Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Building the framework (1)

Today we start building the automated test framework. We have prepared tools in previous parts. See them to learn how to run tested application in a separate thread or how to simulate user's input.

The foundation of our test framework are IronPython classes that control Windows components. Simply said, everything in Windows is a component. So we create IronPython layer that allows controlling each Windows component easily. Then we create classes that will control forms with many components. And finally, we build test scripts and test suites for the whole application.

We start with just three simple classes. The first class, GUIAT, is the core class taking care of running, activating (focusing), and inspecting the tested application. The second class, BaseComponent, is ancestor of all component classes. The last one, Form, descendant of BaseComponent, is ancestor of all forms.

The BaseComponent class provides access to common properties of all components. There is just one in the first version:
  • location - size and position of the component on the screen (not within the parent form)
The BaseComponent class has also several private variables and methods:
  • _name - name of the component, not all components have this field filled
  • _control - reference to the .NET component instance
  • _guiat - reference to the main GUIAT object (see below)
  • _guiatComponents - dictionary with all child GUIAT components
  • _GetComponentByName - method that searches for component with given name
Note: The .NET component means instance of the Windows component in the tested application. The GUIAT component means instance of the IronPython class that controls the .NET component.

The Form class extends the BaseComponent class. Its purpose is to find and store all components on itself. It has one private method that does it:
  • _AnalyzeStructure - method that searches and stores components on a form. It is recursively called for each member of the Controls collection. It prints out the name, type, and depth level of the found components. Then it creates BaseComponent instance and stores it into the _guiatComponents dictionary of the parent component.
The GUIAT class as the core class of the framework contains in the first version only one property and two methods:
  • mainForm - GUIAT representation of the main form of the tested application (Form instance)
  • Run - method that runs the tested application in separate thread and creates the Form instance of the main form
  • Activate - method that activates (focuses) the tested application
Let's try a small example:
>>> import GUIAT
>>> g = GUIAT.GUIAT()
>>> g.Run()
Starting GUIAT...
"frmGUIAT" (frmGUIAT)
"btnAddItem" (Button)
"lblNewItem" (Label)
"txtNewItem" (TextBox)
"lbxItems" (ListBox)
"btnQuit" (Button)
Starting GUIAT done.
>>> print g.mainForm._GetComponentByName('txtNewItem').location
(212, 177, 96, 16)
>>> g.Activate()
The above code runs the tested application, lists name and type of all components, then prints location of the text box, and finally activates the tested application.

To sum up the process again:
  • Create instance of the GUIAT class - let's call it g
  • g.Run() runs the tested application
  • g.Run() creates instance of IronPython Form class for the main form of the tested application
  • The Form instance searches during its initialization all components on the main form, prints information about them, and creates BaseComponent instance for each of them
  • To find location of "txtNewItem" component, execute:
  • To activate tested application, execute:
Today I presented the core of my GUI automated testing framework (source). I'm going to extend it and make it more user friendly in next parts.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Simulate user's input

We have learned in the previous part how to explore the tested application and read its values. To test it, we also need set values to its fields.

The first idea may be to utilize the .NET objects. When we can read values from the tested application fields, we can also set them. Use the code snippet from the previous part to run the tested application and follow it by command

App.Controls[2].Text = 'GUIATtext'

The tested application is started and GUIATtext appears in the New listbox item text box.

Well, it does not appear as a proper testing to me. I'd rather simulate user's interaction with mouse and keyboard. Unfortunately, sending key strokes and mouse events is not job for .NET framework. We have to dive deep into Windows and use Win32 API to perform these tasks.

I have created a simple DLL to make Win32 API functions available for IronPython [1]. Moreover, I have added functions to simulate user's input. Here is the list of functions in the Win32API namespace with a short description:

        return handle of the active window
        set the active window to the window with handle         return boolean
ShowWindow(handle, state)
        set window with handle to state (minimalized, maximalized, ...)         return boolean
GetWindowText(handle, title, capacity)
        return title of window with handle, title variable type is String of capacity size
MouseClick(X, Y)
        simulate click with left mouse button on position X, Y
        simulate pressing virtual_key
        simulate typing a string

I will not go into details here. Anyone interested can explore the sources of the Win32API.dll.

Using these functions is straightforward in IronPython. Just download the Win32API.dll and look at the example below how to perform a mouse click on the specific position:

import clr
from Win32API import Win32API
Win32API.MouseClick(10, 10)

The code snippet moves mouse to the coordinates 10, 10 (that is to the top-left corner of the screen) and perform a click with the left mouse button. More useful examples will follow in next parts.

Finally, couple of warnings. The simulated mouse click is caught by the top most window on the position. And the simulated key strokes are sent to the active window. That means we have to pay attention to position and active state of the tested application.

In the next part, we start building the GUIAT testing framework.

[1] I do not know how to access Win32 API directly from IronPython.