PyUseCase 1.4.1 released!

Geoff Bache geoff.bache at
Mon Aug 18 16:31:41 CEST 2008

Dear all,

This is (again) an announcement for a tool that has existed for some 
time but hasn't been listed here before. The current release has only a 
couple of minor bugfixes to version 1.4 but as TextTest (previous 
message) depends on it I tend to release both at about the same time.

Geoff Bache

About PyUseCase (See also

PyUseCase is a record/replay layer for Python GUIs. It consists of two 
modules:, which is a generic framework for all Python GUIs 
(or even non-GUI programs) and, which is specific to PyGTK 
GUIs. See for more info on PyGTK.

The aim is only to simulate the interactive actions of a user, not to 
verify correctness of a program. Essentially it allows an interactive 
program to be run in batch mode. Another tool is needed for verification 
of behaviour, for example TextTest, also available from SourceForge.

The idea of a "use-case" recorder is described in some detail in a paper 

To summarise, the motivation for it is that traditional record/replay 
tools, besides being expensive, tend to record very low-level scripts 
that are a nightmare to maintain and can only be read by developers. 
This is in large part because they record the GUI mechanics rather than 
the intent behind the test. (Even though this is usually in terms of 
widgets not pixels now)

Use-case recorders like PyUseCase are built around the idea of recording 
in a domain language via the developer setting up a mapping between the 
actions that can be performed with the UI and names that describe what 
the point of these actions is. This incurs an extra setup cost of 
course, but it has the dual benefit of making the tests much more 
readable and much more resilient to future UI changes than if they are 
recorded in a more programming-language-like script.

Another key advantage is that, because we instrument the code anyway to 
create the above mapping, it is easy to tell PyUseCase where the script 
will need to wait, thus allowing it to record "wait" statements without 
the test writer having to worry about it. This is otherwise a common 
headache for recorded tests: most other tools require you to explicitly 
synchronise the test when writing it (external to the recording).

Example recorded usecase ("test script") for a flight booking system:

wait for flight information to load
select flight SA004
proceed to book seats
# SA004 is full...
accept error message

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