There are many reasons why I am writing about AutoIt and not Perl or Ruby as a mechanism for free GUI test automation on windows. Here I have listed just 5 of them, and I know that some people are going to look at the list and think that what I am touting as a good reason is a bad one for them…
- is well documented
- does not require an install so I can carry it around on a usb stick
- has a good and standard editor/IDE
- scripts can easily be converted to .exe
- looks and feels like BASIC
AutoIt is well documented
AutoIt is supplied with good documentation, in the form of a .chm file and online. There are also a lot of examples provided with the install. This makes it very easy to learn and have a good source of easy to find examples to copy. The main AutoIt website has easily accessible forums and links to plenty of 3rd party tutorials to help get you up to speed.
Works from a USB stick
This means that when I install it on my system I know that I’m not going to mess up my machine installation. It also means that I have an automation platform with me wherever I go. How handy is that?
Has a good and standard editor/IDE
I do not want to count the amount of time I have spent looking for a decent portable perl IDE, or ruby IDE or C++ IDE. AutoIt picked SciTe and then configured it to act as an easy to use, code folding highlighting, code completing IDE. The tools menu when editing an au3 file makes AutoIt much much easier than it used to be.
scripts can easily be converted to .exe
This makes it a great toolsmithing platform. I can use my automation functions to create small simple utilities for automating parts of the testers job . And since AutoIt has a whole series of GUI functions I can parcel them up with a simple GUI to make life easier. I will upload a logging tool written in AutoIt later, but you can take a look at applications other people have written in AutoIt
Looks and feels like BASIC
Yeah I know, for most people this is not a plus point, but I have done so much BASIC coding in the past that I find it very easy. And I do know that this makes AutoIt very easy to pass over to people who have not got much coding experience. It also means that I do not have to worry about forgetting syntax and nuances when I have gaps between my AutoIt usage. Every time I try to use Perl GUITest I have to relearn Perl, and I know it will be good for me to get a better grasp of Perl, but sometimes I just grab the nearest thing that will work and get on with the job.
For quick and easy automation with a small learning curve and the ability to create lasting solutions - AutoIt is very useful.