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SWTBot/Keyboard Layouts

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Keyboard Layouts in SWTBot

Keyboard strategies

SWTBot can send keyboard events using different strategies:

These different strategies are made available because the keyboard handling is very different depending on the native widget toolkit, keyboard layout and operating system / JRE / SWT version. Not all strategies work in all cases, see KeyboardTest & non EN keyboards to learn more about the reasons why different strategies are provided.

Keyboard layouts

The Keyboard strategies need to send events with key codes, not with characters. For example, for a QWERTY/Z keyboard layout, to type the character '!', you need to press "SHIFT+1" and these events will be generated:

  • KeyDown Shift
  • KeyDown 1
  • KeyUp 1
  • KeyUp Shift

This effectively closely simulates a normal human being typing at a keyboard. In order to configure SWTBot to work with various keyboard layouts, SWTBot contains '.keyboard' files which define a mapping from characters to keys combinations, for example the character '!' maps to the keystrokes 'SHIFT+1' (on a US keyboard). This mapping is different depending on the keyboard layout of the system executing the tests. SWTBot includes some keyboard layouts, but the layout for your keyboard may be not available as of now. Please read further in case your layout is unavailable.

Keyboard configuration

By default, SWTBot uses the AWT keyboard strategy. This can be configured using the system property "org.eclipse.swtbot.keyboard.strategy" or the variable SWTBotPreferences#KEYBOARD_STRATEGY.

Creating keyboard layouts

If your keyboard is missing, please file a bug for SWTBot in Bugzilla. Please mention the country code and operation system.

The keyboard layout is automatically detected from the system. To define the keyboard layout explicitly, you can set the system property "org.eclipse.swtbot.keyboard.layout" or set the variable SWTBotPreferences#KEYBOARD_LAYOUT.

The value of the keyboard layout property should be of the form [package.name.][MAC_][upper-case-two-character-language-code][upper-case-two-character-country-code]. e.g.,

  • com.foo.bar.DE_DE for a German keyboard in Germany
  • com.foo.bar.MAC_FR_FR for a French keyboard on a Mac in France
  • com.foo.bar.MAC_FR_CA for a French keyboard on a Mac in Canada

If the package name is omitted, the layout is loaded from the SWTBot package org.eclipse.swtbot.swt.finder.keyboard. The prefix "MAC_" marks keyboard layouts for Mac keyboards.

Note that on systems that use a Dvorak layout, the "country" code is actually replaced by "DVORAK", hence:

  • com.foo.bar.MAC_EN_DVORAK for a English Dvorak keyboard on a Mac

Keyboard layouts can be created using the KeyboardLayoutGenerator class in the 'org.eclipse.swtbot.swt.finder.test' bundle. This class is not packaged with SWTBot, you will need to download this from the SWTBot source repository.

To create keyboard mappings for your keyboard:

  • Checkout the bundle 'org.eclipse.swtbot.swt.finder.test'
  • Change method Keys#specialChars() for your keyboard.
  • Execute KeyboardLayoutGenerator, this will generate a file 'keyboard.layout' containing keyboard mappings.
  • Execute KeyboardLayoutFilter, this will generate a file keyboard.layout.filtered containing filtered keyboard mappings.
  • Ensure that keyboard.layout.filtered is correct and not missing anything obvious, edit if necessary.
  • Rename keyboard.layout.filtered to [COUNTRY_CODE].keyboard.
  • You should execute the SWTKeyboardTest and/or AWTKeyboardTest test classes to check if your .keyboard file is working properly.
  • Please file a bug and a Gerrit review to contribute the keyboard layout once you got it working or attach it to your bug for the missing keyboard layout!

.keyboard file format

See EN_US.keyboard for an example of the US English keyboard layout, and MAC_EN_US.keyboard for the corresponding keyboard layout on a mac.

.keyboard files are simple text files with the following format:


The <CHARACTER> is the complex character that needs to be typed, and the <KEY_COMBINATION> is the combination that types the <CHARACTER>. Valid <KEY_COMBINATION>s are: CTRL, SHIFT, ALT, COMMAND and all other keys on the keyboard, capitalized ( 'T' is valid, 't' is not). Similarly '3' on a US keyboard is valid, '#' is not.

For example:

! shift + 1
@ shift + 2
# shift + 3
$ shift + 4