Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Watin Installed

I've spent the last few days getting our testers up to speed on Watin. Watin is an Automated Web Acceptance Test Tool We are using Watin CTP v2.0. So far I have learned a few things about Watin that I didn't know when I wrote my original Watin Review. If you are completely unfamiliar with Watin I recommend you read my review first.

Our descision to go with Watin was based on 4 factors. (1) Watin handles AJAX applications very well, (2) Watin doesn't inject Javascript into your code, (3) Watin supports Firefox (Not 3.0 as of this writing) and (4) it's open source (we can mod the code).

Watin Smarts

Watin has a good set of algorithms for handling the WaitForLoad stuff. WaitForLoadTimeout is the amount of time the underlying framework should wait for a page to load even though you have asked the framework to find an element.

Example:

browser.goto("http://www.google.com");
browser.Button(Find.ByValue("submit")).Click();


In the example above the thread will reach the 2nd line before the page finishes loading. Watin is smart enough to wait for the page to load before clicking the button. This behavior is controled by the WaitForLoadTimeout property.

Nice Syntax
The Syntax for finding elements on a page is pretty nice. Here is an example:
 browser.Button(Find.ByValue("submit").And(Find.ByClass("pretty-btn")).Click();
The "Find" constraint has both an "AND" and an "OR" method. Both take a single Find as an argument. Testers will prefer this syntax to the more arcane XPath style syntax but I would have preferred something like this:
browser.Button.Find.ByValue("submit").And.ByClass("pretty-button").Click();
Either way the Find constraint offers many ByXXX methods for do all sorts of neat tricks and if need be you can drop to regular expressions (well coded sites shouldn't require that). I also appreciate the HTML mappings syntax.

Firefox Support
You'll notice that the firefox support depends on a firefox plugin called jssh. JSSH opens up a telnet server that allows Watin (or any other framework) to issue automation commands that it then forwards to Firefox. Watin 2.0 comes with a version of JSSH in it's Mozilla folder. This version only works on Firefox 2.x. We have tried several "fixed" version and we have tried turning off compatibility and security checks in Firefox 3.x. All attempts to run JSSH failed. In Firefox 2.x we experienced great success. So, I have no doubt that support will come soon.

Either way if you plan to support multiple browsers then you should use the BrowserFactory class. It has a create method that returns an IBrowser instance based on a BrowserType enum. In this way you can use the same tests for both Firefox and IE.

Final Thoughts
One of the most attractive things to me, about Watin, is the fact that the tests live in source code along with all our other tests. They run using Nunit and the same tool set we use for Unit Testing.

I also like that Watin does not want to inject javascript into our code. So far our testers seem excited and I hope we can keep up the momentum.

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