Three years ago, as I was working on the regression test for “Project: Wolowizard,” I decided it might be a good idea to make a checklist of the steps required to run the thing, because it's complicated. It's broken into four sections:
- Steps to ensure you have the proper credentials to obtain the programs from the build server and install them on the testing servers (this needs to be done only once)—35 steps.
- Steps required to prepare the testing system to run a regression test—51 steps, of which, 3 are optional.
- Steps required to run the regression test—25 steps.
- Steps to take after the regression test has finished—15 steps.
As you can see, it's not a short list but that's because I attempted to make it as explicit as possible (and while it could be automated, the time it would take to automate would exceed the time saved).
I say “as possible” because there's implicit knowledge I have about the environment and forget to include, like “Oh yeah, I assumed that NFS would be working” and “that's right, we have a new build server and ‘Project: Wolowizard’ has yet to be set up on that” and “oooh, yeah, you need to talk to R before you run the regression test as the system might not be available for testing.”
This is coming up because fellow cow-orker T has been tasked with running the “Project: Wolowizard” regression test (as I've been busy getting the “Project: Sippy-Cup” regression test working) and these issues are coming up as he works his way through running the test.