[prog] Programming for QA folks

Jacinta Richardson jarich at perltraining.com.au
Sat Jun 16 01:05:12 UTC 2007

Anna Baik wrote:

> Could anyone suggest any good resources (either online or books) for
> shell scripting/Perl - especially if they're aimed specifically at QA
> folks?

For learning Perl I can recommend our course Programming Perl notes:

we cover a tiny bit of Perl testing in our Perl Security notes which can be
found on the same page.

> Background info: I'm a software tester working for a group who support
> a large "legacy" system in my company.   We'd really like to automate
> some of our regression testing 

Perl's TAP (test anything protocol) really can test anything.  It certainly
helps to know basic Perl programming to get started with it, but once you have
that, testing other applications becomes really easy.  I would especially
recommend the following book:

	Perl Testing - A developer's notebook
	Ian Langworth & chromatic
	O'Reilly, 2005, ISBN: 0 596 10092 2

(also called the coffee-stain book).  I'd be very happy to help you get your
first set of tests written.

> So any general advice on
> good coding standards would be great!

If you're planning to be coding in Perl, then I recommend getting and reading
any relevant parts of the following book:

	Perl Best Practices
	Damian Conway
	O'Reilly, 2005, ISBN: 0-596-00173-8

> I'm not sure whether or to try learning Perl - I get the impression
> that although powerful it can be a bit hard to learn.

Perl isn't an ideal first language, but it's not too bad.  Taken in small steps,
it's not that hard to learn.  We manage to teach all of the important
fundamentals in our classes within 4 days, although we make it a prerequisite
that the attendees already know how to program.

>  Also, I think
> (but am not sure) that it would be more likely that any future testers
> would already know shell scripting but might not know Perl - so that
> would also be a reason to write stuff in Korn shell.  On the other
> hand, I might be totally wrong and it might be *more* likely they'd
> know Perl, not less!

If your test suite is well written and well documented, it should be relatively
easy for future testers to learn sufficient Perl to write further tests.  In my
experience (within Australia) businesses are moving away from the various shells
and into Perl or Python because graduates and new employees don't know how to
shell program.

All the best,


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