Text verification

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Post summary: Verify actual text with expected one by ignoring what is not relevant during compare.

In automation testing there is no definitive way what text verification is best to be done. One strategy is to check that an expected word or a phrase exists in actual text shown in application under tests. Other strategy is to prepare large amount of text to verify. Later strategy is expensive in case of effort for preparation and maintenance. First strategy might not be sufficient to do correct verifications.

In between

What I suggest here is something in between. Not too much but not too less. Problem with paragraph of text to be verified is it might contain data we do not have control over, e.g. date, time, unique values, etc.

Example

Imagine an e-commerce website. When you place the order there is order confirmation page. You want to verify not only that you are on this page but also that text is correct as per specification. Most likely text will contain data you do not have control over – order number and date. Breaking verification is small chunks is an option. Another option is to manipulate the actual text. Third option is to define the text as expected with special strings that will get ignored during compare.

Actual vs Expected

Actual text could be: “Order 123456 has been successfully placed on 01.01.1970! Thank you for your order. ”
Expected text could be: “Order ~SKIP~ has been successfully placed on ~SKIP~! Thank you for your order. ”
And then you can compare both where ~SKIP~ will be ignored during compare.

Compare code

Code to do the compare shown above is incorporated in NTestsRunner also:

public const string IgnoreDuringCompare = "~SKIP~";

public static bool EqualsWithIgnore(this string value1, string value2)
{
	string regexPattern = "(.*?)";
	// If value is null set it to empty
	value1 = value1 ?? string.Empty;
	value2 = value2 ?? string.Empty;
	string input = string.Empty;
	string pattern = string.Empty;
	// Unify new lines symbols
	value1 = value1.Replace("\r\n", "\n");
	value2 = value2.Replace("\r\n", "\n");
	// If no one conains ignore string then compare directly
	if (!value1.Contains(IgnoreDuringCompare) &&
		!value2.Contains(IgnoreDuringCompare))
	{
		return value1.Equals(value2);
	}
	else if (value1.Contains(IgnoreDuringCompare))
	{
		pattern = Regex.Escape(value1).Replace(IgnoreDuringCompare, regexPattern);
		input = value2;
	}
	else if (value2.Contains(IgnoreDuringCompare))
	{
		pattern = Regex.Escape(value2).Replace(IgnoreDuringCompare, regexPattern);
		input = value1;
	}

	Match match = Regex.Match(input, pattern);
	return match.Success;
}

Use in tests

In your tests you will do something like:

string actual = OrderConfirmationPage.GetConfirmationText();
string expected = "Order " + ExtensionMethods.IgnoreDuringCompare +
	" has been successfully placed on " + ExtensionMethods.IgnoreDuringCompare +
	"! Thank you for your order. ";
Assert.IsTrue(actual.EqualsWithIgnore(expected));

Conclusion

It might take little bit more effort to prepare expected strings but verification will be more complete and correct rather than just to expect a word or a phrase.

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