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  1. #1
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    Perl useful for testing?

    This is sort of a random question, but I am looking to learn a new skill and am not sure what to learn. I do auto testing with Mercury tools on C++ and Java apps mostly, and really things are handled fine with what we have. But I'm bored so I need to learn more. Does anyone use Perl in testing? What do you use it for? Is it a helpful skill to have for testing? I see job postings that require it, but I am not sure why. Or, if anyone can think of another programming language/skill and it's relevance that might be good to learn, I am open to ideas.

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    I use perl extensively for testing.

    If I could recommend a single technical skill that will help you most in testing software, it wouold be to learn Perl. There are MANY uses.. perl is the best language when it comes to working with text data. Setting up test data, building test harnesses and drivers, etc are all well suited to do in perl. There are also interfaces for just about everything possible. Whether it is writing code to verify data data in your database, interfacing with your web applications and services to create tests, or whatever else you can think of.

    -Corey
    Corey Goldberg
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  3. #3
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    Thanks. Do you have any recommendations on where to take a class to learn Perl for software testing? Or will just any regular beginning Perl training class work?

  4. #4
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    I agree with Corey, testers should learn at least one general scripting language (not a vendor specific scripting language). I use a lot of scripting languages for testing, usually Perl, Ruby or VBA depends on what's available and what i'm trying to do.

    In terms of courses there is a large number of resources and tutorials on-line about Perl. If you want a classroom based course I guess any introduction to Perl class will get you the basics. I think Danny Faught (http://tejasconsulting.com/) does some courses in the US on using scripting for Testing. Not sure how often he does them.
    Many thanks
    Regards
    Bill Matthews
    Target Testing Ltd.
    http://www.TargetTesting.co.uk/

  5. #5
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    Originally posted by bmcclint1:
    Thanks. Do you have any recommendations on where to take a class to learn Perl for software testing? Or will just any regular beginning Perl training class work?
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">I would start with just learning the language itself. There are many tutorials and books available.

    I highly recommend the book "Elements of Programming With Perl" (by Andrew L. Johnson) for someone new to Perl or programming in general.

    If you are already a good programmer and just want to learn Perl syntax and have a reference, I would recommend "Core Perl" (by Ruven Lerner).

    Once you are a proficient programmer and want to get into advanced topics, you should get "Programming Perl" (by Larry Wall, et al). This is considered the bible of Perl, but it is a VERY advanced book and could discourage you a lot if you use it before you are good in Perl.


    Once you know the language, start to take a look at different modules you can use (LWP, DBI, etc) and start to figure out how you could apply these to testing software. I think it is a better approach to learn how to program in the language, and then slowly start seeing how you can use it to help with testing.

    good luck!

    -Corey
    Corey Goldberg
    Homepage: goldb.org
    Twitter: twitter.com/cgoldberg
    Google+: gplus.to/cgoldberg

  6. #6
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    I use Perl (and Korn Shell) at work quite often, mostly to handle repetitious and/or dull manual tasks. I use them to create test data, to parse test results, to inspect databases, etc.

    I learned Perl by getting the "Learning Perl" book from O'Reilly (and later their "Programming Perl" book) and by looking at code other people have written. I am by no means a Perl expert, just enough of a hacker to get fairly simple things accomplished.

    A few sites to poke around at for more info:

    http://perl.oreilly.com

    http://www.permonks.org

    http://use.perl.org

    http://www.cpan.org
    web site | [url=http://www.ebookworm.us/[/url]

    [i]...Sound trumpets! Every trumpet in the host! / Sixty thousand, on these words, sound, so high the mountains sound, and the valleys resound.&lt;/i] (The Song of Roland)

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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    Originally posted by Charles Reace:
    I use Perl (and Korn Shell) at work quite often, mostly to handle repetitious and/or dull manual tasks. I use them to create test data, to parse test results, to inspect databases, etc.
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">I use VB or VBA to do the same thing.

    The core truth that I am seeing here is that is might not be important WHICH language you learn, but it is important to learn one of them. Perhaps this ties in with the tread about "should you be a developer to be a good tester".

  8. #8
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    Originally posted by Darrel Damon:
    I use VB or VBA to do the same thing.

    The core truth that I am seeing here is that is might not be important WHICH language you learn, but it is important to learn one of them. Perhaps this ties in with the tread about "should you be a developer to be a good tester".
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">Yeah, something that is readily available regardless of where you are working is probably the main criteria. Coming mainly from UNIX shops, learning shell scripts came with the territory; and it was a fairly natural step for me to move on to Perl from there (no more Sed and Awk, now! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] ).

    I have fooled around a little bit with VB, but haven't had the time/energy/motivation to learn to do anything useful with it yet. [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]
    web site | [url=http://www.ebookworm.us/[/url]

    [i]...Sound trumpets! Every trumpet in the host! / Sixty thousand, on these words, sound, so high the mountains sound, and the valleys resound.&lt;/i] (The Song of Roland)

  9. #9
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    A follow up - do any of you use automated test tools as opposed to writing your own scripts in Perl or VB? It seems with Mercury (and only because that is what we have here) I can already automate the mundane and dull manual tasks. So I would be learing it purely on the speculation that I might find something to do with it later. Not a terrible idea, but I need at least a little more motivation to really do it. Are there any of you who have used it for things you could not do with a packaged product? Or do you use it just because you don't have a product available?
    Thanks for all the input.

  10. #10
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    Re: Perl useful for testing?

    I user packaged tools also. Knowing a scripting language is more versatile and you dont have to worry about licensing, so it absolutely has its place. But there are also instances when its better to use an available tool.

    -Corey
    Corey Goldberg
    Homepage: goldb.org
    Twitter: twitter.com/cgoldberg
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