Best Practices for PowerShell Testing


List of best practices for PowerShell you should know. Find the definition, features and importance of PowerShell testing. - Article authored by Kunal Chowdhury on , and was last updated on 2022-12-21T11:04:32Z.

Best Practices for PowerShell Testing
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Testing is a core pillar of the software development life cycle (SDLC) – because it’s possible to make errors that lead to untimely program crashes, severe data loss, and irreparable damage to the system.

 

Software testing can help flush out some of these issues and make your code more secure, reliable, and bug-free. In this post, we’ve gathered five best practices for PowerShell testing, all from aqua.

 

Best Practices for PowerShell Testing
PowerShell Testing Best Practices

 

Definition: What is PowerShell testing?

PowerShell testing is the process of evaluating and verifying that your programs yield accurate results through PowerShell Scripts. It refers to the process of assessing software for bugs, validity, security, and reliability before rolling them out to other users.

 

Like in general programming, PowerShell testing enables developers and QA testers to pinpoint challenges and resolve them before the software goes public.

 

 

Features of PowerShell testing

For a simplified testing process, it is recommended to take software testing with PowerShell as ordinary testing, which revolves around the following building blocks: test planning, design, test execution, and closure.

 

Here are the essential features of PowerShell testing:

  • Requirements analysis - Software testing begins with a clear layout of the end goal of the project. Here, QA testers work with fellow QA teams, developers, and management to brainstorm ideas on how to approach the project.
  • Test planning - This step is all about creating a documented strategy on the types of tests to be performed, the environment for testing, important milestones, objectives, and the scope of the project. The idea is to keep all the involved project members on the same page.
  • Test design - A solid test aims to yield reliable, maintainable, and, of course, accurate results. To achieve this, testing must provide full coverage of the project scope.
  • Test execution and results - Generally, there are two types of PowerShell testing; unit and integration testing. Unit testing tests the code execution in small bits, while integration testing tests for the end result in modules.

 

 

Best practices for PowerShell testing

It's important to thoroughly test your code both manually and automatically before releasing them to the end user. Automated tests ensure that your code is consistent, while manual testing can be used alongside automated test results to catch any other potential issues that may not have been evident in an automated test. It is automated testing that PowerShell helps you tackle.

 

Regardless, developers need to create the baseline scripts before the actual testing phase. That said, here are the best practices for testing in PowerShell:

 

 

  • Use comments to explain your code but don't overuse them

    Comments in programming make your code easier to understand. But overusing them paints a completely different picture. Most developers will agree that you shouldn't use more than two or three comments in a single block of code.

    Anything beyond this will make the code unreadable and uncertain, and other developers will likely lose trust in it. A good practice is to use one or two comments to break down a complicated block so fellow developers and testers understand why you implemented it.
  • Leverage more advanced script editors such as VS Code - avoid Notepad++

    When writing your code, it's important to leverage the power of a more advanced tool like VS Code, which tracks changes and detects errors faster than Notepad++. Code written on Notepad ++ can appear disoriented and full of errors since the application offers limited editing features to arrange and indent your code in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Use full cmdlet names instead of aliases

    One of PowerShell’s most popular features is the cmdlets, which are summoned into action by their unique names. Aliases are alternative names for cmdlets, but they can be problematic with testers who have no idea what they mean.

    When writing/pasting your code on the PowerShell script editor, you should use full cmdlet names instead of aliases. Using aliases may lead to errors and unexpected results. It can make your code harder to understand, hence unreliable in the eyes of other testers.

    Alias names can be found in the cmdlet Get-Alias.
  • Leverage the PowerShell community library

    The PowerShell Community Library (PSCL) is a collection of PowerShell modules. It includes hundreds of useful modules that you can use to perform various tasks. This includes tasks like retrieving system information, managing files and directories, automating tasks, and much more.

    When testing your code with PowerShell, consider using the modules in the PSCL. You'll be able to use the functionality found in the modules without having to write the code yourself. Remember to always read the documentation associated with the module.

    The module author has likely written examples of how to use the module in its documentation. You can also get help with the module using Get-Help.
  • Leverage a test management tool

    Test management tools like aqua are exactly what they sound like. They provide a collaborative environment where QA testers, developers, and project managers can work harmoniously to deliver high-quality code.

    aqua, for instance, offers several features that become a core part of your testing cycle. This includes workflows, custom fields, item descriptions, group discussions, and so much more.

    aqua’s integration with PowerShell is really simple. You open a test case, choose PowerShell as the automation agent, and paste in your scripts. You can also upload files to use during test script execution and transfer information between test steps. Moreover, aqua enables you to store PowerShell tests alongside other automated tests as well as manual tests.

    Migrating to aqua only takes a day, so why wait? Start saving time and releasing faster thanks to PowerShell testing with aqua today!

 

 

Conclusion

PowerShell is a powerful tool first released in 2006. Since then, it has become an indispensable solution for quality assurance testers, system administrators, IT professionals, and developers. While we admit that testing your code with PowerShell scripts can get technical, leveraging a test management tool with support from seasoned experts should help get your project up to speed in no time.