Sunday, March 16, 2008

AutoCAD 2009 Action Recorder

Hello,

I have spent the last weeks testing the new AutoCAD version, 2009. One of the greatest new feature for me it the Action Recorder which realize one of the top requests of all times.

This tools, on its first release, is capable of recording your actions and commands inside AutoCAD and then generate some kind of rich script as the below picture:



I think this tool will help a lot our daily testing procedures once it allow us to create several scripts easily. The major advantage in this case is the strict interaction with AutoCAD native commands and their features.

One negative point is regarding dialogs. In this case you cannot automate the dialog interaction. This is not good once the dialog interaction may be more than 50% of your testing procedure. When the action recorder finds a dialog it stops for the user interaction and then resumes.

The Action Recorder tool is very interesting and I'm sure it will evolve a lot on the next versions and maybe we will see some dialog interaction and a part of its features.

We can think on building some test procedure now with a mix of Action Recorder and other automation tool. I think one will complete each other as the testing tools have the dialog automation well resolved and the Action Recorder has AutoCAD specific features well resolved too.

Cheers!

6 comments:

Mike said...

You mentioned that perhaps we can create a mix of Action Recorder and automated testing tools. Can you explain that a little more

Thanks

Fernando Malard said...

Hello Mike,

The idea is to create an Action Recorder and fire from its sequence another script.

The problem is that Action Recorder is kinf of limited on custom actions and does not support external calls so far.

As this is the first version of AutoCAD that supports Action Recorder I hope to see something better on the next releases including .NET code generation from the Action script.

Are you making some test procedures inside AutoCAD ?

Regards,

Super said...

Hi Mike,
We just installed our AutoCAD 2009, my question how to change my User Interface to be same as native AutoCAD like in 2008.

Thanks

Fernando Malard said...

Hi super,

You need to execute the following commands:

RIBBONCLOSE [ENTER]
MENUBAR [ENTER]
1 [ENTER]

To restore:

RIBBON [ENTER]
MENUBAR [ENTER]
0 [ENTER]

Regards.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Can you share some AutoCAD testing tips and tricks. Like which tool can help automating ?

Fernando Malard said...

Hello,

We have tested some options here like the White Framework. Some of them work quite well but they have problems with Dialog integration.

Lately I'm doing the following procedure:

- For every dialog based command we create an equivalent prompt version (like most of AutoCAD native commands);
- For each command we create a set of callable scripts (SCR) files that test the command with all its possible options/features;
- We create more complex testing sequences by calling all individual SCR files to do a global validation procedure;

The good thing about that is the capability of doing prompt only validations by using AutoCAD Core command prompt executable. With it you cannot open dialogs but most of AutoCAD non-UI functionalities are going to work when called from your SCR test scripts.

Regarding the UI, depending whether they are MFC based or .NET/WPF you will need to use these frameworks for testing but with what I said above, the UI tests would be necessary only to validate the solely UI behavior and not the code behind it.

Hope this give you some light about testing.
Please, feel free to also share your own experiences.

Best regards,