5 Best Ways to Switch to a New Window in Selenium for Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: When working with Selenium in Python, developers often encounter scenarios where they need to switch control between multiple browser windows or tabs. For example, after clicking a link that opens a new window, you may want to perform actions in the new window and possibly return to the original window. This article discusses how to programmatically switch context to a new browser window using Selenium for Python, ensuring the automated interactions remain seamless.

Method 1: Switch by Window Handle

This method involves retrieving a list of window handles using driver.window_handles and switching to the window handle you are interested in. Window handles are unique identifiers for the browser windows or tabs that Selenium has access to. This method is particularly useful when you need to switch to a specific window known by its index in the window handles list.

Here’s an example:

from selenium import webdriver

# Start a new WebDriver session
driver = webdriver.Chrome()
driver.get("http://example.com")

# Open a new window
driver.execute_script("window.open('http://www.google.com');")

# Store the window handle of the current window
original_window = driver.current_window_handle

# Switch to the new window and perform an action
new_window = [window for window in driver.window_handles if window != original_window][0]
driver.switch_to.window(new_window)
driver.find_element(by="name", value="q").send_keys("Selenium")

# Switch back to the original window
driver.switch_to.window(original_window)

The output of this code will be that the WebDriver session will open example.com, open a new tab with Google, switch to the new tab, perform a search for Selenium, and then switch back to the initial tab.

This code snippet opens a fresh instance of the Chrome driver and navigates to a web page, then opens a second web page in a new tab. It captures the original window handle, locates the new window using list comprehension with the window_handles property, switches to the new window, and performs a search action. Finally, it demonstrates how to switch back to the original window handle.

Method 2: Switch by Window Title

Sometimes it’s more intuitive to switch to a window by its title using a loop to find the correct window handle associated with the desired title. You can use the driver.title property to get the title of the window. This is useful when you know the title of the window to which you want to switch, but not its handle.

Here’s an example:

from selenium import webdriver

# Start a new WebDriver session
driver = webdriver.Chrome()
driver.get("http://example.com")

# Open a new window
driver.execute_script("window.open('http://www.google.com');")

# Get the title of the window you want to switch to
title_to_switch = "Google"

# Find the window handle with the matching title and switch to it
for handle in driver.window_handles:
    driver.switch_to.window(handle)
    if driver.title == title_to_switch:
        break

# Now the driver is focused on the window with the title "Google"

After running this code, the WebDriver session will have switched focus to the window with the title “Google”.

This snippet iterates over all open window handles, switches to each one, checks if the title matches the specified title, and breaks the loop once the correct window is found and focused upon. It’s especially helpful if you’re dealing with multiple windows where the title is a reliable identifier.

Method 3: Use of Context Manager

Developers can implement a context manager for elegantly handling multiple windows. When entering the context, it switches to the new window, and upon exit, it switches back to the original window, ensuring clean-up code is executed reliably. Python’s contextlib module can be used to create a context manager that abstracts away the need to manually switch back to the original window.

Here’s an example:

from contextlib import contextmanager
from selenium import webdriver

@contextmanager
def new_window(driver):
    original_window = driver.current_window_handle
    yield
    driver.switch_to.window(original_window)

driver = webdriver.Chrome()
driver.get("http://example.com")
driver.execute_script("window.open('http://www.google.com');")

with new_window(driver):
    for handle in driver.window_handles:
        if handle != driver.current_window_handle:
            driver.switch_to.window(handle)
            break

# Your context will automatically switch back to the original window here

When this code is executed, the WebDriver session opens two pages and automatically switches back to the original one after the actions in the new window’s context block are completed.

This code uses a context manager to handle the logic of switching windows, which is very Pythonic and ensures the switch back to the original window is never missed due to an unexpected exception or overlooked code path.

Method 4: Waiting for New Window

Switching to a new window can be tricky if the window takes time to open. Selenium’s explicit wait feature can be used here – wait for the number of windows to change, then switch to the new window. This method ensures synchronization and can handle scenarios where windows are opened as a result of some asynchronous action.

Here’s an example:

from selenium import webdriver
from selenium.webdriver.support.ui import WebDriverWait
from selenium.webdriver.support import expected_conditions as EC

# Start a new WebDriver session and open a new window
driver = webdriver.Chrome()
driver.get("http://example.com")
original_window = driver.current_window_handle
driver.execute_script("window.open();")

# Wait for a new window or tab to open
WebDriverWait(driver, 10).until(EC.number_of_windows_to_be(2))

# Loop through until we find a new window handle
for handle in driver.window_handles:
    if handle != original_window:
        driver.switch_to.window(handle)
        break
# Perform actions in the new window
driver.get("http://www.google.com")

The output of this code will show the WebDriver waiting for a new window or tab to open and then switching to the new window where it navigates to Google.

This snippet demonstrates how to use Selenium’s WebDriverWait in conjunction with a condition to wait for a new window to appear. It’s a more robust method that prevents the script from attempting to switch to the new window before it’s actually ready for interaction.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Switch Using List Comprehension

This one-liner uses a combination of Python’s list comprehension and Selenium’s switch_to.window() method to switch to the new window handle that is not the original window, assuming only two windows are open.

Here’s an example:

from selenium import webdriver

# Start a new WebDriver session and open a new window
driver = webdriver.Chrome()
driver.get("http://example.com")
original_window = driver.current_window_handle
driver.execute_script("window.open('http://www.google.com');")

# Switch to the new window using a one-liner
driver.switch_to.window([handle for handle in driver.window_handles if handle != original_window][0])

This code will result in the WebDriver switching focus to the newly opened window containing Google.

This one-liner reduces the context switching logic to a single line of code, making it very concise but at the same time presupposes that there are only two windows open (making this method less flexible in scenarios with multiple windows).

Summary/Discussion

  • Method 1: Switch by Window Handle. It’s straightforward and reliable but requires managing indexes of window handles.
  • Method 2: Switch by Window Title. This method is intuitive and easy to use when window titles are unique and well known. However, it might not be as efficient if there are a lot of windows to iterate through.
  • Method 3: Use of Context Manager. Elegant and Pythonic, it ensures proper setup and teardown. It requires extra coding upfront to create the context manager.
  • Method 4: Waiting for New Window. This method is very robust and handles asynchronous window opening. It can be less efficient than other methods due to its waiting nature.
  • Bonus Method 5: One-Liner. It’s quick and easy but lacks flexibility and is not ideal for handling more than two windows.