Testing Libraries vs. Frameworks

Lisa Crispin reported last week on the difference between Test Libraries and Frameworks. When reading her blog entry I felt the urge to comment to it on the approach we used at work for our two-step based testing functions. In the end I figured that I quiet had not understood the point on where the difference between test libraries and frameworks might be. Here is the comment I made to the blog-entry:

Since I’m working in the specialized business of mobile phone rating and billing, we introduced our own framework for testing. During the last year we switched our legacy test cases, that were fragile and suffering from high maintenance costs, to a FIT based approach. We came up with two steps for this.

We have built up a toolkit with re-usable tools, that our lightweight and most probably being reused on the next project. These additionally need to be independent of particular customer terminologies. From my point of view this portion is a test library for our product.

The other part is an incorporating one. We build up Fixtures, that are customer dependent – from project to project. We use the toolkit low-level components for this as far as possible and stick to subclassing or interface implementation, where needed.

Historically they grew from the customer specific fixture part towards re-usable components in the toolkit. So we start off with working software and peel out the details, that we are likely to re-use after having a working copy of it.

Together both form a testing framework. I don’t seem to get your point on the difference of a library and a framework fully. Our low-level function toolkit seems to be a test library, when incorporated with customer terminology we get a framework, where we simply need to write down the test cases in some tables.

Today I took the time to look-up the definition of a software library and a Software Framework on WikiPedia. After reading the definitions from WikiPedia and retrospecting my own words in the comment on Lisa’s blog, I today claim that we came up with a test library (our ToolKit) and combined with FitNesse and other third-party libraries – i.e. JDom, J2EE, etc. – and our customer dependend fixture code (we called this our Fixtures) we have a testing framework for our software product. Any other thoughts on this?

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