This just in:

Given an <input id="foo" name="..." type="text" /> tag (without
a value attribute), find_field('foo').value in Capybara will
return nil with the (default) Rack::Test driver, but "" with
the Selenium driver.

The reason is that when Selenium opens the page, Firefox automatically adds an
empty value="" attribute to the DOM (you can easily check this by
calling save_and_open_page in your test), and Selenium rightly reports
the value in the DOM, not in the original source. Rack::Test on the other hand
reports nil, because that’s what the HTML source says. (It’s
perfectly valid HTML to omit the value attribute, in case you were

To make your tests pass in both Selenium and Rack::Test, test for
find_field('foo').value.blank? (this works for both nil and
""), or write (find_field('foo').value || '') if you’re
testing for equality with pre-calculated variables.

Read more at the source