Introducing verifications

New and Noteworthy, Q7, 6.09.2013 by Ivan Inozemtsev View Comments

In my opinion, a good functional test can be represented like this:

just-test

Therefore, a test case takes an system under test in some well-defined state, performs some actions, which transfer a system into another state, and then verifies that the final state is correct.

Thus, in a test case we need to specify the following:

  • Initial state
  • Actions to perform
  • Expected final state

Since the very beginning Q7 had support for declarative description of an initial application state via contexts, and imperative scripting language describing user actions, but there were no efficient way to verify a final state of an application – assertion statements in scipt look very bulky and not very readable, they cannot be reused and it might take way too long to add assertions for all aspects we want to check.

In Q7 1.3.6 we are filling this missing gap and introducing verifications – declarative reusable descriptions of various aspects of an application state, and finally Q7 test case description perfectly fits a picture from a beginning of this post:

q7-test

During setup of inital state, it does not make sense to describe it completely – we need to describe and ensure only parts of a state which are relevant to our actions. For instance, if we are testing About dialog, we do not care about projects in workspace or open views, and if we are testing Package Explorer view, we don’t care about Java compiler settings.

Same with a final state – it makes sense to check only those aspects of an application state, which supposed to be affected by performed actions (or those aspects which should not be affected, but in theory might be affected because of bugs).

Though both contexts and verifications are about a state, there is a couple of important differences between them:

  • When context fails (i.e. we could not bring an application workspace into expected state), execution is immediately interrupted. However if a verification fails, it makes sense to run other verifications too. Of course a test case is considered failing even if one verification fails, but running all of them allows to collect more information about what is broken and what is working.
  • Context always specify an ‘absolute’ state, but during verification, for some aspects it matters to operate on a state delta – the difference between initial and final states.

Currently released version contains two kinds of verifications:

  • Text verification. Verifies that given widget contains expected text with (optionally) expected styles. Thus, it is extremely easy to verify that source code is highlighted correctly, or verify that newly created Java class has correct contents.
  • Execution time verification. Makes sure that a test case executes no longer than specified amount of time. This verification can be considered as a constraint on a state change of a system clock.

This blog post is intended to give an overview about verifications as a concept, a separate blog post about creation and usage of verifications in Q7 will be published later.

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