Friday, June 19, 2009

Filling in the Hole in the UI Automation Tool Set

I've never been much of a UI test automation person as I've generally lived on the server-side of things. But, the past couple of years, I've found great set of open-source UI testing tools. In the past few days, I've found a tool that fills in what had been a gap in test tool coverage - automating Eclipse plugins.

The set of tools consists of:

For GNOME Applications - Dogtail

Dogtail developed by Zack Cerza and is written in Python (as are the tests that you write with it) and can be used to automate GNOME-based applications. The design of Dogtail is very interesting as uses accessibility technologies to communicate with desktop applications. It uses accessibility-related metadata to create an in-memory model of the application's GUI elements.

Dogtail can be found here:

(There's also an entry in Wikipedia here: that has links to the user documentation that I wrote for Dogtail. This was published as a series of articles in Red Hat Magazine

For Web Applications - Selenium

With Selenium, you can record or write test scripts that manipulate the web application to be tested through the browser. The tests can be written in HTML or Java or Python or other languages. There's also a record/playback mechanism.

Selenium can be found here:

For Eclipse plugins - SWTBot

I recently was able to fill in a long-empty hole in this set of tests when a co-worker of mine pointed me at a new tool named SWTBot. SWTBot is developed by Ketan Padegaonkar and automates Eclipse plugin testing.

SWTBot can be found here:

SWTBot makes it very easy to build Java tests for Eclipse plugins. Here's a test code fragment that creates a new project:
SWTWorkbenchBot bot = new SWTWorkbenchBot();"File").menu("New").menu("Project...").click();
bot.tree().select("Java Project");
bot.button("Next >").click();
bot.textWithLabel("Project name:").setText("testProject");
SWTBot is very new; it's in the incubation phase of its development as an Eclipse project. The only problem that I've had with SWTBot so far is that it took me a little while to locate a set of example programs. I did find a good set here:

So - to sum things up, with these tools, there's test coverage for desktop, web, and Eclipse-based apps. And that makes for a great tool-set!


Jonathan said...

Len, you write that Selenium allows you to "record" scripts. Do you have any more details on this?

My experience with first-generation script recording is that it was very hard to maintain the scripts ... different widgets, different font sizes, different monitors threw them off.

Prem said...

good article, i really like it. I am doing a bit on research about Test Automation and i found also macrotesting to be very good source.

Thanks for your article


Len DiMaggio said...

Hey Jonathan - you can record the scripts into HTML - then export them to Python Javs, Ruby. Very cool feature!

Len DiMaggio said...

Thanks Perm - that site does look good!