The Way of the Web Tester – Book Review

The Way of the Web Tester - A Beginner's Guide to Automating Tests

Which Problem does this book solve?

Starting with automated testing is not an easy endeavor. The information about it on the internet can be sparse, or at least not well prepared and structures. This is especially true when it comes to starting from zero – this is where “The Way of the Web Tester” has its place.

Target Audience

“The Way of the Web Tester” is talking directly to future testers and developers, who want to have an insight into the topic. Even if you do not know anything, there won’t be a problem in understanding and learning the concepts presented in this book.  If you have to coach news testers, you should give it a shot too. The author found a good way to introduce people into automated testing.

Structure and Content

With little over 200 pages, not counting the appendix, the book provides an amount of material you go through in a week. The title is separated into 12 chapters and two parts. The first part works like an onboarding, while the second part is teaching you how to apply what you have learned. At the end of every chapter, there is a nice “What we have learned” section, making reviewing content for learning an easy thing.

The author and editor made a point out of writing easy to understand texts. I feel like that got too far, and the language ended up childish at times. I understand that the goal is not to frighten you with complicated terminology, but this was too much for me. It is matching the quite funny and great illustrations, but this is still a book for grownups.
One point I am not sure about is how basic the contents sometimes are. The book, for example, explains HTML and CSS it does not go deep and starts literally at the basics. I read these parts for the review, but if you know these technologies, just skip them. Maybe this is knowledge the Author should have expected so he could have skipped it, to provide more information about testing.

A great thing the book does is that it gives you little tasks. At one point it asks you to imagine possible test cases and gives you a space in the book to write it down at, like a proper workbook. It does this several times; I liked it, because doing something like this will help you to reflect on what you just read, and it will help you to memorize it – awesome!

To explain what and when to test, the author is utilizing the “testing pyramid,” a well known and established tool to evaluate what to do. Readers who understand it will profit and the whole book is built around it. There are several interpretations of this pyramid with a varying amount of elements. In “The Way of the Web Tester” we learn with a simple testing pyramid, it includes Unit, Integration and UI test – it is all you need most of the time anything more would have been too much for the scope of the book, and I like the approach. After you understood the pyramid and over time, you are able to customize it for your purposes.

Each chapter is going to build your understanding of the pyramid. You will learn what Unit, Integration and UI tests are, where the difference are, how to use them, how not to use them and which problems they have. The structure in which this is done is thought thru. It front loads what the tests can do and what they are good at and when you have got the picture you will be educated about how not to abuse them in a way that will get you into trouble. The “don’t create trouble for yourself and others” part is very extensive when it comes to UI test and mocking. These two tools are powerful, but they have some inherent dangers, which can mess up a project.

The examples and tips regarding unit tests are sound – there is also an introduction into Test-Driven-Development. This is out of the scope of the book, just follow the reading recommendations – some the author gives you regularly.

When you made it this far, part two of the book starts, with a basic introduction to programming. There is good information about coding style, how and when to comment, how to find useful names and how to handle duplication. You will also learn how to refactor. These problems are the classic coding problem, but automated testing often is coding so that you will have the same problem there – this part makes much sense.

Chapter 10 is about how to organize unit tests and chapter 11 talks about mocks and stubs; these are most advanced topics this book is talking about.

TL;DR

After reading this book, I felt educated. The author had a clear goal to enabled everyone from the bottom up. Like I wrote earlier some of the contents I found are too basic – but I do not think “The Way of the Web Tester” is a worse book for trying hard to provide everything the reader needs to know.

If you want to be a tester and you are looking for a kickstart – read this book. After that you should follow the reading recommendations too and you will learn to be a professional tester.

If you need to teach a few bloody beginners, use this book to do so.

A definite recommendation!

Pros

– Active learning tasks, a great tool for learning.
– Good Books tips for further reading.
– Easy to read and understand.

Cons

– A developer might have to skip some content.
– In the beginning, the language can be childish.

Where to buy?

Get it here: https://pragprog.com/book/jrtest/the-way-of-the-web-tester or from your local Amazon.

More About the Author

Jonathan Rasmusson has his own blog; you can find it here: https://agilewarrior.wordpress.com/ or follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrasmusson

I am pretty sure there is much more he is able and willing to teach to.

Information about the book

Title: The Way of the Web Tester A Beginner’s Guide to Automating Tests
Author: Jonathan Rasmusson
Editor: Susannah Pfalzer
Publisher: The Pragmatic Programmers
Pages: 227
Language: Englisch
Year: 2016
ISBN: 978 – 1 – 68050 – 183 -4

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