Getting Started with Ad Hoc Scripting
I find automation using a framework to be very different than ad hoc automation. This is typically because of the tools used (and the languages on which the tools are based), as well as the quality of my code. I find that when I’m throwing the code away, I have almost no comments, lots of typos, and a bad habit of implementing infinite loops by accident. Of course, when working in a framework, I don’t do any of that (except for the occasional infinite loop)—my code is clean, readable, and sometimes reviewed.
In terms of tools, typically I use an enterprise tool like Rational Robot or Rational Functional Tester (with a heavy language and a heavy IDE) for framework development, and a language like Ruby (with an intuitive language and a simple text editor) for ad hoc scripting. If you’re using an open source tool such as Watir for your framework automation, you won’t really have a problem switching back and forth.
If you’re new to scripting, I recommend Brian Marick’s book Scripting for Testers, due out late in 2006. I’ve read early versions of the book, and it’s an excellent reference for someone getting started. Bret Pettichord also has many great examples on his site—all worth a look.