Tool Review: WatiN

Tool Review: WatiN

WatiN Logo


WatiN (pronounced as What-in) enables .Net to interact with Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 as well as FireFox 2 and 3. Inspired by WatiR, Jeroen van Menen started at the end of 2005 the development of WatiN to replace the commercial test application of his company. 2007 Edward Wilde joined the project and enabled WatiN to support FireFox. Furthermore he created WaX, a small framework that allows to create WatiN tests using Microsoft Excel.

The following review will focus on WatiN using C#.

Technique: Star2Star2Star2

WatiN interacts with the Internet Explorer using its COM interface. The FireFox interaction is done using the JSSh (JavaScript Shell Server) extension for Mozilla FireFox. Although the interaction technique for both of the browsers is different, the API of WatiN is not (in most cases). So, actually WatiN tries to hide the type of the automated browser to create browser independent tests. The disadvantage of this technique is, that this special bridge between WatiN and the automated browser has to be developed for every different browser and eventually must be changed when a new browser version gets launched.

Using a more or less native method to interact with the browser and the html controls has some advantages:

  • Neither the browser nor the displayed web site/web application gets changed to enable interaction. So testing with WatiN does not have any side affects.
  • The native interaction enables WatiN to read many details of the current state of the browser so for example WatiN is able to synchronize the test with the browser.

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