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Watir: Take the Plunge

Published on December 31, 2009 at springbox.com

Watir, pronounced water, automates web browsers. It is an open-source library that simulates link clicks, presses buttons, fills out forms and more. If it takes place in a web browser, you can probably make it happen with Watir.

Although it’s a family of Ruby libraries, Watir is a little different to set up and use — but it still supports all web applications, regardless of what you use for development. The library can connect and query databases, read spreadsheets and export XML files. It’s hard to imagine what this looks like when it runs. After you use it once, you realize how nice it actually is.

You can use Watir to perform repetitive testing tasks normally handled by a human user. For example, it can repeatedly click around a page and generate a spreadsheet of results. It can also input data from an Excel spreadsheet into a form and submit it. While it was initially created as a testing tool, you can Watir to accomplish most tasks handled in a browser.

Watir will work on any system, and it works with most of the popular browsers out there, including Internet Explorer on Windows, Firefox on Windows, Firefox on Mac, Firefox on Linux, Safari on Mac, Chrome on Windows and even Flash testing in Firefox. That’s right, Flash testing.

So why Watir?

Why not install Watir now? If you already had, it could click the link for you!