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Just wanted to start to capture a few thoughts (or questions) about automated testing.

As always (usual?), I don't (often?) claim that any of the thoughts expressed on WikiLearn (or any of my thoughts) are original. (That applies in a couple of senses — if I didn't find the same thoughts elsewhere, I found things that inspired my thoughts; and, if Einstein hadn't lived we would still have the theories of relativity and the atomic bomb, about the same time in history that we actually got them.) — and there was a second note I wanted to add here — darn.




I've thought a few times about automated testing, specifically related to things I'm interested in, like AbiWord and TWiki.

One technique of automated testing, that works to cover a certain level of test coverage would be to compare (for example) the (X)HTML (from TWiki) or XML (from AbiWord) before and after a change. I.e., specify the output from TWiki as a certain page of (X)HTML. Then, if you make a change to TWiki, you rerun that test, and compare (using, e.g., diff) the (X)HTML generated after the change to the "reference" HTML. The test is passed if there are no differences. (Most of that test could be at least semi-automatic.)

But (especially) for AbiWord, some aspect of the success of AbiWord is exactly how that XML appears on a screen. How could you automate that? Collecting some thoughts:

  • One way could be to capture screen shots and compare them visually
  • Another way could be to capture screen shots and use an automated diff on the binary file. This sounds possible, but you'd need to create and maintain a test "bed" that carefully controlled other changes. For example, you'd probably need to keep screen resolution and color depth the same, and lots of other things like (I don't really know) but, widget styles, dialog layouts, etc., etc., etc.) It's probably not impossible, but nor does it sound easy.


  • () RandyKramer - 09 Jun 2003
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Topic revision: r1 - 2003-06-09 - RandyKramer
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