Monday, December 20, 2010

Taking a Step With Ruby

Last month, I questioned what we on a test team would gain from learning Ruby and how we could apply it in our daily work.  We already use QuickTest Pro to automate much of our testing.  QTP is a powerful tool that allows us to interact with our applications and gives us a platform for VB script utilities.  With this, what can we expect from Ruby?

A few days ago, we took the first step as a team to see what there is to see.  We bought copies of Brian Marick’s “Everyday Scripting with Ruby for Team, Testers, and You.”

One of the things I like about Marick’s approach is that he stays away from GUI testing.  He mentions it and brings up WATIR, the web GUI automated testing framework for Ruby, but he focuses the book on smaller, very practical goals.  For example, instead of teaching how to automate a web page, he uses the example of building a utility to send text message to yourself when a long-running process completes.  He shows Ruby as a bionic arm for a tester, not a full-fledged robot tester.  From the perspective of learning (no one on our team has much experience with Ruby or similar object-orientated languages such as Python), this approach seems like a great idea.  It results in small projects that are easy to complete, practical to use, and valuable for building skills.

Our goal as a team is work through the book and exercises over the course of a few months.  This will be one of those voyages where we don't know exactly where we are going or when we will get there.  Wish us luck.

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