Category Archives: FitNesse

Fitnesse – Another DSL

So, if you have followed this blog you will know that we we first started on our journey of discovery with FitNesse by trying anubhavas generic fixture but while this idea seems great it has its shortcomings. Now Anubhava did a pretty good job of telling people about his fixture (which is how i found it) he was also very approachable and gave help when i got stuck. So i was surprised to see that Keith Sterling has reinvented the wheel with FitNium.

Keith says he created FitNium as part of a learning exercise and also through the frustrations he is having with the Webtest Fixture.

While i can fully understand Keiths frustrations with the Webtest fixture (and this is not to say the webtest fixture isn’t useful, it truly is), this is the very reason we are making the leap to Twist.

Helpfully FitNium is released under Ver 2.0 of the Apache License.

Fitnesse – Another DSL

So, if you have followed this blog you will know that we we first started on our journey of discovery with FitNesse by trying anubhavas generic fixture but while this idea seems great it has its shortcomings. Now Anubhava did a pretty good job of telling people about his fixture (which is how i found it) he was also very approachable and gave help when i got stuck. So i was surprised to see that Keith Sterling has reinvented the wheel with FitNium.

Keith says he created FitNium as part of a learning exercise and also through the frustrations he is having with the Webtest Fixture.

While i can fully understand Keiths frustrations with the Webtest fixture (and this is not to say the webtest fixture isn’t useful, it truly is), this is the very reason we are making the leap to Twist.

Helpfully FitNium is released under Ver 2.0 of the Apache License.

Testers – Thou Shall Not Cut Code!


okay, so its been a while since my last post, and we have some very frustrating times, i’ll try to remember them now.

One of our 500lb gorillas is the fact that Fitnesse out of the box comes with limited functionality. By that i mean if you want to pull a value from a database and assert that it is being displayed in the users browser (via selenium) then you have to write your own Java class. As i said before we are a team of dedicated web testers, and while we are very technical testers, we are not Java programmers. So we looked round for some possible solutions to our dilemma.

First up is Anubhava’s Generic Fixture. Anubhava has had the same thoughts as me, but has the skills to actually put the idea into fruition. His generic fixture allows the fitnesse scriptee to write in DSL without writing a single line of Java, eureka!

i tried using the generic fixture for connecting to the DB. However we use Oracle 10G and our connection string details two nodes. In the examples Anubhava gives, the fixture accepts the usual server, port, dbname, user, password strings.

I thought i would share this with any other visitors who may use generic fixture and use similar JDBC connection strings to us. OracleDataSource will accept a url, so i amened Anubhavas example fitnesse tables to


| Generic Fixture | oracle.jdbc.pool.OracleDataSource |
| setDriverType | thin |
| setURL | jdbc:oracle:thin:@(DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS_LIST =(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=node1)(PORT=1521))(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=node2)(PORT=1521)))(CONNECT_DATA =(SERVICE_NAME=WEB)))
| setUser | db_user |
| setPassword | db_user_password |
| conn=getConnection |

and we can now connect to our DB, and script without writing Java.

Next up is Gojko Adzic’s DbFit another fixture for fitnesse, and comes with some examples for .net and Java and Oracle.

A little bit more of a learning curve with this one, but still within the realms of what we can manage as testers. We can use DbFit with the WebTest fixture and again accomplish a lot without writing any Java.

I guess i should point out here that its not just writing the Java, its where to store it (CVS), compiling the code, keeping it up to date, making sure we are using the right versions of drivers (ojdbc14), that we have the right environment variables set-up and so on. All of a sudden the line between the bounds of a tester and developer have become so blurred. Well okay, maybe i wouldn’t just test the “happy path” 🙂

Testers – Thou Shall Not Cut Code!


okay, so its been a while since my last post, and we have some very frustrating times, i’ll try to remember them now.

One of our 500lb gorillas is the fact that Fitnesse out of the box comes with limited functionality. By that i mean if you want to pull a value from a database and assert that it is being displayed in the users browser (via selenium) then you have to write your own Java class. As i said before we are a team of dedicated web testers, and while we are very technical testers, we are not Java programmers. So we looked round for some possible solutions to our dilemma.

First up is Anubhava’s Generic Fixture. Anubhava has had the same thoughts as me, but has the skills to actually put the idea into fruition. His generic fixture allows the fitnesse scriptee to write in DSL without writing a single line of Java, eureka!

i tried using the generic fixture for connecting to the DB. However we use Oracle 10G and our connection string details two nodes. In the examples Anubhava gives, the fixture accepts the usual server, port, dbname, user, password strings.

I thought i would share this with any other visitors who may use generic fixture and use similar JDBC connection strings to us. OracleDataSource will accept a url, so i amened Anubhavas example fitnesse tables to


| Generic Fixture | oracle.jdbc.pool.OracleDataSource |
| setDriverType | thin |
| setURL | jdbc:oracle:thin:@(DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS_LIST =(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=node1)(PORT=1521))(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=node2)(PORT=1521)))(CONNECT_DATA =(SERVICE_NAME=WEB)))
| setUser | db_user |
| setPassword | db_user_password |
| conn=getConnection |

and we can now connect to our DB, and script without writing Java.

Next up is Gojko Adzic’s DbFit another fixture for fitnesse, and comes with some examples for .net and Java and Oracle.

A little bit more of a learning curve with this one, but still within the realms of what we can manage as testers. We can use DbFit with the WebTest fixture and again accomplish a lot without writing any Java.

I guess i should point out here that its not just writing the Java, its where to store it (CVS), compiling the code, keeping it up to date, making sure we are using the right versions of drivers (ojdbc14), that we have the right environment variables set-up and so on. All of a sudden the line between the bounds of a tester and developer have become so blurred. Well okay, maybe i wouldn’t just test the “happy path” 🙂

Creating FitNesse tests

Okay, so we are still having problems with CruiseControl (it falls over after n builds) but meanwhile i need to start creating tests in Fitnesse.

The ThoughtWorks consultant has already started, but i just reviewed the work and i’m less than impressed.

I want each page to contain some prose that describes what’s being tested and why.

The structure of a requirement should follow a basic syntax. We should have a basic description of what is needed from a business perspective:

As a [role] I want [requirement] so that [business value].

And the tests should line up by defining an Acceptance criteria, basically we define what “done” looks like:


Given [context] when [action] then [outcome]

The Acceptance criteria should be written jointly by BA and QA, and the acceptance tests map directly to acceptance criteria.

So on each page (a test) i want a preamble (the story), the requirement and the acceptance criteria.

The Fit table (the actual test) can then sit directly under the prose for the acceptance criteria.

That way, each page (each test) is the requirement, the test and the test results.

Integrating Fitnesse with CruiseControl

So like i said in earlier posts we are implementing FitNesse on our java development projects (well to be precise just one) with help from ThoughtWorks so we can run automated acceptance tests.

We are still at the bashing the stick on the ground and making a lot of noise stage (so far as my Space odyssey metaphor goes), and we are not yet 100% convinced of the value of FitNesse within our organisation. The way it has been set-up so far, makes it unmaintainable, hard to navigate and it feels a bit flaky. Sure FitNesse is great where the requirements are a little thin on the ground, but i think there is an absolute requirement for process and procedure when it comes to building a suite of tests in FitNesse if it is ever going to have longevity. That is not slur on FitNesse, but i have yet to see any one describe how they build a suite that has some structure.

So today we are trying to get FitNesse and CruiseControl working together.
The dev team have used CruiseControl in the past, but it doesnt work properly (some issue with forking) and depending on how we look at cobertura we either have 27% coverage or 35% coverage of Unit test so there is some way for them to go. I hope can integrate the FitNesse Tests with the current build process and gain an extra layer of testing.

One thing as a tester i dislike about FitNesse is that lacks a lot (does it have any) of the reporting features you see on other test tools. So i will spend this afternoon looking at some free (as in beer) reporting tools. I also cant see how you do test selection, or report on test coverage….

Integrating Fitnesse with CruiseControl

So like i said in earlier posts we are implementing FitNesse on our java development projects (well to be precise just one) with help from ThoughtWorks so we can run automated acceptance tests.

We are still at the bashing the stick on the ground and making a lot of noise stage (so far as my Space odyssey metaphor goes), and we are not yet 100% convinced of the value of FitNesse within our organisation. The way it has been set-up so far, makes it unmaintainable, hard to navigate and it feels a bit flaky. Sure FitNesse is great where the requirements are a little thin on the ground, but i think there is an absolute requirement for process and procedure when it comes to building a suite of tests in FitNesse if it is ever going to have longevity. That is not slur on FitNesse, but i have yet to see any one describe how they build a suite that has some structure.

So today we are trying to get FitNesse and CruiseControl working together.
The dev team have used CruiseControl in the past, but it doesnt work properly (some issue with forking) and depending on how we look at cobertura we either have 27% coverage or 35% coverage of Unit test so there is some way for them to go. I hope can integrate the FitNesse Tests with the current build process and gain an extra layer of testing.

One thing as a tester i dislike about FitNesse is that lacks a lot (does it have any) of the reporting features you see on other test tools. So i will spend this afternoon looking at some free (as in beer) reporting tools. I also cant see how you do test selection, or report on test coverage….

Fitnesse for dummies?


We pride ourselves on our technical prowess, by we i mean my team and I and by team i mean the greater QA team at work.

As testers we are often thought of as not being technical and in some institutions it is actively discouraged. However being a technical tester is dependent on the domain you work in.

In our domain we need to be holistic on our approach to testing, we need to be multidisciplinary with skills in Linux, Apache, Jboss, J2EE and Oracle. We work for a large website so we all need to understand headers, HTTP, cookies, dynamic HTML/Json.

So it was with some surprise (read, it caught us out) that we found ourselves staring at FitNesse (the Acceptance Testing Framework) like the apes staring at the monolith at the start of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). We understand its importance, and we can see the benefits, but how do we turn it on? what makes it go?

Well a few hours later and to our horror we have installed JDK and eclipse and we are coding in java. But this doesn’t really sit well at all, testers writing tests in java? who will test our tests?

Worse than this, we don’t have Java coding skills across the team (nor do we want them) so what can we do?

A few googles later and we can see that we are not the only people that think this sucks. For every test case we write in Fitnesse we ill have to write a corresponding fixture (read some java code). Until i run across Anubhava’s Tech Blog and his post Introducing Generic Fixture for FitNesse. Here he talks of the same problem of having write java code for every test. His solution is rather neat, the GenericFixture.

I followed his examples and hit a few dead ends, so i emailed Anubhava and after a few question from him discovered that what i believed to be the GenricFixture.jar was in fact a 700Kb web page (an error message from sourceforge). With the proper jar downloaded from sourceforge we are off and running, and can now write tests without cutting a single line of java, but wait that’s not all…

Something was still unsettling about the whole deal, and that was the fact that FitNesse allows users to create tests using natural language.

here is a simple example in fitness

users opens the URL http://www.google.co.uk
page has the title Google
page has an element named q true
page has an element named btnG true
user types chocolate into q field
user clicks on the button named btnG
page loads in less than 5 seconds
page has the title chocolate – Google Search
user clicks on the link named Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
page loads in less than 5 seconds
page has the title Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and here is the same example in selenease

open http://www.google.co.uk
assertTitle Google
type q chocolate
clickAtAndWait btnG
assertTitle chocolate – Google Search
clickAtAndWait link=Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
assertTitle Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As you can see the FitNesse example is easily read and understood whereas the selenim version requires the user to understand the selenium syntax (selenease).

Our friend Anubhava (above) had hit upon the same problem, and implemented a Domain Specific Language (DLS) adepter for the GenricFixture, so problem solved, for now…

Fitnesse for dummies?


We pride ourselves on our technical prowess, by we i mean my team and I and by team i mean the greater QA team at work.

As testers we are often thought of as not being technical and in some institutions it is actively discouraged. However being a technical tester is dependent on the domain you work in.

In our domain we need to be holistic on our approach to testing, we need to be multidisciplinary with skills in Linux, Apache, Jboss, J2EE and Oracle. We work for a large website so we all need to understand headers, HTTP, cookies, dynamic HTML/Json.

So it was with some surprise (read, it caught us out) that we found ourselves staring at FitNesse (the Acceptance Testing Framework) like the apes staring at the monolith at the start of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). We understand its importance, and we can see the benefits, but how do we turn it on? what makes it go?

Well a few hours later and to our horror we have installed JDK and eclipse and we are coding in java. But this doesn’t really sit well at all, testers writing tests in java? who will test our tests?

Worse than this, we don’t have Java coding skills across the team (nor do we want them) so what can we do?

A few googles later and we can see that we are not the only people that think this sucks. For every test case we write in Fitnesse we ill have to write a corresponding fixture (read some java code). Until i run across Anubhava’s Tech Blog and his post Introducing Generic Fixture for FitNesse. Here he talks of the same problem of having write java code for every test. His solution is rather neat, the GenericFixture.

I followed his examples and hit a few dead ends, so i emailed Anubhava and after a few question from him discovered that what i believed to be the GenricFixture.jar was in fact a 700Kb web page (an error message from sourceforge). With the proper jar downloaded from sourceforge we are off and running, and can now write tests without cutting a single line of java, but wait that’s not all…

Something was still unsettling about the whole deal, and that was the fact that FitNesse allows users to create tests using natural language.

here is a simple example in fitness

users opens the URL http://www.google.co.uk
page has the title Google
page has an element named q true
page has an element named btnG true
user types chocolate into q field
user clicks on the button named btnG
page loads in less than 5 seconds
page has the title chocolate – Google Search
user clicks on the link named Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
page loads in less than 5 seconds
page has the title Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and here is the same example in selenease

open http://www.google.co.uk
assertTitle Google
type q chocolate
clickAtAndWait btnG
assertTitle chocolate – Google Search
clickAtAndWait link=Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
assertTitle Chocolate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As you can see the FitNesse example is easily read and understood whereas the selenim version requires the user to understand the selenium syntax (selenease).

Our friend Anubhava (above) had hit upon the same problem, and implemented a Domain Specific Language (DLS) adepter for the GenricFixture, so problem solved, for now…

Running Selenium with proxy exceptions

The way we have our QA environment set-up we use a DNS server this allows us to mimic the live environment (the customer facing server names are the same as in the production environment). It sounds ideal however it isn’t without problems. We cant set-up a banner server in our environment (because we use a third party banner service) nor can we set-up a WA server (we use multiple WA vendors) so we have to use proxy exceptions that excludes everything from going through the proxy that exists in inside the QA environment.

This obviously means we can end up with a pretty big proxy exceptions list in our browser. Firefox isn’t a problem as there are a couple of plug ins available that can manage multiple proxy settings. However IE requires us to use a hand crafted batch file to update registry settings. Not really a problem, and we are comfortable with how it works. It rarely catches us out.

Now when we cam to automate our tests with selenium we ran into a problem. We needed to tell selenium to use our corporate proxy so it can proxy request to the outside world, and when selenium starts the browser it tell the browser to use a particular PAC file that is generated at test run time. The PAC file is quite simple and tells the browser to use Selenium for anything that lies within the SUT else go external. sound’s great except that it doesn’t work.
We read a few forum posts, and blog posts and scratched our heads. Finally we opened the Selenium source code and found that we could in fact pass in a list of hosts to apply to the proxy exceptions list. We were feeling pretty jaded are spending hours of google time on it, why its not documented clearly anywhere i don’t know.

Okay, so our startup command for selenium looked like this

java -Dhttp.proxyHost=proxy.ourdomain.co.uk -Dhttp.proxyPort=8080 -jar selenium-server.jar –avoidProxy

To add proxy avoidance you specify the hosts you want to avoid through the proxy and delimit with the pipe character |, but we then found we had to delimit the pipe character with the caret ^

-Dhttp.nonProxyHosts=*www.ourdomain.co.uk*^|*search.ourdomain.co.uk*

So our new selenium startup string looked like this

java -Dhttp.proxyHost=proxy.ourdomain.co.uk -Dhttp.proxyPort=8080 -Dhttp.nonProxyHosts=*www.ourdomain.co.uk*^|*search.ourdomain.co.uk* -jar selenium-server.jar –avoidProxy

This means that if the request is for anything other than www. or search . on our domain, selenium forwards it through our corporate proxy.