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How to make GUI tests repeatable

Posted: 11 Feb 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GUI testing  repeatable GUI test  test management 

My approach to testing a GUI has always been to find the most appropriate access point to manually inject test cases. This article discusses the challenges of trying to make GUI tests repeatable, and we'll look at a homegrown framework that allows test input to be managed.

To test a GUI, we need a framework that gives us the ability to inject test cases easily and to observe the output. Ideally, in a test system, the output can be stored, and then a subsequent test run can be compared with a previous run to provide regression testing. By regression testing, we mean that we have proven that the new version under test has not broken anything that used to work for the previous version.

If we consider a non-GUI issue like message processing, you might introduce a test set of messages and then the application's message store, or inbox, will contain those messages. If the inbox from one run is compared with the next, there are two possible outcomes. The inboxes may be identical—this means that the new functionality has not broken previous features. In some cases, you might have expected changes to result from new functionality in the system under test—in other words, the output should have changed but didn't, telling us that the new features are not working.

The second possibility is that the outputs are different. If the inbox messages can be expressed in text format, some text difference tool can show those inconsistencies and the engineer can examine them to decide if the changes match the new functionality.

View the PDF document for more information.

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