Thursday, May 27, 2010

TestGen4Web: A million downloads and counting

Today, my TestGen4Web moved past a million download mark on our developer website. It has come a long way since the original idea of just automating your actions on the browser.

To mark the occasion, Calvin got me ten '100 Grand' chocolate bars :)

A quick word about what the tool does: TestGen4Web is essentially a recorder of your actions on the firefox browser, and can play it back (you know, like your DVR). The extension also comes with a editor where you can create loops, add conditions, parameterize data and load datasets - essentially creating a functional-test. The test can also be run on the command line using a companion tool which I call htmlunit-interpreter and run them without a browser.

The first time I thought of this was at my first job, at which, reproducing a bug would take at least 10 clicks and 5 text box entries. I realized that it really was not an effective use of time (duh!).

Those were the glory days of Internet Explorer, and I wrote a vbscript to open the browser and control the elements in it. The first version was a set of library functions to "click the 3rd link", "enter text in 5th textbox" and so on. Writing such tests was still manual.

When Firefox came out, it brought with it the concept of wrting browser plugins. I realized that these were exactly the carrier I was looking for all along. Running with the same permissions as the browser was exciting, and a similar automation use case came up prompting me to write the first version of 'testgen4web' (short for Test Generator for Web applications).

Now at version 1.1.0 (download here) with more than a million downloads over all the versions, its come a long way. Thanks to SpikeSource for providing me the platform, and thanks to users for .. well, using it.

Here is Keisuke's schematic rendering of the project summary. Published on our developer site.

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