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Testing a GUI with TextTest and a Use Case Recorder
This is a step-by-step guide to testing a GUI with texttest. It assumes you have read and followed the instructions in the installation guide. There is a fair amount of overlap with the document for getting started testing a non-GUI program, so it can be helpful to read that first.
We will use a simple PyGTK 'video store' program as an example – which comes with the download of PyUseCase. Most of what is said here should apply to any use case recorder, though. Text in italics is background information only.
Getting a Use Case Recorder working
The first step is to get your program using the use case recorder of your choice, at least enough to be able to create some simple scripts. If you have a PyGTK GUI, use PyUseCase. If you have a Java Swing GUI, use JUseCase. If you use another GUI toolkit – write your own use case recorder and tell me about it!
Creating an Application
First, create a directory and a config file as described in the guide for testing “hello world”.
For testing GUIs, you need some further entries in the config file. In particular, you should add the line 'use_case_record_mode:GUI'. If you are using JUseCase, you also need to set 'use_case_recorder:jusecase'. This is because JUseCase uses Java Properties files rather than environment variables for its interface, so TextTest needs to know to generate these. If it isn't set, it will set the environment variables USECASE_RECORD_SCRIPT and USECASE_REPLAY_SCRIPT, which are the variables PyUseCase reads from when deciding the relevant files to read and write. Other GUI simulation tools can of course easily be wrapped by a script that would read the above variables and translate them into the format the simulation tool expects.
Setting 'use_case_recorder:none' is a useful trick if you want to enable the virtual display functionality described here but don't want to use a use-case recorder.
Creating a Test
First, we create an “empty test” as for “hello world”.
However, command line options are not sufficient to define a GUI test. We also need to define the use case that will be performed with the GUI. To do this, we go to the “Running” tab and then the “Recording” subtab, and then click the “Record Use-Case” button (or we just press F9 and don't bother with the tabs, as we aren't changing any settings). This will start an instance of the dynamic GUI, as with running tests. This in turn fires up our Video Store GUI in record mode. We simply perform the actions that constitute the use case, and then close this GUI.
The dynamic GUI will then turn the test red and highlight that it has collected new files for us. By clicking this red-line in the test view we get the view below. The contents of the new files can be seen in textual format in the “Text Info” window, or viewed by double-clicking them if they are too large.

If we made a mistake recording, we should simply quit the dynamic GUI at this point and repeat the procedure. If we are happy with the recording we should save the results: press the save button with the test selected.
Unless we disabled this from the “Record” dialog at the start, TextTest will then automatically restart it in replay mode, in order to collect the output files. This operation is done invisibly as it is assumed to always work – but (for example) PyUseCase produces different text when replaying than when recording, and it is that text we are interested in. It can be configured to also happen via the dynamic GUI – this is useful if you don't trust your recorder to replay what it has just recorded! Messages in the status bar at the very bottom of the static GUI keep you posted as to progress, anyway. When all is done, it should look like this:

Note that the definition file is now the usecase file recorded by PyUseCase. Naturally there could be command line options as well if desired. This is much the same as the final result of the “hello world” set up.
Running a Test
Clearly, there is no need to run it once in order to collect the output as we did with “hello world”: this is built into the “Record use-case” operation. Currently, if we run the test, the GUI will pop up and the actions will be performed as fast as possible.
On UNIX, TextTest will try to stop the SUT's GUIs from popping up, by using the virtual display server Xvfb (a standard UNIX tool). For each run of the tests it will start such a server, point the SUT's DISPLAY variable at it and close the server at the end of the test.
It will use its own process ID (modulo 32768) as the display number to guarantee uniqueness. After starting Xvfb, it will wait the number of seconds specified by the environment variable "TEXTTEST_XVFB_WAIT" (30 by default) for Xvfb to report that it's ready to receive connections. If that doesn't happen, for example because the display is in use, it will kill it and try again with another display number.
If you only have Xvfb installed remotely, you can specify machines via the config entry “virtual_display_machine”. This will cause TextTest to start the Xvfb process on that machine if it isn't possible to do so locally.
On Windows, target GUIs are started with the Windows flag to hide them, so a similar effect occurs. However, note that this operation is not recursive, so any dialogs, extra windows etc. that get started will (unfortunately) appear anyway.
We might want to examine the behaviour of the GUI for a test. To do this, we set a default speed in the config file, using the config file setting 'slow_motion_replay_speed:<delay>', where <delay> is the number of seconds we want it to pause between each GUI action. (This is translated to the environment variable USECASE_REPLAY_DELAY which is forwarded to the system under test, or the "delay" property if JUseCase is being used). For a particular run, we then select “slow motion replay mode”, from the “how to run” tab in the static GUI. This will force the GUI to pop up for this run, whatever is set in the virtual_display_machine entry.
In summary, our config file should look something like this:

Last updated: 05 October 2012