Simply Testable Updates August 2012 #3: Progress, Integration Automation, First Real Tests

Simply Testable Updates August 2012 #3: Progress, Integration Automation, First Real Tests

August 8, 2012
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This is the fourth of weekly progress updates on the development of Simply Testable, a brand new automated web frontend testing service providing one-click testing for your entire site.

This week has seen a big push towards getting something real working. Here's what I achieved:

This week has been focussed on getting actual automated tests running. Test jobs are now farmed out to workers, the workers carry out the tests and the workers then report back the results to the core application.

Apart from the end user initiating a new test, all these activies are carried out automatically over a distributed testing system. The automation of such activities is handled by a PHP port of Resque: a Redis-backed library for creating background jobs, placing those jobs on multiple queues, and processing them later.

This allows us to automate the distribution and carrying-out of multiple potentially time consuming tasks without having to keep the end user waiting whilst it all goes on. We can respond instantly to a request to start a new test and can provide precise feedback throughout the duration of the test.

HTML validation tests are nearly happening. Local copies of the W3C HTML validator, backed by the HTML5 validator, are up and running. HTML validation tests currently all report back the same fixed test output. I was hoping to have tied the two together before writing this newsletter but this isn't quite in place.

The automated integration environment is up and running. Once standard isolated unit test builds complete, the integration environment is rebuilt from scratch and an integration script that tests that the core application and workers interact correctly as a real website test is carried out. It's great to see that working.

This coming week I'll be building a prototype of the web frontend that will eventually be running at With the backend distributed testing system fundamentally in place, focus will be shifting towards allowing people to easily start new tests, view progress on tests as they happen and get results back once tests are complete.

This will then lead towards the local working prototype, marked on the roadmap as expected August 22, a week from now. This is still looking achieveable, although I admittedly have some wiggle room here as to how complete the working prototype will be.

A public alpha release on September 26 is still looking likely. That places the alpha 4 and a bit weeks after next week's local working prototype delivery. I expect to have a private alpha online prior to the public alpha release on around September 12. Now that I've said that I'm going to have to put that in the roadmap and stick to it.

If you're interested in joining the alpha or beta testing stages or if you have any thoughts, ideas or questions just drop an email to, follow @simplytestable or keep an eye on the Simply Testable blog.

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