Wednesday, August 10, 2016

AUTOMATION 22 - GUI 9, Maintenance ... maintenance everywhere!

If you've been following along with the exercises at home, you have probably noticed that all of a sudden, everything's broken!

When you run, you get a lot of red like this ...

With the launch of Firefox 48, some of the WebDriver calls are being handled differently, and so you need some extra software set up, specifically the Gecko Driver.   On top of this you need the new WebDriver .jar files downloaded and added to your library.  Right now these download are currently are still in beta.

Alan Richardson has an article here about some of the changes required.  He's also raised a defect in the current version, which you can read hereThanks Alan for raising that - why we need people giving feedback in the beta, and not relying on others to raise.

I know some groups I've talked to who are circumventing this for now by freezing their version of Firefox to 47.  This is a good measure until we're out of beta, but it has to be a stopgap measure.  You can't freeze yourself to a 2 year old version of Firefox because you're scared of the update and the maintenance involved.

Here's a fact of automation - maintenance happens.  Or rather, should happen.  And there's no way to avoid that.  But a future feature will be about how to minimise that.  [Hint - ideally so it's not much "maintenance, maintenance everywhere!", but "maintenance in just one place"]

With those sticking to Firefox 47, this probably makes sense until WebDriver is out of Beta - just don't put it off forever!  The longer you leave it, the more the pain when you do need to update - and if you're running on a 1 or 2 year old version of Firefox, can you comfortably say many out there will be using the same browser?  Doesn't that undermine any confidence in the automated checks you're running?  You're saying it "would work okay ... if you're using a really old browser".

Scarily, on the other side of the coin, if you're testing on a Firefox or Chrome browser - new versions of those come out every couple of months!  Which almost always means that if you're testing today on a waterfall project, it's likely that won't be the version you release on.  It's another reminder of how we can't negate risks, only minimise them.

When the full version is released, I'll try and do a follow up, and also recondition my previous posts for any new steps.  Catch you then!

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