Catchin’ up from OSCON – Windmill

Doing a little catchup time from OSCON… One of the pieces that I was particularly interested in from OSCON was Windmill. OSA Foundation’s variation on the Selenium theme for testing their Ajax and webapp views of Chandler. While I’ve got to admit its a damned impressive tool – it’s also just not “quite there” yet. I can see all the pieces roaming about, but I haven’t been able to quickly get it working on either Mac (binary available) or Windows (installed all the pieces and ran it from the shell).

It could easily be something I’m doing wrong, no doubt. But the obvious didn’t work off the bat and at the moment I don’t want to go digging deep and try and figure out where something isn’t quite working right. I know it’s a functional system – since I saw the demos and I have faith in what Ted and Mike put together. I’m afraid the documentation likewise isn’t quite there.

From a UI perspective, part of me really likes the wxWidget look – and another part of me kind of cringes and thinks “That just doesn’t look quite right”. The usual problem with wxWidgets – some fields are clipped and others look great – it’s just got an awkward feeling to it. The flip side is that the system is all-in-one – no crazy configuration to plug together like Selenium and the “RC” scripts.

Selenium actually didn’t do it for me either – I found I had very different functionality in the tests across browsers than I ever expected. Within one platform – great. But moving to another browser with the same tests just didn’t get me much.

I guess for now, I’ll be sticking with Twill and it’s mechanism like friends. I find the tests a little fragile, but they’re working well for me.

Published by heckj

Developer, author, and life-long student. Writes online at

2 thoughts on “Catchin’ up from OSCON – Windmill

  1. Hi Joe,

    Just to be clear, Adam and Mikeal are the one who did the work on windmill. Sadly, I didn’t put in a single line of code. I am pretty sure that they know the install experience needs work.



  2. Oh we feel your pain.

    Right now all the other developers are starting to use windmill and the documentation problems and ruff edges you’re talking about are obvious.

    Right now we’re just getting the Cosmo (Chandler Server) release out. Once we’re done with that we’ll be taking some cycles to fix documentation ( reorganization as well and improving the content ) and finish up the 0.2 release of windmill which should fix all the outstanding bugs we have.

    One thing we’re wavering on is whether or not to include the wxPython UI in this release. We have some pretty serious outstanding bugs right now and we’ve advised all the people using it now to stick with the command line interface. We would love to hear any more feedback you have tho.



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