Skip to main content

Test automation - parallelism and the questions it raises

The usual disclaimer of 'I don't know what I'm talking about' applies here...

Lately we have been feeling some software quality hurt - not enough time, not enough people testing, stuff still getting missed and reported as bugs by the customer.  As this is a topic not unfamiliar to me, I decided to do some deeper research, and even attend a local user group to discuss test automation.

I already knew that 'GUI test bad!  Unit/API test good!', but confirmed with multiple developers that our legacy app simply had a lot tied into the GUI.  That's ok - legacy is where your revenue is, as someone pointed out (possibly at DevOpsDays Toronto?) - so we know that we kinda need GUI testing.

The user group's consensus was 'you need a test framework', so I figured we needed a test framework and set about building one.  There were a lot of bad reasons for me being the person to do this...but a few good ones, too:
  1. I actually had some time to spare.
  2. I was responsible for deployments/manual post-deploy verification
  3. I was newly responsible for manually smoketesting the staging environment prior to a deploy
  4. I was responsible for monitoring, most relevant being New Relic Scripted Browser Synthetics
Chief among the bad reasons for me writing (anything, really) a test framework was the whole 'I have zero development experience'.  The guy teaching the Pluralsight course (Creating an Automated Testing Framework With Selenium) did a good job though, and I managed to hack together something that not only worked, but was relatively easy for me to expand!


So here we are - now have 30-40 pages covered by tests, a 1000-line long helper class (the worst copy pasta), and then I see the browser/platform matrix from QA for the new project coming online soon...


I had played with parallelism early on in the framework's life, mainly because I knew how impactful that change would be, but never got anywhere with it.  Now it was super duper a requirement.  So I went back to the problem again and ... got nowhere.  I did, however, manage to get Sauce Labs' example framework running in parallel, but as soon as I tried to transpose that into some of my test cases, nothing worked.

More digging later and we have this:  Parallelism is hard!  In general!  Even the guy who did the initial Pluralsight course I used later on in the comments essentially said 'avoid it if you can' (granted, a few years ago).  The general avoidance tactic is to simply throw more starting agents at it, and use targeted test categories.

The crux of the badly do you want this?

So I would suggest that these questions will aid you on your journey:
  • Why do you need (GUI) test automation?  What do you seek to improve?
  • How will you know it has improved?  How will you demonstrate that more (or less) effort is required?
  • Is the team behind this?  How will this effort persist?

This is what we'll be working towards...I'm sure there will be a report later this year...


Popular posts from this blog

DFSR - eventid 4312 - replication just won't work

This warning isn't documented that well on the googles, so here's some google fodder:

You are trying to set up replication for a DFS folder (no existing replication)Source server is 2008R2, 'branch office' server is 2012R2 (I'm moving all our infra to 2012R2)You have no issues getting replication configuredYou see the DFSR folders get created on the other end, but nothing stagesFinally you get EventID 4312:
The DFS Replication service failed to get folder information when walking the file system on a journal wrap or loss recovery due to repeated sharing violations encountered on a folder. The service cannot replicate the folder and files in that folder until the sharing violation is resolved.  Additional Information:  Folder: F:\Users$\\Desktop\Random Folder Name\  Replicated Folder Root: F:\Users$  File ID: {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}-v0  Replicated Folder Name: Users  Replicated Folder ID: 33F0449D-5E67-4DA1-99AC-681B5BACC7E5  Replication Group…

Fixing duplicate SPNs (service principal name)

This is a pretty handy thing to know:

SPNs are used when a specific service/daemon uses Kerberos to authenticate against AD. They map a specific service, port, and object together with this convention: class/host:port/name

If you use a computer object to auth (such as local service):

If you use a user object to auth (such as a service account, or admin account):

Why do we care about duplicate SPNs? If you have two entries trying to auth using the same Kerberos ticket (I think that's right...), they will conflict, and cause errors and service failures.

To check for duplicate SPNs:
The command "setspn.exe -X

C:\Windows\system32>setspn -X
Processing entry 7
MSSQLSvc/ is registered on these accounts:
CN=SQL Admin,OU=service accounts,OU=resources,DC=company,DC=local

found 1 groups of duplicate SPNs. (truncated/sanitized)

Note that y…

Logstash to Nagios - alerting based on Windows Event ID

This took way longer than it should have to get here's a config and brain dump...

You want to have a central place to analyze Windows Event/IIS/local application logs, alert off specific events, alert off specific situations.  You don't have the budget for a boxed solution.  You want pretty graphs.  You don't particularly care about individual server states.  (see rationale below - although you certainly have all the tools here to care, I haven't provided that configuration)

ELK stack, OMD, NXlog agent, and Rsyslog.  The premise here is as follows:

Event generated on server into EventLogNXlog ships to Logstash inputLogstash filter adds fields and tags to specified eventsLogstash output sends to a passive Nagios service via the Nagios NSCA outputThe passive service on Nagios (Check_MK c/o OMD) does its thing w. alerting
Open Monitoring Distribution, but the real point here is Check_MK (IIRC Icinga uses this...).  It makes Nagios easy to use and main…