Talking testing, agility and automation... and anything else.

May 18

Unit tests vs. Integration tests

I’ve had to explain all of the points MPJ makes in this video, many, many times. Now I can just send a link to this video. And while I tend to call out e2e tests as their own thing, deep down they’re really integration tests.

Jan 18 Review

If you’ve seen my github account, you’d likely note that I like trying all the automation tools, and see the value in most. And why would you not try ’em all? Case-in-point: today I played around with an interesting–SPOILER: if not tragically flawed–automation tool called Cypress.

Yeah, I don’t mean to be a downer; I say this hoping to save others the time I spent today… if you need to switch/handle multiple tabs/windows/iframes in a browser for your tests, Cypress will NEVER allow you to do this. They state as much on their website, in the Trade-Offs section. Given its massive ramifications, perhaps it should be stated more upfront?

Cypress is an interesting bit of tech; especially since it doesn’t require Selenium/Webdriver; has built-in implicit waits, and other goodies. The long and the short of it is, I don’t see how this tool could ever take the place of any webdriver-based tool, given its current limitations, but if those don’t bother you, take a look!

Mar 17

Accidental Load Testing

In my example test automation code, I generally setup the tests to run against my own server. I feel that it would be downright rude to have random folks running these tests against my digital neighbors. I’m happy to have them run against my server… I mean, it’s kind of the point of the thing.

The downside is when folks start tinkering with the code… and maybe change a locator within a loop to see what happens. Like my friend in India @ likely did this morning (well… my morning, anyway), and started PEGGING MY SERVER :)

It’s fine… I do appreciate the accidental load testing

Dec 16

Re-Run Flakey Tests with Protractor-Flake

If you’ve worked with E2E tests for any amount of time, you will have experienced tests that, for whatever reason, randomly fail; aka flakey tests. Such failures can be caused by any number of things: a network glitch, browser barf, app hiccup, act of God, etc….

Test flake can seriously undermine the trust in automation, and drive your automation engineer to drink (or perhaps just drink more). A wise test engineer will embrace that flake happens, and account for it in their automation strategy.

One popular strategy is to re-run failed tests. This way, if a test fails, it gets re-run ‘n‘ number of times, and if it passes, life is good. Enter Protractor-Flake.

Protractor-Flake parses your Protractor test output, looking for failures, and re-runs any failing tests (note: at the spec file level) at the end of your test run. It works really well and is simple to setup. Here’s how…

First install it as a dependency:

Then you can run it directly by using it in place of Protractor (note: the ‘–‘ denotes the end of args passed to protractor-flake, and the beginning of args passed to Protractor):

Or you can use it programmatically. I like to create a simple node script, which allows me to add logging and reporting (future blog post). Here’s an example:

Saving the above script as a file, 'flake', you could then run your tests thusly:

Now obviously, you should be killing off flakey tests to the best of your ability, but Protractor-Flake can save you from non-test-related flakiness, and keep your tests green! You can see a working example in my protractor-example repo on GitHub.

Dec 16

Chrome Hangs During Protractor Test Runs On Ubuntu

light-bulb-idea-icon-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-h1fryo-clipartQuick Tip: I run Protractor tests, headlessly via XVFB, on a Ubuntu server (blog post on this to come), and was seeing Chrome annoyingly hang during test runs. I was constantly having to manually kill the chrome processes, and also an associated BrowserBlocking process. After a bunch of debugging, and searching, I finally found the solution. This simple env var fixes it:

Just add that to your .profile file, and you should be good to go.