A Trivial Success With Fitnesse

29 Nov

Fitnesse is a self-contained wiki-based web front-end for Fit, which is a framework for test automation using ‘fixtures’, (relatively) simple (usually Java) applications which supply methods allowing Fit to tie in to and verify results from the application under test.  Now it actually uses a newer framework called ‘Slim’, but I digress.

So I took a break from my cold stone bench at the Java Monastery to look at this testing tool and hoped I might at least partially digest a few new buzz words while I’m at it.

TDD (gulp).  BDD (gag) (pounds table while clutching throat) (gulp).  I read on and peruse some of their examples.  It almost makes sense.

But, as it turns out, learning Fitness, which is quite popular in agile testing and dev environments, would be A WHOLE LOT EASIER if I just knew Java!

Fortunately, I *have* been studying a bit, and there are some kindly souls out there who have provided some very helpful tutorials.

One here, by Brett Schuchert, seemed just the thing:

Brett’s Fitnesse tutorials

I bumbled my way through it and ultimately got it to work, which at first glance I wasn’t convinced I could do.  Doing so taught me more about using Eclipse, more about how automation is done and…more about Java.  I even found a minor problem in Mr. Schuchert’s Fitnesse code which turned out to be quite old and no longer in adherence with the latest spec.  I questioned him about this by email while still working it out myself and he was extremely cordial and encouraging.  He encouraged me to go on with his later tutorials while stressing that they exist to demonstrate features and learning foremost, and should not be taken as example of ‘best practices’.  I have done so and am learning (and reinforcing) a lot of basic Java concepts by absorption in the process.  For this I can’t thank him enough!

I have also delved into some of the examples in the Fitnesse documentation itself, and am getting a lot more confidence with using both the Fit and Slim frameworks.  On the Java side, this is teaching me simple but critical things such as packaging, debugging (simple) code and testing classes without actually running them at the command line, the way I would a HelloWorld or other sort of console output program.

I’ll be detailing these and other exploits in future postings.  One tutorial in the Fitnesse documentation, for example, was missing an entire class which I ended up having to write up myself.  It was all of six lines or so, just a ‘constructor’ method to accept a String value, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little adrenaline surge when it all suddenly worked!

All this and more.  Can’t wait, can you?

; ) -Kent


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