GUI testing

Automated testing of JavaFX GUI components

Wolfgang Weigend
Test image via Shutterstock

JavaFX is now celebrating one year in the Java 8 club. As application development grows more and more complex, Oracle’s Wolfgang Weigend shows us why GUI testing is so important.

Since March 2014, JavaFX has been a permanent part of JDK 8. In the future, it is planned to use JavaFX 8, to build mission critical business applications. On the one hand, this requires the degree of maturity of the new JavaFX UI technology to be acceptable, and presupposes on the other hand, that user interfaces of business applications could be tested extensively for their correct application functionality. The focus is on the high data volume that is fed to automated tests into the graphical user interface. Please see below how such a test scenario could be set up with the QF-Test tool.

During applications development, testing plays an important role. According to the current World Quality Report a quarter of the IT budget is already allotted for testing. The increasing complexity of the application development also need the testing requirements to increase. High test coverage can be achieved by test automation. Suitable tools help facilitate the setting up of automated tests and ensure a high integration with the developed application. The benefit of automated UI tests is that they can cover a whole process with one test in contrast to unit tests which cover only an isolated unit.

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Figure 1: Demo application “configuration of new cars” (2dimensional)

By using the correct test environment it is possible to have the bulk of tests set up by professional testers, thus freeing resources for development work. For this, the test environment should allow the tester to work with familiar terms and objects.

Especially in GUI tests it is important that testers work with objects they know and recognize on the GUI of the application, even though the actual structure of the GUI is much more complex.
Even in simple Java-FX-applications the GUI consists of many single elements in a highly complex tree structure. Figure 1 shows a demo application for the configuration of new cars.

The GUI structure of this application becomes visible in a 3D view (figure 2), three-dimensionally highlighting the complexity of the nesting. However, only a small part of the elements is relevant for testing, all others are integrated on a technical level. The test tool allows the reduction of these complex GUIs to the essential.


Fig. 2: Demo application “configuration of new cars” (3dimensional)


Fig. 3: 3dimensional structure simplified by test tool QF-Test

Figure 3 shows the simplified structure as it is made available to the tester by the test tool. In specific cases it is possible to work with the full hierarchy at any time, and programmable tests are possible via scripting. Through simplification and generalization of the UI components, the support of a modular structure allows parts of the test to be reused.

Thus the effort required for test creation is reduced and at the same time maintainability increased. It provides the opportunity to create modules and libraries professional testers can work with. Due to the additional integration of software drivers, data-driven testing is also possible on the GUI, and mass testing can be created.


GUI testing of an application is essential to the corresponding development. By directly integrating a test tool into the development process, a continuous integration scenario could be set up. Test tools are facilitating the JavaFX-8- applications-testing by simplifying the component hierarchy and due to its modular structure. Also this is a valid option for testers, who haven’t any programming knowledge.


Wolfgang Weigend
Wolfgan Weigend is a senior leading systems consultant at Oracle Germany B.V. & Co. KG. He is chiefly involved in Java technology and architecture development for company-wide applications.

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