.contains() is one of my favorite commands in Cypress. Although the name of this command sounds like an assertion, it is actually a selecting command. You could argue that all selecting commands are also assertions of element existence, but let’s not get too philosophical here 😃
It is important though, to make this distinction. The slightly confusing naming of
.contains() command may cause overlooking its powers. Part of eternal struggles in testing is to find a suitable selector, while keeping your test easy to read.
.contains() relies on selecting an element by text, but it can do much more than that.
Let’s look into what makes this command great. I use some examples which can be found in a repo on my GitHub.
The app actually has a pretty simple structure:
If you are familiar with this command, you probably already know that it helps you select an element using a text:
Plain and simple. You know what this will do. It will select our heading. Notice how we don’t even need to write the whole text, just
Apples is good enough.
Bear in mind, that if I just used
Apple as a text, the result would be different, since
Apple appears twice on our page. By default
.contains() will search the whole DOM, and return the first element with matching parameters. If you have multiple elements with the same text, you will need to scope the search,
On my workshops, I like to explain the difference between child, parent and dual commands with the
.contains() command. It is a great example of a dual command.
.contains() will search within the scope of a previous command if there is one.
This command helps you find the right element, so if you have a
<button>, where text is inside a
<span> element, a
<button> will be selected. There’s an element preference order which I suggest you check out in the docs.
However, there’s another way you can approach selecting the right element. And that is by passing two arguments to the
.contains() function. In this case, first element will be a selector, specifying the scope of our searched element.
Take a look into which element was selected:
This way I’m selecting the parent
If you don’t mind small and big letters, you can pass an additional parameter to the function to ignore case:
This is especially useful when you have your text abstracted in a separate variable or a file because you might be using different language mutations.
If this is not enough, you regex to matching any string you like.
.contains() sounds like an assertion and can be used as one, the intention is aimed for selecting elements. I written about different ways of selecting elements with Cypress in the past, and
.contains() makes a great addition to that. Even if you don’t have the tested app under full control, these commands can definitely be a good substitution over xpath or complicated css selectors.
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