[Webtest] Why do you use WebTest? ;-)

Curelea, Alexandru Curelea, Alexandru" <acurelea@northnetwork.com
Thu, 23 Nov 2006 16:07:59 -0500


It's been about a year since we decided to start using Webtest, so let
me see if I can remember our reasoning at the time.

1) Record and Playback is a Bad Idea.  Not everyone might agree, but my
experience with record & playback has generally been negative.  For any
application that's even remotely dynamic, the time spent fiddling with
the tests after the record phase tends to offset the time saved by
recording.  Better yet, since there is no modularization, the tests end
up being a nightmare to maintain.

2) Free as in Beer.  While buying a commercial product was an option,
our budget was never unlimited (whose is?) and no commercial products
offered any real incentive to spend the thousands of dollars.

3) XML (or better yet, simple readable XML) is a plus.  We had the
(rather vague) intention of writing test plans at an even higher level
than the Webtest syntax, and generating the XML for it programmatically.
That never happened, and Ant can be a really awkward way to do more
complicated logic, but XML remains nice.

4) Integration into a nightly build.  Tools like Selenium run inside a
web browser (I have yet to actually try Watir after all this time, but
the description on their home page sounds like to does the same thing).
I just can't see opening IE windows during an unattended nightly run as
a reliable way to get anything done.  Other tools run inside a GUI.  As
it is, Webtest =3D Ant =3D CruiseControl =3D relatively painless nightly
build.

5) It Just Works.  My first superficial attempt at using Webtest while
evaluating it was successful; I ran into problems with Selenium pretty
quickly.  I don't want to have to fight with my tools.

6) Excellent reporting.  Forget all the other reasons, I think this is
actually the part that sold me: the results are extremely informative,
easy to read without extensive training, and they even look good.

In the nearly a year we've been using it, I can think of a couple more
reasons:

- It still Just Works.  It has been remarkably robust, mature, and
bug-free.
- This mailing list has provided excellent support.
- It has scaled well.  There have been some growing pains (out of memory
exceptions forced us to break up the run into several parts).  I don't
know an exact number of steps, but last night's run, for example, has
saved a total of 34,000 response pages.
- We've been able to modify the runners and the reports slightly to suit
our needs better (again, Webtest =3D Ant is nice).

I wouldn't automatically recommend Webtest to everyone, since other
products have both advantages and disadvantages over it.  It does remain
the best option for our needs.

Alex

-----Original Message-----
From: webtest-admin@gate2.canoo.com
[mailto:webtest-admin@gate2.canoo.com] On Behalf Of Marc Guillemot
Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 10:44 AM
To: webtest@gate2.canoo.com
Subject: [Webtest] Why do you use WebTest? ;-)

Hi all,

why do you use WebTest rather than some other test tool (commercial or=20
open source)?

Of course I have some ideas on this question ;-) but as WebTest=20
committer I'm surely not objective when comparing WebTest to others.=20
While presenting WebTest I've already encountered difficulties to=20
convince that it was the tool of choice. I think that it occurs=20
particularly when people don't have any real experience of automated web

application tests and therefore can't understand "real" arguments. From=20
your experience as WebTest user, what would you say to persuade someone=20
wanting to start test automation for a webapp to use WebTest rather than

something else?

Marc.
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