Day 4: What kind of testing can automation support you with?
Unit testing comes to my mind as the first one.It helps me as a tester in a way that I let developers do the deeds and learn to trust they do things right. Even reviewing the unit test code is actually a neat learning experience, once you get to understand the unit test logic.
Functional testing during or right after the build, can also be done by same unit testing approaches, which is also a neat way to verify the functionality. The benefits on that one is that the code is readable by the developer who wrote it and (in case it’s not made with Perl) even with other members of the team or company. To have the tests usable and readable in the same IDE developers use, leads also to easier debugging. What usually lacks is decent reporting, but then again, all we need to know that it fails when it should and passes when everything really is OK.
Mocking the test environment and harnessing the SUT. They walk hand in hand. There’s plenty of nice mocking tools, wiremock for example. One might also re-invent the wheel here. I mean the mock can be just a file you fetch from another system or write yourself. Does not sound too much automating, though 😀
Load testing is also one of the standard ones to be used with automation. Given the powers of the servers, new container technologies and distributed load testing services, you can build your own solution or use a ready made service, like blazemeter or octoperf.
Repetitive functionality tests, regression tests and release tests in any step of the development process are good to automate, given that you are going to use the automation more than few times.
Then the whole world of Continuous Delivery and Continuous Integration. It will not happen properly if you do not have the right tests put in right places. Well it might be OK to let the users test the product, but that would mean that you should have an automated monitoring system that gathers the data you will need. That’s also one way of automation that will help.
And of course all of the test data generating tools, self-made or otherwise, bash- or python -scripts for setting up the environments together with containers and their managing tools (docker, docker-compose and kubernetes to start with).
I most likely am missing something here, still. I mean where do you draw the line when it comes to automation in testing? Is it only the testing tools (like jMeter, Robot Framework etc.) or the tools that let you yourself automate mundane tasks to ease your testing process.
We are currently working on CI/CD -setup at work. As part of that, the tests need to be able to be implemented as a part of the pipeline.
Generally, the pipeline consists of steps/stages done with jenkins pipeline. The benefit on this is that the whole process and definition of the stages (Deploy, test etc) will be done by the developer team and stored in the teams own repository and is therefore controlled by the team also. Which is definitely a great step towards for the teams having more freedom and more responsibility when it comes to deliver the applications/solutions to the production. Needless to say it will also affect to the visibility of the quality and to the need of tests.
Plus that it will definitely keep the test team on their toes. Keeping ahead becomes a really neat challenge 😀
Now that does add more requirements also on the testing tools. First of all, the tools we use should be able to be used from containers. Which means that everything is dockerized. Well, the test code itself is in the repository, but the engines running the tests are in the containers.
We use, whenever we can, a general docker images from dockerhub.
Sometimes it won’t work like that. So we end up re-inventing the wheel.
That was the case with logstash. We will need to be able to filter the Robot Framework’s output.xml and send it to elasticsearch. There was two possibilities to do that; logstash filtering or xml parsing. The xml-parsing remains to be done still (I am going to do it), but I did manage to create the logstash -filter. It is not completely flawless, not even the most elegant, but at the moment it seems to be working as it should. To be honest, I was aiming to have a one more blunt instrument for our test needs.
We have been doing the themed months a bit differently. First of all, we accept the fact that there is weekends and people do not have to live, breathe and urinate testing. Even though it does help from time to time. So, our approach has been mainly to do 30 days of testing during the weekdays. Which means that instead of 4 weeks, we’ll accomplish it in approximately 6 weeks.
Anyhow, one of the things beside the security testing challenge has been us having a course on Ethical Hacking. The course is available in Udemy and it is reasonably priced, so I recommend that, at least if you’re not familiar with penetration testing and hacking techniques in general.
So, we go through tools and techniques and use Kali Linux for that. Which seems to be powerful to use. As I am running Fedora 26 on my workstation, I am running the penetration test stuff on Fedora Boxes (more stable than VirtualBox), but I noticed that it would actually be nice to have the tools on my actual workstation, too.
So I went and googled a bit and as I knew, someone had already solved my issue. As I am using Finnish language on the laptop, my installation command was like this:
# sudo dnf groupinstall Turvallisuuslaboratorio
For most of the people who do not have the capability to understand Finnish, it would make sense to use something more, how to put it, understandable language, like English.
So, in that case I suppose the command should work like this:
# sudo dnf groupinstall security-lab
By the way, while writing this, I did write the Kali Linux on a USB disk. It actually feels better to have it there than fooling around with virtual machines (in this case). Even though I’ll have to reboot the computer if I want to run it.
When after logging in to a service you get to see this:
It is not working. Well, or it is, but not as it should. Besides, the error message is not the most user friendly, either. Besides, for a hacker this type of error message reveals easily the system the service is built on, which is always a security risk.
After pressing refresh, though, the page is loaded.
BTW, WordPress has a bug in their category handling -field. In case you write a comma to the field (id=”newcategory”), the word before the comma is not listed at all after pressing enter. Like this:
Write “Errors, fails and bugs” to the id=”newcategory” -field
You get to see the string Errors, fails and bugs” in category list
“fails and bugs” is listed. Word “Errors” is not listed anywhere
Now, the reason for this might be that the field on the same page (id=”new-tag-post_tag” ) handles the commas to store separate tags, and that works as specified. Perhaps the category -field handling just uses the same functionality. And looks like to me that it is a copy-paste accident. Perhaps not tested, or then again maybe tested, but results are neglected due to well known reasons: it’s not important, user won’t do that etc.Well, this user did 😉
As you can see, it is sometimes crucial to select a right tool. Even to stick to it, regardless on how awkward and painful it might feel. I just had to open with this scene, it is anyhow from one of my all time favorite movies. The book it is based on, is definitely one of my top 5:s.
We’ve all been there. It’s late night, we’re out in the park, having fun and all we have left is bottle of wine. And of course the corkscrew is nowhere to be found. So you start using your imagination. You might have a normal screw and a screwdriver, maybe a pair of tongs, too, you might be carrying a multi-tool, for what I know. Or not. The cork stays in the bottle.
You go through your pockets again, ask your friends, someone says that all he’g got is a pen, other one offers you a rock.
You see where I’m going here? A pen is mightier than a rock? Well, at least now it is.
Now you could open the bottle by smashing the head to a rock. Or smashing the rock to the head of the bottle. That might work, too. In the other hand, there’s always risks of getting bottle broken so, that the glass gets inside the bottle. Besides, that will create a mess in the grass and I a devoted dog owner and animal lover hate when people break bottles or other glass and leave the stuff there. Besides, people can get hurt too, for real.
So that leaves you the pen, right. You could write a letter – I know, it’s old school, but it’s nice sometimes, for real – to someone with a corkscrew to drop by. What’s there to loose? You got the whole weekend ahead of you (Did I mention it is a Friday night?) Or you could rob a corkscrew store with it, not the world’s best idea, though, giving it to be late night and the stores are all closed.
You could also take the pen and push the cork inside the bottle. That actually does work. You might get to spill some, but then again, at least there isn’t going to be shattered glass anywhere for the paws of the two to four legged friends. Notice I left a place for three legged dogs or cats, even squirrels.
So, you take the pen and grab the bottle. Your hands are getting a bit sweaty so you what your sleeve around the bottle. It keeps it in its place. Not completely, but firm enough. You take a breath.
You push the pen against the cork and push. Nothing happens, except the veins in your temples seems to be exploding, your face turns to red and the pen hurts your palm. A lot. You let go for awhile, and try again. No change to the situation. Cork is till on and you seem to be screwed.
A friend of yours, the one that has taken one more than you, mumbles something and offers you the stone from his hand. You look at him and smile and are about to shake your head, but change your mind and take the stone.
It is smooth on the other side, the side agains your palms has some edges and it feels, if not cold, then at least cool. You take the stone, push the bottle against the ground and hold it between your feet and hold the pen on your other hand against the cork. Then you slowly but firmly hammer the pen inside the bottle with the stone and finally, you’re done. Everything’s fine again, you drink the wine, get in to the night and wake up next morning with a hangover and some blurry memories. You might even end up having fun, who knows.
What I mean here is that you should choose your tools, for real. First of all you need to know that you have a need for a tool, then you need to check what requirements you have for it, then you need to find it. Thanks to the interwebs, it is fairly easy nowadays. After finding the tools, take several, and use them for awhile in the situation needed. So to say, evaluate them.
If you run into problems with the tool (you should, for real, even a sledgehammer needs some maintenance), try to find out if anybody has had the same issues. Most likely you’re not alone.
Check the maintenance costs. If you use more time maintaining the tool than the flaky tests, you probably have the wrong tool. Regardless on how good it looks, sounds or feels.
And once and for all; don’t get stuck with the first evaluation, don’t get stuck with your evaluation choice, either. In case the tool loses its focus and usability, make sure you can move away from it.
I myself are at the moment in that kind of situation: using a multitool with a gentle learning curve, but the maintenance and the license is starting to feel bad. It was a tool I was familiar with, a tool I’ve used for years in the previous companies, and it used to be an open source tool. They ended the open source path last year (if I remember correctly) and otherwise turned the usability a bit more worse, too.
So I’m considering moving the tests to another multitool, an open source based tool with steeper learning curve, but a considerably larger user group. Actually, I’ve done my consideration, all I need to do now is to transfer and modify the current tests from the first tool to the second one.
Well, of course everything always goes as planned. Or then again, of course not. And when they don’t go the way you thought, planned or wanted, you might get a temptation to just let it go. But letting go would let you only quit, not finish. Determination or stubbornness – call it what you will – you need it. Especially when handling things that are voluntary and not always easy to squeeze in to your day.
That being said, I’ve been struggling. Anyhow, here’s a small report on things I’ve managed to accomplish so far.
Day 7: Find an accessibility bug.
I suppose it was this one that broke my flow. First of all, I came in a day late, dollar short. Second thing was that I’ve never done any accessibility testing. That, me being in the case, leads some issues.
I have always been ‘try first, stumble and read the manual to get to know what did I do wrong’ -type of guy. This time was no exception. I ended up reading few short sentences on the W3 accessibility testing wiki and rushed my way to turn on accessibility features on my notebook. After fooling around for awhile I got nowhere, if not to the land of frustration. The laptop is old and slow and it had difficulties to read the web pages in Finnish so that I would actually understand. That was due to the lack of memory (most likely) and bad/lacking support of the chipset. I’m running CloudReady/Chromebook OS on Asus EeePC with Intel Atom chipset. It fails to work on most of the OS I’ve tried.
So I gave up.
You see, testing is my profession and therefore it actually is my passion. But not on my spare time. I have divided my days between work and non-work, and it suits me fine. It just don’t help doing test related tasks (regardless how fun they are :D) on my spare time. It’s not that I wouldn’t like, but as I have my priorities at work, I also have them when I’m at home. And in that kind of issues, it actually is really easy to quit. Which I did.
But now I went and read a bit more on accessibility testing and noticed that there is few semi-automated tools listed on the page. I suppose I’ll give them a try at work on some of our interfaces. Semi automation is still partly automation (which I do like a lot) and I might also find something worthwhile. You never know where you end up when you start testing without a decent specification. And even with a spec you might find yourself in between rock and a weird place.
My plan was to write about the other tests I did (but did not write about), but this post starts to get long enough, I’ll have to fill the other blanks later on.
I know, every excuse is just an excuse on failing to prioritise, but sometimes the prioritising actually gets you nailed down to something where you just have to concentrate and work on. This week has been one of those.
So to say, releases flowing in from doors and windows and I find myself testing (or wanting to test) them all.
Which of course has meant that I haven’t been able to fulfil the 30 Days of Testing assignments. Currently I am lagging behind 1½ – 2 days. My plan is to get back on the track during this week, anyhow, meaning that I’ll do something during the weekend.
This is just to inform that I am aware of the situation.
Last week I joined 30 Days Of Testing -challenge that was organized by Ministry of Testing. And I have to admit it has been fun. Besides that I have found myself doing things I should’ve been doing all the time, I’ve also done something new, too.
First of all the ‘Listen to a testing podcast‘ was very revealing as well as fruitful. I’ve been now listening to the Test Talks while riding bike to and from work and found out new ideas, new ways to think about testing. It is really refreshing to notice that, even though I’ve been working as a single tester (and I’ve done that on purpose, also) quite a lot for the past years, there’s a community out there. People thinking, if not like me, but at least similar kind of issues and situations that I am facing in my profession. So to say, it has been a blast to notice that 😀
Yesterday’s challenge was to do a ‘Crazy Test’. So, what I did was the following:
Use Siri to start music (‘Play music from artist Metallica‘)
Wait until Siri gives you a ping that it has received the command (but before it confirms what it is about to do)
Put on reverse gear
Now, my expected result would be that I could reverse in the car by watching the rear camera and listening to music (at this example, Metallica). Of course it didn’t do anything like that. I received the ping from Siri to indicate that it had received my message, but when the rear camera was switched on, the command was weirdly gone. I could reproduce the behavior even when making a phone call request.
Now one might thing it is a safety feature. But I can’t think it that way, for me it feels like a bug. Software is not working the way I expect it to do. If I turn on the phone and call manually and start to reverse, the call is connected. As well when it comes to music. I can pretty well listen to music (even Metallica) and reverse at the same time.
Now, is this a race condition, or something else? Where is the problem? In Siri/Apple CarPlay? In the API between car and carplay? Has this scenario been tested? Does not seem likely. Or if it has been tested, perhaps the results have been ignored in order to get the software out in time. Or the responsibility of the behavior has not been clear; should it be car that takes care of this, or the phone?
You might also say (and I wouldn’t argue against that) that this wasn’t particularly crazy test. More or less exploratory boundary/edge case. I was not driving my car sideways on the ice, or 110 Km/h on the highway. I don’t actually care. It was crazy enough for me. Plus that I noticed something new, learned something new, which I suppose should be the main point in life and work altogether. i mean, you can never be crazy enough, not unless you learn more and get crazier.