Capybara: Quick checking for element presence (without retries or timeout)

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Element finding is a central feature of Capybara. Since #find is normally used to get elements from the current page and interact with them, it's a good thing that some Capybara drivers (e.g. Selenium) will wait an amount of time until the expected element shows up. But if Capybara cannot #find it at all, you'll get an error.

if page.find('.that-element')
  # Do something
  # Never happens because #find raises

In order to simply check whether an element is present, without errors raised, you can use #has_css?. It will return a Boolean – but will wait as well. If the element does not exist, it will take the configured Capybara.default_wait_time for this check to return false, which is usually several seconds.

The solution is to disable the waiting for just that check:

if page.has_css?('.that-element', wait: 0)
  # Do something
  # Do something else


If you opt-out of Capybara's retry mechanism you need to retry yourself or your test will be flaky.

Note the wait: 0 argument. Actually there is a host of options Show snapshot worth knowing (scroll down to the "Options Hash" section).

Dominik Schöler
Last edit
Henning Koch
Source code in this card is licensed under the MIT License.
Posted by Dominik Schöler to makandra dev (2019-07-01 13:40)