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Test automation has been a grey area for quite some time. I did not think it was fun nor saw the real benefits. Today I have to revalue those thoughts. For about a year now I have been working with the test automation framework Fitnesse. This is my evaluation:

What is Fitnesse?

Fitnesse is, as mentioned earlier, a test automation framework. It consists of two parts: wiki pages and fixture code. As far as I know the fixture code is in Java only. We have only used a small part of the framework. Fitnesse is far more complex and versatile.

As my speciality lies in test and not programming, I had to get a lot of help from the developers so write the fixture code. Working close to the developers like this had both its benefits and drawbacks. At the same time as the developers got a good insight to my tests and way of thinking, it took a lot of time to produce the fixture code as the tasks were not always of the highest priority for them. If you want to get the most out of Fitnesse, the tester should be able to write decent Java code on their own.

The wiki pages were easy to write and manage. Well, except for the symbolic links. Though when I got them in place they worked well and were most useful. We used symbolic links to create test sets.

We used the framework to automate most of our test cases. We only left out the usability, performance and gui test cases as those were used by testers who did not have access to Fitnesse.

I believe that Fitness could be used to document a most test cases. Not only those that are automated. Let’s say that you write 10 test cases in Fitnesse. One test case per wiki page. 7 of them are suitable to automate, so you do that. To let the framework know that it is a wiki page containing an automated test case, you change its property to “Test”. Now when you run your automated tests, the framework will ignore all pages that have not had the property changed to “Test” and only run those that have. By this we have achieved that you can keep all automated and none automated test cases in the same place giving you a great overview of the coverage.

I only thought of this late in the project and really would have liked to try it out more. However all unfinished automated test cases have had the “Normal” property for quite some time so it should work just fine.

What is the key benefit I’m reaching for? Well, I believe that many projects mix automation with the more common “manual” testing (and they should) struggle with having multiple tools. You have some test cases in an automation tool and some in QC (or other similar tool). That does not give you any clear overview, does it? That is why I became so curious to whether Fitness could solve this or not.

Yes, I do see drawbacks too. It is not suitable in any way to store test results from “manual” testing I Fitnesse. So you still need a tool for that. Also I cannot promise that moving from one “manual” test case to another will be all that smooth.

Bottom line is that I liked Fitnesse as test automation framework and really would like to learn more about its possibilities. And perhaps explore a further usage to support other test approaches.

Read more and download Fitnesse at

EuroSTAR 2010 – Passionate and cozy

For several months we had been looking forward to visiting EuroSTAR and finally the day had come. This year the conference had a perfect theme “Sharing the passion”. That is what ALL conferences should be about. Colleagues meeting to share and inspire.

Last year I did the rookie mistake and attended as many presentations as I possibly could and my brain felt as a battered piñata. This year we chose a more relaxed approach. We spent most of the time hanging around the expo talking to other conference visitors. Test people have a tendency to be most pleasant and eager to discuss any subject. Doing this it was easy to see the passion shining in the eyes of everyone.

There were also something very soft and cozy about the conference. Several presentations felt easy and relaxed and most speakers managed to use humor to give testing examples.

All this passion and coziness aside, the presentations were educational and a good source for inspiration.

While browsing the program I got my eyes on a tutorial about passion for test and stress. As I currently experience a lot of stress at work I felt this could be interesting. But as I continued to read about the other tutorials, they all sounded exiting so perhaps I did not have the time to… oh, that is exactly why I should attend it. And so I did and I was both very pleased and a bit disappointed. The relaxation exercises were not as easy as you would think. It was hard to think about nothing but your breathing. The disappointing part was that the connection to testing was rather weak.

Though I might be biased, I must say that I was impressed by Linda Hoff’s presentation “Help! I’m stuck in a scrum project”. What made this presentation stand out was the level of conclusions. I have attended several scrum presentations that have addressed scrum on a high and abstract level. This time it addressed practical problems that many could relate to. So I was not surprised when people came up to us (her) and wanted to discuss the subject further for the rest of the conference.

So my conclusion is that there are a lot of passion driving the test industry forward and the will to share and gain knowledge is everywhere.

Oh, and testers rock!

SAST 15 year anniversary

On the 14-15th of October we had the pleasure to visit SAST 15 year anniversary in Stockholm, Sweden. It was two days of fun and interesting presentations. As always it is difficult to decide what presentations to attend as they all sound highly interesting. Out of those we managed to visit we picked up at least some new point of interest from almost all presentations.

From Ann Flismark and Michael Albrecht’s presentation I became really inspired by the idea of an in-session-lamp. Most days I feel that I get interrupted in my work and wish I had more continuous test-time. Using an in-session-lamp might not save me from interruptions but might reduce them.

Pablo Garcia’s presentation was much amusing. Anything can be proved using statistics. It was really entertaining how he twisted the numbers back and forth. Perhaps project management should hear it too, though they might not appreciate it.

Henrik Anderssons presentation was perhaps nothing new but it is always good hear it once in a while. Though I cannot help feeling that is was a bit “God bless America”. I have visited some presentations by non Swedish speakers who claim that Sweden has come a far way within testing. Then there ought to be at least some local alternative to American conferences, courses and speakers that are good enough. No?

During Torbjör Rybers entertaining presentation I found the side containing the test report most interesting. Later I have received a copy from Torbjörn and are currently using it as a test report at the end of each Scrum sprint. It has been received well among the developers. Thank you Torbjörn!

Jagannath Tammeleht’s presentation on Kanban was something I had looked forward to. Kanban seems to be a highly interesting approach. I hope I will get the opportunity to try it for real some day. This presentation was on a perfect level.

But the conference was not all presentations. We much enjoyed the people, expo and evening party. Testers know how to party!

And of course we enjoyed doing our own “presentation” The Supertester. Thanks everyone for the wonderful feedback!

Last but not least, a huge admiration for the hard working SAST-people pulling this of. Great work!