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Maintainability of Automatic Acceptance Tests for Web Applications—A Case Study Comparing Two Approaches to Organizing Code of Test Cases

  • Aleksander Sadaj
  • Mirosław OchodekEmail author
  • Sylwia Kopczyńska
  • Jerzy Nawrocki
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12011)

Abstract

[Context] Agile software development calls for test automation since it is critical for continuous development and delivery. However, automation is a challenging task especially for tests of user interface, which can be very expensive. [Problem] There are two extreme approaches of structuring the code of test duties for web-applicating, i.e., linear scripting and keyword-driven scripting technique employing the page object pattern. The goal of this research is to compare them focusing on the maintainability aspect. [Method] We develop and maintain two automatic test suites implementing the same test cases for a mature open-source system using these two approaches. For each approach, we measure the size of the testing codebase and the number of lines of code that need to be modified to keep the test suites passing and valid through five releases of the system. [Results] We observed that the total number of physical lines was higher for the keyword-driven approach than for the linear scripting one. However, the number of programmatical lines of code was smaller for the former. The number of lines of code that had to be modified to maintain the tests was lower for the keyword-driven scripting test suite than for the linear-scripting one. We found the linear-scripting technique was more difficult to maintain because the scripts consist only of low-level code directly interacting with a web browser making it hard to understand the purpose and broader context of the interaction they implement. [Conclusions] We conclude that test suites created using the keyword-driven approach are easier to maintain and more suitable for most of the projects. However, the results show that the linear scripting approach could be considered as a less expensive alternative for small projects that are not likely to be frequently modified in the future.

Keywords

Acceptance testing Keyword-driven testing Linear scripting Web applications Selenium Cucumber 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Poznan University of TechnologyPoznańPoland

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