July 11, 2019

New to coding? Learn Java through Angie Jones' TestAutomationU

Are you a software tester who is new to coding? Don't know where to start?

Angie Jones has released a new Java Programming course on her Test Automation University.


The Java course uses the OpenJDK General Availability release of Java 11.

The OpenJDK, the Open Java Development Kit is a free and open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE). (Get the OpenJDK FAQ).

Since I am using Windows, how I installed it:
  • Download from JDK.Java.Net/Archive/ Java version 11.0.2 LTS version.
  • Extract the Zip File to C:\Program Files\Java, creating a jdk-11 folder. 
  • Set the PATH and JAVA_HOME according to this StackOverflow answer
  • Downloaded and Installed IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, setting it up with Java 11.0.2. 
I am loving the course! Angie sprinkled her fun and her energy throughout the course.

Here are a few tips taking the course:

  • Expand the course to cover the left side of your monitor, with your IDE covering the right hand side of your monitor. 
  • When Angie goes over code, type what she types, and execute when she executes.
  • Do the outside exercises Angie recommends. 
Passively watching Angie type code will not allow you to learn. Only through you practicing the material will allow things to sink in. 

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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June 27, 2019

Five Tips How Software Testers Can Collaborate With Software Developers

Whenever I join a new team, my first task is fostering and nurturing a good working relationship with the developers. Why? If there is good chemistry between testers and developers, the quality of work increases as the quality of communication increases.

The relationship between tester and developer shouldn’t be one of artist and art critic. Rather, it should be one between writer and copy-editor, each contributing to the quality of the product.

Developing a good working relationship with developers can be tricky. Here are five tips for nurturing and developing relationships with your developer teammates.

June 25, 2019

June 4, 2019

Notes: The Ministry of Testing's Introduction to HTTP by Mark Winteringham

Even though I have been a software tester for the past twenty years, I still like taking introductory courses where I can practice going back to the basics.

Right now, I am working through Mark Winteringham's Introduction to HTTP, accessible when you purchase the Ministry of Testing's Professional Membership.

June 3, 2019

Notes: Amber Race, Exploring Service APIs Through Test Automation using Postman

Want to learn about testing REST APIs? Make sure to check out Amber Race's Exploring Service APIs Through Test Automation, part of Angie Jones' free Test Automation University. Amber is a Software Development Engineer in Test at Big Fish Games and blogs about her work at AmberTests.com.

May 30, 2019

My Threat Stack interview: What are the current trends in automation?

Threat Stack, where I work, has started a campaign to showcase on its company blog not just its developers and security analysts, but also its software testers.

I was interviewed for Threat Stack's article, Current Trends in Automated Software Testing: 10 Testing Pros Share Insights Into the Most Interesting Current Trends in Automated Software Testing.
My TLDR version:

... Make sure to read what my co-worker, Carl Robinson has been doing with Docker!

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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May 17, 2019

New to Automation? Take a Foundation course at Test Automation University

New to Automated testing? Need to figure out what tests to automate? Who should do the automation work? How to get buy-in from the development team?

These and many other questions are answered in Angie Jones' Test Automation University course, Setting a Foundation for Test Automation.


The video course contains over 45 minutes of material covering topics such as:
  • What is your goal for starting a test automation initiative and what is it that you want to accomplish?
  • Who do you envision participating in your test automation initiative and in what capacity?
  • How do you plan for the execution of this strategy?
  • How to get people on board and help them understand their place in the automation strategy
  • How to scale your automation

Registration is free for this course, the current fifteen courses available, and the five courses listed as "Coming Soon".  Also coming soon, ... a course I designed for Applitools Test Automation University: Introduction to Capybara.

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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April 19, 2019

Long time no see!

Long time no see! How have you been?

I've been good. My nine-month old son is utterly adorable. My wife and I just love getting on the floor and playing with him. He's now crawling around so fast, we can barely keep up with him! He's also standing, pulling himself up on anything he can get a hold off. Kitchen cabinets. Walls. Shelving units. His Dad's hair. His Dad's ear. And somehow he is sprouting a third and fourth tooth!

Work has been amazing! I cannot believe how supportive everyone has been for this new father! Since we last spoke, I am on a new development team, focused more on the back-end, testing Threat Stack's many microservices that run the SecOps product.

Last year, I was creating a UI Automation framework from scratch, using Capybara + Ruby as a wrapper for Selenium WebDriver, and ThoughtWorks Gauge as a test framework.

To deepen my knowledge of Capybara and Gauge, I created a few demo projects:

Last September, I even volunteered writing a chapter of a software testing book "How to Gauge What Your Tests Are Doing" for Eran Kinsbruner's Continuous Testing for DevOps Professionals.

This year? I wrote an Introduction to Capybara course! It took a few months, and a lot of sleepless nights, but it was worth it. It is still being finished up. Watch this space. More details to come! 

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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February 8, 2019

January 31, 2019

Four Years of Adventures in Automation!

When I started this blog, it was before I ever found my first automation development position. This blog was a way for me to keep up the good fight, journaling my experience.

Four years and 321 blog posts later, I have been on teams building testing frameworks in Selenium WebDriver + Java, NightwatchJS + NodeJS,  Capybara + Ruby, and now ScalaTest and Scala. The Programming Projects section of this site captures my experiments with many others.

This blog acted as a springboard for me to start publishing articles, contributing to software testing books, and giving talks at online conferences. You can read more about it in the Media section of this blog.

I don't get as much time to write on this blog as I used to. The main reason?

T.J. Maher and his son, Tommy.
... After work, I seem to be otherwise occupied in baby giggles, baby cuddles, and baby snuggles.

I wanted to thank you, dear reader, for all your help. This blog has been a magnificent conversation started with many a hero in the software testing field. Thank you so much, Alan Richardson, Bas Dijkstra, Jim Hazan, Matt Hutchinson - Testing Curator, Joe Colantonio, Lisa Crispin, and most importantly Angie Jones.

So far, in four years this blog has received 730,089 pageviews, with 70% of the visitors going "Software Testing? Automation? The hell?? This isn't what I Googled!" and promptly going back to wherever they came from.

If you want to drop a line to say hello, I am on Twitter, and I am always online!

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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December 21, 2018

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Review the Ruby code with Rubocop

This is the seventh part of a series of blog posts. Care to go back to the beginning

Tinkering with Ruby only for the past year, Rubocop, a "Ruby static code analyzer and formatter, based on the community Ruby style guide" according to their Github site is both a blessing and a curse for someone new to the language. It is blessing that it is so detailed with output. The curse is that if you are new, it is going to take a lot of random Googling to figure out what all the errors thrown actual mean!

There is a lot of content in the Ruby Style Guide...

What is the Ruby Style Guide?

From the Ruby Style Guide README: "This Ruby style guide recommends best practices so that real-world Ruby programmers can write code that can be maintained by other real-world Ruby programmers. A style guide that reflects real-world usage gets used, while a style guide that holds to an ideal that has been rejected by the people it is supposed to help risks not getting used at all—no matter how good it is. [...]

"There are some areas in which there is no clear consensus in the Ruby community regarding a particular style (like string literal quoting, spacing inside hash literals, dot position in multi-line method chaining, etc.). In such scenarios all popular styles are acknowledged and it's up to you to pick one and apply it consistently".

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Add Chrome and ChromeDriver logging capabilities

This is the sixth part of a series of blog posts. Care to go back to the beginning

Want to view JavaScript errors in Chrome? Or see if your Selenium WebDriver instance is throwing any errors? Check out the Logging Preference Capabilities from the Chromium project.

With this article, we will demonstrate how to get these logs set up in your Capybara-Ruby project, and what to add in the spec_helper.rb file we created.

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Setting Up Specs and Step Implementations

This is the fifth part of a series of blog posts. Care to go back to the beginning

So far, we have written test specifications to test Dave Haeffner's The-Internet, and we have set up the Gauge-Ruby environment. We managed to get Chrome to run a simple Capybara test, and figured out how to make the test run in Headless Chrome. Our test we created last time...

# Navigation: Go to The-Internet Login Page

## NAVIGATION: Visit The-Internet
* LOGIN: Visit the Login Page
* LOGIN: Verify the heading is "Login Page"

... For this entry, we will be building upon that, figuring out how to get our Capybara-Gauge framework to execute the following:

Authorization: Validate logging into and out of The-Internet
  • Scenario #1: Authorization: Successfully log into and out of the secure area 
  • Scenario #2: Authorization: Verify alert error is shown when entering a blank user name and password.

December 20, 2018

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Set Up Headless Chrome

This is the fourth part of a series of blog posts. Care to go back to the beginning

We've come up with test specs for Dave Haeffner's The-Internet. We've set up a Ruby environment to run the tests, and configured Chrome to open the Login page.

With this entry, we will be activating Chrome in Headless Mode, i.e. running Chrome but without a visual interface, allowing the tests to run faster.

About Headless Chrome

According to Eric Bidelman's article, Getting Started with Headless Chrome, the new option of running Chrome in Headless mode started with Google Chrome version 59, released in May 2017.

Before, you had to use something such as PhantomJS to emulate the Chrome browser if you wanted to run Chrome in a place where the processing power to bring up a visual window would be a waste, such as running it with an automated test script running in a continuous integration environment. Now, it is built right in.

December 19, 2018

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Setting Up Capybara to Open a Chrome Browser

This is the third part of a series of blog posts. Care to go back to the beginning

So far, we have written test specifications to test Dave Haeffner's The-Internet, and we have set up the Gauge-Ruby environment.

Now, we need to set Capybara up to be integrated with the Gauge test framework. 

December 18, 2018

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Setup Ruby Environments for The-Internet

This is the second part of a series of blog posts. Care to go back to the beginning

With the last entry, we analyzed the App Under Test, Dave Haeffner's The-Internet and came up with some test specifications. With this entry, we will be setting up the Ruby environment that will be running the Capybara-Gauge tests.

Although I am developing this project on my Macbook with this example, it is possible to install Ruby, Gauge on a Windows Machine.  See my article, Intro to setting up a BDD framework with VS Code + Gauge + Ruby.

December 16, 2018

Video Talk: How Software Testers Can Work With Developers

Joe Colantonio, creator of the absolutely awesome software testing podcast TestTalks.com, started in an entire series of Guild Conferences: The Automation Guild, the Testing Guild, and the AI Guild.

Back in January 2018 I was invited to speak as part of the Automation Guild 2018. I gave a talk How to Pass Coding Interview as an Automation Engineer.

I was invited again to speak for Joe's Testing Guild in June 2018. Although automation is all the rage, sucking up most of the oxygen out of any conversation about testing, I decided to give a talk getting back to basics:

How Software Testers Can Work With Developers
June 20, 2018

"T.J. Maher has been a software tester for over twenty years since before the concept of Agile software development existed. He believes the relationship between developers and testers should not be one of artist and art critic. Instead, it should be one of a writer and a copyeditor, each working together to create a quality product. T.J. will be sharing his experiences working with developers pre-Agile, working with them on Agile teams, and his insight gained by shifting to automation development".

And, as always, Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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December 15, 2018

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Analyzing The-Internet

Basic Capybara-Gauge: Analyzing The-Internet

For the past year, my job at work has been to create an automation framework that monitors daily our web-based application, putting it through its paces. This project will be showcasing tools and technologies used to compose the framework, but most importantly, the thought process analyzing the site to determine what to test.

Our application under test for this project will be an old favorite of mine: The-Internet, created by Dave Haeffner, author of the SeleniumGuidebook.com -- which comes in C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby editions -- and the very helpful blog ElementalSelenium.com.

The tools we will be using:
  • ThoughtWorks Gauge, to set up the tests in a human readable fashion
  • Capybara, to handle interaction between the tests and the browser
  • Ruby, the programming language of the framework
  • Bundler, to help manage Ruby's gem files

December 11, 2018

What software design principles do you use writing UI automation frameworks? Do you use SOLID?

When crafting automation frameworks, do you use SOLID software design principles in your work? If so, could you provide some examples?  

Ever since I've been tasked to create a Capybara + Ruby UI automation framework, I've been reading  books such as Robert "Uncle Bob" C. Martin's Clean Architecture: A Craftman's Guide to Software Structure and Design (2018) and his Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices (2002), trying to glean some insight on how to improve what I am doing.

The SOLID object oriented design principles, a mnemonic created by Michael Feathers based on principles Uncle Bob had collected are a bit beyond me at the moment. Attempting to study about the Single responsibility principle, Open/closed principle, Liskov substitution principle, Interface segregation principle and the Dependency inversion principle, trying to see how I can apply them is giving me a headache.

I fully recommend Angie Jones' webinar, Applying the Pillars of Object Oriented Frameworks to Test Automation for anyone who needs a refresher on Encapsulation, Inheritance, Polymorphic and Abstraction. I wish there was something like this for SOLID design principles!

Here are some of the principles I follow when writing automation frameworks:

  • Don't Repeat Yourself.  Instead of copying-and-pasting code, I factor out commonly used code snippets, placing the block of code into a library I can then reuse. 

  • You Ain't Going To Need It. Instead of plotting out every single selector on a page that locates a web element in a user-interface, I focus on just what I need for the current two week sprint. Every single time I try to plan ahead, priorities change, shift, reshape, and by the time I finally get back to the prepwork, everything has changed.

  • If there is a Login screen, I create a Login page object, which stores all the locators that interact with the web elements such as the username & password textbox, and the Login button. It also would have a LOGIN method where a test could pass in a username and password and be logged into the System Under Test.

  • Within Page Objects, I declare public methods that then interact with the private variables storing the selectors for the web elements on the page. 

  • Are there commonly used elements on the page? I create a Base Page Object which contain commonly used methods that other pages can inherit.
These principles? I find them easy to understand and use. SOLID Principles? Not so much.

Any help that you could give would be much appreciated. I will craft a response blog post from the answers I receive. 

Oh, and don't get me started on how lost I am about the Gang of Four's Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (1994)!

Happy Testing?

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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November 28, 2018

Tomorrow, November 29, 2018: Angie Jones gives a sneak peek on Test Automation University

Angie Jones will be giving a sneak peek at her latest project, Test Automation University!

Register at https://go.applitools.com/181129-Test-Automation-U-Unveiled.html

"Test Automation University is open for enrollment! This free, community-driven educational program identifies, aggregates, and amplifies strategies and techniques helping test automation teams succeed more often. Led by Applitools newcomer Angie Jones, ‘Test Automation U’ will be a vital tool helping people along their path to test automation success.

"In this live session, Angie will unveil the project, how it works, and outline courses from experts like Dave Haeffner, Jonathan Lipps, Amber Race, Joe Colantonio, and Elisabeth Hocke, just to name a few. Angie will also share a sneak peek into her first 7-chapter course, titled "Setting the Foundation for Successful Test Automation", including chapters:
  • "How to Design an Automation Strategy
  • "Future-proofing your Test Automation Efforts
  • "Quantifying and Sharing the Value of Test Automation
  • "And more..."
Happy Testing! And make sure to sign up for Angie Jones' newsletter.

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

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November 27, 2018

Tomorrow, November 28, 2018: Webinar with Lisa Crispin: Modeling Your Test Automation Strategy

Tomorrow, November 28th, 2018, Lisa Crispin, from AgileTester.ca, will be giving a webinar on modelling an automation strategy, brought to you by Mabl, a sponsor of the Meetup I run, the Ministry of Testing - Boston.

"Test automation has been a controversial subject for decades. In this new age of continuous delivery, it’s safe to say that most teams will not succeed with frequent delivery to production at a sustainable pace without automating at least some significant part of their regression testing, as well as other types of testing such as performance and reliability. In this three part webinar, we’ll explore how your team can use visual models to formulate and implement a test automation strategy that will achieve your goals.

"In Part I, we will look at why teams struggle to get traction on test automation, and how using a visual model can help them get past the painful parts of an automation journey. We’ll start with the classic test automation pyramid from Mike Cohn, and explore some of the interesting variations that have grown out of it".

Register Here: https://www.mabl.com/blog/webinar-modeling-your-test-automation-strategy-exploring-the-pyramids

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

Twitter | YouTubeLinkedIn | Articles

November 7, 2018

Jason Ioannides, API Testing: From Entry Level to a PhD in 40 mins

What an amazing webinar! Today I watched an Association of Software Testing (AST), API Testing: From Entry Level to a PhD in 40 mins with Jason Ioannides. With a name like that, I expected to get a lot of information, but not the level that I actually received!

About the Webinar

From the Webinar Site:

"Have you seen a recent job posting for a Tester or QA Engineer? The majority of job descriptions have some requirement for API Testing experience. That’s how important and in-demand the skills are for testing (let alone automating) an API. What do you do if this is all new to you? What about if you have some experience but are looking to level up? Look no further.

"Jason Ioannides from API Fortress will quickly walk through the basics of what an API is, and then dive into what parts of an API can break, some real world examples, and a list of good practices to add to your checklist. This talk is for everyone from beginners to the more advanced user of Postman/SoapUI/REST-Assured". - API Testing

API Testing: From Entry Level to a PhD in 40mins


November 3, 2018