Sunday, February 06, 2005

Automation Testing Basics

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Calling into the API is good because it's easy. Calling an API function from your test code is a piece of cake, just add in a function call. But then you aren't actually testing the UI of your application. Sure, you can call the API for functionality testing, then every now and then click the button manually to be sure the right dialog opens. Rationally this really should work great, but a lot of testing exists outside the rational space. There might be lots of bugs that happen when the user goes through the button instead of directly calling the API (don't ask me, more voodoo magic, but I have lots of real life experience that backs me up here.) And here's the critical part - the vast majority of your users will use your software through the UI, not the API. So those bugs you miss by just going through the API will be high exposure bugs. These won't happen all the time, but they're the kind of things you really don't want to miss, especially if you were counting on your automation to be testing that part of the program.

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