Watir attracts Ruby Newbies

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Bret Pettichord, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Watir is rapidly attracting users. (We pronounce it 'water'.)

    Many of our users are new to Ruby and even new to object-oriented languages.

    In fact, they can't tell where Watir ends and Ruby begins. Thus, they end
    up asking lots of questions to the Watir mailing list
    () that are really just Ruby questions.

    I gave a presentation of Watir's precursor at the Ruby Conference 2003 in
    Austin. At that time, i said that we were using Ruby as our scripting
    language because it was intuitive and easy to learn for non-programmers.

    But now they are wanting to read data from spreadsheets or csv files or
    initialization files. Or they want to create libraries. Or they want help
    with Test::Unit.

    I consider myself middling in my Ruby skills. I've heard meta-classes
    explained at least three times and still don't understand them. But i'm one
    of the more knowledgable people on the list.

    We could use your help. If you are interested in helping new users learn
    how to use Ruby, please consider joining our mailing list. (Or you could
    just help Brian with his book.)

    Oh, and BTW, we now have a gem for Watir ('gem install watir'). It has unit
    tests and rdoc. And yes, Watir only works on Windows and only with Internet
    Explorer. I offer apologies to the OSS gods.

    http://wtr.rubyforge.org/

    Bret


    _____________________
    Bret Pettichord
    www.pettichord.com
    Bret Pettichord, Aug 30, 2005
    #1
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  2. Bret Pettichord

    James Britt Guest

    Bret Pettichord wrote:
    > Watir is rapidly attracting users. (We pronounce it 'water'.)
    >
    > Many of our users are new to Ruby and even new to object-oriented
    > languages.
    >
    > In fact, they can't tell where Watir ends and Ruby begins. Thus, they
    > end up asking lots of questions to the Watir mailing list
    > () that are really just Ruby questions.
    >
    > I gave a presentation of Watir's precursor at the Ruby Conference 2003
    > in Austin. At that time, i said that we were using Ruby as our scripting
    > language because it was intuitive and easy to learn for non-programmers.
    >
    > But now they are wanting to read data from spreadsheets or csv files or
    > initialization files. Or they want to create libraries. Or they want
    > help with Test::Unit.
    >


    I've some Watir tools that I've been meaning to clean up and package
    nicely Real Soon Now, but have suspicions that it will never happen.

    I wanted to have non-Rubyists run some tests, but didn't want to have to
    coax them into installing Ruby. Or learning Ruby, for that matter. I
    sort of built up a DSL syntax as well, so that the test scripts were
    simpler than straight Ruby, too.

    I wrote an app that kicks off an instance of WEBrick, which looks into
    a /scripts dir for user-defined test scripts, and creates a default home
    page listing the available scripts, rendered by automagically launching
    the default browser. Clicking on a script link would run that script.
    Error/info messages would then be displayed on another page as scripts
    ran.

    The code was bundled up using rubyscript2exe and packaged into a a zip
    file so that one could just drop it someplace on a target machine, unzip
    it to get a set of permanent directories (where one could store new test
    scripts), and double-click the exe to run the script server.

    It never gained any traction at the contract place I was working at the
    time, but I use it all the time myself (though I don't bother bundling
    it with rubyscript2exe for myself).

    I don't think I really have time to follow another mailing list, but I'd
    like to turn this code over to someone on the Watir team if they think
    it useful.

    Suggestions?

    James Britt

    --

    http://www.ruby-doc.org - The Ruby Documentation Site
    http://www.rubyxml.com - News, Articles, and Listings for Ruby & XML
    http://www.rubystuff.com - The Ruby Store for Ruby Stuff
    http://www.jamesbritt.com - Playing with Better Toys
    James Britt, Aug 30, 2005
    #2
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  3. At 08:40 AM 8/30/2005, James Britt wrote:
    >I don't think I really have time to follow another mailing list, but I'd
    >like to turn this code over to someone on the Watir team if they think it
    >useful.


    Sounds cool! I would be interested to take a look at your code and see if i
    can find an owner for it.

    Bret


    _____________________
    Bret Pettichord
    www.pettichord.com
    Bret Pettichord, Aug 30, 2005
    #3
  4. Bret Pettichord

    James Britt Guest

    Bret Pettichord wrote:
    > At 08:40 AM 8/30/2005, James Britt wrote:
    >
    >> I don't think I really have time to follow another mailing list, but
    >> I'd like to turn this code over to someone on the Watir team if they
    >> think it useful.

    >
    >
    > Sounds cool! I would be interested to take a look at your code and see
    > if i can find an owner for it.


    Very good. I'll make some time to bundle up what I have, with some sort
    of documentation, and send it off to you in the next few days.


    James


    --

    http://www.ruby-doc.org - The Ruby Documentation Site
    http://www.rubyxml.com - News, Articles, and Listings for Ruby & XML
    http://www.rubystuff.com - The Ruby Store for Ruby Stuff
    http://www.jamesbritt.com - Playing with Better Toys
    James Britt, Aug 30, 2005
    #4
  5. Bret Pettichord

    Phil Tomson Guest

    In article <5.1.0.14.2.20050830004040.02df47e8@127.0.0.1>,
    Bret Pettichord <> wrote:
    >Watir is rapidly attracting users. (We pronounce it 'water'.)
    >
    >Many of our users are new to Ruby and even new to object-oriented languages.
    >
    >In fact, they can't tell where Watir ends and Ruby begins. Thus, they end
    >up asking lots of questions to the Watir mailing list
    >() that are really just Ruby questions.
    >
    >I gave a presentation of Watir's precursor at the Ruby Conference 2003 in
    >Austin. At that time, i said that we were using Ruby as our scripting
    >language because it was intuitive and easy to learn for non-programmers.
    >
    >But now they are wanting to read data from spreadsheets or csv files or
    >initialization files. Or they want to create libraries. Or they want help
    >with Test::Unit.
    >
    >I consider myself middling in my Ruby skills. I've heard meta-classes
    >explained at least three times and still don't understand them. But i'm one
    >of the more knowledgable people on the list.
    >
    >We could use your help. If you are interested in helping new users learn
    >how to use Ruby, please consider joining our mailing list. (Or you could
    >just help Brian with his book.)
    >
    >Oh, and BTW, we now have a gem for Watir ('gem install watir'). It has unit
    >tests and rdoc. And yes, Watir only works on Windows and only with Internet
    >Explorer. I offer apologies to the OSS gods.
    >
    >http://wtr.rubyforge.org/
    >


    Bret,

    I guess this is a good problem to have ;-)

    Why not point people to this list when they have general Ruby questions?

    Also: my understanding is that Watir works only on IE because it uses
    Win32OLE. Any thoughts about creating a cross-browser solution (maybe
    kind of like Selenium)? I also wonder if maybe something like the new
    MouseHole proxy could be used to capture communication between browser and
    server and then 'play back' the interactions somehow.

    Phil
    Phil Tomson, Aug 30, 2005
    #5
  6. ------=_Part_7966_32145255.1125434026940
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
    Content-Disposition: inline

    On 8/30/05, Phil Tomson <> wrote:
    >=20
    >=20
    > Bret,
    >=20
    > I guess this is a good problem to have ;-)
    >=20
    > I also wonder if maybe something like the new
    > MouseHole proxy could be used to capture communication between browser an=

    d
    > server and then 'play back' the interactions somehow.
    >=20
    > Phil
    >=20
    > Phil, I've actually started, restarted, unwritten, and am writing again,=

    =20
    what I'm calling HTTPRecorder, which is extremely similar to what you're=20
    describing. It's a WEBrick proxy server that records all the HTTP requests,=
    =20
    and will hopefully generate either HTTP::Mechanize scripts, or somethign=20
    extremely similar for playback.

    --=20
    =3D=3D=3DTanner Burson=3D=3D=3D

    http://tannerburson.com <---Might even work one day...

    ------=_Part_7966_32145255.1125434026940--
    Tanner Burson, Aug 30, 2005
    #6
  7. At 02:56 PM 8/30/2005, Phil Tomson wrote:
    >Why not point people to this list when they have general Ruby questions?


    Well, part of the problem is that they don't know what part of their
    question is Ruby and what part is Watir. Often they are mixed up, even
    though the solution is just learning more about Ruby or some other Ruby
    library other than Watir.

    Please let me know whether you want these kinds of mixed up questions on
    this list. Remember, testers are used to being beat up by developers, and
    will be reticent. I know this is a polite list, but i guess i want more
    reassurance that this kind of thing would be welcome here.

    >Also: my understanding is that Watir works only on IE because it uses
    >Win32OLE. Any thoughts about creating a cross-browser solution (maybe
    >kind of like Selenium)?


    We've given some thought to eventually being able to generate Selenium
    scripts from Watir scripts, thus allowing for the cross-browser solution.
    This would amount to the moral equivalent of a cross-compiler. You'd
    develop on Windows, but then could create a script that would run on other
    browsers and platforms.

    Several people have looked at using Mozilla's XCOM, but not much is really
    hooked up to on Mozilla's side yet, so that is a big project.



    _____________________
    Bret Pettichord
    www.pettichord.com
    Bret Pettichord, Aug 31, 2005
    #7
  8. At 04:36 PM 8/30/2005, Dave Burt wrote:
    > > I also wonder if maybe something like the new
    > > MouseHole proxy could be used to capture communication between browser and
    > > server and then 'play back' the interactions somehow.

    >
    >Yes, this would be useful, but IMO this kind of tool would best be used in
    >conjuction with a browser runner like Watir (assuming that the application
    >is going to be used by IE users).


    This problem with this approach is that Watir is in-browser and
    specifically can trigger events that will only hit javascript and not
    trigger server calls. Or the the javascript will be turned into a
    completely unrelated server call (as happens with ajax). Watir is good for
    testing java-script intensive apps. These are exactly the apps that
    proxy-based recording will fail on.

    There is a project to create a recorder for Watir (called WatirMaker) that
    is actually trapping javascript events. I think this will be a more
    promising approach.

    Bret


    _____________________
    Bret Pettichord
    www.pettichord.com
    Bret Pettichord, Aug 31, 2005
    #8
  9. Bret Pettichord

    Dave Burt Guest

    Bret wrote:
    > Please let me know whether you want these kinds of mixed up questions on
    > this list. Remember, testers are used to being beat up by developers, and
    > will be reticent. I know this is a polite list, but i guess i want more
    > reassurance that this kind of thing would be welcome here.


    (and to wtr-general:)
    > ...
    > Ruby is a general purpose scripting language and there are a lot more
    > people available to answer such general questions on the
    > mailing list.
    >
    > Such questions are also welcome here, but if your question is not getting
    > answered you may want to ask on the other list.
    > ...


    This list loves ruby nubies. You've done well in your message to direct them
    here.

    > We've given some thought to eventually being able to generate Selenium
    > scripts from Watir scripts, thus allowing for the cross-browser solution.
    > This would amount to the moral equivalent of a cross-compiler. You'd
    > develop on Windows, but then could create a script that would run on other
    > browsers and platforms.


    Sounds like fun.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Dave Burt, Aug 31, 2005
    #9
  10. Bret Pettichord

    David Brady Guest

    Dave Burt wrote:

    >This list loves ruby nubies.
    >
    >

    ...They're DELICIOUS!

    Seriously, this list and the #ruby-lang channel on freenode are
    wonderful. I've been programming for 20 years and picked up Ruby this
    Spring. There are a lot of stupid questions you have to ask to get out
    of the "baby-talk" phase in any language, and the main advantage of my
    20 years' experience is that I generally know a question is stupid
    before I have to ask it. :) I have found this list and the IRC
    channel to be profoundly lacking in "elitist snobbery".

    So, yes. Bring them on. Some will be content to stay close to the
    watir documentation, but others will grow into Ruby from there.

    "You mean there's a whole programming language based on Watir?!?" ;-)

    -dB

    --
    David Brady

    I'm feeling really surreal today... OR AM I?
    David Brady, Sep 1, 2005
    #10
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