Thursday, July 27, 2006

Scripting Web Tests at Agile2006: great fun was had.

About 40 or so smart, engaged people attended the Scripting Web Tests (with Watir and Ruby) class. It was very interesting, this is the first time I've taught the class to students of whom the majority have a programming background. Luckily, very few had Ruby experience, so the class was still able to emphasize the exploring and experimenting that is such an important part of the presentation .

And since this was the Agile conference, the majority of the attendees were experienced pair programmers, and were eager to collaborate and share laptops and code around their tables. By the middle of exercise 2, the noise level was amazing, and the students were crazy productive. Usually we take five or six hours for this material, but this class blasted through just about everything in less than 3 hours. So many people had jumped ahead on the material that after completing exercise 3, I simply encouraged folks to try anything they wanted to try out of exercises 4, 5, and 6.

And in what seemed to be a coordinated attack of guerilla kindness, Elisabeth Hendrickson and Michael Bolton both showed up within minutes of each other and jumped in, troubleshooting, pair programming, contributing tricks and hacks. Thanks Elisabeth and Michael, you put the whole experience over the top.

Finally, I am still encouraging other people to teach this class. It is unlikely that I will teach it myself again anytime soon, so if you'd like to discuss teaching the Scripting Web Tests class yourself at a conference or user group or anything, leave a comment or drop me a line.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another fine SOAP test tool

In a fit of coincidence and serendipity, I had a user report that the input string
è or à  
caused his Perl SOAP client to send crazy stuff to the server. My Ruby client also freaked out on this string, although not as badly:

XSD::ValueSpaceError: {http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema}string: cannot accept 'è or à'.

but a project called "soapUI" announced a 1.6beta1 release today. I installed it, and it is not only a joy to use, but it handled the unicode input flawlessly. It's a Java app, and considering what an utter chore it is to get Java doing SOAP properly, the 1-click install was fantastic.

I'm not ready to turn in Ruby for my regression tests, but having an excellent Java SOAP client at hand is a great relief as these SOAP functions (and their users) become more sophisticated.

An interesting aspect of the soapUI project is that it seems to do load testing out of the box. I've cobbled together some nice load-profiling scripts in Ruby, but these functions in soapUI definitely bear investigation.