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There are many ways to test Web Applications with Groovy:

  • use Groovy (potentially in conjunction with a specialist HTML parser) to parse HTML pages as if they were XML
  • use Groovy to simplify the code required to drive a Java API browser simulator, e.g. HtmlUnit or HttpUnit
  • use Groovy to simplify the code required to drive a Java API for manually driving a real browser, e.g. IE or Firefox
  • use Groovy to interact with a higher-level testing library which uses one of the above two approaches, e.g. Watij (for the equivalent of Watir in the Ruby world) or WebTest (to open up the possibility of testing more than just web applications)

We examine a few approaches below.

Groovy with CyberNeko HTML Parser

NekoHTML is a library which allows you to parse HTML documents (which may not be well-formed) and treat them as XML documents (i.e. XHTML). NekoHTML automatically inserts missing closing tags and does various other things to clean up the HTML if required - just as browsers do - and then makes the result available for use by normal XML parsing techniques.

Here is an example of using NekoHTML with XmlParser to find '.html' hyperlinks on the groovy homepage:

Here is the same example with XmlSlurper:

Here is the output in both cases:

Groovy and HtmlUnit

The following example tests the Google search engine using HtmlUnit:

Groovy and Watij

The following example tests the Google search engine using Watij:

You can use Watij from within groovysh or groovyconsole if you want to have an interactive (irb-like in ruby terms) experience.

Groovy and WebTest

The following example tests the Google search engine using WebTest:

The above fragment can be inserted into any Ant build script where we have defined the WebTest tasks.

The above example didn't use any Groovy but we could have just as easily used some Groovy for the last line if we didn't like the XPath expression, for example:

Depending on your setup, you could produce the following report for this test:

Alternatively, we could have written the whole test in Groovy using AntBuilder as follows:

Grails can automatically create this style of test for your generated CRUD applications, see Grails Functional Testing for more details.

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