What IDE do you use for Watir?

Curiosity got the better of me yesterday when writing about using SciTE, so I did a quick twitter survey to see what other people actually use. I got 13 responses within hours, and they show that there really is no common IDE for Watir.

watir idesThe complete list of 13 responses:

  • Aptana: 1
  • Arachno: 1
  • eclipse-galileo: 1
  • NetBeans: 1
  • notepad++: 2
  • SCiTE: 4
  • TextMate: 1
  • vim: 2

Restoring ‘check syntax’ for ruby files in SciTE

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I still use SciTE to edit my ruby files for Watir, considering there are a lot more sophisticated IDEs out there that you can use (Netbeans is one).

When I am using a new version of SciTE I notice it seems to get rid of the options to check ruby syntax (often triggered by Control-1). This can be quickly fixed in the ruby.properties file (under ‘Options’) by ensuring the following properties appear after ‘if PLAT_WIN’:

command.go.*.rb=ruby $(FileNameExt)
command.go.*.rbw=rubyw $(FileNameExt)

command.name.1.*.rb=Check Syntax
command.1.*.rb=ruby -cw $(FileNameExt)
command.name.1.*.rbw=Check Syntax
command.1.*.rbw=rubyw -cw $(FileNameExt)

command.name.2.*.rb=Code Profiler
command.2.*.rb=ruby -r profile $(FileNameExt)
command.name.2.*.rbw=Code Profiler
command.2.*.rbw=rubyw -r profile $(FileNameExt)

command.name.3.*.rb=Run irb
command.name.3.*.rbw=Run irb

command.4.*.rb=ruby -d -r debug $(FileNameExt)
command.4.*.rbw= ruby -d -r debug $(FileNameExt)

Make sure the help command points to your ruby install. That way you also get nice F1 help on any highlighted ruby syntax.

Important update: 22 August 2009:

Make sure the line 3 above reads


not ‘=2’, otherwise stdout won’t be shown back in SciTE.

Version control your automated tests, quickly, easily, today for free

Why don’t testers version control their tests?

I am still surprised at how many organizations don’t version control their automated test scripts. I put it down to the following reasons:

  • Developers may use expensive version control tools, but sometimes there aren’t enough licenses for testers;
  • People don’t realize there are free version control tools available;
  • Setting up version control might be considered too difficult for the test team;
  • Some people believe you need to own a version control server to version your test scripts; or
  • Any combination of the above.

In reality:

  • If the software developers’ version control system is available for testers great, but if not, test scripts can be versioned separately;
  • There are many different free version control tools available. TortoiseSVN, which uses the Subversion (SVN) protocol, is very popular and very easy to use;
  • Setting up a new SVN repository using TortoiseSVN only takes a few minutes; and
  • You can set up a SVN repository on a shared network drive, so you don’t need a server (but a server is cool).

How to quickly set up a new SVN respository on a shared network drive (using Windows)

If you haven’t version controlled your test scripts yet, here’s how to do so.

  1. Download and install TortoiseSVN from http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org/ (it’s about 19MB, and requires a reboot: bummer :( )
  2. Find a location on a shared network drive where you can store your SVN repository. For example, it could be Q:\SVN  Repositories , create a new directory for your repository (eg. Q:\SVN  Repositories\WatirMelon\ and right click within this new directory in Windows Explorer, and choose TortoiseSVN, and then ‘create repository here’. The path to your new directory will be your SVN repository path. Create SVN Repository Here
  3. The repository should be created in a matter of seconds, and filled with some directories and files. These files/directories should never be touched, under any circumstances. Repository created successfully
  4. Now you need to create a local repository and check out the new repository (which will be blank initially). Create a directory on your local drive for your repository, for example C:\watirmelon, and right click within this directory and choose ‘SVN Checkout’. SVN Checkout
  5. You will need to specify the location of your repository you created in Step 2, but importantly you will need to add file:/// to the front, and change the backslashes into forward slashes. Checkout Dialog
  6. Once you click OK you have a repository (albeit blank) checked out. You would then simply add all your automated test scripts, then do an ‘SVN Add’, and ‘SVN commit’. If you want to use your automated tests on another machine, you simply checkout the repository following steps 4 & 5 above.


So there it is. Now there’s really no excuse not to version control your automated tests, considering it’s free, quick, easy and doesn’t require a server. So go and do it now (if you haven’t already).

Watir Logo Refresh Competition

With the launch of the new watir.com site, I thought it would be an appropriate time to refresh the Watir logo to be included on the site and all other Watir branded information.

Current Watir Logo by Jacinda Scott
Current Watir Logo by Jacinda Scott

The current logo (above) was designed some time ago by Jacinda Scott, and has served Watir well, but it would be great if someone in the Watir community could propose a refresh of sorts.

One of the issues with the current logo is that we don’t have a high- resolution (or .svg) version, so it is hard to use the logo to full effect.

There has been positive feedback about the current logo, it is round (like the web browser icons, firefox, ie, opera, etc.) and it is blue and ‘water’ like.

I am proposing a logo redesign/refresh competition where you can take the current logo, and propose something fresh. It would be great if it keeps the browser-ish style with some sort of water/blue theme.

Once some designs have been submitted (over the next week – up until say Sunday 9th August), I will compile these and have the Watir community vote on what they think is the best one. The winner shall receive all the praise and glory of having their logo redesign on the watir.com site (with credits of course).

Please email your designs (preferably in .png and/or .svg) to alister dot scott at gmail by 9th August.


I have spent a bit of time over the last few days setting up Watir.com, hosted here on WordPress.

We were originally aiming to host our own version of Confluence and JIRA and use Confluence to serve the Watir.com homepage, but this ended up being a lot more complicated and expensive than originally planned.

The great thing about WordPress is, although it was originally a blogging platform, its functionality also works as a very neat CMS. Whilst wordpress.com has some limitations over wordpress.org, we can live with these limitations for now as we have a free (as in beer) hosted site that the world can see.

Check it out.


Australian Test Automation Workshop (TAW) 2009

TAW 2009 is coming up on August 27 & 28 and I have already confirmed my attendance (GTAC is a very long flight!) and created a LinkedIn event. TAW is held every year at Bond University on the Gold Coast in Australia.

I did a quick presentation last year, and I think I might do something a bit different this year.

You can download the presentation in full here.

My ANZTB SIGIST Watir Slides

It’s been a while since I presented at the Brisbane ANZTB SIGIST but here are my slides: note no bullets (as usual).

(it’s a shame you can’t embed Google Docs presentations here yet)