaults
    var div = $("<div/>");

    if (elLabel) {
        $("<label/>", {
            id: elId + "_lbl",
            "for": elId,
            "text": elLabel

    $("<input />", {
        id: elId, 
        name: elName, 
        type: elType, 
        value: elValue 


This will create a div element containing a label and the input element.
Then, in our test case, its simply a matter of getting an instance of JavascriptExecutor and executing the javascript function for each field:

WebDriver driver = ... // Initialise
JavascriptExecutor js = (JavascriptExecutor) driver; 

js.executeScript("addField('Name', 'nameField', 'nameField', 'text', 
    'John Citizen');"); 

With this setup, I can easily build the form to contain specific elements; specific form configurations that I want to test!

Server response (WebDriver + JUnit)

When we're ready, WebDriver can submit the form and check the contents of the page returned:

// Submit form

// Example result 
Assert.assertEquals("Thank you for your submission", 

Story time! (JBehave)

Implementing some BDD for the existing functionality, and my impending changes, will help ensure that the form continues to behave in the expected manner. So lets write some stories that should cover some existing functionality! (File: test/resources/basic-form.story)

Scenario: A basic 2-field form is submitted

Given a text field with name 'Name' and value 'John Citizen' 
 And a text field with name 'Submit By' and value 'john@localhost' 
 When form is submitted 
 Then the confirmation page is displayed 

Given a text field with name 'Name' and value 'John Citizen' 
 And a text field with name 'Submit By' and value '' 
 And 'Submit By' is required 
 When form is submitted 
 Then the error page is displayed

I've included the type and just enough details in the 'Given' lines to create a unique form element using our javascript function.

The mention of 'required' will include the hidden input field that bnbform uses to track mandatory fields

The 'When' line obviously relates to WebDriver submitting the form, and 'Then' is the assertions relating to the response. We're simply expecting either a success page or validation error page. Any other unexpected outcome (e.g. an error in the script) will result in a failed test.

StepsUsing the code above as a guide, this step class will cover the


public class FormSteps {
    private WebDriver _driver; 

    public void beforeEachStory() { 
        _driver = new HtmlUnitDriver(true); 
        // Using a bundled HTML file instead of modifying the server 
        final String htmlFile = getClass() 

    @Given("a $fieldType field with name '$fieldName' and value '$fieldValue'")
    public void includeField(String fieldType, String fieldName, 
            String fieldValue) throws Exception { 
        JavascriptExecutor js = (JavascriptExecutor) _driver; 
        js.executeScript("addField('" + fieldName + "', '" 
            + fieldName.toLowerCase() + "', '" + fieldName.toLowerCase() 
            + "', '" + fieldType + "', '" + fieldValue + "')"); 

    @Given("$fieldName is fieldAttribute") 
    public void addFieldAttribute(String fieldName, String fieldAttribute) 
        throws Exception { 
        // TODO 

    @When("form is submitted") 
    public void submitForm() throws Exception { 

    @Then("the $result page is displayed") 
    public void verifyResult(String result) { 
        final String heading = _driver.findElement(By.tagName("h1")).getText();
        final String body = _driver.findElement(By.tagName("p")).getText();

        if ("confirmation".equals(result)) { 
            Assert.assertEquals("Thanks!", heading); 
            Assert.assertEquals("Thank you for your submission", body); 
        } else { 
            Assert.assertEquals("Error!", heading); 
            Assert.assertEquals("Bad data in form", body); 

After implementing the standard class structure outlined at, I have two additional classes: FormSteps and FormStories. FormStories, which extends JUnitStories, is the test case runner. The functionality of the form can be further defined by additional scenarios and stories, so existing functionality and the new enhancements can be verified.

NOTE: You may need to make sure your IDE copies the *.story files to the test class directory (maven should automatically copy them if they are under test/resources).