Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Autopilot best practices

I've now had the pleasure of writing autopilot tests for about 9 months, and along the way I've learned or been taught some of the things that are important to remember.

Use Eventually
The eventually matcher provided by autopilot is your best friend. Use it liberally to ensure your code doesn't fail because of a millisecond difference during your runtime. Eventually will retry your assert until it's true or it times out. When combined with examining an object or selecting one, eventually will ensure your test failure is a true failure and not a timing issue. Also remember you can use lambda if you need to make your assert function worthy.

Assert more!
Every test can use more asserts -- even my own! Timing issues can rear there ugly head again when you fail to assert after performing an action.
  • Everytime you grab an object, assert you received the object
    • You can do this by asserting the object NotEquals(None); remember to use eventually Eventually(NotEquals(None))!
  • Everytime you interact with the screen, try an assert to confirm your action
    • Click a button, assert
    • Click a field to type, assert you have focus first
      • You can do this by using the .focus property and asserting it to be True
      • Finished typing?, assert your text matches what you typed
        • You can do this by using the .text property and asserting it to be Equal to your input
Don't use strings, use objectNames
We all get lazy and just issue selects with English label names. This will break when run in a non-English language. They will also break when we decide to update the string to something more verbose or just different. Don't do it! That includes things like tab names, button names and label names -- all common rulebreakers.

Use object properties
They will help you add more asserts about what's happening. For instance, you can use the .animating property or .moving property (if they exist) to wait out animations before you continue your actions! I already mentioned the .focus property above, and you might find things like .selected, .state, .width, .height, .text, etc to be useful to you while writing your test. Check out your objects and see what might be helpful to you.

Interact with objects, not coordinates
Whenever possible, you should ensure your application interactions specify an object, not coordinates. If the UI changes, the screen size changes, etc, your test will fail if your using coordinates. If your interaction is emulating say something like a swipe, drag, pinch, etc action, ensure you utilize relative coordinates based upon the current screen size.

Use the ubuntusdk emulator if you are writing a ubuntusdk application
It will save you time, and ensure your testcase gets updated if any bugs or changes happen to the sdk; all without you having to touch your code. Check it out!

Read the documentation best practices
Yes, I know documentation is boring. But at least skim over this page on writing good tests. There is a lot of useful tidbits lurking in there. The gist is that your tests should be self-contained, repeatable and test one thing or one idea.

Looking over this list many of the best practices I listed involve avoiding bugs related to timing. You know the drill; run your testcase and it passes. Run it again, or run it in a virtual machine, a slower device, etc, and it fails. It's likely you have already experienced this.

Why does this happen? Well, it's because your test is clicking and interacting without verifying the changes occurring in the application. Many times it doesn't matter, and the built in delay between your actions will be enough to cover you. However that is not always the case.

So, adopt these practices and you will find your testcases are more reliable, easier to read and run without a hitch day in and day out. That's the sign of a good automated testcase.

Got more suggestions? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Regarding coordinates, if something is triggered that would change the layout, remember to refresh those relative coordinates if you still intend to interact with them.