You may have noticed that Microsoft have had another burst of renaming. The tester’s tool in VS2010 started with the codename of Camaro during the CTP phase, this became Microsoft Test & Lab Manager (MTLM) in the Beta 1 and 2 and now in the RC it is call Microsoft Test Manager (MTM).
Other than me constantly referring to things by the wrong name, the main effect of this is to make searching on the Internet a bit awkward, you have to try all three names to get good coverage. In my small corner of the Internet, I will try to help by updating my existing MTLM tag to MTM and update the description appropriately.
I have got round to watching Peli de Halleux’s presentation on testing SharePoint with moles from the SharePoint Connections 2010 event in Amsterdam, very interesting. This brings a whole new set of tools to the testing of Sharepoint. I think it is best to view the subject of this presentation in two parts Pex and Moles, even though they are from the same stable; Moles being produced to enable Pex. But rather than me explaining how it all works just watch the video.
So to my thoughts, the easier bit to consider is Pex. If you can express your unit tests in a parameterised manner then this is a great tool for you. The example that Peli gives of an event handler that parses a string is a good one. We all have loads of places where this type of testing is needed, especially in Sharepoint. The problem here, as he points out, is that you need to use some form of mocking framework to allow the easy execution of these tests for both developers and automated build servers. I would usually use Typemock Isolator to provide this mocking, the problem is that Pex and Isolator at this time can’t run together. The Pex Explorer does not start the Typemock mocking interceptor, and thus far I can’t find a way to get round the problem.
So enters Moles, this is Microsoft Research’s subbing framework that ‘detour any .NET method to user-defined delegates, e.g., replace any call to the SharePoint Object Model by a user-defined delegate’. Now I find the Moles syntax is a bit strange. I suspect it is down to my past experience, but I still find the Typemock Isolator AAA syntax easier to read than Moles’. However, there are some nice wrapper classes provided to make it easier to use the Moles framework with Sharepoint.
So where does this leave us? At this time if you want to use Pex (and I certainly would like to) you have to use Moles (if you need stubbing). But you also have to remember that Pex & Moles are research projects. They are available for commercial evaluation, but at this time there seems to be no plans to productise it or roll it into Visual Studio, this means on effect no support. I don’t see either of these points as being a major barrier, as long as you make the choice to accept them knowingly.
However for ultimate flexibility it would be really nice to see Typemock Isolator being interoperable Pex, thus allowing me to use the new techniques of Pex against legacy tests already written using Isolator.
I was doing some work today where I needed to fake out a SPWeb object. No problem you think, I am using Typemock Isolator so I just use the line
var fakeWeb = Isolate.Fake.Instance<SPWeb>();
But I got the error
Microsoft.SharePoint.SPWeb.SPWebConstructor(SPSite site, String url, Boolean bExactWebUrl, SPRequest request)
Microsoft.SharePoint.SPWeb..ctor(SPSite, site, String url)
eo.CreateFakeInstance[T](Members behavior, Constructor constructorFlag, Constructor baseConstructorFlag, Type baseType, Object ctorArgs)
(Points to the SPWeb web line as source of error)
TypeMock.MockManager.a(String A_0, String A_1, Object A_2, Object A_3, Boolean A_4, Object A_5)
TypeMock.InternalMockManager.getReturn(Object that, String typeName, String methodNAme, Object methodParameters, Boolean isInjected)
(Points to line 0 of my test class)
This seemed strange I was doing nothing clever, and something I have done many times before. Turns out the issue was the version of the Typemock assemblies I was referencing. I have referenced the 5.4 versions, once I repointed to the new 6.0 (or I suspect older 5.3 ones) all was OK.
I have at last worked all the way through setting up my portable end to end demo of testing using Windows Test and Lab Manager. The last error I had to resolve was the tests not running in the lab environment (though working locally on the development PC). My the Lab Workflow build was recorded as a partial success i.e. it built, it deployed but all the tests failed.
I have not found a way to see the detail of why the tests failed in VS2010 Build Explorer. However, if you:
- Go into MTLM,
- Pick Testing Center
- Select the Test Tab
- Pick the Analyze Test Results link
- Pick the test run you want view
- The last item in the summary is the error message , as you can see in my case it was that the whole run failed not any of the individual tests themselves
So my error was “Build directory of the test run is not specified or does not exist”. This was caused because the Test Controller (for me running as Network Service) could not see the contents of the drop directory. The drop directory is where the test automation assemblies are published as part of the build. Once I gave Network Service read rights to access the \\TFS2010\Drops share my tests, and hence my build, ran to completion.
It has been a interesting journey to get this system up and running. MTLM when you initially look at it is very daunting, you have to get a lot of ducks in a row and there are many pitfalls on the way. If any part fails then nothing works, it feels like a bit of a house of cards. However if you work though it step by step I think you will come to see that the underlying architecture of how it hangs together is not as hard to understand as it initially seems. It is complex and has to be done right, but you can at least see why things need to be done. Much of this perceived complexity for me a developer is that I had to setup a number of ITPro products I am just not that familiar with such as SCOM and Hyper-V Manager. Maybe the answer is to make your evaluation of this product a joint Dev/ITPro project so you both learn.
I would say that getting the first build going (and hence the underlying infrastructure) seems to be the worst part. I feel that now I have a platform I understand reasonably, that producing different builds will not be too bad. I suspect the next raft of complexity will appear when I need a radically different test VM (or worse still a networks of VMs) to deploy and test against.
So my recommendation to anyone who is interest in this product is to get your hands dirty, you are not going to understand it by reading or watching videos, you need to build one. So find some hardware, lots of hardware!
I have been looking at TFS 2010 Lab Manager recently. One problem I had was that using the sample code from the Lab Manager Blog Walkthru the building of the CALC ASP.NET web site failed on the build server, I got an error
ASPNETCOMPILER: error 1003 The directory ‘c:\build\1LabWalkthru\Calculator –Build\Calc’ does not exist.
and the build service was right it didn’t exist; it should have been ‘c:\build\1LabWalkthru\Calculator –Build\Source\Calc’.
This was due to a problem detailed here. The Solution file had the wrong path in the Debug.AspNetCompiler.PhysicalPath property. It was set to “..\Calc” when it should have been “.\Calc”. Once this was altered the build could find the files.
I recently decided to build a demo system for VS2010 Lab Manager. This was for a number of reasons, not least I just wanted to have a proper play with it, but also that I was hoping to do a session on Microsoft Test and Lab Manager at DDD8 (as it turns out my session did not get voted for, maybe better luck for DDS, you can still vote for that conference’s sessions).
Anyway if any of you have looked at the Lab Manager side of MTLM you will know that getting it going is no quick task. Firstly I cannot recommend highly enough the Lab Management Teams’ blog posts ‘Getting started with Lab Management’ Parts 1, 2 ,3 and 4. This type of walkthrough post is a great way to move into a new complex product such as this. It provides the framework to get you going, it doesn’t fix all your problems but gives you a map to follow into the main documentation or other blog posts.
The architecture I was trying to build was as below. My hardware was a Shuttle PC as this was all I could find in the office that could take 8Gb of memory, the bare minimum for this setup. Not as convenient as a laptop for demos, but I was not going to bankrupt myself getting an 8Gb laptop!
As I wanted my system to be mobile, it needed to be it’s own domain (demo.com). This was my main problem during the install. MTLM assumes the host server and all the VMs are in the same domain, but that the domain controller (DC) is on some other device on the domain. I installed the DC on the host server; this meant I had to do the following to get it all to work (I should say I did all of these to get my system running, but they may not all be essential, but they are all sensible practice so probably worth doing)
- Run the VMM Host as a user other than the default of Local System (this is an option set during the installation). The default Local System user has reduced rights on a domain controller, and so is not able to do all that it needs to. I create a new domain account (demo\VMMserver) and used this as the service account for the VMM.
- The ‘Getting Started’ blog posts suggest a basic install of TFS, this just installs source control, work item tracking and build services using a SQL Express instance. This is fine, but this mode defaults to using the Network Service account to run the TFS web services. This has the same potential issues as the Local System account on the DC, so I swapped this to use a domain account (demo\TFSservice) using the TFS Administration console.
- AND THIS IS THE WIERD ONE AND I SUSPECT THE MOST IMPORTANT. As I was using the host system as a DNS and DHCP the VMs needed to be connected to the physical LAN of the host machine to make use of these services. However as I did not want them to pickup my office’s DHCP service I left the physical server’s Ethernet port unplugged. This meant that when I tried to create a new lab environment I got a TF259115 error. Plugging in a standalone Ethernet hub (connected to nothing else) fixed this problem. I am told this is because part of the LAN stack on the physical host is disabled due to the lack of a physical Ethernet link, even though the DNS and DHCP services were unaffected. The other option would have been to run the DNS, DHCP etc on Hyper-V VM(s).
- When configuring the virtual lab in TFS Administration console the ‘Network Location’ was blank. If you ignore this missing Network location or manually enter it you get a TF259210 error when you verify the settings in TFS Administration. This is a known problem in SCVMM and was fixed by overriding the discovered network and entering demo.com.
So I now had a working configuration, but when I try to import my prepared test VM into Lab Center, I got an “Import failed, the specified owner is not a valid Active Directory Domain Services account, Specify a valid Active Directory Domain Services account and try again” error. If I check the SCVMM jobs logs (in SCVMM Admin console) I saw this was an Error 813 in the ‘create hardware setup’ step. However, the account the job was running as was a domain user, as was the service account the host was running on (after I had made the changes detailed above) as I was confused.
This turns out to be a user too stupid error; I was logged in as the TFS servers local administrator (tfs2010\administrator) not the domain one (demo\administrator), or actually any domain account with VMM administrator rights. Once I logged in on the TFS server (where I was running MTLM) as a domain account all was OK. Actually I suspect moving to the VMMService and TFSService accounts was not vital, but did not harm.
I could now create my virtual test environment and actually start to create Team Builds that make use of my test lab environment. Also I think having worked though these problems I have a better understanding of how all the various parts underpinning MTLM hang together, a vital piece of knowledge if you intend to make real use of these tools.
Oh and thanks to everyone who helped me when I got stuck
Today Typemock released their Isolator 6.0 version with full support for VS2010. Check out the full announcement at their site, there some nice new features there.
I have at last got round to setting up a full installation VS 2010 Test and Lab Manager using the excellent notes from the Lab Management Team. Whist installing the build server portion I got a strange set of errors.
TF255425: An error occurred while installing the following Windows service: TFSBuildServiceHost.exe. For more information, open Event Viewer and review the application log.
TF255070: Configuring services for Team Foundation Build failed with the following exception: TF255425: An error occurred while installing the following Windows service: TFSBuildServiceHost.exe. For more information, open Event Viewer and review the application log..
Further investigation found the installer was claiming it could not find required files and so could not complete the install.
After a good deal of ineffective fiddling I cam to the conclusion the issue must be user access. I was using the trial Windows Server 2008 R2 vhds as the basis of my TFS server and test VMs, now these default to US region and keyboard. This had gotten on my nerves and I thought I had changed it to UK settings. However, I must have done it wrong as I had a UK keyboard in WinForm application but not in a Command Prompt. Once I made sure that my region, keyboard (and associated defaults) were all set to UK (and were working as expected in all locations) I tried the wizard again and it worked.
So it seems the issue was an incorrect password being passed to the installer. Some how the @ in Pass@word1 was being translated behind the scenes I guess to “ and causing the wizard to fail, though it always passed the verify stage of the wizard.
So the technical tip is to make sure the keyboard and region are right before you start, bit of a newbie error there!
I am off to present in Ireland this week in a double header with another of Black Marble's test team, Robert Hancock. We will be appearing at the Microsoft Ireland Visual Studio Academy. Our subject is Improved efficiency throughout the test cycle. As registration is still open I guess there are still spaces, so if it is of interest to you why not sign up (and who is not interested in testing?)
So while many of our staff are off living it up in Las Vegas for the SharePoint conference, Robert and myself have been busy building a demo rich session for the Dublin event that touchs on a whole host of different testing tools and techniques. So we hope to see you there for what should be a very interesting session.
I have just attended an excellent free webinar session on ASP.NET testing with Ivonna and Typemock by Gil Zilberfeld of Typemock and Artem Smirnov creator of Ivonna a Typemock add-on for unit testing ASP.NET
The session is being repeated today at 2pm GMT and I understand a recording will appear on the Typemock site in due course.
So if you get a chance this afternoon have look, it is well worth your time if you work in the ASP.NET space. Personally I have also found Ivonna useful for Sharepoint testing too, watch the session it might give you some ideas.