Friday, April 30, 2010

Time Diffs

During one cycle of performance testing, the tool I was using only logged a test's start and end time. For some reason, it didn't log duration. So you'd see start time 10:34:23 and end time 10:39:00. Now, in the case of a short test, say, one that ran in 15 or 20 mins, that wasn't a big deal, it's easy to do that kind of math in your head. But when the durations were like this: start time 10:32:23 and the end time was 13:18:54, it would take a minute or so for me to calculate how long that was.

This was a frustrating experience, and one that was prone to human error. So I wrote a little C# app that allowed me to enter two times and see the difference between them. This let me note the test durations much faster and more precisely. To build your own time diff tool, fire up Visual Studio and create a form that looks like this:

For reference, I named the Start Time field txtStart, the End time field txtStop, the Calculate button is cmdCalculate, and the Clear button is cmdClear. I was lazy and left the label that you see as 00:00:00 as label1.

Now, use the following code for the calculate button:
private void cmdCalculate_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
if ((txtStart.Text != "") && (txtStop.Text!=""))
DateTime start = DateTime.Parse(txtStart.Text);
DateTime stop = DateTime.Parse(txtStop.Text);
TimeSpan duration = new TimeSpan();
duration = stop - start;
label1.Text = duration.ToString();

Here's the code for the Clear button:
private void cmdClear_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
txtStart.Text = "";
txtStop.Text = "";
label1.Text = "00:00:00";

And that's it. You now have a little app that will calculate the differences in time for you. One thing to note here is that the app isn't intended to diff times that are greater than 24 hours, and you have to enter the times in a 24 hour clock format. So if your test ended at 2 pm, you'd enter 14:00:00.

This is a nice example of creating a tool that augments manual testing. It doesn't do any testing on its own, but it does let a tester perform a given activity faster and more efficiently. Always be looking for little opportunities like this, and your testers will thank you for them.

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