Tuesday, February 07, 2006

QUTE looks, er, cute

Finally QUTE is available for download! The Quick Unit Testing Engine is the latest offering from Steven Feuerstein (Whom God Preserve) and is well worth a look. It's a tool for declaratively building PL/SQL unit tests. That is, QUTE provides a GUI for specifying test inputs and expected outputs; the tool generates the actual test code and executes it. There's lots of features for customising the code, defining test fixtures, etc. We can export QUTE test suites to a file. This means we can put them in source control alongside the PL/SQL application.

Essentially it is an evolution of his utPLSQL API. I love utPLSQL: it's a major contribution to code safety and I never understood why more people didn't use it. Perhaps everybody else always gets things right first time. I see there is a function so we can import our existing utPLSQL tests into QUTE. Unfortunately this hasn't worked for the two suites I've tried it with. I think this feature is an important one as I don't want to have to bounce between two different testing tools.

My main reservation is that when the program failed with a PLS-6502 error QUTE crashed and had to be re-started. I don't think that is very friendly. My other concern is more philosophical: QUTE isn't Test First. By its very nature we have to have a program unit signature before we can code a test. But once over that hump I'm sure we can get into a more Test Driven cycle.

Steven is still not certain about the roadmap yet. But he stated on the utPLSQL forum that QUTE will remain free for the foreseeable future. And as QUTE offers the ability to generate utPLSQL test suites we will retain our investment in the tests whatever he eventually decides.

At the moment QUTE is beta and there's plenty of room for improvement but I still think everybody ought to start using it now. Don't Google for it (Qute is the name of a FireFox icon set and several other things): download it from here.

Update: 15-FEB-2006

I downloaded QUTE r3 last night and they've fixed the utPLSQL import bugs. Hurrah!


Blogger Robert Vollman said...

AC said: "My other concern is more philosophical: QUTE isn't Test First. By its very nature we have to have a program unit signature before we can code a test."

That is a very big concern to me. In fact I'm surprised that someone who knows as much about unit testing as Steven Feuerstein wouldn't allow for "test first" philosophy. Indeed, in my humble opinion, anyone who doesn't seriously consider "test first" philosophy has an inadequate understanding of unit testing, an understanding which would also be inadequate to design a decent unit testing program. Then again, I also like utPLSQL and am a big fan of Feuerstein, so who knows.

7 February 2006 at 12:52:00 GMT-8  
Blogger APC said...


If you read Steven's reply to Patrick Barel's response to the announcement on the utPLSQL forum you will see that he is hoping to target QUTE at users as well as developers. (I link to this in my piece). His view is that the user-unfriendliness of a PL/SQL API was partly responsible for the low uptake of utPLSQL and that a GUI might have a broader audience.

I'm not sure I wholly see the point of this: I think something like Fitnesse is better suited to UAT that something like QUTE. Users are not going to be interested in testing the nuts and bolts of our applications. They want to know whether we have correctly implemented their business functions.

8 February 2006 at 01:12:00 GMT-8  
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