Mario Cardinal

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" – Marcel Proust


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Configuring Cypress in CI with Azure DevOps Pipelines

Cypress is a front-end test automation framework built for the modern web. It is open source and written entirely in JavaScript. It addresses the key pain points developers and QA engineers face when testing modern applications:

  • A rich yet simple API for interactions with automatic waiting
  • Mocha, Chai, and Sinon bundled in
  • A sleek dashboard with automatic reloads for Test-Driven Development
  • Easy debugging
  • Network traffic control for validation and mocking
  • Automatic screenshots and videos

It is a very powerful tool that enables developers to write End-to-End tests entirely in JavaScript, directly accessing everything within the browser. It is also a versatile tool that can be used to test REST APIs.

At To-Do Studio, we use Cypress to test End-to-End scenarios, as well as REST APIs.

On developers’ computers, we install the Cypress Test Runner and write tests locally. Everything works perfectly. However, for CI/CD testing, we must configure Cypress with Azure DevOps Pipelines. The recipe for configuring Cypress is not as simple as it may seem at first. I’m writing this post to make sure that a configuration recipe is documented somewhere on the web to explain how to configure Cypress in Continuous Integration (CI) with Azure DevOps Pipelines. Thus, with the help of Google search, those who will have the same goal in the future will find the right answer easily.

Here is diagram presenting an overview of the major elements of the solution:

Deployment_overview

First, ensure during the build phase that the cypress tests files are zipped and published to the artifacts drop.

build

Second, during the release phase hosted on an Ubuntu agent, extract the zipped test files,run the tests using Cypress and publish the tests results. Here are the detailed steps:

1. Extract the zip file containing the tests

Extract the zip file that was published to the artifacts drop by the build pipeline.

extract

2. Run the tests

Start by creating the Cypress config file. Define the location of your tests with the integrationFolder configuration value. Do not use the testFiles configuration value or –spec command line option.

{
  "integrationFolder": "tests/e2e/specs",
  "baseUrl": "https://info-staging.to-do.studio",
  "projectId": "<insert your project Id>",
  "reporter": "junit",
  "reporterOptions": {
    "mochaFile": "tests/test-output-[hash].xml",
    "toConsole": true,
    "attachments": true
    },
  "video": false,
  "pluginsFile": "tests/e2e/plugins/index.js",
  "supportFile": "tests/e2e/support/index.js",
  "env": {
    "urlEnv": "staging"
  }
}

cypress_config

Follow by running the tests with Cypress using the command: npx cypress run –record –key <insert your record key>. npx install and run Cypress in a single step. npx is a npm package runner (x stands for eXecute). The typical use is to download and run a package temporarily. Please note that if you intent to record screenshots and videos with Cypresss Dashboard Service, you need to add the unique projectId into your cypress.json and pass the record key into the command. If you do not need visual results, simply omit the recording option and projectId.

run_tests

3. Publish the tests results

Here you will publish the junit mocha files created during the tests run. Make sure that your merge test results and that it fails if there are test failures.

publish_tests


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Software as a service (SaaS) in 2018 revolves around JavaScript

In 2014, on this blog, I wrote a post in which I announced that we intended to create native mobile applications for tablets and phones (IOS and Android) and that we had planned to use Xamarin.Forms as the main programming tool. At the time, web tools were not mature enough to design applications that target all classes of personal devices be it laptops (Windows, Chrome and Apple), tablets (Android and iPad) or phones (Android and iPhone). This is no longer the case in 2018, change is the only constant and we must not be afraid to review our previous decisions. As developer polls in recent years show, the reality is simple, native development on mobile platforms is no longer important.

At To-Do Studio, with my business partner Erik, we are convinced that the best technologies in 2018 to launch software as a service (SaaS), revolves around JavaScript (at least for the front end).

We have decided to build our SaaS using one codebase, with familiar tools and web technology. In this regard, we chose Vue.js for web development. Vue.js is a library for building interactive web interfaces. It simplifies managing states in the front-end and provide composable view capabilities with an API that is as simple as possible.

vue_and_vuetify

I just spent the last four months learning to program with this framework. Vue is one of the easiest frameworks to learn and master, the learning curve is gentle and there is a well-defined ecosystem. Furthermore, since I already know the basics of the web, the transition was easy enough. I am not yet a pro in javascript but I am improving every day. Since I’m in charge of UI integration, I mainly focus on mastering Vuetify, the UX component framework for Vue.js that we have selected.


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Visual Studio 2015 Android Emulator

Earlier this week, my business partner, Erik Renaud, has shared his recipe to launch from the command line one of the hyper-v Android emulator that Microsoft included with Visual Studio 2015 RC.

I agree with Erik that from all the Android emulator on the market, Microsoft has the fastest and most robust solution, especially when developing with Xamarin and Visual Studio.

Contrary to Erik, I only want to launch the Microsoft Emulator Manager…

Android Emulator manager

… and from there select the emulator that I want to start.

Here is the command line:

“%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Microsoft Emulator Manager\1.0\emulatormgr.exe” /sku:Android