SPA 2009 Conference – Testing Ajax Applications through the GUI

Last week myself and Patrick Myles, Caplin’s Head of Engineering, presented a workshop session at the SPA 2009 conference on Testing Ajax Applications through the GUI.

The main theme of the talk was to demonstrate that, by building a thin business-domain framework on top of Selenium and structuring test cases appropriately, it’s possible to construct a very simple DSL that makes test scripts intelligible to non-programmers.

The workshop involved a couple of pairing exercises using the Firefox Selenium IDE add-on which enabled participants to get their hands dirty writing basic tests in a very short time. I hadn’t used the Selenium IDE much prior to the conference, but it’s a brilliantly simple record & playback tool which Caplin should consider exploiting.

We supplied delegates with USB keys containing Firefox Portable that was pre-configured with the necessary add-ons and bookmarks. This offered a complete client side Selenium runtime environment for all the exercises, and connected to a web-site that we hosted on a wireless LAN. This setup was quite effective in providing a full development environment in minimal set-up time.

This was our first time presenting at a conference, and despite all the hours sweating over composing slides and exercises, it was really good fun and the session was well received. We’re very grateful to Ivan Moore for encouraging us to put this together: SPA is a really friendly and collaborative forum that have frequent events, and I would recommend it to anyone as a good place to cut their teeth presenting a conference session.

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