Welcome!

Java Authors: Paige Leidig, Carmen Gonzalez, Trevor Parsons, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: Java, Weblogic, AJAX & REA, Oracle, HP

Java: Article

An Introduction to Abbot

A Friendly JUnit Extension for GUI Testing

Graphical user interface (GUI) testing is a potentially problematic area because constructing effective test cases is more difficult than the corresponding application logic. The roadblocks to effective functional GUI testing are:

  • Traditional test coverage criteria like "80% coverage of the lines of code" may not be sufficient to trap all the user interaction scenarios.
  • End users often use a different user task interaction model than the one conceived by the development team.

    Functional GUI testing needs to deal with GUI events as well as the effects of the underlying application logic that results in changes to the data and presentation.

    The common methods for functional GUI testing are the "record and execute" script technique and writing test programs for different scenarios. In the "record and execute," the test designer interacts with the GUI and all the events are recorded in a script. The script can later be replayed to re-create user interactions for a particular scenario. In the test programs, the test designer tries to understand and write tests for the various GUI decision points.

    This article discusses how Abbot can be used to quickly and effectively come up with a comprehensive GUI test framework for Swing GUI applications. Abbot (http://abbot.sourceforge.net/) is a JUnit extension for Swing GUI testing. It provides an interesting framework that can be used for test case generation as well as "record and execute" scripting.

    Introduction to Abbot
    Abbot builds upon the java.awt.Robot class to provide an automated event generation and validation framework for Swing GUI components. The framework can be used to create, record, and execute scripts and programmatic test cases in Java. Abbot also has a script editor called Costello that facilitates the creation of scripts in XML. The framework can also be well integrated to run with JUnit.

    To illustrate the use of Abbot to create a GUI test infrastructure, this article will make use of the following two scenarios.

    1.   GUI already exists: The GUI has been coded and the application needs to be tested, but no unit tests are available. This scenario will primarily make use of the "record and execute" style and then focus on how test suites can be created and run with JUnit.

    2.   GUI has not been coded: The GUI has been designed on paper; however, no working code exists. This scenario will primarily focus on creating test cases in Java. This method will create a homogeneous suite of tests both for the back-end application code and the GUI.

    The two scenarios focus on the end-point cases in functional GUI testing. The principles mentioned can be mixed and matched to suit the needs of the project. To get started with Abbot, download the JAR files and place them in the lib directory of the project.

    Scenario One: GUI Already Exists
    In this scenario, most of the GUI has already been coded. Automated testing is not available and the testing is mainly being done by hand. The goal is to come up with a test suite in the shortest time possible so that the quality metrics for the project can be met effectively.

    The script editor Costello will be used to develop a battery of tests. Costello provides the "record and execute" functionality that will allow us to record different user interaction scenarios with the GUI and test those scenarios efficiently. The scripts that record the user interactions are saved as XML. The salient features of the scripts that help in rapidly creating a functional test framework are:

  • Focuses on test creation: The XML-based scripts can be written rapidly (directly or by using Costello) and are dynamically interpreted by Abbot. There's no need to write new code and compile test cases.
  • Focuses on validating GUI decision points: Abbot allows the test creators to add assertions to check for values resulting from user interactions. The assert tag is used to check for valid results from a user interaction before the script proceeds. This feature is very useful, as it helps pinpoint the step in which the GUI fails and aids in regression testing.
  • Provides infrastructure to create robust scripts: Some GUI "record and execute" tools produce very fragile scripts. These tools not only store the events but also the GUI component position information, such as coordinates, to identify them. These scripts are very fragile because any change in positional attributes (changes in layout or running the script on a different platform) breaks the scripts. Abbot uses a number of attributes to dynamically identify the component without depending on any positional attributes. These attributes in aggregate form a component reference, which can be used within the script even before the component itself necessarily exists.
  • Provides a high-level abstraction over the Java Robot class: Abbot builds on top of the Java Robot class by providing a layer of abstraction. The abstraction layer allows end users to create test cases that can capture high-level semantics like the OK button, Select CO from the list of states, etc. This makes the scripts easy to understand and enhances them in the future.

    An example of a test script in XML is provided in Listing 1.

    With this background about the features of the script, it's time to look into how to use the script editor to create the test cases. The sample GUI shown in Figure 1 is an example from the Java Swing tutorial available at java.sun.com.

    The GUI is a Celsius-to-Fahrenheit converter that takes in a numeric value and on the button click displays the converted result in Fahrenheit. To test this GUI, we can write some simple GUI tests to verify the results on the input of a positive number, a negative number, and a nonnumeric input.

  • More Stories By Satadip Dutta

    Satadip Dutta is a software architect at Hewlett-Packard (http://devresource.hp.com) and has been programming in Java since 1997. His areas of interest include distributed software architecture, Web services, and user interface design. Satadip holds an MS in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.

    Comments (7) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Most Recent Comments
    Ashwath 01/18/05 02:34:16 AM EST

    I tried to run the code that u haven for 'GUI already exista' scenario. But it doen't work.. give me some eg.s

    tlroche 08/22/03 10:05:14 PM EDT

    "Abbot for SWT" (project name=abbotforswt) is an Eclipse plugin
    which seeks to extend Abbot ... for SWT (but you guessed :-) It is
    currently available only from the IIOSB (a "walled garden" version of
    SourceForge inaccessible outside IBM) @

    https://w3.opensource.ibm.com/projects/abbotforswt/

    (IIOSB residence is intended to be temporary. We are currently in IBM
    Open Source Steering Committee pre-review, and therefore hope to
    contribute our extensions back to Abbot sometime this millenium :-)
    For more detail, including

    * how abbotforswt extends j.a.Robot and Abbot

    * abbotforswt vs blackbox tools (e.g. RobotJ/XDE Tester)

    * related Eclipse 3.0 plan items

    see the (currently rather crude) abbotforswt homepage

    To demonstrate abbotforswt's feasibility, we have taken scenario 2
    from the JDJ article above, recoded its SUT (a dialog) in SWT, and
    designed and implemented an API targeting SWT equivalent to Abbot's
    existing API targeting AWT/Swing. For more details, see our release
    notes.

    Sound interesting? Try it out! However, first:

    <required type="legalese">

    If you are an IBMer and have NOT already completed your "OSPG
    training," please read the Open Source Participation Guidelines
    before you check out any code.

    </required>

    You have 2 installation options. Instructions are for Eclipse/
    WebSphere Studio users:

    0 Install the release zip. Goto our release page

    read the "IMPORTANT NOTICE", then follow the instructions in the
    release notes

    Note that you need not register for IIOSB to get the release, but we
    hope you will, because you're a fine human being. (Apologies for
    speciesism to all the fine non-human programmers out there :-)

    1 Install from CVS. This is a good first step toward becoming an
    abbotforswt contributor!

    - Run your development workbench (devbench) with either Target
    Platform pointing to a WSAD build (which is how I tested), or just
    import org.apache.xerces (should work, but not tested).

    - Create a new CVS repository location with

    host=cvs.opensource.ibm.com
    repository path=/cvs/abbotforswt
    user=anonymous
    no password
    connection type=pserver

    and check out HEAD/abbotforswt.

    - Browse to our release notes

    search or scroll to "run the demo"

    - Skip to step 4

    The demo can then be run in each of 3 ways, all of which are
    documented in the release notes:

    * using Test Collector in a launched WebSphere Studio build

    * using pde.junit to launch an Eclipse or WS build

    * using Eclipse's JUnit to launch just the UI

    tlroche 08/22/03 09:55:08 PM EDT

    "Abbot for SWT" (project name=abbotforswt) is an Eclipse plugin which seeks to extend Abbot ... for SWT (but you guessed :-) It is currently available only from the IIOSB (a "walled garden" version of SourceForge inaccessible outside IBM) @

    https://w3.opensource.ibm.com/projects/abbotforswt/

    (IIOSB residence is intended to be temporary. We are currently in IBM Open Source Steering Committee pre-review, and therefore hope to contribute our extensions back to Abbot sometime this millenium :-) For more detail, including

    * how abbotforswt extends j.a.Robot and Abbot

    * abbotforswt vs blackbox tools (e.g. RobotJ/XDE Tester)

    * related Eclipse 3.0 plan items

    see the (currently rather crude) abbotforswt homepage

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/~abbotforswt/

    To demonstrate abbotforswt's feasibility, we have taken scenario 2 from the JDJ article above, recoded its SUT (a dialog) in SWT, and designed and implemented an API targeting SWT equivalent to Abbot's existing API targeting AWT/Swing. For more details, see our release notes @

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/shownotes.php?release_id=597

    Sound interesting? Try it out! However, first:

    If you are an IBMer and have NOT already completed your "OSPG training," please read the Open Source Participation Guidelines

    http://ltc.linux.ibm.com/open_source/ospg.html

    before you check out any code.

    You have 2 installation options. Instructions are for Eclipse/ WebSphere Studio users:

    0 Install the release zip. Goto our release page

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/showfiles.php?group_id=1023

    read the "IMPORTANT NOTICE", then follow the instructions in the release notes

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/shownotes.php?release_id=597

    Note that you need not register for IIOSB to get the release, but we hope you will, because you're a fine human being. (Apologies for speciesism to all the fine non-human programmers

    http://www.newtechusa.com/PPI/pressroom.asp#higher

    out there :-)

    1 Install from CVS. This is a good first step toward becoming an abbotforswt contributor!

    - Run your development workbench (devbench) with either Target Platform pointing to a WSAD build (which is how I tested), or just import org.apache.xerces (should work, but not tested).

    - Create a new CVS repository location with

    host=cvs.opensource.ibm.com
    repository path=/cvs/abbotforswt
    user=anonymous
    no password
    connection type=pserver

    and check out HEAD/abbotforswt.

    - Browse to our release notes

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/shownotes.php?release_id=597

    search or scroll to "run the demo"

    - Skip to step 4

    The demo can then be run in each of 3 ways, all of which are documented in the release notes:

    * using Test Collector in a launched WebSphere Studio build

    * using pde.junit to launch an Eclipse or WS build

    * using Eclipse's JUnit to launch just the UI

    tlroche 08/22/03 09:51:39 PM EDT

    "Abbot for SWT" (project name=abbotforswt) is an Eclipse plugin which seeks to extend Abbot ... for SWT (but you guessed :-) It is currently available only from the IIOSB (a "walled garden" version of SourceForge inaccessible outside IBM) @

    https://w3.opensource.ibm.com/projects/abbotforswt/

    (IIOSB residence is intended to be temporary. We are currently in IBM Open Source Steering Committee pre-review, and therefore hope to contribute our extensions back to Abbot sometime this millenium :-) For more detail, including

    * how abbotforswt extends j.a.Robot and Abbot

    * abbotforswt vs blackbox tools (e.g. RobotJ/XDE Tester)

    * related Eclipse 3.0 plan items

    see the (currently rather crude) abbotforswt homepage

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/~abbotforswt/

    To demonstrate abbotforswt's feasibility, we have taken scenario 2 from the JDJ article above, recoded its SUT (a dialog) in SWT, and designed and implemented an API targeting SWT equivalent to Abbot's existing API targeting AWT/Swing. For more details, see our release notes @

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/shownotes.php?release_id=597

    Sound interesting? Try it out! However, first:

    If you are an IBMer and have NOT already completed your "OSPG training," please read the Open Source Participation Guidelines

    http://ltc.linux.ibm.com/open_source/ospg.html

    before you check out any code.

    You have 2 installation options. Instructions are for Eclipse/ WebSphere Studio users:

    0 Install the release zip. Goto our release page

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/showfiles.php?group_id=1023

    read the "IMPORTANT NOTICE", then follow the instructions in the release notes

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/shownotes.php?release_id=597

    Note that you need not register for IIOSB to get the release, but we hope you will, because you're a fine human being. (Apologies for speciesism to all the fine non-human programmers

    http://www.newtechusa.com/PPI/pressroom.asp#higher

    out there :-)

    1 Install from CVS. This is a good first step toward becoming an abbotforswt contributor!

    - Run your development workbench (devbench) with either Target Platform pointing to a WSAD build (which is how I tested), or just import org.apache.xerces (should work, but not tested).

    - Create a new CVS repository location with

    host=cvs.opensource.ibm.com
    repository path=/cvs/abbotforswt
    user=anonymous
    no password
    connection type=pserver

    and check out HEAD/abbotforswt.

    - Browse to our release notes

    http://w3.opensource.ibm.com/project/shownotes.php?release_id=597

    search or scroll to "run the demo"

    - Skip to step 4

    The demo can then be run in each of 3 ways, all of which are documented in the release notes:

    * using Test Collector in a launched WebSphere Studio build

    * using pde.junit to launch an Eclipse or WS build

    * using Eclipse's JUnit to launch just the UI

    Jeff 04/29/03 08:26:00 PM EDT

    I believe this is a forum in which comments need to be made about the article and its vaildity.

    The above messages should be in English and any concerns/comments should be made available for the benefit for all in the community

    Bhojohori Manna 04/29/03 06:00:00 AM EDT

    Chee chee, Ei rokom gala gali dile hobe.Dada koto bhalo article likheche.

    Utgandu 04/29/03 05:54:00 AM EDT

    Dada,ei jinis poisa diye keu porbe bhebechen apni?USa te theke apnio sobar moto boka patha hoye gechen .Apni ei jinista kotha theke chotha korechen?Ar apni ki GUI Master ke chenen???jobab chai,jobab dao.

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
    Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
    The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
    From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
    The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
    The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
    As a disruptive technology, Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), which is an emerging standard of web communications, is redefining how brands and consumers communicate in real time. The on-going narrative around WebRTC has largely been around incorporating video, audio and chat functions to apps. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Alex Gouaillard, Founder and CTO of Temasys Communications, will look at a fourth element – data channels – and talk about its potential to move WebRTC beyond browsers and into the Internet of Things.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research's network of 200+ independent analysts provides new content daily that bridges the gap between break...
    We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
    The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
    Swiss innovators dizmo Inc. launches its ground-breaking software, which turns any digital surface into an immersive platform. The dizmo platform seamlessly connects digital and physical objects in the home and at the workplace. Dizmo breaks down traditional boundaries between device, operating systems, apps and software, transforming the way users work, play and live. It supports orchestration and collaboration in an unparalleled way enabling any data to instantaneously be accessed on any surface, anywhere and made interactive. Dizmo brings fantasies as seen in Sci-fi movies such as Iro...
    Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
    One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
    The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
    As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
    Connected devices are changing the way we go about our everyday life, from wearables to driverless cars, to smart grids and entire industries revolutionizing business opportunities through smart objects, capable of two-way communication. But what happens when objects are given an IP-address, and we rely on that connection, sometimes with our lives? How do we secure those vast data infrastructures and safe-keep the privacy of sensitive information? This session will outline how each and every connected device can uphold a core root of trust via a unique cryptographic signature – a “bir...
    Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...