Keyword-Driven Test Automation: An Interview with Hans Buwalda

[interview]
Summary:

Hans Buwalda's experience covers being a developer, manager, and principal consultant for companies and organizations worldwide. In this interview, Hans talks about using keywords effectively, tests that have too many details, and the changing testing industry.

Hans Buwalda's experience covers being a developer, manager, and principal consultant for companies and organizations worldwide. In this interview, Hans talks about using keywords effectively, tests that have too many details, and the changing testing industry.

Jonathan Vanian: I’m here today with Hans Buwalda of LogiGear. Hans, thank you for joining me today.

Hans Buwalda: Yes, I am glad to join. Thanks for making time for me.

JV: Definitely. Let’s begin by just having you describe your technical background and expertise to our readers and listeners.

HB: I am originally from the Netherlands. I have been in California since 2001. I joined a company called LogiGear, near to San Mateo. Basically, what we do and what I do is everything that happens to do with testing where my focus is very much automated testing and then particularly for large and complex projects.

JV: Interesting.

HB: I accidentally came into testing. It really wasn’t my career plan, like many of us, but because of a project that I was assigned to, a customer that had problems with testing and especially with automated testing. As a solution for that customer, I came up with what you would now call keywords. Then, the year after that I presented that in EuroSTAR Conference in – which was then held in Amsterdam, which is kind of the European spin-off of STARCANADA, STAREAST, STARWEST.

Among the people in the audience were Dorothy Graham as well as the founder of STAR. Before I knew it, I was in the US and I have been here ever since.

JV: I have been talking to a lot of people who just sort of fell into testing and this turned out to be their new career path.

HB: I was not aware that testing would actually be a very interesting topic to look. There was proofing, there is programming, and developing, but actually testing can be, at least, as cool, and, particularly, automated testing. It can also be particularly complex and difficult to do especially in a large scale. If you try to automate, let us say, ten test cases you are probably going to be fine and do it.

But the moment you are getting 2000, if not tens of thousands of tests, it becomes a lot more will to get it to work, to manage it, and to understand where is what, and to maintain it. Any change in the system and the test can have a big impact on your tests which is – it makes it kind of unmanageable to do so. It is a very interesting field to be in.

JV: Yeah, definitely. Do you spend a long time working on keyword-driven test automation? Can you explain this technique?

HB: Simply said, what you are doing is you are describing the test outside of the scripting language. All the modern tools have very good scripting and programming languages. You deliberately do not put your tests in the programming language. Take them out of the programming and put them in a separate document, like in a spreadsheet kind of format as a sequence of what I like to call actions.

Each line in the spreadsheet really starts with a keyword that is sometimes called an action word, and then a couple of arguments, zero or more arguments, and then the action, like create an order. That way you can create some verbiage of the test. Then, later on, you are going to automate those actions, those keywords. Each keyword gets an action script, or if you look at our own product TestArchitect—about 350 of them are already built into the product.

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User Comments

3 comments
Jeremy Carey-Dressler's picture

The video has only half the audio.  Jonathan's audio works, but Han's audio does not.  While it is funny, it doesn't really add much without being able to hear Hans.  Unless the video can be fixed, I'd suggest you remove it. :(

- JCD

March 31, 2014 - 1:50pm
Heather Shanholtzer's picture

Weird. Fortunately, it's working now. Thanks for letting us know!

April 15, 2014 - 1:44pm

About the author

Jonathan Vanian's picture Jonathan Vanian

Jonathan Vanian is an online editor who edits, writes, interviews, and helps turn the many cranks at StickyMinds, TechWell, AgileConnection, and CMCrossroads. He has worked for newspapers, websites, and a magazine, and is not as scared of the demise of the written word as others may appear to be. Software and high technology never cease to amaze him.

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