Friday, September 25, 2009

QTP Automation: A Generic Function to perform mouse click

For all the automation testing I’ve been doing in recent months, I’ve built a set of function libraries in QTP that contain functions doing a lot of different things from clicking on a button, validating properties of different web objects to parsing data in excel files. One of these libraries contains all the WebBrowser related functions and one of those is BrowserButtonClick. It takes the title of the browser and name/index of the button as input and does the obvious – clicks on the button within the specified browser. It does all that through descriptive programming, not needing to have any objects in the GUI repository and gives me the advantage of reusing this library framework in different projects/applications. This has allowed me to automate functional tests of different applications very quickly.

But this post is not about that function or about the framework. I’ll write about that later - how it all fits together to provide an automation framework that can speed up functional automation. In this post, I want to share another QTP VBScript function that I wrote to perform a mouse click on any web object. This function forms the basis of descriptive programming that I’ve used in my libraries and provides greater flexibility instead of tying it down to a specific object type.

Like I described, the BrowserButtonClick takes the name of the button as parameter. This works fine as long as the button object has the name property defined (which most of them do) and I know it when creating the tests. For one of the application page however, there were 2 buttons with no name specified but with “html id” property. This led me to come up with another function that will take the property names (“html id” or “name” etc) and property values as input parameters, search for a button object with specified properties and perform the action (left button click) on that. But thinking about it a little more, since the class of the object (“micclass”) is also another property of the object, it doesn’t have to be restricted to a “WebButton”. So the end result was this generic function that takes the list of appropriately delimited properties and values, finds the object and performs a left-click on the object. The input parameter is in the format “propName1=propValue1;propName2=propValue2…”. For example, “micclass=WebButton;html id=Search”. This way, it can be used to perform a click on any object and similar functions can be used to perform any action on any GUI object.

Here’s the function.

Part 1: Function Definition
' Function BrowserObjectClick
' ------------------
' Perform a mouse click on an object within the specified Browser
' Parameter: browserTitle - Title of the browser
' Parameter: props - a list of name-value pairs of properties and their values, semi-colon delimted. ("propName1=propValue1;propName2=propValue2…”)
' Parameter: objIndex - the index (0-based) of the object that needs to be clicked (if multiple objects match)
'@Description Perform a mouse click on the object that matches specified properties within the specified Browser. Returns 0 is successful, -1 if no object is found or the object is disabled
'@Documentation Perform a mouse click on object that matches <props> properties within <browserTitle> browser
Public Function BrowserObjectClick(ByVal browserTitle, ByVal props, ByVal objIndex)

As I already explained above, the function performs a mouse click on any object that matches the specified properties within the specified browser. The browser title needs to be provided as input parameter and so do the properties, which are name-value pairs delimited by semi-colon. For example, to find a WebButton object with name “Search”, the input will be “micclass=WebButton;name=Search”. For a link with outertext property “Log Off, the input will be “micclass=Link;outertext=Log Off”. If multiple objects match the identification properties, objIndex (0-based) will specify which one of those objects is clicked.

Part 2: Getting the browser objects
    On Error Resume Next
If (props <> "") Then
indx = CInt(objIndex)
If (Err <> 0 Or indx < 0)Then
indx = 0
End If

'Get the browser objects
Set desc = Description.Create()
desc("micclass").Value = "Browser"
Set bObjs = Desktop.ChildObjects(desc)

For i = 0 To bObjs.Count -1
If Instr(1, bObjs(i).GetROProperty("title"), browserTitle, 1) > 0 Then

First we make sure that the properties are not blank in the input parameters. If they are blank, there’s not much we can do so we just exit out of the function. Next thing to do is to make sure the objIndex is an integer >=0. In case it isn’t, we take the default value of 0, which means that the first object matching the properties will be clicked. Then we get all existing browser objects and iterate through them until we find the one with matching title. If none are found, we’ll exit out with appropriate return values. If multiple browsers are found, we’ll use the 1st one that matches the title. In the applications I’ve automated so far, I haven’t come across a case where multiple browsers match the title…but if needed (in case the application pops up multiple windows, for example), the function can be easily modified to handle that.

Part 3: Getting the Object and performing the Action

                desc("micclass").Value = "Page"
Set pObjs = bObjs(i).ChildObjects(desc)
'Make sure you got one
If (pObjs.Count > 0) Then
'load the properties in an array
Dim propArray : propArray = Split(props,";",-1,vbTextCompare)
Dim prop
Dim propsDict 'As Scripting.Dictionary
Set propsDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary")
For Each prop in propArray
propsDict.Add Split(prop,"=",-1,vbTextCompare)(0), Split(prop,"=",-1,vbTextCompare)(1)

'Get the Object
Dim j, pKeys : pKeys = propsDict.Keys
For j = 0 to propsDict.Count-1
desc(pKeys(j)).Value = propsDict.Item(pKeys(j))
Set propsDict = Nothing
Set objs = pObjs(0).ChildObjects(desc)

So once we find the browser with specified title, we get its “Page” child objects since all other objects are child objects of the page object. We split the properties that we got as input by the semi-colon “;” and load it in an array. At this point, the array is populated with the name value pairs of the properties delimted by an equals sign “=”. I’m not doing much error handling here because I trust the input provided will be appropriately delimited.

Next, we split each of the array values by an equals sign “=” and load it in a “Scripting.Dictionary” object as key-value pairs, where the key is the name of the property. We create a Description object, load all the properties in it and find all matching child objects.

Part 4: Performing action on the object

                    If (objs.Count > indx) Then
'Execute the event
If (objs(indx).GetROProperty("disabled")) Then
BrowserObjectClick = -1
BrowserObjectClick = 0
End If
'Free up the objects
Set desc = Nothing
Set bObjs = Nothing
Set pObjs = Nothing
Set objs = Nothing
Exit Function
End If

Now that we have a collection of all objects that match the properties, we’ll make sure that the index is not more than the number of objects returned, that it is not disabled and then perform the click action. If it is disabled, we’ll return a –1 so that caller can handle it appropriately. If not, we perform the mouse click by calling the click method of the object and return a 0. Finally, we do some cleanup and exit function.


This function provides a generic method to implement a mouse-click on any object using descriptive programming and is particularly useful where the standard properties of an object (name) are not available. It can be further extended to implement any action, not just clicks and provide other functionality as well.

If you have any questions or suggestions to improve or simplify the function, let me know.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Real Life Testing Scenario – Bank ATMs

I think a lot of real life defects you come across would have to do with Bank ATMs. Maybe because of complexity of coding the human-machine interface logic, the plethora of usage scenarios and/or real-time nature of the transactions that it is really hard to make a defect free (or almost) ATM machine.

Yesterday I faced one such scenario when trying to deposit some cash in an ATM machine. This was one of those BoFA ATMs that don’t need an envelope to deposit. You just put the cash in a slot in the ATM and it does the rest. It scans and counts the bill and tells you the total amount deposited.

So as I put all the cash in the slot, it closed the slot door and scanned and counted all the bills. But after it was done, It gave me a message on the screen that some of the bills couldn’t be accepted and opened the slot door for me to take the bills out. There was only 1 bill there and all others were accepted. I took out the one bill it couldn’t accept and it closed the slot door and showed the amount that it had accepted correctly. Pretty neat…so far.

On the same screen, it asked whether I wanted to add more money to the deposit. I pressed “Cash” and it opened the slot door again. After pressing and straightening the bill it had rejected previously. I put that in the slot. It didn’t accept the bill this time either. It gave me the error message and opened the slot door. I took the bill out and it closed the door. But…the error screen didn’t go away. It continued beeping and complaining that it couldn’t accept the bill even after it had closed the slot door. There were no options available…cancel the transaction, return the card…nothing. Just the error message and no buttons to select. At this point, my card was inside the ATM and so was the cash and I had no proof of the deposit! I didn’t have the customer service number because it is printed on the back of the card.

Well, after fruitlessly pressing random buttons including the cancel button and including keeping the cancel button pressed for sometime, I gave up. I approached the lady at next ATM slowly lest she thought I’m going to mug her. But she probably saw the ordeal I was going through and gave me the customer service number from the back of her card. And after spending about 40 minutes on the phone during which I faced numerous call transfers and 1 disconnect and had to talk to the amazingly annoying automated voice response system, I got to talk to a real person who seemed to understand what I was going through and gave me a temporary credit pending research. The previous card was rejected and a new card will be sent.

So…here are the steps:
1. Deposit Card in the ATM slot and go through entering the PIN etc.
2. Select “Deposit”…and “Cash”
3. Once the cash slot door opens, enter several bills at least 1 of which will definitely be rejected.
4. After it complains about the bills, take the bill(s) out.
5. Once the slot door closes and it counts and shows the amount, press the option to add more money to the current deposit.
6. After the slot door opens, add the rejected bill(s)
7. After it shows the error screen again and opens the slot door, take out the rejected bill.

The expected result at this point is for the machine to detect that I have taken the rejected bill out, close the slot door and continue with the amount that was previously determined. It should show me the options again that were shown at Step 5 and let me choose whether I want to try adding more cash again or just go ahead with whatever amount that has been added already. No matter how many times I add previously rejected bills, it should either accept the bills or reject them. This seems to be a normal usage scenario to me, which should’ve been tested thoroughly. This kind of scenario is very likely to happen and it’s not something a user would have to try real hard to go through. I honestly doubt that this issue can be replicated again by following the exact same steps. There has to be some other variable which caused the machine to malfunction.

If I had to test the scenario, there are several things I would want to know:
Firstly, how does the bill scanning logic works. How is it decided whether a bill should be accepted or rejected. Once I know that, I can test with several combinations of different amounts, with different combinations of good and bad bills and different degree of bad quality bills. Maybe also with junk (coins? fake bills? other paper? leaves? lint?)instead of bills!
Secondly, how does it detect whether the bills have been added or removed from the slot to close the slot door. Based on this, I can test with different number of bills to validate if it detects the change.
There are a lot of other exception scenarios also that come to mind…for example, what if somebody props up the slot door open by jamming something through the door? What if somebody continues to add rejected bills 5 times? 10 times? 100 times? (of course, not all the scenarios are realistic so the likelihood of the scenario would have to be weighed against its criticality).

It seems that in this case, it did recognize that I had taken the rejected bills out because it closed the slot door. This is assuming that it closes the slot door only after it detects that the bills have been removed. If it closes the door after a fixed time (I hope not), then this statement is invalid. Anyways, assuming it detected the change, it seems to have failed to continue to the next step which is to carry on with the transaction and provide the options to the user to choose what to do next. This is exactly where I would look to identify the problem by running various scenarios or a combination of scenarios.

Monday, June 22, 2009

12 Balls Solution

Here’s the solution to the 12 Balls puzzle that I mentioned a few days (gosh…a few weeks now) ago . To state it again:

You have 12 identical-looking balls. One of these balls has a different weight from all the others. You also have a two-pan balance for comparing weights. Using the balance in the smallest number of times possible, determine which ball has the unique weight, and also determine whether it is heavier or lighter than the others.

The third branch following the 1st decision is left blank because it is very similar to the 1st one. The larger image file is available here.

12 Balls Solution

Friday, June 19, 2009

Closed for Cleaning!

I wish somebody would pay me to create an application that would detect that the work restrooms are closed for cleaning and update all employees automatically. We probably have 2 times during the day when they are being cleaned and somehow my calls are synchronized with that time.

Here’s how that application would work at a distant high-level:

1. Have a camera pointed at the restroom door that monitors the door for appearance of a yellow sign put between the door edges
(slightly cheaper) Install an infra-red monitor that is flipped whenever the yellow sign is put between the door edges blocking the monitor
(even cheaper and less automated) have the janitor flip a switch whenever they start the process.

2. The trigger chosen above should send a message to Microsoft Office Communicator server (or any other instant messaging application) where a resource for each of the restrooms is setup (just like the meeting rooms). That should turn the status of the bathroom to “Busy” or “Unavailable”.

This way, each interested person (with synchronized bladders) can add the restrooms to their contact list and find out if they are available without getting up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

12 Balls

Wednesday morning, out of sheer impulse I navigated to Willy Wu’s riddles site consisting of the best puzzle compilation on internet (I added the site to the links section as well). The puzzle that was staring at me was the 12 Balls one:

You have 12 identical-looking balls. One of these balls has a different weight from all the others. You also have a two-pan balance for comparing weights. Using the balance in the smallest number of times possible, determine which ball has the unique weight, and also determine whether it is heavier or lighter than the others.

I figured the solution once I was able to find time to put some random thoughts to this puzzle. I’m currently working on creating a visio diagram to display the solution but if you’re not familiar with the puzzle and feel challenged enough to attempt a stab at it without searching online for a solution, feel free.

If after putting some time into it, you’re feeling frustrated and just want the solution, go ahead and google. If you just want some hint(s) and not the complete solution, let me know and I’ll post it before I post the solution.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

QuickTest Pro: Handling XMLs using XMLDOM object

This is how diverse my writings are going to be. Testing tools, that’s it. I could write about my adventures in photography but that wouldn’t be very interesting until I put some more time and money into it. Even though I’ve been using my 50mm f/1.8 lens with some interesting results, I still feel that there’s lots more I need to learn before I can write about it …maybe someday soon. But this one is about a different, though as interesting topic - handling XML objects in QTP.


I’m currently involved in test automation for IDM application. If you are familiar with Sun’s IDM product, you know that all objects are stored in database as XML and these objects can be viewed/checked out/edited through the debug interface. Now the way we have customized it is that managers (users with Manager role) or end users are allowed to submit requests for creating users or modifying users’ attributes. The requests are submitted through the user interface and the workflows take care of taking appropriate actions in the background. There is very little information displayed on the web page once the request is submitted that can be used to validate if the action actually succeeded or not. The only way to validate that the action was successful is to either login through admin interface and check the task results or through debug pages, pull up the user’s XML object and verify the changes have gone through.

As I was creating the BPT components and test cases to handle different test scenarios, it was increasingly obvious to me that the most foolproof way to validate the results of the test would be to create a component that validates the user’s XML. I wasn’t much familiar with handling XML objects in VBScript so I left it for later. And later is now (or was yesterday). So I spent yesterday going through the XML Document Object Model (DOM) and Microsoft’s implementation of it and creating a VBScript function to validate an XML’s attribute value. It worked out fine with a little initial struggle.

Please keep in mind that what I’m providing below is in no way a complete solution of using XMLDOM to do whatever you want to do. All I needed to do was to retrieve an attribute value from an XML using the XPath that is provided as input parameter and to compare it with the expected value. What you want do with XMLDOM may be different and based on your application’s and automation needs. The reason I’m posting this is that if you’re using XMLDOM with QTP/VBScript for the first time, you can avoid the initial struggle that I went through and get the job done faster.

For Microsoft DOM reference (this is where I got most of the information I needed), visit this: The XPath language is described at:


1. The first step is to create a parser object and load the XML. The XML can be from a file or from a string. Here I’m using the loadXML() method to load it from the innertext property of a WebElement object that I retrieved earlier. To use a file, use the load() method instead.

Set xmlDoc = CreateObject("Microsoft.XMLDOM")
xmlDoc.async = false

You set the async property to false so that it doesn’t move on before the document is completely loaded. The reason I’m using CreateObject(“Microsoft.XMLDOM”) instead of XMLUtil.CreateXML() which is provided in QTP OM Reference is that when I used that, it gave me an error specifying that it couldn’t find the DTD file referenced in the XML. It seems that it needs the DTD if it’s mentioned in XML to be able to load it. I had the DTD and when I uploaded it to my local component folder, it worked fine. But since I could be running the test on a remote host, I didn’t want to have to upload that DTD to all my host machines. And I didn’t look into any other way. But if you decided to use the XMLData object provided by QTP, the objects and method names are different even though the overall steps will be the same. For example, to load the document, you’ll use:

Set xmlDoc = XMLUtil.CreateXML()

2. Once you have the XML object, you need to get to the desired element. I kept it simple and asked for the XPath to the desired element as an input parameter. Once I have that, I used the selectNodes() method to get all the nodes in the desired XPath.

Set objNodes = xmlDoc.selectNodes(nodeXPath)

This gives me a collection of all the nodes (specifically, the IXMLDOMNodeList object) that match the specified parameter ‘nodeXPath’. With QTP XMLData, you can use:

Set objNodes = xmlDoc.ChildElementsByPath(nodeXPath)

If nodeXPath is invalid or doesn’t match any elements, the length of the collection will be 0.

3. So now, I need to check the length of the collection and get to the actual element that I want. Since I didn’t need to care if multiple elements match the XPath, I just took the first element in the collection. The item property returns a single node (IXMLDOMNode) from the collection specified by the index, in this case 0.

If objNodes.length > 0 Then
Set objNode = objNodes.item(0)

4. Now that I have the actual element, I need to get the value of specified attribute. The getAttribute(name) method returns the value of the ‘name’ attribute. The attribute name and its expected value are passed as input parameters:

If StrComp(attrValue, objNode.getAttribute(attrName), vbTextCompare) = 0 Then
'expected value matches actual value

attrValue is the input parameter containing the expected value and attrName is the attribute name. If it matches, I write a Pass in the results and if not, it’s a fail. Once done, I clean up the objects.

Set xmlDoc = Nothing
Set objNodes = Nothing
Set objNode = Nothing

That’s pretty much it. Once we start using the component actively, I may come up with some more ideas to improve it. I’ll write about it if they provide me enough of a challenge.


Sample XML:

<User name="abcdefg" creator="Configurator" email="" disabled="false" locked="false">
<ObjectRef name="Employee" isWeak="false"/>
<Attribute name="employmenttype" type="string" value="Employee" syntax="string"/>
<Attribute name="firstname" type="string" value="a" syntax="string"/>
<Attribute name="fullname" type="string" value="a, a" syntax="string"/>
<Attribute name="ismanager" type="string" value="true" syntax="string"/>
<Attribute name="lastname" type="string" value="a" syntax="string"/>
<Attribute name="middlename" type="string" value="M" syntax="string"/>
<Attribute name="phone" type="string" value="9999999999" syntax="string"/>
<ObjectRef type="AdminRole" name="Manager" isWeak="false"/>

For example, the XPath to get to <Attribute> with name=employmenttype is: User/Attribute[@name='employmenttype’]