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Simple Solution to a Complex Problem

The following example was written for the open-source testing tool WATIR (pronounced water), short for Web Application Testing in Ruby. This article was written using version 1.0.1.

For a sample application, we'll look at Bookpool.com. This is a great intuitive example of an everyday e-commerce web site.

Let's begin by looking at the finished product and work our way backward from there. Figure 1 shows a sample of the spreadsheet that we used to debug the deployment environment and eventually sent to management.

Let's break this apart and look at each piece in isolation:

  • Columns A, B, and C represent deployment environment, application page (or function), and time in seconds, respectively.
  • Pages and functions are formatted to be hidden using the +/- buttons on the left.
  • Each page or function contains a subtotal for the function, showing the average time (in seconds) for that page/function, as shown in Figure 2.
  • If you expand a page/function, you can see all of the actual data that was collected for that page or function (see Figure 3).
  • The average time (in seconds) for all pages and functions for the environment is then listed, as shown in Figure 4.

It's fairly simple. At the lowest level is always an average. If you want to display the source of that data, click the expand (+) button. We typically sent this information to management on a weekly basis. Our average spreadsheet would have around 2,200 rows of data and contain information on no less then five deployment environments.

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