All posts by Rene

Firefox 57 Changes and XLT

Firefox 57 is going to deliver a fundamental change that will affect XLT Script Developer.

As you might know, Mozilla decided to completely remove the support for XUL/XPCOM-based extensions (aka legacy extensions) in favor of extensions built upon the WebExtension API. This cut will take place on November 14, 2017, with the release of Firefox 57. Additionally, Mozilla will refuse to sign updates of legacy extensions at some point in the near future, although the exact date is not determined yet. See the Mozilla Add-ons Blog for an up-to-date timeline.

The consequence of this breaking change is that XLT Script Developer cannot be installed in Firefox 57 and higher. Also, an already installed XLT Script Developer cannot be used any longer.

We at Xceptance have been aware of this development. Over the course of the last year we have been busy evaluating several alternative options. As you might recall, we also conducted a survey back in the spring to collect your feedback.

Based on our findings and your input and after long discussions, we came to the conclusion that the feature set and comfort that had been offered by XLT Script Developer and its way of writing web automation cannot be recreated using the alternative Firefox APIs.

Therefore, we regret to announce that Script Developer is discontinued. Consequently, we don’t recommend starting new test projects based on Script Developer and XML script test cases. To be able to continue to use the features of XLT and the advantages it offers, we suggest you use XLT’s Java-based API.

If you are able to use Firefox 56 or Firefox 52/ESR, maybe in parallel to an updated version of Firefox, you can continue to work with XLT Script Developer as well as execute all your test cases as you have been.

We are aware that this decision might disappoint many of you and may leave open questions. For more information on what shaped this decision and what your options are for maintaining your existing XML script test suites in the future or migrating them to another base, please see the Q&A section below.

Q&A

Why did Mozilla decide to abandon legacy extensions?

By design, legacy extensions have not only full access to your local file system but also to the entire browser and thus to all the pages you visit. This has been causing privacy and security issues and hence Mozilla decided to abandon the API to address these problems.

Why isn’t XLT Script Developer being ported to the WebExtension API?

The possibilities offered by the WebExtension API are very limited. One such limitation, and the most important one, is that access to the local file system involves a user interaction for each and every file to save or read. This would make Script Developer simply impossible to use.

Further restrictions apply. Most of them are related to accessing and manipulating session and browsing data such as cookies or cache. In the end, Script Developer would only be able to support a very reduced feature set.

And last but not least, the outcome of our customer survey revealed needs which cannot be met by such a modest visual, non-programming approach to writing tests. See the next question for more details on the feedback we received.

Why won’t XLT Script Developer be ported to another platform?

The outcome of our survey was that users wanted a tighter integration with Java/IDEs, more commands, more ways to customize things, better flow control, and more flexibility with test data. At the end of the day, this is a full programming approach and turning the XLT Script Developer into another programming environment couldn’t address all these points.

We also believe that the concept of XML script test cases with their limited capabilities are no longer appropriate for modern testing needs. Therefore we have decided to give it up in favor of the opportunities a real programming language provides.

Can I continue to use XLT Script Developer with Firefox 56?

Yes, but at your own risk. Remember that your browser cannot be updated and therefore will not receive any security fixes. Furthermore, it may not be possible to install any Script Developer updates as this Firefox version accepts signed extensions only. And Mozilla might stop signing legacy extensions any day. See below for a better solution.

Can I continue to use XLT Script Developer with Firefox 52/ESR?

Yes, absolutely. That is the recommended way to go, at least for the next months. First, Firefox 52/ESR (Extended Service Release) will be updated with security fixes until May 2018. If you continue to use Script Developer after that date, though, you do so at your own risk. Make sure that you use this browser version for scripting only.

Furthermore, Firefox 52/ESR can be tweaked to install legacy extensions even if they are not signed by Mozilla. This way, you are still able to install Script Developer updates in case Xceptance provides some in the future.

Will the XLT framework still be able to replay XML script test cases?

Yes, XLT will continue to interpret and execute your existing XML script test cases as JUnit tests via their wrapper classes.

How to migrate existing projects?

Export all your existing XML script test cases to Java (Scripting API). From this point, you maintain your test cases in your favorite Java IDE instead of the XLT Script Developer. Since the concepts and commands are the same as in Script Developer, you will be on top of things quickly.

Instead of running your XML test cases in Script Developer, you would now run your Java-based tests as JUnit tests using your preferred WebDriver either from your IDE or using a continuous integration system.

Since your code base is plain Java now, you are free to add all the things that you might have missed in the past.

Note that XLT 4.10.0 will ship with some enhancements for Java-based test cases. For instance, Script Developer will provide an alternative export template that produces more compact code. Additionally, writing test cases directly in Java will be more comfortable as well. Stay tuned for the upcoming release and find all the details in the release notes.

Make sure you subscribe to our low-volume XLT release and news mailing list.

How long will you release XLT Script Developer updates?

TBD. Future updates of Script Developer will be bug-fix releases only (shipped as unsigned extensions once Mozilla stops signing legacy extensions). Don’t expect any new features.

Are there any other options?

Yes. There are forks of Firefox that promise to continue supporting legacy extensions while being kept up-to-date at the same time. For instance, Script Developer installs and runs nicely in Waterfox. However, we cannot predict how long this will actually work.

XLT 4.9 has been released

Xceptance released version 4.9 of its load testing and test automation product Xceptance LoadTest. This is primarily a 3rd party update release, but also delivers some improvements.

Here is a selection of the most important changes:

  • Script Developer supports Firefox 53
  • Selenium updated to version 3.4.0
  • Better reporting of JavaScript errors in script test cases
  • Master controller displays the configured load profile
  • Load test reports can be created for a subset of agents
  • Load test reports shows the number of entries in data tables and shows summary values when filtering the table
  • Demo app server ports can be reconfigured easily

Script Developer

Script Developer has been made compatible with the latest available Firefox version, while outdated versions are not supported any longer. Script Developer runs on Firefox 45/ESR up to 53 now.

Update Instructions: Firefox will not auto-update older versions of Script Developer to 4.9.0. You will need to do this manually. Please remove the currently installed version first and afterwards install the new version by simply dragging and dropping the file xlt-scriptdeveloper-4.9.0.xpi onto Firefox. Auto-updating within the 4.9.x product line will then work as usual again.

Alternatively you can visit the Mozilla Add-On marketplace and install Script Developer from there (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/xceptance-script-developer/). Please make sure you uninstall your locally installed version first.

Framework

XLT now ships with Selenium 3.4.0. Make sure you update your locally installed driver binaries to the latest available version. This is especially true for geckodriver. In case you experience issues with geckodriver / Firefox, you might be better off running FirefoxDriver in legacy mode. The legacy mode is more mature.

All other core libraries have been updated as well. This also includes HtmlUnit for an improved browser emulation.

The XLT framework also comes with some functional improvements. In case a JavaScript expression in your script test case could not be evaluated successfully for any reason, the root cause will now be listed as part of the exception message. Libraries that make use of Java’s built-in logging framework do no longer log to the console, but to XLT’s log file.

Load and Performance Testing

The Mastercontroller now prints the configured load profile to the console when starting a load test and also when displaying the current status. This helps to spot test configuration mistakes earlier. Intermediate results downloaded, while a load test is still running, will now be flagged to distinguish them from final results.

The load test report shows the number of entries in a data table, and when filtering a data table, the footer row is updated accordingly. Load test reports may also be created for only a subset of the agents. You might remember that version 4.8 already delivered the ability to render reports for specific test cases only.

Last but not least, ec2_admin prints more details about running AWS machine instances and lets you review your choice before actually terminating running instances.

Demo App Server / Posters Store

The app server that hosts our demo applications uses ports 8080 and 8443 by default. Since these ports are often already used by other applications, you can now reconfigure them easily.

Our demo application Posters Store now runs with HTTPS only. Any HTTP request will be redirected to use HTTPS.

Sounds interesting? More details can be found in the release notes of XLT 4.9.

Release of XLT 4.8

XLT 4.8 is primarily a technology update release, but also comes with some new features.

First and foremost, XLT now ships with Selenium 3, the new version of the WebDriver library. All other core libraries have been updated as well. This also includes HtmlUnit for an improved browser emulation. Beginning with this release, XLT requires Java 8 to run.

The XLT framework also comes with some functional improvements. XLT now supports OperaDriver out of the box and can run FirefoxDriver in either the new Marionette mode using geckodriver or in the “old” legacy mode. When you drive Firefox via XltFirefoxDriver, you will get a much more detailed result browser now, with almost the same request and response details that you already know from XltDriver. Any values that you programmatically add to the newly introduced value log of a session are shown in the result browser as well. Furthermore, most of the XLT framework properties can now be configured not only globally, but also specifically for a certain test scenario.

For load testers, there is something in the box as well. If you use the AWS EC2 cloud a lot, you will be glad to hear that the new AWS data center in Ohio is now fully supported. The load test report has been tuned to become usable much faster, even with lengthy pages such as the Requests page.

Last but not least, the Poster Store demo application and the XLT Jenkins Plug-In have both been updated. If you ever wanted to load-test your WebDAV server, there is now a new demo test suite for that.

Sounds interesting? More details can be found in the release notes of XLT 4.8.

Release of XLT 4.7

Summary

Xceptance released version 4.7 of its load testing and test automation product Xceptance LoadTest. It features a wide range of improvements and new functionalities.

Here is a selection of the most important changes.

  • Script Developer fully supports test data sets now
  • Script Developer learned “post steps” for easy cleanup or tear down of test cases
  • Script Developer and the framework support the new echo command for enhanced debugging
  • Load testing supports a variable load factor function to easily and globally vary load quickly
  • Load test reports display DNS resolution time
  • Load test reports display error charts per error type and response code
  • Data tables and charts for custom values display more details
  • Data tables have sticky headers for easier data evaluation
  • Load test reports can be created for specific test scenarios by filtering to include or exclude specific scenarios during report creation
  • XLT can log method and POST data to its timer files
  • All core libraries have been updated for improved browser support and improved performance
  • The new Amazon data center in Mumbai, India (ap-south-1) has been added

See below for more details of the highlights. Make sure to read the full online release notes.

As always, this upgrade is free for everyone.

Continue reading Release of XLT 4.7

Xceptance at 11th Charity Relay in Jena

Yes, we did it again. We’re athletic and we care for our community, so we took on another sports challenge and had three of us participate in the 11th Relay Race in Jena, a charity run covering a 3x2km distance.

We had a lot of fun and did pretty well but most importantly we’re happy that this year’s funds will be donated to the Kindersprachbrücke Jena e.V., a local organization devoted to helping refugees and migrants, especially children and their families, learn German and find a new home in Jena.

Announcing the XLT Community Forum

Many of our customers have asked for it, and today we’re delivering it: the XLT Community Forum: https://ask.xceptance.de/.

This is your place to discuss test automation and performance testing with XLT. We would like to hear your opinion about the product, know your feature wishes, and see what you have done with XLT. Of course, this is also the place to ask for help, offer support, present solutions, and share results.

Xceptance will use this forum to:

  • announce new versions of XLT
  • present features and ideas
  • share general knowledge around testing
  • respond to support questions that are of general interest

You can ask support questions at any time and because this is a community forum, we encourage everyone to respond and share their wisdom. Xceptance might or might not engage in those conversations.

If you have support questions that need a guaranteed response, we recommend that you buy a support package. You can buy one online with the help of the XLT Self Service Center.

Please note that all contributions to this site are licensed under Creative Commons by Attribution 4.0 International. By engaging in a discussion you automatically agree to that.

The XLT Community Forum is powered by Discourse.

Tracking and Ad-Blocker Software

Summary in 64 words

Ad blockers are widely used tools these days. Users install this software to improve loading times of websites or to simply remove intrusive advertisement. But what does this mean for us as a testing company? We saw some sites break and are now including tests with enabled ad blockers. This helps our customers to see where problems might occur and to improve user experience.

Introduction

The amount of advertising increases and more and more users take this matter in their own hands and install ad blockers. Users also become privacy-conscious and do not want to expose their browsing behavior to an ever increasing number of companies. Facebook’s, Twitter’s, and Google’s ad or content pixels are on nearly every page nowadays. Adobe collects data as well with font services, Scene7, and Omniture. There are lots of big and small third parties that live on pages and are included as a service. We have seen websites with over 50 third party services on a single page of their web shop.

Continue reading Tracking and Ad-Blocker Software

Xceptance Goes by Bike

From May 9 – 29, the city of Jena hosts the so-called Stadtradeln event, a nation-wide campaign initiated by the Climate Alliance to foster climate protection and bicycle-friendly communities. Everyone is invited to get together in teams and compete for the most miles commuted by bike.

Banner StadtradelnA total of 46 teams is going to cycle in Jena and we are proud to announce Xceptance is one of them this year. Throughout the next couple of days we will therefore ditch our cars, get on our bikes as much as possible and track our miles as well as CO2 emissions saved. It is not that important to us where in the ranking we will end up: as an international company we still care about our local environment and we are happy to contribute in our own small way to climate protection and an eco-friendly Jena.

Our Demandware SiteGenesis Community Test Suite

The community test suite homepageToday, we are happy to announce the release of our new Demandware SiteGenesis Community Test Suite! It is a test suite for automated storefront testing of the Demandware SiteGenesis reference e-commerce storefront.

The test suite’s intention is to share experiences, transfer knowledge, and to demonstrate best practices in test automation. The test suite is built using XLT of course. XLT is freely available and extends concepts you already know from Selenium.
Continue reading Our Demandware SiteGenesis Community Test Suite