Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Wed, 16 Feb 2005

Scripting for testers

Prodded by Bret Pettichord, I've finally committed to writing Scripting for Testers. The manuscript is due by the end of the year, to be published in Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt's Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Here's a version of the plan I sent to Dave, followed by a request for help.

Target size is typical for the Pragmatic series (unit test, CVS, etc.)

I have three goals for the book:

  1. Teach testers how to program, and program at least moderately well.

  2. Move testers from a position of dependence to one of sufficiency. Too often I see testers who are helpless to do a lot of things for themselves and are cut off from lots of conversation, both of which reinforce their peripheral position. For example, if they knew programming, they'd both be able to ask for and receive better testability hooks.

  3. Push Ruby toward being the tester's language (which is going to require some catching up with Python and Perl in terms of libraries).

The style will be similar to Dive Into Python: learning by examining and building examples. I'll make the examples as progressive as possible.

The first example will build on a way of doing exploratory testing, which is to bang away at the GUI while watching the log scroll along in a nearby window and noting exceptions.

  • It will start with simple IRB usage: reading from a file.
  • Reading from a file with a program.
  • Reading from a file that's continuously filling.
  • Filtering / regexes.
  • Adding a simple GUI
  • Maybe making the app beep or flash when it sees something interesting.
  • Different types of filters - pluggability - unit testing
  • XML parsing and tree-munging

I will probably add a simple HTTP server as a way of demystifying networking.

This is all toward the end of showing that testers are not limited to using tools just for running tests. They can build what they need to build.

Then I move to testing. I'll probably start with a simple introduction to Watir (testing that uses IE via COM). There's a possibility I'll also introduce Selenium (which is a Javascript test harness that lives in the browser and has Java and Python bindings today). I'll definitely do a web-services chapter (again, as much to demystify as anything else). Then on to the real problem: testing a windowing app. I prefer to test under the GUI here (actually, with web clients too). The web services chapter and the HTTP server chapter have primed them for that: because now it will seem to them quite unexceptional to stick something in the app that talks some protocol and translates remote calls into whatever below-the-GUI API is there.

It would be nice to talk jruby for testing Java apps. I will if it seems robust enough.

Last part (depending on space) is about using various tools - whatever's out there - to do various testing-ish tasks.

So the request for help: what do you think of that? What kinds of tasks should be covered? What tools should I talk about? Mail me.

## Posted at 07:24 in category /testing [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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