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RE: [agile-usability] How do you unit test web interfaces?

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  • Desilets, Alain
    ... I agree that testing pathes through several pages is acceptance testing, not unit testing. But I think testing the behaviour of a single web page
    Message 1 of 22 , Apr 25, 2007
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      > > In some case, I may even need to test that the javascript
      > embedded in
      > > the HTML is working properly.
      >
      > This all sounds rather far from the concept of unit testing
      > as defined in Test Driven Development.
      > It sounds more like
      > acceptance or customer testing, to me.


      I agree that testing pathes through several pages is acceptance testing,
      not unit testing.

      But I think testing the behaviour of a single web page (including the
      behaviour of it's embedded JavaScript code) fits the definition of unit
      testing.

      In any case, I have never worried too much about whether I am doing unit
      or acceptance testing. I always do both, usually at the same time, and
      often in the same TestCase files (the later being practice I am trying
      to move away from).

      > For that, one of the
      > tools to run a real browser (like
      > WATIR) is probably the way to go. I'd ask on the
      > agile-testing list. I think that you'll get better results,
      > though, if you think through what you're trying to
      > accomplish. "Testing everything" at the GUI is not often a
      > very productive strategy.

      Thanks for the agile testing hint. I'll post something there (I didn't
      know that list existed).

      I'm not thinking about testing everything at the GUI level. I always
      have more internal tests that check the internals independantly of the
      GUI.

      But the Gui is code too, and it therefore needs to be tested. I'm
      looking for a better way to test it than I have been doing in the past.

      > If you're trying to TDD the gui, then you'll find that a
      > variety of tools are needed, as there is no SwissArmyUnit(tm)
      > tool that does everything. For TDDing javascript, I've found
      > jsUnit useful.

      Yes, I know. Some collegues and I are currently developing a library of
      "manipulators" for wxPython, to make it easier to programmatically
      manipulate widgets in a wxPython application for the purpose of unit
      testing. I'm surprised we had to write that ourselves.


      Alain
    • George Dinwiddie
      ... It fits *some* definitions of unit testing, but not the one I generally use. I generally use the TDD concept of unit testing, rather than the ones
      Message 2 of 22 , Apr 25, 2007
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        Desilets, Alain wrote:
        > But I think testing the behaviour of a single web page (including the
        > behaviour of it's embedded JavaScript code) fits the definition of unit
        > testing.

        It fits *some* definitions of unit testing, but not the one I generally
        use. I generally use the TDD concept of unit testing, rather than the
        ones generally accepted by the testing community. I don't call anything
        "unit testing" if it requires deployment to run.

        The overloading of the term "unit testing" has lead me to prefer
        "programmer testing" instead.

        > Thanks for the agile testing hint. I'll post something there (I didn't
        > know that list existed).
        >
        > I'm not thinking about testing everything at the GUI level. I always
        > have more internal tests that check the internals independantly of the
        > GUI.
        >
        > But the Gui is code too, and it therefore needs to be tested. I'm
        > looking for a better way to test it than I have been doing in the past.

        Yes, and you'll find a good community of testing professionals over
        there who will give you good testing advice. There's also a few of us
        developers there, who tend to look at things from the "TDD as a design
        tool" point of view.

        - George

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Desilets, Alain
        ... I don t really want to argue about the definition of unit vs acceptance testing. I agree with you that testing which requires deployment sucks, especially
        Message 3 of 22 , Apr 25, 2007
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          > Desilets, Alain wrote:
          > > But I think testing the behaviour of a single web page
          > (including the
          > > behaviour of it's embedded JavaScript code) fits the definition of
          > > unit testing.
          >
          > It fits *some* definitions of unit testing, but not the one I
          > generally use. I generally use the TDD concept of unit
          > testing, rather than the ones generally accepted by the
          > testing community. I don't call anything "unit testing" if
          > it requires deployment to run.

          I don't really want to argue about the definition of unit vs acceptance testing.

          I agree with you that testing which requires deployment sucks, especially if it's manual deployment. I'm looking for tools and techniques that will allow me to do automated testing (whether it be unit or acceptance) of the GUI without requiring too much in the way of deployment. It seems to me that testing the embedded javascript should be possible without full deployment. For example, invoke the script that generates the HTML containing that javascript, then load that HTML into some kind of browser emulator that has a JavaScript interpretor, etc... Dunno if that exists or not.


          ----
          Alain Désilets, MASc
          Agent de recherches/Research Officer
          Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
          NRC Institute for Information Technology

          alain.desilets@...
          Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
          Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

          Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
          Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
          National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
          K1A 0R6

          Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada
        • Desilets, Alain
          ... Thx Brian. I ll have a look. ... Right. When I test non-web GUIs, that s the approach I use. Except that contrarily to Mike, I don t use a MockView. I find
          Message 4 of 22 , Apr 25, 2007
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            > I have something of an example here, using the Atomic
            > Object's variant of
            > whatever-Martin-Fowler-calls-Model/View/Presenter-these-days:
            >
            > <http://www.testing.com/cgi-bin/blog/2007/01/05#wireframe2>
            > <http://www.testing.com/cgi-bin/blog/2007/01/11#wireframe3>
            > <http://www.testing.com/cgi-bin/blog/2007/01/18#wireframe4>
            >
            > This example assumes a non-HTML app, but I plan to repurpose
            > it to HTML to show that's tractable. (Haven't started that
            > yet.) The idea of MVP (note: different than MVC) is to make
            > the view very thin and put all the view smarts ("when text is
            > entered in this text box, make that button visible") into a
            > layer below it. The first link is to a movie that explains
            > the Atomic Object style, which uses the Observer pattern heavily.

            Thx Brian. I'll have a look.

            >
            > See also Mike Feather's "Humble Dialog Box":
            > <http://www.objectmentor.com/resources/articles/TheHumbleDialo
            > gBox.pdf>

            Right. When I test non-web GUIs, that's the approach I use. Except that contrarily to Mike, I don't use a MockView. I find it's just as easy to test using the actual graphical view. And doing it that way catches all sort of silly little bugs in the view. Things like a button not being properly wired to the model method it's supposed to invoke.

            I haven't figured out how to do this in a web context though, hence my post.


            ----
            Alain Désilets, MASc
            Agent de recherches/Research Officer
            Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
            NRC Institute for Information Technology

            alain.desilets@...
            Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
            Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

            Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
            Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
            National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
            K1A 0R6

            Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada
          • George Dinwiddie
            ... If you want to test just the javascript, put it in a .js file and test it with jsUnit. -- ... * George Dinwiddie *
            Message 5 of 22 , Apr 25, 2007
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              Desilets, Alain wrote:
              > I agree with you that testing which requires deployment sucks,
              > especially if it's manual deployment. I'm looking for tools and
              > techniques that will allow me to do automated testing (whether it be
              > unit or acceptance) of the GUI without requiring too much in the way
              > of deployment. It seems to me that testing the embedded javascript
              > should be possible without full deployment. For example, invoke the
              > script that generates the HTML containing that javascript, then load
              > that HTML into some kind of browser emulator that has a JavaScript
              > interpretor, etc... Dunno if that exists or not.

              If you want to test just the javascript, put it in a .js file and test
              it with jsUnit.

              --
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
              * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
              Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
              Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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