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WebReplay - an automated software testing tool for Web applications

, 16 Jun 2005
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This article presents an automated software testing tool for Web applications (Internet/Intranet) based on Internet Explorer.

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Web Replay is an automated software testing tool for Web applications. It helps in detecting bugs and regressions in Web applications by replaying scenarios to test the application.

Using WebReplay, you can automatically navigate to a Web page, fill in form fields, click on the submit (OK) button, and then continue to another Web page.

To use Web Replay, build an XML Scenario File (see below), type the name of the file in the edit box and click on the Replay button.

Background (optional)

Web Replay is based on Microsoft's WebBrowser control (Microsoft® ActiveX® control). It embeds the control into a very simple dialog-based application which loads an XML scenario file and programmatically drives the WebBrowser control (via its COM Interface IWebBrowser2) to execute the scenario.

Using the code

Web Replay provides the following features:

  • Replay scenarios from an XML file.
  • Supports every feature supported by Microsoft Internet Explorer (includes Windows Integrated Authentication).
  • Supports HTML forms, HTML input elements, HTML hyperlinks (anchors).
  • Supports two actions on HTML elements: set_value and click:
    • set_value simulates a change in the HTML element's value (input, select, etc...).
    • click simulates a mouse click on the HTML element (any element).
  • Supports unnamed HTML elements: Elements can be found with their associated value and/or innerText and/or Href.
  • Stores and reloads the last scenario file name (it uses a good old WebReplay.ini file).
  • Supports dynamically-generated Web Sites (client-side): If your web site generates HTML within the browser (using JavaScript's commands like "document.write"), Web Replay can still play back a given scenario - it uses a timeout mechanism to find the dynamically-generated controls.

Sample XML Scenario

An XML scenario file looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="Windows-1252"?>
    <!--<span class="code-comment"> Search something in codeproject --></span>
    <!--<span class="code-comment"> Scenarios are divided into steps (one step per page download) --></span>
      <!--<span class="code-comment"> Every step can contain one or more actions --></span>
      <!--<span class="code-comment"> Action can be of type "navigate" = 
             Web Replay will navigate to the given URL --></span>
      <action type="navigate" url="" />
      <!--<span class="code-comment"> Action can be of type "control" = 
             Web Replay will interact with an HTML element --></span>
      <action type="control" 
             name="target" event="set_value" value="WebReplay" />
      <!--<span class="code-comment"> This field is unnamed; but it has a specific value attribute --></span>
      <action type="control" name="" value="Go" event="click" />

To build a scenario file, you need to basically know the names (or ids) of HTML elements within your Web Application. Alternatively, you can use an empty name and use the HTML element's value (for unnamed items).

Points of Interest

How do you test code? Well, just write a test program! Web Replay helps you with this by providing a simple way of testing you Web apps. But it's still a brand new program; the TODO list is long...

Web Replay TODO List

  • Play scenarios multiple times (even infinite loops to stress-test your Web application).
  • Use of variables/expression in scenario files (to replay scenarios that are always different).
  • Batch playback of scenario files.
  • Enhanced error detection (e.g. a scenario should fail if a given HTML pattern is not found in the HTML page).
  • Automated recording of scenario files (implement an event sink for IWebBrowser2 and record HTML elements names/id and associated event).


V1.0 - $Date: 2005-06-16 11:50:08 +0200 (Thu, 16 Jun 2005) $


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Emmanuel Kartmann
Web Developer
France France
Fell into computer software at the age of 11, founder of 3 startups, and now manager of an independent software vendor (ISV) labelled proSDK ( And still a freeware writer and technical article author!

Comments and Discussions

Generalnice PinmemberDonsw22-May-09 8:46 
GeneralCheck out this WebReplay... PinmemberJackNynguen10-Apr-08 14:01 
Generalnavigate - error Pinmembergrandmasta116-Nov-07 1:14 - Web Testing With C# or VB.NET Pinmemberftorres1-Feb-07 18:17 is an automation tool designed to implement client-side functional
testing of web applications under Internet Explorer 6.x or 7.x, using the C#
or VB.NET language with Visual Studio 2003, 2005 or express editions.
Version 1.2 New features:
- An interactive DOM viewer available at record time Big Grin | :-D
- NUnit support (source code available) Laugh | :laugh:
- add-in support (source code available) Wink | ;)
Coming features version 1.3 March 2007:
- More methods to support AJAX applications Roll eyes | :rolleyes:
- IronPython support WTF | :WTF:
- Test/suite reporting api. Suspicious | :suss:

Generaldialog boxes PinsussAnonymous20-Jul-05 11:19 
GeneralRe: dialog boxes PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann16-Aug-05 23:32 
GeneralAutomatically retreving the fields PinmemberTrappedVector24-Jun-05 4:21 
GeneralRe: Automatically retreving the fields PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann25-Jun-05 23:47 
GeneralRe: Automatically retreving the fields PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann16-Aug-05 23:35 
Generalselect option Pinmembervoltek6023-Jun-05 14:06 
GeneralRe: select option PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann23-Jun-05 21:06 
GeneralRe: select option Pinmembervoltek6023-Jun-05 21:58 
Generalsome wrong in this application where i build it. Pinmemberwinart21-Jun-05 16:53 
GeneralRe: some wrong in this application where i build it. PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann21-Jun-05 20:32 
GeneralRe: some wrong in this application where i build it. Pinmemberwinart22-Jun-05 0:13 
GeneralRe: some wrong in this application where i build it. PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann22-Jun-05 21:09 
GeneralLook at SWExplorerAutomation PinmemberAlex Furman17-Jun-05 11:44 
GeneralRe: Look at SWExplorerAutomation PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann20-Jun-05 3:53 
GeneralRe: Look at SWExplorerAutomation PinmemberAlex Furman20-Jun-05 7:07 
GeneralRe: Look at SWExplorerAutomation PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann23-Jun-05 6:22 
QuestionIs that possible to use on Win CE? PinmemberPaul_Lai16-Jun-05 23:26 
AnswerRe: Is that possible to use on Win CE? PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann16-Jun-05 23:51 
GeneralMissing file PinmemberTodd Smith16-Jun-05 13:13 
GeneralRe: Missing file PinmemberEmmanuel Kartmann16-Jun-05 21:41 
GeneralVery nice! Pinmembernetclectic16-Jun-05 6:07 

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