Criteria for Selecting NSEQL Commands

The ITPilot NSEQL Guide provides various alternatives for performing certain actions. For example, selecting a link on which a click event will be executed can be achieved with different commands. Every command has a different way of identifying an element:

  • FindElementByAttribute: identifies an element according to the value of its attributes.
  • FindElementByText: identifies an element according to text contained in it.
  • FindElementByPosition: identifies an element according to the relative position of the element on the page.
  • FindElementByXPath: identifies an element according to an XPath expression that may involve several elements, attributes and text.

The toolbar will automatically try to select the more adequate command for each case, but in certain situations you may prefer to modify the automatic choice. For example, criteria based on text can be inadequate when the text dynamically varies each time the web is accessed (e.g. consider the case of a link that provides access to the list of new messages in a webmail system, where the text indicates the number of new messages and, thus, it can differ each time the service is accessed).

On the other hand, the least suitable criterion is usually the relative position of the element on the page, as it is more vulnerable to possible changes in the structure of the Web site. However, sometimes it can be a good option when the other alternatives have been proven to be inadequate.

This panel allows the criteria to be changed using the family of commands related to the identification of elements, frames and options in selectable fields. The options for each family are:

  • Elements: auto (the toolbar will choose the most suitable command), and “Ignore texts” (the toolbar will not use texts to identify the element).
  • Frames: value of the name attribute, or relative position on the page.
  • Options (“Indexes”): text, value of the value attribute and relative position in the list of options.

If a value that does not exist for a specific element (e.g. a frame without a value for the name attribute), the system will try to select by itself another criterion that is more suited to this specific element.

Another important aspect to take into consideration is that the criteria set for frames are global to the entire page. This means that within a specific page of the navigation sequence the same selection criteria should be used for all the events on frames contained in it. If during the generation of the navigation sequence different criteria are specified for elements of the same type within the same page, the system will always take the last criterion set.

This tab also allows selecting the type of NSEQL default wait command the tool will use for page downloads. “Normal” indicates that the “WaitPages” command will be used. In this case, at recording time the system will count the number of pages that are downloaded after a certain navigation action (e.g. a click on a link). At execution time, the system will wait for that number of pages to download before executing the remaining commands of the NSEQL program. Notice that on the presence of redirections and/or multi-frame pages, the number of pages downloaded after a navigation command can be different from 1. The main drawback of this option is that in some cases, the number of pages downloaded after a navigation action may be variable

The “Extended” option indicates the use of “extendedWaitPages” command. This command does not record the number of pages downloaded after a navigation action. Instead, at execution time, after executing a navigation action, ITPilot will wait a certain time to check how many navigations are launched by the browser and will wait for all of them to complete before continuing executing commands. Therefore, this option does not have the drawback mentioned for the “Normal” option but, in turn, can be slightly less efficient in some cases.

Finally, this tab allows specifying the PDFBox Word Separator. By default, the PDFBox text extraction algorithm will output a space character if there is enough space between two words. The PDFBox Word Separator option allows to change this behavior by specifying a different character to use.

NSEQL Options Window shows a view of this configuration window.

NSEQL Options Window

NSEQL Options Window