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One of the coolest things about our application is how highly configurable it is. Do you want to allow users to leave a reaction anonymously? Do you want to allow them to syndicate to Facebook and Twitter but not LinkedIn? Do you want to institute a rewards program so that users they can receive ' 100 points' when they syndicate but only allow them to receive '300 points' in a day in order to keep them from gaming the system? I love that we allow our customers to fit it to their needs instead of giving them a 'one size fits all' solution.
With this wide wide world of options, let me set up a scenario that we often encounter. We have a new feature and are running general smoke tests. With preferences set to X,Y, and Z everything worked great, but switch one of those and suddenly you get unexpected behavior. As a Quality Assurance team, how do you manage to test all the possibilities? Our automation team has come up with a great approach to ensure we can test the multitude of preferences; let the configuration of the environment inform your tests.
So let’s say you have a product that allows for a plethora of configurations like ours. Allow your test framework to pick up the preferences that the test environment has set and once a test is complete, compare the results to what we would expect to see based on that environment's configuration. For instance, we run a test to see if an anonymous user was able to post a comment. Once the attempt to comment is complete, the test verifies the preference setting and finds that in fact they were not supposed to be able to post, and that is how we decide whether the test passed or failed. This approach allows you to run your tests against almost any environment with any combination of settings and ensure that all work as expected.
As I mentioned in my last post, brittleness and fragility are something we try to avoid. This approach will help us ensure that we can comfortably make changes to our test environments to keep them in line with customer's production use cases and hopefully have only minor, if any, adjustments that need to be made to our automation code. If your product has the same breadth as ours, this is a great approach for ensuring the long term benefits of test automation.
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