I've neglected mentioning Watir on this blog because it's already a well known tool. However, since I recently had to do an install of Watir yesterday on a new computer, I noticed a couple of new things the Watir community has been up to since last I checked in with them. For those who don't know, Watir stands for Web Application Testing in Ruby and it's a very simple tool (dare I say painless) for generating test automation for web applications.

So what's new? Well, the last time I installed Watir (it was a while ago), it only had (working) distributions for IE and FireFox. Now it appears to support almost everything I'd care to test: IE, FireFox, Safari, Chrome, Flash, and work is underway on other ports. I also stumbled across Celerity, a headless Java browser with JavaScript support. Mmmmm.... sounds fast.

I like Watir for a couple of reasons. First, I enjoy programming in Ruby - it's strangely relaxing to me. That Watir leverages my language of choice is a big win. Second, Watir is so easy to use. Between IRB and FireBug, there are few web applications I've encountered that I can't have working Watir scripts for in a few minutes. Watir commands are predictable and relatively few - making them easy to remember. Finally, it's very easy for me to extend other scripting tasks using Watir. Because it's Ruby, I don't just use Watir for test automation. I sometimes use it to drive test data entry, assist with exploratory testing, parse websites for data, and other odd tasks.

Another fun fact, Watir is one of the few tools with it's own podcast. If you do a lot of test automation, it's well worth taking the time to listen to the podcasts. Lots of gems in there, and not all of them related to Watir.