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Sunday, December 25, 2011

How to write bad UI automation code (a formal guide)

You might find umpteen resources on learning to write UI automation. But rarely you find any guide on writing bad automation code. Bad automation code is not actually "bad" especially when you consider following -
  • Bad automation code keeps you job safe. Well who can understand the code other than you.
  • Gives you an opportunity to ask for more raise as you are the only one who can maintain the code you write
  • Lets you keep your head up as you the geek of your company who knows that abstruse code
 Now coming to writing bad automation code, here are some silver bullets -
  • Record and Replay is the core or writing good (read bad) automation code. It has so many advantages which just out do many others. Biggest being you don't have to write any good code (read bad), tool does it for you. The way to convince decision owners in to enlightening is to let them know that record and replay does not require any special skills. Even your HR can do this. And you know once you have Record and Replay suite ready, only you the super automation engineer and no one else would be able to manage it. But if you don't succeeds in convincing (read fooling) management about Record and Replay, there are still many other ways. Keep reading.
  • Choose a language which is more and more dead. VB script being one of them (do I still need to name the tool you should pick?)
  • Checking multiple conditions in one test methods and never have that foolish mechanism of logging which might indicate others about what is going wrong. Have them run to you when there is a test failure and become the super star of testing 
  • Make sure you have application locators scattered all over your test scripts. You just can not imagine how much work it would generate for you (and keep your job safe) when application under goes slightest of change
  • Never never never write methods which could be used across code base, whether they are application dependent or independent. More code is good code because more code means more maintenance mean more work means more opportunity to save your a**
  • One special suggestion is for you to learn those terms (just mug up the namea and nothing more) like polymorphism, abstraction etc. You never have to use them in your test code but instead use them to scare any new joiner in you team.   
  • Never ever use text based locators. If there are 10 radio buttons on a page then you should always use them using their ids not the text bases locator. The biggest disadvantage of text based locator is that you might end up in writing three lines of code which could easily be extended to 50 lines. Say no to -

    public String getThatRadioButton(String buttonName) {
        return "//input[text()='" + buttonName + "']";

  • This trick is special and works like black magic. If you don't know how to automate then don't worry it is not tough to bring that green symbol in test report. There must be assertTrue(true) available in almost all modern languages. Now you just need to have your test methods fill with this magic statement. Remember all green always makes management happy and earns you accolades
 Follow these rules and be a rock star. I am sure there are more to this list, could you add any?

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