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December 1st, 2006 at 7:00am — Rating: Firefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox no pointLink

If anyone has read about the Selenium IDE extension from a previous Fireday, this was a great concept for Quality Assurance testers of web sites (oh, and developers as well). The new guy on the block, iMacros from iOpus, has the same functionality, but I haven't found one feature that has put either one ahead of the other. Heck, this may even constitute a comparison review in the future.

When installed, it automatically displays the side panel of the interface. There are already samples included with the extension. Double-click on one to see a demo of each "script."

iMacros is broken into three compact tabs: Play, Record, and Edit. Simple enough. I like the interface of the extension and making it a side-panel is an awesome idea. Instead of opening up a brand new window that you need to move around, you simply use the side panel to record your web changes.

Screenshot - Play tab  Screenshot - Record tab  Screenshot - Edit tab

The Play tab is pretty self-explanatory. Select the script you want to test and click play to run the script. You can execute a certain script a number of times or stop it right in the middle of the execution or even loop the macro.

The Record tab allows you to select the commands you want to run while you are surfing. The controls are very intuitive and provide an easy way for even a novice tester to create a test case of how the application should be handled. Of course, I'm looking at this as a testing utility for web applications as opposed to a web surfing enhancement, and looking at it from that perspective, could provide a framework for creating a hierarchy of tests based on different sections of your web application.

The Edit tab is very simple, providing the ability to edit the macro using notepad to edit the contents. The other options Refresh Macro List and Options, again, are self-explanatory.

One of the items I noticed iMacros doesn't provide is a way to run a batch of macros, but this is provided in the Scripting and Pro editions of the commercial software.

Another thing that confused me were the products they were offering. After downloading the iMacros Firefox extension (which is in beta, BTW), I went back to look for the extension from the site and looked at the products comparison page. I was trying to determine where the iMacros Firefox extension fit into this comparison chart. When I downloaded this extension, it felt like I was getting the Power Surfer Edition ($29.95) for free. Was I?

It makes me wonder what is included with the Scripting Edition ($499) when I feel like this extension has everything I need. I understand there may be some limitations to the iMacros Firefox extension, but for a free extension, what else can you ask for?

Note: The Selenium IDE will have a proper review in the near future. The Selenium IDE review from before isn't really what I would consider a review. :-)