Define variables | Ranorex Studio User Guide
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Define test and variables

In this chapter, we’ll first define the steps of the data-driven test. Then, we’ll define the required variables for this scenario. You’ll also find out how to manage variables in Ranorex Studio.

Variables are one of the key parts of data-driven testing. They are the placeholders for values you want to feed your test, either from data sources or parameters. In Ranorex Studio, we differentiate between three types of variables: Action variables, their subtype validation variables, and repository variables.

In this chapter

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    Screencast

    The screencast “Defining variables” walks you through the information found in this chapter.:

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    Test definition

    As usual, we’ll use the Ranorex Studio Demo Application for our example. It has a database function that we’ll test. Testing a database is a common real-world application of a data-driven test.

    The test will contain the following steps:

    Start the Demo App.

    Click the Test database tab.

    Test database in Ranorex demo application
    Add an entry to the database.
    Principle of inserting data into the test database
    Repeat until there are 8 entries in the database…

    …and after each entry, validate that the Number of entries updates correctly.

    Test example with 8 persons in list
    Close the Demo App.

    Sample solution and prepared modules

    The ⇢ sample solution already contains all the modules with the necessary actions for the steps above. They are organized in a simple test suite. This will serve as our starting point for the next step: replacing constant values in several modules with variables.

    Sample solution working environment
    Module browser with recording modules structured in folders
    Test suite with a ready-to-run database test scenario

    Define action variables

    Action variables replace a constant value in a component or property of an action, e.g. the specific text string in a Key sequence action. Action variables are limited to the recording module they’re defined in.

    First, we’ll replace the constant text values in the respective actions for entering the first name, last name, and age of a person in the Demo App database.

    Examples for recorder variables
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    Note

    In Ranorex Studio, variable names have the pattern $<variablename>, where <variable name> cannot start with a number or contain any special characters, except for underscores.
    To replace a constant value with a variable:

    Open the drop-down list for the constant value you want to change and click As new variable…
    Name the variable so you can easily identify what value it is a placeholder for and click OK.
    The variable appears in the action table in green, replacing the constant value.

    Adding a new text variable
    Repeat the above process for the last name (InsertName module) and the age (InsertAge module).

    The final result should look like this:

    Definition of three recorder variables in test example
    Variable $txtFirstName replacing the constant value ‘John’ for the first name
    Variable $txtLastName replacing the constant value ‘Public’ for the last name
    Variable $intAge replacing the constant value ’48’ for age
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    Note

    Action variables can only be used in the recording module you defined them in.

    Define repository variables

    Aside from making action values variable, data-driven testing often involves creating repository variables. Repository variables replace a certain part of an item’s RanoreXPath, the defining attribute, with a variable. You can make any repository item variable this way. Repository variables are available in the repository they were defined in and all modules that reference this repository.

    For our example, we’ll make a list selection and radio buttons variable. These are repository items where it often makes sense to make them variable because they are usually part of a selection process with multiple options.

    Reference

    For more information on RanoreXPath, go to

    Ranorex Studio advanced >  ⇢ RanoreXPath

    Make a list selection variable

    Here, we’ll make the repository item for the Department list selection variable. In the module SelectDepartment of the sample solution, the Click action is linked to a constant repository item that points to the Project Management entry in the list. In the item’s RanoreXPath, the attribute @text=’Project Management’ is responsible for this.

    We will now replace the constant attribute value Project Management with the variable $lstDepartment so the Click action is performed on whatever list entry our future data source specifies.

    Making list items variable
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    Note

    When we create our data source later, we will need to make sure the entries for the department selection are exactly the same as in the list, or else Ranorex Studio won’t be able to identify the UI elements. For example, there is no entry IT, so a repository item with the resulting attribute @text=’IT’ wouldn’t point to anything.
    To define the variable:

    Right-click the second Click action and choose Make repository item variable…

    Making a repository item variable...
    Ranorex Spy opens with the constant value of the text attribute already highlighted. Click the variable symbol next to it.

    Name the variable so you can easily identify what repository item it refers to and click OK.

    In the yellow bar, click Apply.

    Assigning a repository variable
    In the repository, you can now see the variable in the item’s RanoreXPath.
    Defined list item variabel
    Repository variable $lstDepartment replaces the constant value for department selection.

    Make radio buttons variable

    Here, we’ll make the repository item for the Gender selection variable. In the module SelectGender of the sample solution, the Click action is linked to a constant repository item that points to the radio button for Male. In the item’s RanoreXPath, the attribute @controlname=’rdbMale’ is responsible for this.

    We will now replace the constant attribute value in the RanoreXPath of this repository item with a variable ($selGender) so the Click action is performed on whatever Gender radio button our future data source specifies.

    Making radio button selection variable
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    Note

    When we create our data source later, we will need to make sure the entries for the gender selection are exactly the same as the respective @controlname attributes of the two radio buttons, i.e. rdbMale and rdbFemale, or else Ranorex Studio won’t be able to identify the UI elements. A data source with just Male and Female would not work, because the repository item with the resulting attribute @controlname=’Male’ wouldn’t point to anything.
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    Hint

    To make a data-driven testing robust against localization (other languages), it is recommended to use attributes such as ControlName.

     

    To define the variable:

    Right-click the Click action and choose Make repository item variable…

    Making a repository item variable...
    Ranorex Spy opens with the constant value of the text attribute already highlighted. Click the variable symbol next to it.

    Name the variable so you can easily identify the repository item it refers to and click OK.

    In the yellow bar, click Apply.

    Applying repository variable
    In the repository, you can now see the variable in the item’s RanoreXPath.
    Radio button selection made variable
    Repository item representing the Gender radio button selection with variable $selGender
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    Note

    Repository variables can be used in the repository you defined them in and all recording modules that use this repository.

    Define validation variable

    Our example test includes a step that validates whether the database counter updates correctly as entries are added. For this validation to work, we need to make it variable.

    So, we’ll replace the constant Match value of the validation action in the ValidateEntries module with a variable.

    Example for test validation variables
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    Note

    In principle, validation variables are the same as action variables. However, as the Validation action is more complex than most others, we treat their variables separately and therefore also explain the process separately.

     

    To define the variable:

    Open the drop-down list for the Match value and click As new variable…
    Name the variable so you can easily identify the value it is a placeholder for and click OK.
    The variable appears in the action table in green, replacing the constant value.

    Definition of validation variable

    Default values

    The default value of a variable is the value that’s used when no data source is available. This is the case when running a recording module from the recording module view, for example. Therefore, you should always make sure to define a meaningful default value.

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    Note

    When you replace a constant value with a variable, the original constant value is automatically used as the default value.

    Manage variables

    To open the dialog for managing variables:

    For action/validation variables, open the recording where they are defined and click VARIABLES….

    For repository variables, click Variables… in the repository view.
    The variable management dialog will open:

    Variable status, Name, and corresponding Default value
    Variable editor toolbar

    • Options to copy/paste a variable to/from the clipboard.
    • Option to add a new variable directly.
    • Option to remove unused variables (variable cleanup).
    • (Action/validation variable dialog only) Option to copy a repository variable to the current recording module, where it becomes an action variable.

    Variable status legend

    • Variable in use: Variable is used, i.e. it is assigned to an action. Does not indicate whether the variable is bound/unbound to a data source.
    • (Action/validation variable dialog only) Variable in use from repository: Same as previous, but for variables copied from the repository.
    • Variable not in use: Variable is defined, but not assigned to an action item. Does not indicate whether the variable is bound/unbound to a data source.

    Overview of defined variables

    We’ve now defined all the variables we need for our data-driven test. When you switch to the test suite view, you can now see the number of variables defined per module. Note they are still unbound, i.e. they have not been assigned a data source.

    In the next chapter, we’ll define this data source and assign it to our test case. We’ll also discuss the options for managing data sources.

    Defined, but unbound example variables
    The test suite view displays the defined, but currently unbound variables