As any regular reader of this blog will know, this year I’ve been reading and reviewing one testing-related book a month. Well, I’m cheating a bit this month! I’m currently reading a very long book that I knew would take me two months to read (Want to know what it is? Check back in with me in four weeks!), so this month I’m reviewing a book that I read a couple of years ago: “The Way of the Web Tester” by Jonathan Rasmusson.
“The Way of the Web Tester” is the book I recommend for manual testers who want to learn the basics of automated testing. It’s a friendly, accessible book that gives readers both the “big picture” about automated web testing and the details about how to implement it well.
The book is organized in two parts: Part I describes the basics of how automated testing works, and Part II is devoted to helping people who are new to programming understand good coding techniques.
In Part I, the author begins by explaining the automation test pyramid, and then describes each level of the pyramid from top to bottom. He begins with the top level of the pyramid because that’s the most accessible to manual testers, and this idea makes a lot of sense; when you’ve been testing a system by going to the web page and clicking buttons, it’s easy to transition to automation that goes to the web page and clicks buttons!
The author then moves to integration tests, explaining how HTTP and REST requests work, and then to unit tests. Finally, he gives examples of how the all the tests can work together to test an entire system. I really like how he emphasizes that developers and testers should be working together to create test automation, so that work isn’t duplicated.
My favorite part of Part II is the Programming 101 chapter, where important practices such as choosing good variable names, spacing code, and using the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle are discussed. These are so valuable to people who are new to coding.
Another thing I love about the book is the use of two cartoon characters. They are “Tim the Tester” and “Diane the Developer”, and they pop up throughout the book, asking questions that the reader might be wondering, such as “How do I know if I’ve written enough tests?”
If you are new to automated testing, or if you’ve struggled with it in the past, “The Way of the Web Tester” is definitely a book you will want to read. But it’s not just for beginners! I learned a number of things from the book as well, such as how mocking works and how to write unit tests that test UI elements. It’s a great, easy-to-understand book for anyone who’d like to make their test automation more robust.