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Microsoft announces MSDN Tester Center

| by James Vastbinder Follow 0 Followers on Oct 22, 2007. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |
Today, James Whittaker of Microsoft announced the opening of the Tester Center on its MSDN site.  The intent of the site is to promote the test discipline as a primary role in the software development lifecycle. 

James Whittaker best describes the intent of the site:

At the Tester Center, our goal is to provide a community where software testers can share knowledge and learn from each other about testing, our day-to-day job functions, processes, the tools we use, and the various roles we play.

Focus on the test discipline within the Microsoft developer community has often been an overlooked aspect of the software development lifecycle.  This is exemplified by the lack of test tooling within the Visual Studio development environment itself until recent versions of Visual Studio Team System.  However, the Visual Studio Team System SKU of Visual Studio was often too expensive for many organizations leaving many developers to fend for themselves.

Microsoft answered this complaint by adding the majority of VSTS unit testing features into the Visual Studio Professional version of Visual Studio 2008.  Program Manager Naysawn Naderi made this announcement back in March 2007:

We are in general very open to the concept of trickling down other functionality introduced in Team System into other SKUs over time, so please let us know if you feel that other items should trickle down as well.

Many feel Microsft has not gone far enough.  A common response is similar to the following posted by a developer identifying himself only as dono:

It's nice that Pro will finally have unit testing. However, it really belongs in all versions, most importantly Express.... while I applaud your decision to include them in Pro, I really do not think it is enough. Note that your competition, such as Eclipse, includes integrated JUnit support in all versions (free).

What do you think of Microsoft's announcement and renewed focus on the software testing role in the Software Development Lifecycle?

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Functional testing through Windows UI Automation? by Frank Cohen

I'm glad to know there is a place for me in the MSDN site it is about time.

Perhaps InfoQ readers can help me. I have been looking into functional test development tools for Windows desktop GUI testing. There are 101+ click-and-keyboard recording utilities out there but they all suffer from not being able to handle any change in the environment. We saw one large hotel/casino in Las Vegas pour $150,000 into script development only to have to throw away the scripts when they applied a patch to one of their applications. Our preference is to have an object-oriented framework to write test scripts that drive an application programatically.

So far I found two promising technologies for Windows desktop applications. pywinauto is a Python (not Jython) based framework for programatically driving a Windows application. It has a very nice object-oriented approach. For example, consider the following code.

from pywinauto import application
app = application.Application.start("notepad.exe")
app.notepad.TypeKeys("%FX")

app.Notepad.MenuSelect("File->SaveAs")
app.SaveAs.ComboBox5.Select("UTF-8")
app.SaveAs.edit1.SetText("Example-utf8.txt")
app.SaveAs.Save.Click()

The downside to pywinauto is it does not currently support some of the custom controls in Microsoft office.

Another promising approach is to combine IronPython and Microsoft UI Automation. UI Automation is Microsoft's latest attempt to provide a single API to programatically access desktop applications.

The downside to both of these approaches is the lack of an available GUI-based recorder. That may be something I will need to write.

Does anyone know of an object oriented approach with a recorder?

-Frank

Re: Functional testing through Windows UI Automation? by Ling David

UI testing Automation as OO, I think there is a long way to go.

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