selenium Waiting in Selenium Explicit Wait in Python


When browser navigates to a dynamic page (most commonly AJAX-based web application), the elements on the page can take different time to load, and furthermore: some elements will only load in response to some user actions. In such cases direct retrieval of an element may fail:

# Don't do this: may fail on dynamic page with ElementNotVisibleException
element = driver.find_element_by_name('q') 

The most obvious solution it seems to introduce the wait before retrieving elements:

# Don't do this: inefficient solution for ElementNotVisibleException 
time.sleep(5) # delays for 5 seconds  
element = driver.find_element_by_name('q') 

But such solution is inefficient, since it causes the test to always wait for 5 seconds, even when the element in most cases appears after 1 second (and only sometimes requires up to 5 seconds). It doesn't look much if it's one place, but usually each test deals with multiple elements, and there are multiple tests, which adds up to overall test duration.

A better solution is to wait for element to appear for up to 5 seconds, but return from the wait as soon as element is found. WebDriverWait allows you to do just that.

The following example navigates to, waits (for up to 5 seconds) for the search bar to load, and then searches for "selenium".

from selenium import webdriver
from import WebDriverWait
from import expected_conditions as EC
from selenium.webdriver.common.keys import Keys
from import By

# Create a new chromedriver instance
driver = webdriver.Chrome()

# Go to

    # Wait as long as required, or maximum of 5 sec for element to appear
    # If successful, retrieves the element
    element = WebDriverWait(driver,5).until(
         EC.presence_of_element_located((By.NAME, "q")))

    # Type "selenium"
    #Type Enter

except TimeoutException:
    print("Failed to load search bar at")