How I Lost My Head With Headless Testing

Ghost design in coffee
Ghost in coffee photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

When I started out on my crazy adventures in test automation, I stayed close to the browser. The first automation framework I worked in was WATIR and it was awesome. It is a clean and straightforward framework which is what drew me to it. I was introduced to my first headless automation tool by one of our UI Engineers. The tool set was CasperJS and PhantomJS. While they were great tools, I really wasn’t sure how to use them correctly, especially since I wasn’t watching my tests execute anymore. So I played with them for a while and that was it.

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Four Tips You Need to Know for Better Test Automation

Code on screen
Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

 

I had hit a wall, my test automation was taking over 5 hours to run and I wasn’t sure what I could do to bring that time down. I knew that there were environmental issues that were slowing down my tests. Around two hours in the number of page timeouts jumps up to nearly 50%. WebDriver has never worked well with test environments that were extremely under powered, but there was more to it than that. This was a sudden jump in time of execution and timeouts.

Eventually we found the problem, but after all the research, I wanted to loose my head.

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I Was Knocked Out This Is What I Did Next

Boxing gloves

I was knocked out! I was asked a question about API testing and I was mentally knocked out. While I have tested APIs before, I have been focused on front-end testing lately. The last time I did it in an automated fashion was as a proof of concept. At that moment, I realized I have been focusing on front-end test automation too much and I really needed to brush up on my back-end testing skills.

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Failed Tests Are Better With Screenshots

Code on screen

When your test automation is running fine, everything is great with the universe!

Then it happens. A test cases fails and your trace isn’t entirely clear as to where it failed.  Even when the trace is clear, you still have to walk through the test steps to capture a screenshot for the bug. Imagine being able to capture screenshots at the moment of failure.  

Imagine no longer!

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Why I Create Test Automation

When I started working in Quality Assurance, automation was not the driving force that it is today. It was becoming common, but Test Driven Development was the goal of software companies. Unit testing was king. QA tested applications manually and focused on the user interface and experience. It wasn’t until my boss told me to look at WATIR that I began thinking about automation.

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