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Better Practices for Crafting Automated Tests

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Over the past year or so, I have been tasked to clean up the automation stack in our feature area. During that time there were days when I just wanted to throw my hands in the air, but instead I just beat my head against my desk a few more times. It seemed that knocking myself senseless was the only way to try to make sense of what was going on inside some of the legacy automated test cases in our code base. After removing around 5000 lines of redundant code, reducing runtime by more than 20 minutes, and improving maintainability of the tests in our feature area I came up with a list of things to avoid when coding automated tests. Although not an exhaustive list of best practices, here are some ideas that can help testers develop automated tests that will be more robust, efficient, and potentially improve the effectiveness of your automation test suites.

 

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Bj Rollison (Microsoft Corporation, USA)

Bj Rollison is a Principal Test Lead at Microsoft responsible for integrating social networking features on the Windows Phone. Bj started his professional career building custom solutions for small and medium sized businesses for an OEM company in Japan in 1991. In 1994 he joined Microsoft’s Windows 95 international team. In 1996 he became a test manager in the Internet division responsible for shipping Internet Explorer 3.0 and 4.0 and several web-client products. He moved to Microsoft’s technical training group in 1999 as the Director of Testing responsible for planning and organizing training for more than 6000 Microsoft testers.

In 2003 Bj decided his passion was teaching and mentoring testers and became a Test Architect in the company’s Engineering Excellence group where he developed technical training curriculum, and taught testers and developers at Microsoft. Bj also teaches software testing courses at the University of Washington. Bj is a frequent speaker at international software testing conferences, and co-author of How We Test Software At Microsoft.

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