Five reasons starting with F on why I use Watir

Bret Pettichord is working on a business case for Watir and has asked the Watir community for reasons on why they use it.

Here’s my ordered list of five reasons I use Watir:

1. It’s Free (as in beer)

Watir being free (as in beer) straight away makes it a very attractive test tool. This has meant that automated testing has ‘gotten in the door’ on projects where commercial automated testing tools would not have been looked at in the first place.

Once Watir’s benefits are evident, more and more team members want to use it. It is then a simple, quick install on other’s machines. The process for purchasing and generating commercial test tool licenses is often very lengthy and time consuming which means it ultimately won’t be running on as many machines as Watir will be.

2. It’s Free (as in freedom)

Because Watir is open source and uses a modern object oriented scripting language, it provides its users with the freedom to tailor it to how they want to use it. Nothing is hidden and mysterious so users can often solve their own problems without consulting others or vendor support.

3. It’s Flexible

Watir is a very flexible ruby library that supports many scripting tasks. The main reason I have used it is to conduct automated regression testing but I have also used it to create test data in systems, schedule and run automated web site monitoring scripts (complete with alerts), as well as one-off scripts that are quick to write and get the job done.

4. It’s Fast

Execution speed is as good as Quick Test Professional. The in built browser synchronisation is better than Quick Test Professional.

The ramp up time for users to learn ruby and watir is very fast compared to languages like TSL (WinRunner), SQA-Basic (RR) and Java (RFT).

The installation and implementation of Watir is fast, easy and lightweight. There are no server components to install like Selenium.

5. It’s Fun

Ruby is a unique programming language in that it has been designed to be fun and you can get better at using it every day. I love the ‘Ah-ha’ moments when using Ruby where you realise that you can do something just a little bit neater and more efficient.

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.