E2E Tests for Web3 Applications

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We will go through a brief explanation of what is Web3 and the architecture of a web3 application. Then we will talk about how to end-to-end test, its challenges, some test tools that are available, and a demo using cypress and metamask.

Agenda: What is Web3; The Architecture of a Web3 Application; Web3 E2E Tests Introduction; Web3 E2E Tests Challenges; E2E Test Tools; Demo.

21 min
03 Nov, 2022

AI Generated Video Summary

In this Talk, Rafaela discusses Web3, its decentralized and token-based model, and the architecture based on smart contracts. Testing Web3 poses challenges due to the need for third-party providers like MetaMask. Approaches such as mocking the Web3 flow and using end-to-end testing tools like Taskafar are suggested. The trade-offs in Web3 testing include test speed and dependency on third-party apps. Balancing unit, integration, and end-to-end tasks is crucial for a robust testing strategy.

1. Introduction to Web3

Short description:

I'm Rafaela, a QA professional with 15 years of experience in test automation, strategy, and leadership. I created a blog in 2011 to share my knowledge in QA, programming, DevOps, and test automation. In this part, we'll discuss Web3, its decentralized and token-based model, and the evolution of the web. We'll also explore the architecture of Web3, which is based on smart contracts and offers more privacy and security.

Hello, everybody. I'm Rafaela, and I'm gonna share a bit of my experience with end-to-end tests for Web3 applications. So just a bit about me. I have 15 years experience in QA, test automation, test strategy, architecture, and leadership, and I got really passionate about the QA area, so I created this blog in 2011 where, you know, you can find everything that I have learned in the past couple of years.

So code snippets, programming, DevOps, leadership, and test automation, of course. I was born and raised in Brazil, to be more specific, I'm from a coastal city called Santos in Sao Paulo. And you can see the picture on the screen. I'm also a really big fan of Harry Potter, as you can see, and this is one of the reasons why I moved to London eight years ago. And the weather as well, but nobody believed when I said that.

But yeah, the agenda is going to be this one. We are going to talk about what is Web3, then the architecture of the Web3 application, some introduction about the entry-in tests, and the challenge, then the tools that you can use, and we are going to have two demos, one just using a mock, and another one using a framework called SyncPress. And then in the end, we are going to talk about the tradeoffs of each approach.

So what is Web3? Web3 is just a new version of the web. We are on Web2 right now and this Web3 comes with the ideas of decentralization, token-based economics and also blockchain technology. So it offers a read-write-own model, so people, they have financial stake and more power over the online communities they belong to. So they own the data, which is not the case right now. The online experience is expected to change as cell phones and smartphones and the pieces they did in the past, so it's going to be a big change for, you know, us that we are living in this moment.

Some business they try to join this new market but they encounter some pushbacks as you know with blockchain as well. Like, you know, the negative impact on the environment and the financial speculation as well. This is the evolution of the web. So from the first version to now, so the first version we had the static read-only pages where you couldn't interact too much with them. And then now what we have is a bit more dynamic and interactive so we can go there and post things. So, you know, Twitter, we can just send our data away basically through these big corporations. And the Web3, which is the one coming now, is more private, secure and decentralized. So the idea is, you know, our data is not going to be owned by these big corporations but by yourself.

And the architecture of the Web3 is also quite different because it's based on smart contracts like blockchain. So if we see now what we have is basically the front-end, back-end database inside of this web server. And this is controlled by, you know, the corporation or the company, somebody. And the Web3, we have just the front-end in the web server. So this is going to still be part of the, you know, it's going to be controlled by the company or the corporation.

2. Web3 Architecture and Testing Challenges

Short description:

The smart contracts in Web3 are decentralized and handle the business logic of transactions. Interactions with the front-end are then passed to the smart contracts and the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), which adds transactions to the blockchain. The Web3 stack consists of layers such as centralized applications, cryptocurrency wallets like MetaMask, and developer environments. Unit and UI tests can be performed using familiar frameworks, while integration tests can use smart contract libraries. However, full end-to-end tests face challenges due to the need for third-party providers like MetaMask. Faking UI interactions is complex, and existing test frameworks do not support these plugins. One approach is to mock the Web3 flow, where the user interacts with the Web3, which then interacts with MetaMask or the third-party provider to send transactions to the Ethereum blockchain.

But then the smart contracts, the EVM and the Ethereum blockchain, this is something that is going to be decentralized. And the smart contracts, they have the business logic, or the protocol of these transactions and these business. So basically now, what we have is just we are going to interact with the front-end and then the front-end is going to interact with the smart contracts, and then EVM, the Ethereum virtual machine, and this is going to add the transaction to the blockchain. So it's going to add a new block to this Ethereum blockchain. And this is the part where it's decentralized.

So this is an example of a WebTree stack. So we have some examples of like tools and frameworks, but you can see the layers. So you have the first layer with the centralized applications. So it can be something like MetaMask, which is a plugin to authorize it. Identity have wallets, it's a cryptocurrency wallet. Then you have Uniswap. Then you have another layer presentation layer, which is called then you have the developer environments where you can, you know, test your product. And then you have the other layers like blockchain interaction layer. And the network layer with the EVM blockchains. So this is not all the tools that you can use. It's just like an example with the most popular ones, I believe. But at least you have an idea of, you know, how it is their Web3 stack.

And then the tasks, they are, the end-to-end tasks are more like the problem with Web3. And if you want to do, you know, the unit tests, it's fine, you can use something that you already use it for, you know, web2 applications. You can use Jest, you can use Mocha, it's the same kind of framework. And then you can just verify, you know, if the components they are operating as intended. So UI tests are also not a problem, because you can still use the same frameworks that you use right now to do the tests. And, yeah, the integration tests, they are not a problem as well, because you can just use the smart contract libraries to mimic their own changes by just mocking the underlying EVM. So the problem is when you go and you try to do the full end-to-end tests without the mocking, because you have this third party provider that you need to use to communicate with the blockchain and submit the transactions, and most of the frameworks right now that do end-to-end tests, they cannot access this plugin. So one of the most used plugins is MetaMask, as I said, it's a cryptocurrency wallet, and you need these to interact with the Ethereum blockchain and sign the private keys and do the full transaction cycle flow. So yeah, faking these UI interactions is really complex and the test frameworks that we have right now, they don't support these plugins, even when running headless browser. So one of the approaches that I'm going to show you after is just mocking the WebTree. But this is basically what is the flow. So the user goes in and interacts with the WebTree that interacts with the MetaMask or the third-party provider. And then finally, MetaMask is able to send this transaction to the Ethereum blockchain and add the block there.

3. Web3 Transaction Signing and Testing

Short description:

Transactions in Web3 are signed by a private scheme, making it difficult for UI frameworks to handle. One approach is to use the WebTree mock, which allows for testing without relying on real third-party integrations. Another option is to use Synthress, a Cypress IO wrapper with Metamask support. However, this limits you to using only Metamask. Alternatively, you can use other end-to-end testing tools like Taskafar and mock the Web3 interactions. I will now demonstrate a mock Web3 scenario using Cypress and show you the code on my GitHub.

And these transactions, they are signed by a private scheme, so UI frameworks, they cannot do that at the moment as well. And one of the approaches is using the WebTree mock. So now, it is a good practice anyway not using the real third-party integration because you shouldn't be like dependent on this, because you don't have control of this third-party. You don't have control of the plug-in. So if it crashes or if there is a bug, you might need to pause your entire development just because you cannot test your own application. A full end-to-end cycle.

So, one idea is to mock the web tree and then just do the same, sending transactions and then simulating this part with the Ethereum blockchain. And then yeah, with the web tree mocking you can solve the problem by signing the transactions with a private key automatically and then sending to the EVM and Ethereum blockchain. Another approach would be using this framework called Synthress, which is a wrapper from Cypress IO and has Metamask support. But yeah, the problem of this, you are tied to use only Metamask with this. It's the only telepathy provider plugin that supports at the moment, and you need to use Cypress IO as well because it's a wrapper from Cypress IO. But as it is, you can choose between locking the version of the Metamask so you don't have unexpected failures, or you can just make sure that Synthress can just run the tests but before that, update the Metamask plugin just to have the latest one. So you can decide what you want to do, basically if you want to lock the version, or if you want to update with the latest Metamask before running your tests. Which would be good to figure out, you know, if your application has any problem with the new version of Metamask. And you can use any of the other end-to-end tests tools that are in the market already, the only problem is they don't have something like Syncpress, they don't have a framework just that is built on top of them, apart from Cypress.io, just to do the integration with the third-party provider, but you can use the mock strategy, so you can still use, for example, Taskafar, that I really like as well, you can use that, and then mock the web-trim. But, of course, they have down-signs as well, so if you want to use something different from Metamask, you can use it with the mock, but then if you go with SynQPRESS, the only thing that you can use is the Metamask plugin.

So, now we are gonna just see the first demo, which is with the mock, so it's gonna be Cypress and the mock of Web3. Let me just go to the other screen... Oops. Just, sorry... This one. Yeah, this is on my GitHub and it's just a fork from another project, but you can see already how that works. So it's a simple... You just need to use yarn start to start a local host web page, simple page, and then you can use yarn cypress run to run the tasks. But basically it's just this task is sending the transaction. It's really fast so you cannot see it properly. But the first one is just connecting to MetaMask. You can see... Oops. You can see the connect with the logging and this is the sample they created.

4. Web3 Testing and Trade-offs

Short description:

You need to check the data response, if it's what you expect. Try sending a transaction to the address and amount. There is another demo using the SyncPress tool, which integrates with MetaMask. The trade-offs include test speed and dependency on third-party apps in real end-to-end tests.

So you can see here is expecting to have the address of the wallet that you connected. Then you are signing the messages as well. And then you need to check here the data response, if it's exactly what you expect and if it's doing the right transactions. And then in the end, yeah, try to send a transaction which you sent to this address, this amount. And then you should have... Yeah, in this case, it's okay to have this service, it cannot send transactions, which was expected in this case. And then signing out as well, which you should be... Is really, really simple, this one, but you can at least see how the mock is done.

And the other... And the other... This is the address, so if you want to have a look. And the other demo is going to be using the SyncPress tool. So you can see that we are using the SyncPress and we are really integrating with MetaMask. So this one is just running Cypress, and it's loading Cypress, and then it's gonna load the specs, and just run straight away. So this is the MetaMask plugin. You can see that it's starting, and it's not mocking, so if you go and install MetaMask plugin you can see that it's exactly like that. And also on the top you can see Chrome extension, so it is the real plugin. Then now it was just setting up the MetaMask with importing the account, and now it is using the plugin to accept the connection request and just connect to this account. And now it's just creating the network as well. And yeah, basically this is another demo with the SynPress. It's really straightforward as well, but it's well maintained. You can also check on the official SynPress repo on GitHub. They have other examples there if I'm not wrong. But this one is really simple and is on my GitHub repo as well, GitHub account, sorry.

And yeah, of course the trade-offs. So we have the test speed that we need to take into account. So when you use the mock, of course it's faster than using the Third Party plugin and waiting to load and also the network. All the problems that you have when you are not mocking this third party provider. Then you have the dependency on the third party app when you are doing the full real end-to-end tests. So if something crashes, if there is a bug, you might need to just stop or revert the version that you were using before the bug.

5. Testing Strategies and Balancing Tasks

Short description:

You might need to pause or wait for bug fixes when testing with the latest version. End-to-end tests with SyncPress provide real-world scenarios, while mocking requires maintenance to ensure compatibility. Mocking allows for isolated testing, eliminating dependencies on external systems. Balancing unit, integration, and end-to-end tasks is crucial for a robust and trustworthy testing strategy.

And you might need to pause, or if you are really testing and you want to make sure that it's going to work with the latest version. If there is a bug, you might need to wait until this bug is fixed just to make sure that it is OK.

And also, the end-to-end test with SyncPress is the real-world test, so you know that this really what the user's going to do, they are not going to mock, of course. And then the other one is MockMaintainance, so you need to worry about that if you are mocking, just to keep up to date if you want to make sure the latest is working with your app.

And then you have the test app in isolation as well, so when you do the mock, you don't care about the study party, if it's working or not then you are making sure that your app is always working fine, you don't need to pause, you don't need to stop your development, you don't need to worry about the study party should be fixed or anything like that. It is a good practice anyway to do that, to mock.

So one thing that you can do as a strategy is just to have a good balance between the unit tasks, the integration tasks so you can mock most of the tasks and then having, I don't know maybe 10% or even less of end-to-end tasks. So you can use something, for example the framework and automating these 10% or you can have some exploratory tasks doing the full end-to-end or you can just have manual tasks for that. It's really up to you, your project, the strategy that you use, what are your needs. But a good balance, always make sure that okay, we cannot task end-to-end with the latest version of the telepathy, but we know that with, you know, integration is working fine, we have everything covered, so it's more robust, it's more trustworthy.

And yeah, that's it. So thank you. If you want to connect to me, you know, in any of these social medias, just feel free to do so or send any questions or feedbacks. I'm open for these as well. It's always good to improve. So yeah, that's it.

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