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Cucumber, Selenium, Webrat, and Windows

Posted by javier ramirez on April 27, 2009

I spent last Saturday hacking around with some really smart people in Madrid. It’s not widely known than in Spain there’s a thriving Ruby on Rails community -my guess would be a language thing- but if you take a look at some of the Rails patches, Hackfest winners or the official Rails documentation project, you would be surprised to see how many -and how good- contributions are coming from this side of the world.

Once in a while we like to get together and take code challenges, so we can learn from each other and eat pizza to match the stereotype ;)

Thing is I’m a Windows guy. I know I should be sorry, I know it’s for housewives (or househusbands for that matter), but that’s life. (disclaimer: I’m planning to switch to Ubuntu in the near future)

As you know, developing software in windows while entirely possible is a bit more difficult than in other systems, specially when it comes to compiling, forking and the like.

Last Saturday I was, as usual, the only windows at hand (the rest being a lot of Macs in different flavors and a lonely Ubuntu) and, as a part of the code challenge, I had to run some tests with Cucumber, Selenium and Webrat. Apart from libxml, that has been working flawlessly in my computer for months, no other binaries were involved, so you would think everything was working just fine.. well, think twice.

First problem was the test server couldn’t be started automatically. I didn’t investigate much about it (my guess being that a fork or a system call is being issued and Windows cannot cope with it) since it was easier just to start it manually before running the tests. Also it was faster, because it didn’t need to be started every time.

After this obstacle, when I was trying to run the tests, I was getting a cryptic Errno::EADDRNOTAVAIL message. At first I thought it was because of Selenium not being able to bind to the given port, but a quick test from the command line discarded that possibility.

I don’t know anything about webrat (yet) but as the song goes, with a little help from my friends I was able to locate the source of the problem. When connecting to remote control Selenium, Webrat is trying to bind to the address “0.0.0.0” and that’s something Windows doesn’t like.

All I had to do was opening the file “selecium_rc_server.rb” at the gem source and replacing “0.0.0.0” by “127.0.0.1”.

I was told I can do this much more clearly at the Webrat config, but I tried it out and I still had the same problem. Taking a look at the Webrat code I would say the config param is not honoured system-wide, but truth is I was in a hurry and I didn’t researched it thoroughly. I had a challenge to solve after all ;)

Once I did this, all was hunky dory. Selenium started, the form fields were filled in, the tests were passing (or not) and the result was displayed on my not-ansi console. Bummer.

Believe me, cucumber is not half the fun without the colors in the output. Fortunately enough, google can tell you where to find lots of ansi-aware console replacements. Unfortunately enough console2, my favourite, is not one of those.

So, there, it took a bit of extra work but now you can also run this neat stack in your good-old windows box.

6 Responses to “Cucumber, Selenium, Webrat, and Windows”

  1. Tamil Ramasamy said

    Hi Javier,

    Thanks for this wonderful post. This solved my problem. I had same issue and i modified ‘selenium_rc_server.rb’ to make this work.

    By the way, I have been using cygwin, so I didnot face any console issues and compiling any gem on cygwin is also pretty straight forward. Give it a shot if you have time.

    Thanks again!

  2. Glad to know the post was useful to you. Thank you for the comment :)

    Since last week I made the movement to ubuntu and I’m using a virtualized windows just for IE7 testing, but thanks anyway for your tip :)

  3. @nicktea said

    this was driving me crazy today. thanks

  4. Rezart said

    Javier Ramirez
    you are brilliant,
    THank you very much,
    saved me a lot of headache.

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