Use Windmill with CubicWeb

Windmill implements cross browser testing, in-browser recording and playback, and functionality for fast accurate debugging and test environment integration.

Online features list is available.



You have to install Windmill manually for now. If you’re using Debian, there is no binary package (yet).

The simplest solution is to use a setuptools/pip command (for a clean environment, take a look to the virtualenv project as well):

$ pip install windmill
$ curl -O

However, the Windmill project doesn’t release frequently. Our recommandation is to used the last snapshot of the Git repository:

$ git clone git:// HEAD
$ cd windmill
$ python develop

Install instructions are available.

Be sure to have the windmill module in your PYTHONPATH afterwards:

$ python -c "import windmill"

X dummy

In order to reduce unecessary system load from your test machines, It’s recommended to use X dummy server for testing the Unix web clients, you need a dummy video X driver (as xserver-xorg-video-dummy package in Debian) coupled with a light X server as Xvfb.

The dummy driver is a special driver available with the XFree86 DDX. To use the dummy driver, simply substitue it for your normal card driver in the Device section of your xorg.conf configuration file. For example, if you normally uses an ati driver, then you will have a Device section with Driver “ati” to let the X server know that you want it to load and use the ati driver; however, for these conformance tests, you would change that line to Driver “dummy” and remove any other ati specific options from the Device section.


Then, you can run the X server with the following command

$ /usr/bin/X11/Xvfb :1 -ac -screen 0 1280x1024x8 -fbdir /tmp

Windmill usage

Record your use case

  • start your instance manually
  • start Windmill with url site as last argument (read Usage or use ‘-h’ option to find required command line arguments)
  • use the record button
  • click on save to obtain python code of your use case
  • copy the content to a new file in a windmill directory

If you are using firefox as client, consider the “firebug” option.

If you have a running instance, you can refine the test by the loadtest windmill option:

$ windmill -m firebug loadtest=<> <instance url>

Or use the internal windmill shell to explore available commands:

$ windmill -m firebug shell <instance url>

And enter python commands:

>>> load_test(<your test file>)
>>> run_test(<your test file>)

Integrate Windmill tests into CubicWeb

Set environment

You have to create a new unit test file and a windmill directory and copy all your windmill use case into it.


# Run all scenarii found in windmill directory
from cubicweb.devtools.cwwindmill import (CubicWebWindmillUseCase,

if __name__ == '__main__':

Run your tests

You can easily run your windmill test suite through pytest or unittest. You have to copy a file from web.test.

To run your test series:

$ pytest test/

By default, CubicWeb will use firefox as the default browser and will try to run test instance server on localhost. In the general case, You’ve no need to change anything.

Check cubicweb.devtools.cwwindmill.CubicWebWindmillUseCase for Windmill configuration. You can edit windmill settings with following class attributes:

  • browser identification string (firefox|ie|safari|chrome) (firefox by default)
  • test_dir testing file path or directory (windmill directory under your unit case file by default)
  • edit_test load and edit test for debugging (False by default)


browser = 'firefox'
test_dir = osp.join(__file__, 'windmill')
edit_test = False

If you want to change cubicweb test server parameters, you can check class variables from CubicWebServerConfig or inherit it with overriding the configcls attribute in CubicWebServerTC

.. sourcecode:: python
class OtherCubicWebServerConfig(CubicWebServerConfig):
port = 9999
class NewCubicWebServerTC(CubicWebServerTC):
configcls = OtherCubicWebServerConfig

For instance, CubicWeb framework windmill tests can be manually run by:

$ pytest web/test/

Edit your tests

You can toggle the edit_test variable to enable test edition.

But if you are using pytest as test runner, use the -i option directly. The test series will be loaded and you can run assertions step-by-step:

$ pytest -i test/

In this case, the firebug extension will be loaded automatically for you.

Afterwards, don’t forget to save your edited test into the right file (no autosave feature).

Best practises

Don’t run another instance on the same port. You risk to silence some regressions (test runner will automatically fail in further versions).

Start your use case by using an assert on the expected primary url page. Otherwise all your tests could fail without clear explanation of the used navigation.

In the same location of the, create a windmill/ with your windmill recorded use cases.


File Upload

Windmill can’t do file uploads. This is a limitation of browser Javascript support / sandboxing, not of Windmill per se. It would be nice if there were some command that would prime the Windmill HTTP proxy to add a particular file to the next HTTP request that comes through, so that uploads could at least be faked.


A .windmill/ could be used to redefine default configuration values.

For managing browser extensions, read advanced topic chapter.

More configuration examples could be seen in windmill/conf/ as template.