Saturday, October 29, 2011

Maintainability 101

One of the biggest problem in the automation script development is the script maintenance. Even that there are a lot of widely accepted development methods for improving script maintenance, there are misconceptions that can easily direct testers in writing unmaintainable scripts.

The most popular methods in developing maintainable test code is the Page Objects pattern. Although using the Page Objects pattern will lead in a more maintainable code, the misuse of the pattern will only result in no more than adding an abstraction layer between the page under test and the test script each self. The misunderstandings in applying the pattern in order to create more maintainable test scripts come in the usage of the objects locators. The proper usage of the objects locators would result in the preferred maintainability and not the usage of the pattern. Taking into account that our object locators are locally declared (I totally agree with the analysis of Adam Goucher in his post a poorly implementation of the pattern could result in using the page locator in more than one place inside the page object. For example having an input field for which we need to implement an object method to type in a value and an object method to read the inputed value we should use a locally declared locator as a static string instead of having a locator declaration in each method.
public void typeInputValue(Stringvalue){  

public void readInputValue(){ 
public static final MY_LOCATOR=”//input[@name='x']”;

public void typeInputValue(String value){ 

public void readInputValue(){ 
In the first example a change in the objects locator would result in updating the object in to two places inside the page object rather than in one place as shown in the second example.
One of the goals in test script development is to make our test code more robust in locator breakages. As easily understood the single appearance of object locators in the page objects leads us toward this goal.
At this point I would like to thank Adam Goucher for his wonderful and extremely useful posts regarding test automation. For all it worth I would like to say that his posts lead the way in changing our test scripts to a more robust more maintainable test scripts.