One reason that automated UI tests can be unreliable is that they tend to be sensitive to what else is on screen at the time and even things like the current screen size. Developers running the tests locally also find it annoying to have windows opening and closing on their machine while the test runs and are unable to do anything else because their clicking might interfere with the test. At LMAX Exchange we solve that by isolating tests in their own X session, created using vncserver.
1 min read
Once an application goes live, it is absolutely essential that any future changes are able to be work with the existing data in production, typically by migrating it as changes are required. That existing data and the migrations applied to it are often the riskiest and least tested functions in the system. Mistakes in a migration will at best cause a multi-hour outage while backups are restored and more likely will subtly corrupt data, producing incorrect results that may go unnoticed for long periods making it impossible to roll back.
5 min read
Just like production code, you should assume things are going to go wrong in your tests and when it does you want good logging to help track down what happened and why. So just like production code, you should use a logging framework within your DSL, use meaningful log levels and think about what info you’d need in the logs if something went wrong (and what you don’t). There’s also a few things we’ve found very useful specifically in our test logging.
3 min read
Today LMAX Exchange has released ElementSpecification, a very small library we built to make working with selectors in selenium/WebDriver tests easier. It has three main aims: Make it easier to understand selectors by using a very English-like syntax Avoid common pitfalls when writing selectors that lead to either brittle or intermittent tests Strongly discourage writing overly complicated selectors. Essentially, we use ElementSpecification anywhere that we would have written CSS or XPath selectors by hand.
2 min read
Given our DSL makes heavy use of aliases, we often have to provide a way to include the real name or ID as part of some string. For example, an audit record for a new account might be: Created account 127322 with username someUser123. But in our acceptance test we’d create the user with: registrationAPI.createUser("someUser"); someUser is just an alias, the DSL creates a unique username to use and the system assigns a unique account ID that the DSL keeps track of for us.
2 min read
Previously in the Testing@LMAX series I’ve mentioned the way we’ve provided isolation between tests, allowing us to run them in parallel. That isolation extends all the way up to supporting a multi-tenancy module called venues which allows us to essentially run multiple, functionally separate exchanges on a single deployment of LMAX Exchange. We use the isolation of venues to reduce the amount of hardware we need to run our three separate liquidity pools (LMAX Professional, LMAX Institutional and LMAX Interbank), but that’s not all.
3 min read
One of the most common reasons people avoid writing end-to-end acceptance tests is how difficult it is to make them run fast. Primary amongst this is the time required to start up the entire service and shut it down again. At LMAX Exchange with the full exchange consisting of a large number of different services, multiple databases and other components start up is far too slow to be done for each test so our acceptance tests are designed to run against the same server instance and not interfere with each other.
3 min read
Testing time related functions is always a challenge – generally it involves adding some form of abstraction over the system clock which can then be stubbed, mocked or otherwise controlled by unit tests in order to test the functionality. At LMAX we like the confidence that end-to-end acceptance tests give us but, like most financial systems, a significant amount of our functionality is highly time dependent so we need the same kind of control over time but in a way that works even when the system is running as a whole (which means it’s running in multiple different JVMs or possibly even on different servers).
5 min read
LMAX Exchange has invested quite a lot of time into building a suite of automated tests to verify the behaviour of our exchange. While the majority of those tests are unit or integration tests that run extremely fast, in order for us to have confidence that the whole package fits together in the right way we have a lot of end-to-end acceptance tests as well. These tests deliver a huge amount of confidence and are thus highly valuable to us, but they come at a significant cost because end-to-end tests are relatively time consuming to run.
4 min read
One of the things we tend to take for granted a bit at LMAX is that we store the results of our acceptance test runs in a database to make them easy to analyse later. We not only store whether each test passed or not for each revision, but the failure message if it failed, when it ran, how long it took, what server it ran on and a bunch of other information. Having this info somewhere that’s easy to query lets us perform some fairly advanced analysis on our test data.
1 min read