Category Archives: RubyTest

Comes Now, DebugHelper

I have no idea how many times I’ve typed code like this (to do printf-style debugging):

my_hash.each_pair do |key, value|
  p [key, value]

I’ve finally wised up, and built a helper method to support this:


The method allows any data, and specifically supports Hash-like and Array-like structures.

It also allows an optional name (defaults to data class-name) and message.

Typical outputs:

Hash (size=3)
  a => 0
  b => 1
  c => 2

Array (size=3)
  0: a
  1: b
  2: c

And here’s my helper class:

# Class to help in 'printf' debugging.
class DebugHelper
  def self.printf(data, name = data.class.to_s, description = '')
    size = data.respond_to?(:size) ? data.size : 1
    puts format('%s (size=%d) %s', name, size, description)
      when data.respond_to?(:each_pair)
        # Hash-like.
        data.each_pair do |k, v|
          puts format('  %s => %s', k, v)
      when data.respond_to?(:each_with_index)
        # Array-like or Set-like.
        data.each_with_index do |v, i|
          puts format('  %6d: %s', i, v)
        puts format('  %s', data.inspect)

Test Automation Sherpa

“Test Automation Professional / Zealot” is the title I have in my resume.

But I’m not a tester, and still less a “quality” engineer.

Then what am I?

To borrow from mountain-climbing vocabulary, I’m not a climber, I’m a sherpa — one who does much of the heavy lifting, creates base camps, and keeps the climbers progressing happily and safely.

In that spirit, I aim to make it possible for others to do automated testing easily and reliably.

For a year now I’ve worked on my GitHub project, RubyTest, which embodies what I’ve learned in long years of building test automation.

It includes:

  • Core (application-independent) support:
    • Base classes
    • Helper classes
    • Logging
    • Reporting
  • Unit testing for the core (of course!).
  • Example domain-specific code:
    • Page objects, for web UI testing.
    • Endpoint objects, for TEST API testing.
    • Data objects, for both types of testing.
  • Example domain-specific tests.

Most recently, I’ve been building a Tester Tour of part of the project — the part that demonstrates testing for a REST API and a web UI. (The demo test targets are GitHub’s own REST API and web UI.)


You can see the tour here.

Any feedback appreciated, either as Issues on GH, comments here, or private email.

Hash (In)equality

In my automated testing, I often want to test a pair of hashes for equality. If the pair is equal, well enough.

But if they’re not equal, the simple way to record that is to log the failure, along with the two hashes. If the hashes are very small: I can visually compare them to determine the differences.

But for larger hashes, I can’t easily determine the differences visually. That’s where my class HashHelpler comes in.

It has method, actual) that accepts the expected and actual hashes, and returns a hash having four keys and their corresponding values:

  • :ok: value is a hash containing the key/value pairs that are in both expected and actual.
  • :missing: value is a hash containing the key/value pairs that are in expected, but not in actual.
  • :unexpected: value is a hash containing the key/value pairs that are in actual, but not in expected.
  • :changed: value is a hash detailing the keys that are in both expected and actual, but whose values differ.

So: in my method Log#verdict_assert_equal?, a failed hash comparison gets and logs the detailed differences, making it easy to see what’s what.


Method Name As Documentation

Hey, Ruby coders!

Do you recognize this idiom?


Or this one?


When I wanted to do these two things in my RubyTest project, I had to Google to find out how.

Now if I put this code into my project, will I recognize these idioms later on? Next month? Next year?

I could add comments to explain, but a comment can get stale (not keep up with code changes), or get separated from its code, or even get deleted.

You can help your downstream code enhancer/maintainer by pushing an unusual idiom into a well-named method.

(Hint: If you’re not sure who is the downstream enhancer/maintainer, it’s you!)

Thus, I created this:

class ObjectHelper

  def self.get_class_for_class_name(class_name)

  def self.instantiate_class_for_class_name(class_name, *args)


PS: My GitHub project is about test automation in Ruby. It has a Tester Tour of the demo testing for a web UI and for a REST API.