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26 Nov 2009

Springcache Plugin Status

A couple of people have asked me about the Springcache plugin and Grails 1.2. Currently the plugin is not compatible with 1.2-M3 and onwards. The reason for this is that the spring-modules-cache library that the plugin depends on is not compatible with Spring 3.0 which is used by the newest versions of Grails. Not only that but the spring-modules project has been discontinued altogether. There is a fork of it on Github but that doesn't look terribly active either. This means that at some point I'm going to have to sit down and write some code to bring the annotation driven caching inside the plugin itself and drop the spring-modules dependency. However, just to compound things the Spring documentation on the relevant area hasn't been updated yet and still references the classes that have been removed from the API which is what's causing the incompatibility in the first place!

So, it's on my to-do list but don't hold your breath!

21 Nov 2009

Why do Strings behave like a Collection?

Mostly I love Groovy but every now and then some behaviour gets on my nerves. For example, why do the iterator methods on String behave as though it was a collections of characters rather than an Object? If I define a method with a dynamic-typed parameter like:
void printNames(names) {
    names.each {
        println it
Passing a collection of Strings results in each String being printed. Passing a single String results in each character of the String being printed separately. I would have thought that the Object behaviour was a more appropriate default here (iterators on Object are called once passing the object itself). After all the .chars property is available if you really want to represent a String as a collection of characters.

The solution is to override the method:
void printNames(String name) {
Unlike in Java dispatch to such overridden methods in Groovy is based on the runtime rather than declared type of the parameter.

You might think this is a trivial point, but the scenario that keeps biting me is HTTP parameters passed into a Grails controller. If you have multiple inputs with the same name, or a multi-select then sometimes params.x is a String and sometimes it's a List of Strings. Any code dealing with that parameter has to handle the two cases separately.

Slides from GGUG

I gave a talk last night at the London Groovy & Grails User Group about the Selenium RC plugin and how to use it. I pitched the talk assuming that people were somewhat familiar with Selenium and had probably used the Selenium IDE. I'm not sure if that was the right way to go but the talk went pretty well and people seemed interested in what I had to say. I ended up talking a lot about the page object pattern and how awesome it is for building manageable suites of Selenium tests.

I really wanted to show a few quick examples but I had neglected to consider that a mini display port VGA adapter might be a useful thing to bring and unfortunately with Skills Matter being in the middle of an office move there wasn't one to hand. Luckily I was able to borrow a laptop so at least I could get my slides up on the projector.

5 Nov 2009

Grails Selenium RC Plugin Released

I've finally got the first release of the Selenium RC plugin out of the door. Just run grails install-plugin selenium-rc to install.

For anyone unfamiliar with Selenium RC basically the plugin allows you to write and run Selenium tests in Groovy to functionally test Grails apps using a real browser. The tests run in the functional phase using grails test-app or grails test-app -functional.

In terms of compatibility there is a very minor issue with Safari and some slightly more annoying ones with IE - all of which the plugin's default configuration will work around for you. Unfortunately Firefox 3.5 on OSX Snow Leopard doesn't want to play at all due to an open Selenium bug. Firefox on other platforms, Google Chrome and Opera all appear to be 100% compatible.

I've tried to make writing the tests themselves as similar to regular Grails unit and integration testing as possible. Not only that, if you have the Spock plugin installed you can write your Selenium tests as Spock Specifications.

Documentation is here, source code is on GitHub and issues and feature requests can be raised on Codehaus' JIRA. I've got plenty of things to work on for future releases such as Selenium Grid integration and automatic screen-grabbing when assertions fail.

2 Nov 2009

Talk on Selenium RC Testing In Grails

I'll be delivering a short talk about testing Grails apps with the Selenium RC plugin I'm working on at the London Groovy and Grails User Group on 20th November. Details are here.

The plugin is basically release ready, I'll try to make the final push some time this week so that it's out in the wild in advance of the talk (and hopefully any particularly idiotic bugs are reported and fixed before I make a total fool of myself).

Git and Hudson

I just encountered a rather annoying problem when running Hudson as a service on Ubuntu. I was getting the following exception whenever the build checked code out of GitHub:
hudson.plugins.git.GitException: Could not apply tag hudson-Selenium_RC_Plugin-23
 at hudson.plugins.git.GitAPI.tag(
It turns out Git needs a username to be set and the hudson user that the Debian package creates when Hudson is installed doesn't have one. Easily fixed by using sudo nano /etc/passwd to add Hudson,,, into the hudson user's entry (if you look at your own entry you should see where it needs to go).